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Katie and “Teddy” Seize the Day at GCHS


By Nancy Brannon

The first class of the Thursday evening’s performance (June 6, 2013) at the Germantown Charity Horse Show was the WIHS/NAL Children’s/Adult Jumper Classic – 1.15m – II, 2a. This class would turn out to be the apex in Katherine Cresap’s riding partnership with her jumper, Carpe Diem, aka Teddy. Katie won the class over some very tough competition, and with what some would consider a marked handicap: Teddy has only one eye, yet he remarkably jumped every jump clean and in style, piloted by his rider to just the right takeoff spot.  “It’s a fitting name,” she said. “We really seized the day and made the most of it!”

Currently Katie stables her horse at Shady Side Farm north of Collierville, training with Allison Alder. She’s had Teddy since 2007, but their career together has been full of ups and downs.

When she was 11 years old, trainer Jamie Kroh found the horse for her. At their first show together at Tunica, MS she was short stirrup champion.

She trained her next few years with Sara Zurenko, and under her training, moved up to the Children’s/Adult jumper division. She has been training with Allison and Blake Alder for the past year and a half.

But all their progress so far came to a halt in 2008, when Teddy developed an ulcer in his left eye from an infected cut.  She and her family took him to Mississippi State College of Veterinary Medicine (CVM), where Dr. Bill Miller performed conjunctival flap surgery. Teddy was at Mississippi State CVM for one and a half months and had the surgery twice.  

Unfortunately, both failed and in the third surgery the eye had to be removed. “Dr. Miller was wonderful!” Katherine said, about how well her horse was treated there.

So when Teddy came home, “We had to start from scratch,” Katie said. “His first day home, I let him off the lead line for just a few minutes. Then he started running and he actually tried to jump the fence.” He didn’t quite make it, but Katherine could see that jumping again was a possibility. “After that, his rehab was mainly just walking and trotting.”
Jumping retraining had to start with simple poles on the ground. “Within a month or two, I was jumping him over little jumps and making progress,” she said.

But it seems that with every bit of progress there came a backset. “He kept getting hurt. He had a check ligament injury, cellulitis, bruised hoof, and then a fractured splint bone!” It was one step forward, two steps backward. So many things seemed to go wrong, but she never gave up on him.

“The beginning of my junior year [in high school], I noticed a spot in his right eye. It was another ulcer! So we had another trip to Mississippi State CVM. But this time, the conjunctival flap surgery was successful!”

Katie was able to go back to showing Teddy, and this year’s Germantown Charity Horse Show was their opportunity to shine. “Going into the class, I told Teddy I would like to win, but I really didn’t expect it would happen.”

But when it did, Katie gave all the credit to Teddy. “It was all him!” she said. “I was so glad to be able to get him back to fitness and able to jump. I worked with him to get him in the best physical shape, to be sound, willing and able to jump.” Katie has done a lot of flat work to achieve this. “He is also able to help me out, because I don’t always see the perfect distance. He also has to trust me to get him to the best possible takeoff spot.”

The class at GCHS was the test of their work – and the payoff! “If we got into a tricky spot,” she said, “he almost said ‘I’ve got this.’ There was one jump, a one-stride, and a left turn to it. I took the inside track to save time, and I don’t think he could see the jump until one stride before takeoff. But he trusted me, I gave him all the right cues, and he jumped it well!”

Now at 17, after finishing her senior year in high school, Katie is enrolled in the early entry program at Mississippi State CVM, where she will start in the fall. And Teddy gets to go to Mississippi State CVM with her.

“Showing him for six years, we’ve been moving closer together,” Katie says. “I have a unique bond with him. My parents and I have stuck with him and given him every opportunity. Now he has returned the favor.

Carpe Diem definitely “seized the day” by winning the class with Katie Cresap aboard. Jet, ridden by Lila Sessums was second. Third went to Audrey Muscari and Ricardo; fourth, to Annie Bolling and Ofrenda; and fifth to Patra Short and Locarno.

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