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Team #569 Martin Costello and All Zippbarred Up

Team #569: Martin Costello and All Zippbarred Up
From: Stevensville, Maryland
Ages: 75 & 25
Combined Age: 100
Test: Introductory Level Test B
Date: June 25, 2022

It was my wife of 51 years, Wendy Costello, who got me involved in the equestrian world some 35 years ago. Wendy was a farm owner, breeder, stallion owner, and dressage rider and I was a pasture mower, fence fixer, and foal wrangler. I added “rider” to my resume 15 years ago when Wendy purchased the perfect “husband horse” for me. That was All Zippbarred Up, known as “Junior,” a Quarter Horse that I could safely be a passenger on while he transported me around the farm in a western saddle. I enjoyed a great partnership with Junior for 10 years before moving him along to a new owner who could benefit from his incredible temperament and training.

It was Wendy’s dream to complete a Century Club ride on a Hanoverian horse she had bred, but a rare terminal cancer in 2020 prevented her from realizing that dream. Following my 75th birthday in August 2021, news of a Century Club ride on Facebook piqued my curiosity. I recalled Wendy’s dream, and wondered, “How old is Junior now?” A quick check of his file revealed him to be 24 years old. OK! In the spring of 2022, he would be 25, and our combined age would be 100.  I then resolved to do a Century Club ride in Wendy’s honor. Of course, two things then had to happen: Junior’s new owner would need to allow me to reunite with him for the ride, and I had to learn how to really ride a horse by entering a dressage training program. 

From left to right: Carolyn Lindholm, Dressage Judge; Anne Thibo, Dressage Trainer; Martin Costello, Rider; Elizabeth Schneider, Dressage Trainer; Marie Dungey, Junior's Owner

Junior’s owner, Marie Dungey, happily agreed to let me partner with him for the ride. I then contacted Wendy’s long-time friend, Anne Thibo, a dressage and vaulting trainer, about entering her program. She was delighted to help me achieve my goal, but I would need a horse to train with. Another dressage trainer and friend of Wendy’s, Elizabeth Schneider, offered me one of her lesson horses for as long as it took to get me ready for a Century Club ride.

I began training in October, and worked with Anne through the fall and winter, taking lessons twice a week and attending a series of schooling shows. Once feeling confident that I could be ready, I worked with Elizabeth at Thistle Dew Dressage to transition to Junior and get registered for the Potomac Valley Dressage Association’s “Ride for Life'' show. This long-established show is a fundraiser for the breast cancer center at Johns Hopkins Hospital. Coincidentally, Johns Hopkins Hospital is where Wendy received her excellent cancer care and treatment.

I successfully completed the Century Club ride in Wendy’s honor at the “Ride for Life” surrounded by friends, family, and supporters. It ranks among the highlights of my life and confirms that “it takes a village.”