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Team #579 Neide Cooley and Liberty Bend Nicodemus

Team #579: Neide Cooley and Liberty Bend Nicodemus
From: Sedalia, Colorado
Ages: 78 & 25
Combined Age: 103
Test: Western Dressage Level 2 Test 2
Date: August 13, 2022

I got my first Morgan horse for my 12th birthday.  I showed her under saddle and driving until I left for college. 

Fast forward 40 years when I got my second Morgan, a 12-year-old gelding. In the interim, my husband and I had raised our daughters in Breckenridge, CO, and worked in the outdoor and ski industry. In 2009, we moved to a ranch south of Denver. I had been borrowing friends’ horses for trail rides, and had taken riding trips with my daughter all over the world – South Africa, Patagonia, Mongolia, and more, but now that we lived on a ranch, it was time for me to get my own horse.

Nic had been a show horse in both Western and English Pleasure until I bought him. The transition for him to become a trail horse was not always graceful!  Today, however, having ridden all over Colorado, he is a fit and agile trail horse.

In 2010, soon after Nic joined my life, I became one of the five founding members of the Western Dressage Association of America. I am proud of our work becoming a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, becoming aligned with USEF, and developing state affiliate organizations. Western Dressage is now one of the fastest-growing disciplines in the equine world.

When not trail riding, Nic and I trained in dressage - both traditional and western with Frances Carbonnel. We won the Level 1 division of the Western Dressage Association of Colorado.

We were scheduled to complete our Century Club ride in August 2021, but I had a stroke two weeks before the show date.  After much physical therapy and lots of riding, we were ready to try it again in August 2022.

Dolly Hannon, USEF S judge. with such kindness and support, judged our Century Club ride this summer. Dolly has been a dedicated supporter of the growth of Western Dressage, especially the judge's training program.

Nic and I reached 103 this year. I am so proud of our long history. Nic is an amazing athlete, strong and sound. After the fun and joy of accomplishing our Century Club ride, we have spent well-earned time on the trail celebrating our partnership.