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Team #619 Jane Hays and Odysseys African Dancer

Team #619: Jane Hays and Odysseys African Dancer
From: Aubrey, Texas
Ages: 77 & 23
Combined Age: 100
Test: Third Level Test 1
Date: March 5, 2023

Odysseys African Dancer, aka Africa. She is my needle. 

Thirteen years ago, my “perfect horse” suffered a suspensory injury and I found myself as a horseless, not headless, horsewoman.  I turned to my trainer, Bre Dorsett, and said, “Please find me a mare that I can ride and continue to lesson/show with, and when my “perfect horse” is sound again, this mare must be a girl that can graciously accept my grand-kids, husband, old-high-school girlfriends, and next-door neighbor.”  She looked back at me with glassy eyes and said with gusto “You’re looking for a needle in a haystack.”  Months later, while she was horse-shopping for another client, in another state, she called me back: “I think I’ve found your needle.”  I always trusted her advice, so I hopped on Southwest Airlines, headed east and after one ride, I knew that Africa was the one!  And today, I declare with sound mind and sort-of sound body that Africa has been “My Perfect Horse.”

I have relished the journey that loving horses and dressage brings.  My parents blindly bought my first horse when I was eight, and he died in our pasture at 21.  My mother called the “family” funeral-home owner and said, “What do I do with Jane’s ‘not-living’ horse who is in our back yard?” “No problem,” he said. The funeral-home owner sent a crew to give Misty a proper burial (he had already buried my grandparents and subsequently my parents – but not in the back yard.)  From then ‘til now, horses have been a blessing to my life.  I am so grateful that I can still throw a saddle on and go with my amazing girl, Africa, and for the many friends and memories I have made along my dressage journey.  I’ve shoveled enough poop to fill the Empire State Building but wouldn’t trade that or anything for the joy that horses have brought to my life.