Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2024

Kristin Bachman Encountered A Detour On Her Road To The Olympics

In this series, the Chronicle follows six riders as they seek to fulfill their Olympic dreams in Hong Kong in 2008. Click here to read Kristin's first installment from our March 7 issue.

Just about the same day the Chronicle came out with the last story about me (March 7, 2008), I found out that Gryffindor was injured.
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In this series, the Chronicle follows six riders as they seek to fulfill their Olympic dreams in Hong Kong in 2008. Click here to read Kristin’s first installment from our March 7 issue.

Just about the same day the Chronicle came out with the last story about me (March 7, 2008), I found out that Gryffindor was injured.

He has mild tendonitis, and it’s best to rest him and look to the future. It came up after we’d done a cross-country school at Gibbs Farm in South Carolina. It’s sort of mild, and not any one thing did it. It’s a fantastic facility, and it had rained so the footing was good. I’m at a loss as to why it happened.

Like we talked about before, this is the downside of having all of your eggs in one basket with just one horse, because suddenly I wasn’t going to Rolex Kentucky [for the Olympic Selection Trials].

I was fortunate that the day after the cross-country school was the day my veterinarian was coming to do overall checks, so we caught it pretty fast, and there were no lesions or anything. It’s a very recoverable injury.

That was right before Southern Pines Horse Trials (N.C.) in March, which was going to be our first event of the year. So we came back to Lovettsville, Va., which we’d been planning to do right after Southern Pines.

We’ve been hacking at the walk the entire time; it’s important to keep the tendons moving.
  
I’m not going to push it and try to do a three-day this fall.  Maybe I’ll do some horse trials. The Fair Hill CCI*** (Md.) in October would be a possibility, but I’d rather play it safe and plan on being out next winter. We’ll get to work on our dressage and show jumping, which is never a bad thing. I’d love to take more show jumping lessons with Laura Kraut, and I’d love to work on my dressage with Silva Martin. We’ll be really ready to come out and play next year.

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On The Road To Recovery

Gryffindor is not liking it. He’s hacking on the roads and sees cows every day, and he thinks they’re the scariest things in the world. He’ll run and jump over anything, but he’s scared of another four-legged creature. He’s bored, and he’s gotten pushy and demanding. He was pretty fit when he was hurt.

He’s just kind of cranky. He’d much rather be out in the field and out jumping fences. But spooking aside, he’s been a total gentleman. He’s still not naughty.

I’m going to try and put up a small grass pen, but this is the part where I get to be an overprotective mom. Any bucking and playing makes me nervous. I want every step to be perfect and just right, but they’re animals and feel good. That’s the hard part, letting them be the animals they want to be. I’ve seen what he does out in the pasture, and thank goodness he never does that when I’m on him, because I’d be gone in no time.

The downside, obviously, is not being able to show him, but the upside is that I can focus on building a business here. I’ll be around, going to the local shows with resale projects and young horses. I’m trying to pick up clients and get more horses in training.

I’m a believer in things happen for a reason. I’m not sure what that was.  But if I was following my Olympic dream, it wouldn’t be the best time to start a business, and it’s the day-to-day stuff that keeps you afloat.

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I wasn’t able to go watch Rolex, because of Gryffindor needing to be hacked and ultrasounded every day. I needed to make sure it was done daily, and the best way to do that is to do it myself. I try and give him a good grooming, hack him for an hour, do the therapeutic ultrasound, and hand-graze him. He still gets quality time.

I thought I was OK with not going to Kentucky, but the week before I was pretty depressed. Not showing with him this year will be sad.

Of all the events I’ve been to, Kentucky is my favorite so far. I’d also love to do Badminton (England) and Burghley (England)—that’s the long-term, ultimate goal. I want to make sure to save the miles and play at the big shows.

Human And Canine Support

I think I realized the last time he was injured last year, how lucky I had been up to that point, that he’s been a pretty sound horse. He was fairly abnormal for the level he was doing. But I’m also trying to take a look at what needs to be done differently.
   
Everybody takes such good care of these horses at this level; I’m still trying to figure out why it happened. His shoeing schedule is exact. Maybe at the end of the schedule we wait to do our gallops, just pay attention to everything. It’s trusting in your gut a little, too. As riders, we ride these horses every day.
   
When he came back from his original injury last year, I was so excited, and I think there was a point where he stopped feeling so great. There was nothing wrong; he had vets looking at him throughout, but if you have that gut feeling, no matter what the cost, I’m going to have an ultrasound done, even if he palpates great.

It’s worth it to spend the extra money so it doesn’t get out of hand. It’s hard to get those vet bills at the end of each month, but it’s part of this level, I guess.
   
It’s hard, because I feel like he is a wonderful horse, and if we put in a good season, going to the Olympics may have been a possibility. But nothing is a lock, and I’m still new at this level. There are a lot of people with a lot of nice horses with more experience. I’m disappointed, but it’s not something I was counting on.
   
I have a 5-year-old off the track who’s doing training level, and I have a few doing novice and beginner novice. I need to try and get another going horse [at the top levels], and I haven’t been able to afford more than one at a time. I need to get out there and prove to people, and to myself, that I can do this on other horses.
   
My mother, JoAnn Bachman, who lives in Georgia, has been supportive, and some of the resale horses I have are to put away money to get something that can do what I want to do.
 
Ellen and Shaun Kelly, who own the farm where I live and work, have been wonderful, and Ellen has appointed herself my groom.
   
I’m also teaching the Tri-State adult Pony Club, and I’m really enjoying that. They keep it light, and it makes me have fun. I realize you don’t always have to be so intense, that not everyone is trying to go to the Olympics.
   
My Chocolate Lab, Sage, is my constant companion. Labs tend to be happy all the time, and when I get a little depressed or sad, she comes out with her tail bounding.
   
It also helps to put things in perspective. This is disappointing for me, but I’m well, and my horse will be well, and in that sense I’m fortunate.
   
I’m looking forward to being able to ride my horse again. I’m thankful he will recover, and I will have a horse to go back to doing four-stars on. 

Kristin Bachman, as told to Beth Rasin

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