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Team #593 Jane Wettstone and Tootsie Roll

Team #593: Jane Wettstone and Tootsie Roll
From: State College, Pennsylvania
Ages: 80 & 21
Combined Age: 101
Test: Introductory Level Test B
Date: September 24, 2022

Tootsie Roll, my round and brown pony, has been the battery that has recharged my life. I had ridden Western, mostly Quarter Horses, as a teenager. My friends and I started a 4-H Horse Club so we would learn about horses in a good way. When I was 25, my folks sold our farm, and we sold all our horses. For 47 years, I was without a horse in my life.

My best friend bought her first horse, a 16-hand off-the-track Thoroughbred, and I went with her to all her lessons and to the shows as her groom. I have a stiff back and was not able to get on her tall horse. She thought it would be nice if I had a horse so I could trail ride with her. Her trainer suggested a Haflinger because it would be small enough for me to get on and sturdy enough to carry my weight. I was lucky to find Tootsie. She is a Haflinger cross, a bay, but with the Haflinger personality. I got her for my 72nd birthday.

Together we have gone to a trail riding clinic with Patrick King, an obstacle course clinic with Gina DeSantis at Let’s Dance Dressage, and a trick training clinic with Melissa Ashcraft of Transitions Equestrian. We have also been good about taking riding lessons twice a month. We have had various trainers who have helped us go from a disjointed, rough-to-ride pony and an unbalanced rider to a smooth-going pony and a more balanced rider.

My very first riding instructor was a Russian Captain at the Pennsylvania State University; and our current trainer is Sarah Liddick, a barrel racer. Fortunately for us, she has a strong background in basic horsemanship and has been willing to study dressage techniques. She works well with and understands this senior rider and pony.

Tootsie has been a willing partner and has helped me achieve my goal to improve our score at our local dressage show each year. I no longer canter due to the issues with my back so I am restricted to Introductory A and B tests.

The opportunity to do a Century Club ride has created the excitement and energy I needed this year to keep on riding. I have had a lot of support from the folks at Tadpole Lane Farm where Tootsie is stabled, and our local riding club, Keystone Dressage and Combined Training Association (KDCTA), as I worked toward this event. I am the first rider from our area to take part in the Century Club ride, but I am pretty sure I won’t be the last.