APHA

Spotted on Course

Rachel Kosmal McCart is far from inconspicuous: her boldly painted partners stand out in a sea of bays and have influenced her professional career as much as her discipline of choice.

By Katie Navarra

 

Remember the wildly popular computer program Oregon Trail? The beloved educational game from the 1990s highlighted the trials and tribulations of settlers as they made their way west in Conestoga wagons.

Approximately 20 miles away from the end of the real-life Oregon Trail, which deposited adventure-seekers squarely in the wild Pacific Northwest, Rachel Kosmal McCart and her Paint Horses are modern-day pioneers in the three-day eventing world. In a discipline dominated by bay Thoroughbreds and warmbloods, Rachel and her Paints can easily be spotted navigating cross-country fences, performing dressage patterns and jumping stadium courses.

Rachel grew up riding—focusing mostly hunters and jumpers—on her family’s horse farm in Tipp, Ohio. But it was the first horse she owned as an adult, ZW Cut To The Chase—a 2000 sorrel overo gelding by ZW Skip To The Top and out of Shez Added Again, nicknamed “Chase”—that converted Rachel to a chrome lover for life. In 2003, she purchased Chase as a long 3-year-old to compete in all-around events at APHA and hunter/jumper shows.

“At the time, I was boarding him at Diamond W ranch in Milpitas, and we had access to miles and miles of trails on the property as well as at an adjoining park,” she said. “After years of showing, it became obvious to me that Chase’s favorite job was jumping.”

In 2012, the year she turned 40, Rachel traded in regular horse shows for exciting world of three-day eventing, and she hasn’t looked back. It was a sport she had always wanted to try—Rachel figured there was no time like the present. She has since immersed herself in the discipline and currently serves as the United States Eventing Association Area VII chairperson, with territory including Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana. The most challenging aspect of the sport, she says, isn’t the towering cross-country fences: it’s finding the balance between continuously improving and maintaining safety and confidence for yourself and your horse.

“That line constantly moves because the jumps get bigger, wider and more technically difficult as you move up the levels, so you have to push your and your horse’s comfort zone, but not so much that you compromise safety or horsemanship,” she said.

Her youngster Illegal Art—a 2016 chestnut tovero gelding by See My Fine Artifacts and out of Barlink Hot Sauce, better known as “Doodlebug”—will soon make his debut at events, too. Rachel registered the gelding with USEA under the name “Inconspicuous,” which his flashy coat is anything but.

“He will be hard to miss in a sea of bays,” she laughed. “I really like the Paint mind and ‘try.’ You can really count on them to be out there working with you and to be sensible and think about the questions.”

 

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This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Fall 2018 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join.

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