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Team #598 Diane Berry and B A Imagination

Team #598: Diane Berry and B A Imagination
From: Dryden, Michigan
Ages: 76 & 24
Combined Age: 100
Test: Introductory Level Test B
Date: September 22, 2022

Growing up in the city of Detroit was not easy for a horse-loving girl. Till about 10 years old, my exposure was going to Belle Isle and riding ponies and driving little pony carts.  As I got older, my dad would take me to riding stables outside the city.  I do remember fawning and drooling over the Twin Pines horse-drawn milk wagon delivering milk in some of our older neighborhoods. 

Fast forward to 1971, married and with a baby put a halt to almost all horse activities, until I saw an ad in the Detroit News for a horse. The horse was listed for $125.00, the exact amount of moola I had in my Christmas Club account at the bank I worked at.  You guessed it, I cashed it in and bought the horse.  I found a place only about a half-hour drive to board. My total knowledge of horses back then was I knew which end to feed. Jackie Riener, the barn owner, took me under her wing and started me on my journey.  She encouraged me to take classes and lessons, which I did and still do. I started out saddle seat, moved on to Western, and was introduced to dressage by Jackie.  My first formal dressage lesson was on my second horse, a half-Arab, with Carole Grant.  Over the years and now decades later I've had a very broad and interesting assortment of experts.  I'd like to give credit to Sue Sherry, Sandy Tull, and an assortment of clinicians. I spent years not just a few lessons with these people.  The one I learned so much from as an older woman was Major Robert Borg, retired Army. Five years wasn't enough, but a stroke put the end to riding for a while.  In fact, if it weren't for Sandy Tull I wouldn't be where I am today. She brought me back with patience and a horse I wasn't afraid of.  My coach now is Carol Ley who by all accounts does have eyes in the back of her head, and on her kneecaps as well.  She came to my home and coached me all summer before my ride in September so I wouldn't have to haul to her farm.  I ride one of her school horses also.

I was very excited and still am about my Century Club ride. TDF made it possible to do it without a lot of expense and travel.  My husband made the small ring perfect for my outdoor arena, which is a grass arena.  We had about 18 friends out and a party afterward.   My judge was Nancy Brandt of Oxford, Michigan.  Bonni Hazen scribed, and Chris Snow was ring-side reading.  My groom for the day was Kara Van Hooser. Ben was a Saint that afternoon.

In four years, I'll be 80ish and Merlin, my Morgan rescue will be 20, so we're training now for the next Century Club ride. To all my fellow Century Club members, we've got to keep swinging that leg over, and happy trails.