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Team #627 Cheryl Coates and Cervantes

Team #627: Cheryl Coates and Cervantes
From: Red Deer, Alberta
Ages: 74 & 26
Combined Age: 100
Test: Third Level Test 1
Date: April 15, 2023

I truly believe we develop a love for horses at a very young age. For as long as I can remember, I have enjoyed everything related to horses. When I was young, we moved to a small town in central Alberta. It was here that my parents bought me my first horse, Chips, for $100. He was old and had a sway back, but I didn’t care. He was a perfect beginner’s horse for me. I was over the moon with excitement and slowly learned how to take care of him. Since we lived in a small town, I had to board him a couple of miles away. Every day, I would walk to see him after school and then walk home! I continued to ride through my teen years, instilling my love for horses.

Eventually, I went off to college and I could only ride during the summers. During this time, I kept my horse at a farm in Red Deer, Alberta. It was here that I met my husband, David, and we have been married for almost 55 years! Once college was over, we built a house on the family homestead so I could keep my horses close to me. I have been very fortunate to spread my love of horses to my three children. I spent much of my time when they were younger, driving them around while they attended Pony Club and various horse events. Even though I wasn’t riding much myself, I loved watching and supporting them as they were living out my dreams.

After my children had grown and moved away, I got back into riding again for myself. This is where I found my love for dressage. I purchased my current dressage horse in 2012. Cervantes is a 16.2-hand Holsteiner gelding and was 15 years old at the time. He has been a wonderful partner throughout the years. He is so patient, kind, safe, and he’s always there for me. Even though he is 26 years old, I am still riding him at Third Level dressage. He has taught me so much and I was thrilled to learn how to do flying changes and half passes on him. He is the best horse I could have ever asked for. I have developed a great friendship with the group of ladies at the stable. They are supportive and encouraging, and like Cervantes, they are always there for me. My “Barn Buddies!”

Throughout my riding career, I have had many wonderful coaches and I especially want to thank my current coach, Rebecca Cade, for all her help and encouragement in preparing me for this ride of a lifetime. Thank you to the Century Club for making all this possible and I am so happy I could share this ride with Cervantes. Thank you, David, for being there for me all these years and especially for supporting all of my crazy horse dreams. I feel so blessed.