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Team #557 Linda Doran and Mystic's Romeo

Team #557: Linda Doran and Mystic's Romeo
From: Westerly, Rhode Island
Ages: 74 & 26
Combined Age: 100
Test: Introductory Level Test B
Date: May 15, 2022

Seven years ago, on a Sunday in May, I was admitted to the surgical trauma unit at Yale New Haven Hospital following a fall while riding.  Unplanned dismounts are not uncommon -- certainly not when you start riding at age 50 and decide that competing in schooling horse trials would be a good idea. That fall, however, resulted in a subdural hematoma -- a brain hemorrhage and a longer recovery.  A year of healing, followed by a year at a therapeutic riding center, and finally returning to my home barn, Mystic Valley Hunt Club in Gales Ferry, Connecticut.

Sally Hinkle Russell, the owner, put me on Romeo, a sweet, forgiving, calm fellow who was working as a school horse following a jumping career in Canada.  He was much loved by kids and adults, and I know I would not be riding again if not for him. 

Amanda Grace Rollinson was by my side that first fear-filled year and I owe so much to her patience and wise instruction.  Two years ago, I made the decision to purchase Romeo.  I am deeply grateful to Sally for making Romeo available to me. The opportunity to own him is something I work hard to deserve every day.  He is a treasure. 

My present instructors, Deb Bakoledis and Zoe Neville Freese, give us the ultimate compliment by expecting that we can set goals and accomplish them.  I don’t know how to adequately thank them for their expertise, patience, and great good humor. 

So, on another Sunday in May 2022, Romeo and I completed our Century Club ride.  The circle is complete. 

Lastly, to Diane, my wife of almost 30 years, you make everything possible while keeping it fun.  And Di, did I mention there is now a Century Ride in eventing?  Who knows, anything is possible.