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Team #706 Judy Burdge and Duchess of Daence

Team #706: Judy Burdge and Duchess of Daence
From: Campobello, South Carolina
Ages: 76 & 24
Combined Age: 100
Test: Third Level Test 3
Date: May 20, 2023

I grew up riding a Shetland Pony named Bonnie that was purchased by my grandfather. She taught me not to fear being thrown. As a child, I read every Walter Farley Black Stallion book. When I grew up, I naturally wanted an Arabian. I purchased a six-year-old mare named Fahlea. We did competitive trail rides. She passed away at the age of 28.

I did not have a horse for several years. My husband and I were having brunch one day in Charleston, SC. I commented that I could not imagine NOT having a horse for the rest of my life – I was 51 years old. That statement changed our lives forever! We drove around looking at property and found a tract of land, sold our house, and proceeded to build a farm. That’s when I started the search for my horse. I fell in love at first sight with Duchess. As we drove home, I told my husband, “I want that mare.” She was two and a half years old, and I was 53. Not the best way to start your dressage dreams – green and green.

It has been an amazing journey. I still remember my first ride on her on July 4. My goal was to ride freestyle. We started showing freestyle at the Second and Third Levels. When Duchess was six years old, we added a one-and-a-half-year-old colt named Brego. Brego and I rode up to Prix St. Georges. Unfortunately, in 2018, Brego passed away from a lung aneurysm. I lost my desire to compete for several years. We decided to sell our farm in the low country and move to the Foothills in Campobello, South Carolina. This is a wonderful horse community with a lot of local horse shows. I have not been to a show and down centerline in six years. 

I was encouraged by friends to do the Century Club ride with Duchess. All the wonderful memories of our 20-year journey together were overwhelming. I could not stop smiling during our ride. I feel grateful to have this beautiful horse in my life for over 20 years. 

I want to acknowledge a special “thank you" to my wonderful husband, Myron. This journey would not have been possible without his support. 

One of my favorite quotes: “You don’t stop riding when you get old. You get old when you stop riding.”