Team #562 Marianne Rutherford and Locero
Team #562: Marianne Rutherford and Locero
From: Orlando, Florida
Ages: 69 & 31
Combined Age: 100
Test: First Level Test 2
Date: May 29, 2022
As I write about my Century Club ride, I am drawn back sixty years to my first equine! Nipper was a 12-hand Paint pony who brought friendship, love, and the spirit of the wind into my life. I was totally captivated, and I still am!
My youth was spent barrel racing, pole bending, and soaking up horse knowledge and experience from people and riding alike. Eventually, in my teens, I took periodic Western riding lessons.
Then, in my twenties, married with two children, I realized that it was time to learn dressage along with the rest of my family. Prompted and encouraged by my dressage-riding husband, I began slowly. Over the next several years I became a Training Level dressage rider.
Suddenly, my husband died! I began to ride and live dressage with a passion. I found Blackie, a fifteen-year-old Dutch Warmblood with a huge bold trot. Learning to sit that trot was a challenge and so began my introduction to recognized dressage shows. During this time, I met a horse, Locero, with whom I felt a deep connection. He wasn’t for sale, and I already had a mount.
After being my teacher for eleven years, Blackie was euthanized due to a twisted colon. He left a hole the size of his trot in my life. As I began the search for a new dance partner, Locero’s owner contacted me wondering if I would like to purchase him! YES!!
Locero, an eleven-year-old Half-Andalusian stallion passed the vet check and came to live with me and my husband in Reddick, FL. In two short years, I earned my USDF bronze medal. One of those scores was earned by me and Blackie!
During these early years, I worked with Jean White, a USDF Certified Instructor who lived in Brooksville, FL. The weekly three-hour round trip for lessons was very productive. Locero and I showed at several Region 9 Championships; one year we were the Third Level Freestyle Champion using music from The Lion King.
In 2008 we moved to Orlando, FL and I began training with Susanna Benne. Susanna encouraged me to have higher confidence while working with Locero on correct flying changes. Susanna showed me that teaching flying changes genuinely needs to be taught correctly the first time. My goal was to obtain my silver medal with Locero.
I reached out to Jill Hardt, a dressage rider and trainer, in Plant City, FL. Thus began five plus years of driving more than three hours four to five times a week. Jill worked relentlessly with me on improving my riding. She also worked with Locero kindly and tirelessly to improve his flying changes. The changes improved but were not perfect very often. We worked on making every movement of the Prix St. Georges test the best. Then in 2016, it all came together at Canterbury Showplace in Gainesville, FL…SILVER MEDAL!
The twenty-one years we have spent together have been blessed and tried in many different ways. Locero is amazing and no one that meets him can believe he is 31 years old. I thank God every day for this incredible horse who is always kind and willing. My final goal, the Century Club is finished! Yet Locero is still being ridden three to four times a week and is now teaching my granddaughter how to ride.
My gratitude goes to my family, trainers, and friends who have always been both my supporters and cheerleaders.