Horse-show jumping rider Katie Monahan Prudent has had a rough time of it the past nine months or so.
The year started pleasantly enough after the birth of her first child, Adam James, in late December.
Then, shortly after returning to the jumping circuit, Prudent fell off her mount at a contest in Florida. She hit the ground with enough force to cause a shifting of the position of her brain, doctors said.
Prudent, 36, underwent brain surgery shortly after the accident. "They didn't know if I'd come out of it," she said. "It left me with a balance problem and a depth perception problem, both of which make it really hard to compete."
Prudent is doing just that, however.
In last night's $15,000 Baltimore Qualifying Stake, part of the Baltimore Jumping Classic, Prudent rode Make My Day to a low-fault round -- good enough to qualify for tonight's $50,000 Johnnie Walker Grand Prix of Baltimore at the Baltimore Arena.
Forty of the 51 horses entered in last night's round qualified for the finals. The Classic is the first 1990-91 East Coast World Cup qualifier, and marks the beginning of show jumping's premier indoor schedule.
Prudent, who rode Noren, The Governor and Special Envoy to American Grand Prix Association Horse-of-the-Year honors in 1982, '85 and '88, and who was a member of the 1986 world championship team, said the past year's trauma has had a negative effect on her jumping technique.
But judging from her performance, including a four-fault, no-time-penalty ride at a June contest in Upperville, Va., she's on her way back to the top.
Last night, she rode Special Envoy, the horse from which she fell.
Prudent said after a non-qualifying round of 12 faults last night: "I'm not riding him as well as I could. But you can't blame the horse in these situations.
"It wasn't his fault. Things like that happen."