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Team #663 Edwin Miller and Fleetwood Magic

Team #663: Edwin Miller and Fleetwood Magic
From: Ashland, Oregon
Ages: 80 & 20
Combined Age: 100
Test: Training Level Test 1
Date: July 3, 2023

My journey into the horse world is probably not atypical. I started riding in my mid-40s when I bought a horse for my horse-crazy daughter to keep her from running off with the boys. She ran off with the boys anyway, and I got stuck with the horse, a little 14.2-hand hot Welsh/Thoroughbred cross. I figured that since I was paying board, I might as well ride him. Not knowing any better, I saddled him up and got on, my very first time on a horse’s back, and went for a long trail ride, all by myself, of course. It was a beautiful fall day in Maryland, with cool, blue skies, and brightly colored leaves. All my worries and woes vanished and I was hooked. In retrospect, I realize I was extremely lucky to return from that ride in one piece.  

My first lessons were with a young event rider who had me jumping in and outs before I could post. A broken ankle taught me quickly that I preferred to be “grounded” and I gave up jumping. I found a teacher who focused on dressage and instantly recognized my thing.

Fast forward to my sixties when I retired and started taking dressage lessons seriously. I was fortunate to have excellent instructors and opportunities to clinic with some of the best. Ultimately, I was able to earn my USDF bronze and silver medals on my homebred Trakehner. Sadly, our quest for the gold was stymied when he contracted cancer at 14.  At that point, I was ready to give up riding but soon realized that riding is therapy for the soul and that I CANNOT NOT ride. So, at 70, I started over with a green broke four-year-old Canadian Warmblood and took him to the FEI Level.  

When I started competing, I met many wonderful people dedicated to the sport whether it be riding, teaching, or being behind the scenes providing extraordinary support. I also learned that it takes dedicated people to be involved in active organizations for dressage to exist. I became involved with the Oregon Dressage Society, serving on the Board of Directors for over 20 years, including a stint as President at a time when there were nearly 1,100 members. I was also a Delegate to the USDF for many years, serving on various committees.

The Century Club has always been something I’ve been looking forward to since seeing a friend do his ride many years ago. Many thanks to Michele Matzen who was gracious enough to allow me the opportunity to do my Century Club ride on her semi-retired 20-year-old Dutch Warmblood cross, Fleetwood Magic. He was a real trooper. Before the show, we did about six “meet and greet” rides during which he agreed to get on the bit and off the forehand. From there it was off to the show.

When show ride times were posted, the show secretary notified all the competitors the Century Club ride would be taking place. A 20-minute break both before and after my ride was scheduled so that other competitors could watch the ride and participate in the ceremony, and they did! The acknowledgment and support I received from everyone was heartwarming.  

Yes, the ride itself went well. I managed to keep Magic between me and the ground and ended up with a score of nearly 67% even with a rider “senior moment,” going off course.

Thanks to The Dressage Foundation for establishing the Century Club. Becoming a member is a great source of pride and a sense of accomplishment.