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Team #605 Laurie Dainer and What’s It All About

Team #605: Laurie Dainer and What’s It All About
From: Pleasanton, California
Ages: 69 & 31
Combined Age: 100
Test: Training Level Test 3
Date: October 30, 2022

My parents met while on horseback and it only seemed natural that I would become a horse person. For as long as I can remember, I was horse crazy. My first horse, a dappled grey Welsh pony arrived via Santa on my eighth Christmas. My pony was a pony, and I learned how to stop his running away with me by jumping off, holding tight to the reins, and hoping the weight of my body dragging on the ground would slow him to a halt. In turn, I taught my pony to rear on command while I sat on his back trying to imitate the white knight in those Ajax commercials of the sixties. I loved that pony and all the horses that have come into my life.

I bought “What’s It All About,” AKA Alfie, in November 2001. My event trainer, Mogie Mueller, and I flew a redeye from California to Virginia to search for a new horse. We had three nights and four days to find a horse and it was on the third day that we met Alfie. He had three wonderful gaits, a great attitude, and loved to jump. A month later, in time for Christmas, Alfie arrived in California and became part of our family.

We quickly learned Alfie was a bit of a clown, goofy, and would scare himself whenever possible, especially when confronted with fluttering award ribbons and tumbling plastic bags. This year, Alfie has decided to become an escape artist, and we now perform double checks on the snaps and latches of his stall door and turnout gate.

Although I evented Alfie, I also took him to dressage shows. We frequently did well, even capturing a one-day high-point Adult Amateur ride award during a Golden State Dressage show at Murrieta. His talent for dressage also helped us in competition at horse trials. Alfie loved cross-country and show jumping but at age nineteen, I retired him from eventing. Through the years I’ve continued to ride Alfie on our ranch in Pleasanton. We are lucky to have a graded track, and when the ground is soft, I let Alfie gallop - he still considers himself an event horse.

Two months before our Century Club ride, I brought Alfie back to the arena to practice our dressage movements. My trainer, Kelly Mykrantz patiently worked with me to get Alfie in shape. On October 30th, we rode Training Level Test 3. I had my usual show nerves, wondering why I put myself and the horse through all the stress of getting dressed up to show. But the amazing thing was, as I guided Alfie through the trotting serpentine and canter transitions, he moved forward with confidence, and I felt that familiar partnership we had formed long ago. It was as if Alfie was telling me “Mom, I got this.” And that was the best part of our ride.

Afterward, the owner of Greenville Equestrian Center, Erika Ibsen held a reception. Her husband cooked pizzas for everyone, there was prosecco and mini -Bundt cakes. The Board members of the East Bay Chapter of the California Dressage Society presented us with a beautiful saddle pad and a yummy full-sized chocolate bundt cake. It was a wonderful celebration, and Alfie and I received a 73% on our test. I couldn’t ask for a better day.