Zippin On to the Top: Katheryn Van Slyke and Kalvin

June 16th, 2014 7:02 AM | No Comments


Originally posted in the 2014 June/July issue of Show Horse Today

By Gabrielle Sasse

Katie and "Kalvin"

Katie and “Kalvin”

What is it about girls and horses? Whether you are the daughter who begged her mom for a pony or have a “horse bug” daughter yourself, you know there is something about horses that draws girls to them. Terri Van Slyke knows this love only too well, especially when it comes to her daughter Katheryn, better known as “Katie.”

“I’ve pretty much been riding horses from the moment I came home from the hospital,” begins Katie. “Both of my parents rode growing up, and met at a barrel race. You could say that it’s in my genes! I started out just doing Lead Line at saddle clubs on my pony, Baby, but soon started to show POAs. When I grew a little too tall for the ponies (I’m 5’9”), I started to show APHA. I got my first Quarter Horse when I was 13, and have had four since then.”

Katie’s current Quarter Horse and show partner is Zippin On Top, aka “Kalvin.” The 17-year-old gelding still has a lot of pep in his step and is known for being a “complete teenager.” Katie laughs, “I’ve owned him just over a year, and I have had the time of my life with him. He knows his job when he is in the pen, but for some reason he feels the need to act like a three year old outside the pen. He likes to nip at my hair and grab the reins out of my hand ALL OF THE TIME! He’s also learned how to play in his automatic waterer at home, so now he constantly floods his stall. But I love Kalvin even more with his quirks. He’s funny in the sense that I never know what mood he will be in. Sometimes he will be super playful and other times he acts like a grumpy old man!”

Kalvin brought Katie her biggest equine accomplishment yet during the 2013 All American Quarter Horse Congress, placing Top Ten in the Horsemanship and Top Fifteen in Western Riding. “I believe we had some of our best rides there,” she says. “I had placed in Showmanship and made the finals in Equitation with Ask Me For Details in 2011 and 2012, but I finally was able to break into the Top Ten last year, which was a big milestone for me!”

Katie says her favorite class with Kalvin is Western Riding. “I think I love it so much because it’s new to him,” she smiles. “He had never been shown in it before I got him, but he’s amazing in it! His lead changes are definitely one of my favorite things about him.” A love for Equitation ties with Western Riding as Katie’s favorite classes to show in. “My love for Western Riding has definitely grown recently since I’ve been riding Kalvin. His talent for it has given me a newfound appreciation for the class. Equitation is also recent, but more so within the last three years. I used to be a ‘Western rider,’ who would dabble in English for the sake of doing the All Around. But when I started showing Ask Me For Details, who is a fantastic equitation horse, I started to work harder on my English legs and began to appreciate equitation as well. Now that I have Kalvin, who is also a good equitation horse, it remains one of my favorite classes to show in and practice in general.”

To learn more about Katie and Kalvin, click here and flip to page 10!


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