Saturday, December 22, 2007

About Birthdays and Riding and Getting Older

Hi Bob,

I don't think we've ever had a personal conversation, but I certainly always admire and respect your comments out there in the world of endurance.

A few years ago, a lovely lady named Connie Reeves came to ride on one of my week-long Redwood Coast Riding Vacations. Connie was 97 years old at the time. She was bringing with her 9 of her former riding students, who ranged from 47-72 years of age. I figured Connie would get on a horse, have her picture taken, and sit in a rocking chair for the rest of the week. WRONG!

Connie rode every step of the way, up hills and down mountains, walking, trotting and cantering. She'd never worn a riding helmet in her life, but in deference to me, she did that week... except for photos. At the end of the second day, she said "Tezero's Glory is a lovely little Arabian, Lari.... But I'm used to an Arab with a little more SPIRIT!!" So I put her on Chardonney, a Tevis horse who had completed the Kansas World Cup Endurance Race with his leaser from South Africa. Yeah, she and Chardy were a team! And Connie was the life of the party around the dinner table each night, in her fringed shirts, high-heeled knee-high red cowboy boots and lipstick to match.

You may have read about Connie... she was the first woman to be inducted into the Cowboy Hall of Fame. She hit the dirt for the last time when she was 101, pushing cattle when her horse boogered and bucked her off.

Before meeting Connie, I used to think of myself riding seriously until about my 8th decade. Now, at age 62, I'm thinking that the colt I'm breaking this spring will probably die before I'm done competing!



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