Gorham working on qualifying for Para-Equestrian team

by USDFD on February 20, 2012

WINDSOR — Karen Gorham is one of the drivers working with clinician Hardy Zantke this weekend at Salute to Driving, a United States Equestrian Federation benefit supporting the high performance driving program.

The Texan, who competes with a prosthetic left arm, arrived in Aiken County a few days after Christmas and has been working with Shepherd’s Purse Farm’s Muffy Seaton.

Gorham has her sights on a berth on the U.S. Para Equestrian driving team. Her goal is to record three scores of 60 or better in dressage at preliminary single pony in hopes of qualifying for the team.

The horsewoman has leased a 9-year-old pony named Tucker and has been driving him for about six weeks. Gorham and Tucker placed seventh in the Sunshine State CDE at the Florida Horse Park in Ocala, Fla., earlier this month and will be leaving for Florida on Tuesday to compete at the Little Everglades CDE in Dade City, Fla., and the Live Oak CDE in Ocala, Fla.

“He’s very good,” said Gorham. “Part of the lease is that he’s for sale. I’m leasing him from a young girl in South Carolina.”

Gorham has worked with Zantke previously, and the Federation Equestre Internationale judge has been encouraging her to try to qualify for the U.S. Para Equestrian driving team since last August.

“Hardy knows so much,” said Gorham. “We can learn so much from him. We sat there yesterday and learned a lot just through observation. When you’re not driving your horse, you have a little bit more time to absorb what’s being said and to think about it.”

The marathon is Gorham’s favorite phase but realizes it will be her scores in the dressage ring that will earn her a berth on the team.

“Your dressage has to be precise,” said Gorham. “We’re supposed to drive as many different horses as we can. I drive a pony at home training level, and he’s ready to go preliminary, but he’s 12. He won’t be able to compete with these bigger ponies. He’s as fast as this pony.”

The horse and driver are still getting to know each other and are working toward improving their performance at the next few CDEs.

“Tucker throws his head a little bit, and I have to learn how to control that,” said Gorham. “I don’t know if I’m pulling too hard because of my prosthesis. We’ve had a girl ride him, and he does the same thing. I think he could get over that with time, if he were to work every three or four days, and then have a day off, and then work three or four more.”

Read full article here : http://www.aikenstandard.com/story/022012-gorham-salutetodriving–3803040

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