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Team #581 Linda Curtis and Simon

Team #581: Linda Curtis and Simon
From: Newbury, Massachusetts
Ages: 70 & 30
Combined Age: 100
Test: Introductory Level Test B
Date: August 25, 2022

I love horses. It is no surprise that my astrological sign is the archer who is a centaur—half man, half horse. The summer I was 10 my mother signed us up for riding lessons. After the lesson, we’d sit on the tailgate of the station wagon and eat lunch in the shade of a tree near the barn. It was heaven.

Fast forward to my first job after graduating college when I actually had some money. A coworker said, "Let’s go for a horseback ride!" Which turned into, "Let’s take lessons!" They were expensive! $9 a lesson! Anne, my coworker, left after three lessons, but I was hooked! I continued my Saturday lessons in Sherborn and added an after-work Wednesday lesson in Revere. There I joined Kate the nurse from Mass General, Robin the bookseller, and Betty the schoolteacher (and now Century Club member!).

I got married and we bought a house with a barn. The day after my daughter was born, I was reading the Boston Sunday Globe’s horses for sale section from my hospital bed. I bought a five-year-old Appaloosa and named him Hobbit. We learned to event with Bill Woods and Keith Angstadt and did low-level dressage shows with Olana Laffey. He stayed with me through the second baby, as a pony for the kids, and all that raising a family entails. My final ride with him was on my 50th birthday.

I thought that was the end of my horse days but after Carrie put me on her new horse, I started to horse shop, this time using this new thing called the internet! Simon came into my life from Vermont about a year before my new barn was completed. Cindy helped me with the low-level dressage shows and he was terrific on the trails.

About five years later I had a health scare and I realized I may never do things earmarked for “later."  I quit my job and took my savings to buy “Wings,” my dream horse and schoolmaster. With a very patient Cindy, he taught me passage and piaffe. He could canter pirouette and excelled at flying changes. He was gorgeous and lovable. We were Second Level champions at Regionals, which earned me my USDF bronze medal and Master Challenge awards at Third and Fourth Level. I had 15 wonderful years with him. I miss him still.

Simon is now 30 and I am 70. A paddock injury last year limits our riding these days, but he continues to surprise me almost every day. He performed our Century Club ride better than I could have ever hoped for. Because of him and my village of exceptional humans, I had a day I can never forget.