The Final Chapter: Ride of Redemption

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Amy Paterson and Wies V/D Klumpert
Region 4

By Jennifer Keeler

After riding the equestrian roller coaster of being crowned 2014 Intermediate B Adult Amateur Champion at the US Dressage Finals presented by Adequan®, to having the worst test of her career just a year later, it looked like Amy Paterson’s mission to return to Kentucky for a ride of redemption with her Dutch mare Wies V/D Klumpert (or “Wie”) was almost a foregone conclusion. The pair had earned two victories at the Grand Prix level at the Great American/USDF Region 4 Championship, entries had been submitted, travel arrangements made, and Paterson couldn’t wait to get back in the Alltech Arena for another shot at glory.

But horses have a way of humbling us all. In the final days leading up to the Finals, a quick check of online day sheets indicated a letter no one wanted to see next to Paterson’s name. “If you looked up my name on the US Dressage Finals website for ride times, you would find it…with a big fat ‘S’ next to it for scratch,” she explained. “I managed to keep Pandora in its box through Regionals, but an ill-timed and placed kick by Wie in her literally padded stall left her with a sore hind ankle. So instead of celebrating in Lexington, we are on day 40 of tack walking. Thankfully the last vet check was encouraging, and we should be trotting by December and back to full work in January.”

Horsemen and women must regularly face disappointment in sharing their lives with horses, but the dramatic change in fortune hit Paterson harder than expected. “At first I surprised myself by being pretty stoic when it became obvious she wouldn’t be ready in time for Finals,” she said. “However, the week of Finals was a different story. My husband deserves sainthood – I would spontaneously break out into tears and he would immediately hug me and say, ‘what can I do to help?’ Sniff, sniff and I would feel better again until the next Facebook memory popped up with my posts from the 2014 and 2015 US Dressage Finals…boo hoo…hug hug…sniff sniff….and I’m off again. For some people it’s wine; for others it’s a long walk on the beach; but for me it’s pizza. I watched the USEF Network live feed of ‘my’ Adult Amateur Grand Prix class on Friday and drowned my sorrows in pepperoni pizza.”

In the grand scheme of things, Paterson admitted that missing a horse show is nothing but a minor speed bump, and all that matters is that her horse is on the mend. “However, the US Dressage Finals are truly special,” she continued. “Even if it is as a volunteer/spectator, I am not going to miss that show again. Between my ‘boo hoo’ moments, I really enjoyed all the coverage and reading the back stories behind the participants. This show really means a lot to so many people.

“Riders, you have heard this before, but take it from me: if you and your horse are healthy and sound, take advantage of every moment and opportunity you have. It all can change so quickly. I am looking forward to next year and will give Wie plenty of time to heal and leg back up. I am lucky enough to have her little four-year-old sister Hibiscus (by Charmeur out of Sarina V/d Klumpert), and who knows….maybe I will be lucky enough to have both girls at Finals next year!”

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