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Team #589 Edward Woods and Cold Mountain

Team #589: Edward Woods and Cold Mountain
From: Richmond, Virginia
Ages: 77 & 25
Combined Age: 102
Test: Training Level Test 1
Date: September 10, 2022

"Dreams Do Come True”

I had a 50-year hiatus in riding because of my careers first as a Naval Aviator during the Vietnam War and then as a Cardiac Surgeon. 

I began again nine years ago at the encouragement of my grandchildren on Derby, my 14-year-old off-the-track Thoroughbred who means the world to me. We fox hunted and evented. I never thought at 78 years old I would get to do these things!

I knew I wanted to event, but I did not understand the importance of dressage. I thought it looked "stiff and rigid." I saw no point in it. It didn't look fun like jumping. I called my Marine Corps aviator friend whose father had been an Olympic equestrian coach. He said, "Well then, you have missed the point. Dressage is everything. Dressage shows the discipline of the horse and rider as a team. Stadium jumping the athleticism of the Team and Cross Country the endurance of the Team!" Then I loved It.

Derby became unrideable two years ago and I was discouraged. I thought my riding career was over.

Then, I had the most vivid dream of my life that I should ride a Percheron. I grew up with the story of my great-grandfather, who was born in a covered wagon, importing a Percheron Stallion from France before World War 1. I told no one of this.

 Emily Kolokowsky, Oakdale farm manager, and Terry Adcock, the owner of Oakdale, knew how sad I was. They decided to bring Emily's 25-year-old eventing horse, Cold Mountain, out of retirement for me to ride. Jane Kelly, my teacher, thought it was a great idea. Brenda, my dear wife, heartily supported the idea as she knew how steady Cold Mountain (barn name, Larry) is. 

 A week after I started riding Cold Mountain I asked Emily, "So what breed is Larry anyway." Emily answered matter of fact, “Oh, he is Percheron." 

 I feel it is unfair to compete on Cold Mountain as he can read the letters and do the test on his own. I feel him energized as we approach the letters. People say "Oh, he gets that from you." No, he does not. He does it on his own. We negotiate everything. On trail rides, we discuss where to make the best stream crossing. He is always right. 

He is so safe and stable that my eight-year-old grandson, Patrick, says "I prefer to ride Larry."  An 1,800-pound horse being ridden by a 50-pound boy.

The greatest compliment I find routinely on the dressage test score sheet is "Well Matched Team." And we are.

So, you see dreams come true twice in one lifetime. Thank you, TDF for the Century Club and for the opportunity to compete. Cold Mountain and I loved it.

People would say that flying jet planes in the Navy must be the most exciting thing I have ever done. To which I answer, “No. Riding my horse is." And it is true.