Katie Johnson

Katie holds her USDF Bronze and Silver Medals as well and is home from a year of training and competing in Europe. She started teaching at the age of 16 and has a keen eye and super feel. While in Germany this past year, Katie not only excelled on the upper level horses but has recieved fabulous experience with the young horses in the show ring and schooling.

Katie’s Young Riders Story

August 2008

Ifyou had asked me 4 months ago if I was going to qualify to be on the Region 7 team at the NAJYRC I would have told you that you were officially crazy if not for any other reason than I didn’t have a horse. But, due to all of the amazing people in my life, some very sweet strangers that will now be lifelong friends, one brilliant horse with a heart the size of Texas and a lot of hard work, I made it, and came home with two gold medals!!

The journey to Parker, Colorado was pretty painless. It is a 22-hour drive but when my mom and I decided to drive my horse ourselves we thought it would be best to split it up into 2 days. So we pulled out a divider in my bumper pull 3 horse trailer and started the organized packing, well I don’t know if packing is the right term…it turned out to be organized piling! We drove out through Las Vegas, then to Utah where we laid over at a very nice horse hotel. Then it was onward to Colorado! The mountain drive was breathtakingly beautiful and I arrived in Parker, Colorado on the afternoon of Friday July 25th. Since I arrived earlier then the stabling was opening at the Colorado Horsepark I stayed until Tuesday at a wonderful facility, Castlewood Equestrian Center, about 10 minutes away. Their barn and indoor arena are insulated which kept it cool during the unseasonably hot days. The footing was groomed daily and the arena had full-length mirrors. Everyone at the barn was very accommodating and made my and Milo’s stay really relaxing. My younger sister, Jessica, flew in to join us on Sunday night. She soon became one of Milo’s favorite people because she always brought him his bran and dinner!

The plan was to move Milo to the horse park on Monday, but it became derailed when my truck decided to just stop running at a stop light on Sunday night. It turned out that the fuel gauge and sensor went bad which consequently meant that when the gauge said that we had fuel we did not. So in the end we just ran out of diesel!! On Tuesday we got the truck back and did a chinese fire drill to repack all of my stuff and moved Milo to the horse park before 12pm for in the in barn inspections. After the in barn inspections the Jog went very well and everyone looked great in their matching jog outfits. On Wednesday it was the Junior Team competition day and they shined like stars they are and received the bronze medal. Thursday was the Young Rider Team competition day and the Region 7 Team made an impression and took the gold medal. I was really proud of Milo because due to the fact that we arrived at the horse park a day later then expected he was not able to be ridden or hand walked in the competition arena. So the first time he saw it was in our test and he went in there and did his job like a star!

After we received our team gold medal we were all ecstatic and I started to realize that I might really have a chance to accomplish what I had come here hoping to do, be in the top 10 individually. We had Friday off from competition and juniors had their individual day. I had a bit of a heart attack on Friday when I realized that one of Milo’s front shoes was loose. But I called home to my farrier, Chad Evans and asked him what he would like to have done, and the show farrier was able to fix it. Saturday was the individual competition day for the young riders. I did my normal routine with Milo in the morning before I rode and stayed very focused. He felt great in the warm-up and when we entered the competition arena he actually did a little spook! This is very uncharacteristic for him so I knew he was in a good mood. When we cantered down centerline I had two things on my mind, ride each movement by itself and prepare for EVERYTHING! I could hear Debbie’s voice in my head saying that my corners are my time fix things and half halt and then my mom saying to let him dance. When we were finished I knew that the test felt good but everyone that watched said that it was good while holding their breath. When I heard my scores announced over the loud speakers I think that I literally screamed! I never dreamed that I would be able to received a score of 69.05% at Prix St Georges and the gold medal.

I came into the freestyle competition day knowing that this was our weakest point. I made my freestyle myself only 2 weeks before championships and had only ridden through it twice. He felt tired in the warm up and then when we went into the competition arena he slipped his tongue over the bit! This was unnerving or both of us so I stayed out of his mouth for the duration of his trot work and let him fix it himself. Like always he pulled through for me and we finished 4th with a 67%!

I would consider my experience at the NAJYRC storybook. It was really neat to be with so many other people my age that have the same passion for horses that I do. Competing as a team was really fun and rewarding. I met lots of fun and talented people and have some friends that I will never forget. I think that this will definitely help my career and help me one day reach my goal of the Olympics. I would not change one minute of it and will remember it all forever. I would like to thank everyone from home who has always believed in me and supported me. I would also like to thank a few of my sponsors and Region 7 sponsors; Riding Magazine, California Dressage Society, Carter’s Hay and Grain, Game Ready, Respond Systems, and Mary’s Tack and Feed among so many others.