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Rachel Boggus Catch Rides to the Top of Ariat National Adult Medal

RELEASE: March 23, 2013
AUTHOR/ADMINISTRATOR: Laura Cardon for Jennifer Wood Media, Inc.

Rachel Boggus and Cassino Z (Anne Gittins Photography)
Rachel Boggus and Cassino Z (Anne Gittins Photography)
Wellington, FL
- Rachel Boggus and Cassino Z finished first in the Ariat National Adult Medal class during week eleven of the FTI Consulting Winter Equestrian Festival (FTI WEF). The pair was ranked fourth with a score of 79 going into the test but secured their victory with a final score of 88.

The top four called back for the test included week ten winner Sara Ballinger aboard Wanderprinz, who finished second with a final score of 87. Kelcie Brophy and Calmar finished third with a score of 85 and Kiva Iscol rounded out the top four with a score of 81 with Julius.

Boggus may have never ridden Cassino Z before today's class, but the expert catch rider didn't let that hold her back. "So far this circuit, I've ridden four different horses in the equitation," Boggus revealed. "I've never ridden [Cassino Z] before. I'm leasing him for the weekend to do the Adult Equitation on because my horse is injured."

"I felt really comfortable on him right away. He wasn't spooky at all. He just went in the ring and was happy to do whatever I asked of him," Boggus described of the six-year-old Swedish Warmblood gelding.

Boggus, of Fort Wayne, IN, juggles eight weeks of competition at the FTI WEF with her demanding job as an anesthesiologist back home. Her busy schedule doesn't allow her time to ride except for the weekend she spends in Florida.

"It's really hard, but my trainer, Abby Blankenship, does a great job getting my horses ready to go and prepared for me so when I get here there's not any fuss," Boggus commented.

"When we're at home [during the rest of the year in Indiana], we do a lot of drilling work and long flat lessons to keep me in shape, so when I come down here [in the winter] I can get back in the swing. She lets me ride a lot of different horses at home because she knows that I have to catch ride for the equitation classes. That's really helped me prepare and be able to get used to different horses," Boggus continued.

Course designer Skip Bailey set forth a demanding course full of twists and turns, but Boggus was eager to rise to the challenge. "I really liked the course. Today, there were a lot of different options for inside turns and a broken line where you could've done six or seven [strides], so I liked that you could push yourself and really try to get in gear and do something more challenging," Boggus described.

Boggus also welcomed the difficulty of the test, which pushed the top four riders to truly prove their equitation abilities. "The test was really good. The trot jump was solid and it was right out of the gate. I like how they also incorporated the counter canter and then a hand gallop. The hand gallop jump was right by the out gate so we had to walk right away [afterwards]. I liked that they tried to make it harder, because then when we go to finals we all are ready to go," Boggus explained.

Boggus' annual goal is to qualify for the finals, to be held at the Capital Challenge Horse Show in October. In previous years, her trips have been plagued by horse injuries and last-minute leasing decisions.

"I've never gotten the opportunity to go [to finals] fully prepared. This year, what we're trying to do is find a horse a few months in advance so I can get used to them and be really comfortable on them. It's very hard riding in that ring at Capital Challenge on a horse you don't know. The courses are really tough, especially with the jumper jumps. We're going to prepare way ahead of time this year and hope it goes well," Boggus concluded.