You win some and you lose some - But you never give up!
Winter is drawing in and that means the wet and cold weather has arrived along with the dark nights. This can create all sorts of issues for all horse lovers and Katy and her horse Apollo are no exception. The winter weather can bring with it all sorts of changes for both the horse and rider and Apollo has been showing his dislike for it by giving his owner Katy some behavioural problems all week. Unfortunately his behaviour only added salt to injury when Katy didn't qualify for the Dodson and Horrell championships on 13th Oct. This left her feeling a little down as the championships are one of her personal goals for this autumn.
Katy has been aiming all year for the Dodson & Horrell Championship, held at Aintree, in November. After qualifying in the first rounds this summer she was excited and a little nervous about the second rounds.The second rounds were few and far between due to where Katy is based, so she knew early on that she only had two attempts to qualify, the first being at Bishop Burton on the 13th October - Katy's first attempt and her first failure. The second attempt was at Horse World EC on the 19th October. 
Katy continues her story -
katie 1_jumpI knew Horse World was my second and last chance to qualify and as we arrived at the show I was feeling the importance of qualifying. I had pre-entered my class and entered Apollo and myself for the 1.10 Open before our Qualifier as I wanted to use this class as a warm up, and am so glad I did! 
Our 1.10 course turned out to be a very mediocre, nothing to be proud off and we didn't have a great time as Apollo tapped a pole, finishing on 4 faults. Feeling a little deflated after such a brilliant summer season, full of wins and success, I felt Apollo and I really had lost our mojo and it this wasn't the time to do it. 
With the 1.15 Qualifier next I knew how important it was for us to perform. I walked around the outdoor warm up area and told myself, the only person who is going to win this class for you, is you! I know I can jump and win a 1.15 class. I have done it hundreds of times and instead of feeling sorry for myself I needed to focus and ride like I wanted it. 
I warmed up Apollo and by the time I was called into the arena, I felt ready. I rode into the arena like I meant business, and it was one of the best rides I have had all year. I rode like I really wanted it and when we crossed the finish I was greeted with a big cheer from my family and friends. A positive determined ride had given us an almost perfect clear, and I was so relieved! 
The jump off came next, something Apollo and me are good at. Apollo is an amazing horse who won't stop, so when he is presented with a big fence with only one stride to jump it, (as long as I make it a safe set up), he will jump it, and that is exactly what I was planning to do this time. 
I was second to go as we rode into the jump off, so was unable to watch anyone else attempt the course before I went in. So I decided to push Apollo into canter and just go for it. Apollo was amazing, we turned every turn and could have even put 5 strides into a 6 stride combination, we jumped a beautiful round and crossed the finish, clear and with a great time of 33 seconds. 
A nerve racking wait followed as we waited for everyone else to jump, I knew we had given it our all and if we didn't qualify, I knew I could go home knowing I had tried my best. 
Lots of riders tried to keep up with my very competitive time of just 33 seconds, and many riders seemed to find this a difficult quest. At last the final rider left the arena and I stood waiting for the results with my dad and two friends. 

katy 2_saddled_upI needed to be in the top 12 to qualify and top 3 to win a cash prize.The announcement came after what seemed like an age - There it was - First place, number 35‚Äö√Ѭ∂ Katy Thomas and Lights Out!!! 
I was so happy and proud of us both. We had managed to turn what looked like a disappointing week, into a brilliant one!  Not only did I qualify, but we won!! 
It was great to return home, to a very supportive yard, who were all so happy about our qualification and wanted to be part of our celebration and look at all the pictures and rosettes. 
I know you should never say it on the day, but I am thankful for the disappointing days, because it is these that really make you appreciate your hard work, for when you do manage to pull it off it makes you believe in your own ability and performance.
Going forward there is so much more hard work to be done in the hope we have an equally impressive performance at the final in November! I am so looking forward to it and this time I will remember to pack the right attitude- 'Believe in yourself and your ability and you can succeed' 
Wish us both luck and we will keep you updated on our performance