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Team #634 Karen Czapanskiy and EAF Kidman

Team #634: Karen Czapanskiy and EAF Kidman
From: Sabillasville, Maryland
Ages: 76 & 24
Combined Age: 100
Test: WDAA Level 1 Test 1
Date: April 29, 2023

As a little kid, I would come down to breakfast announcing which cowboy I was that day – Roy Rogers, Hopalong Cassidy, the Lone Ranger, etc. You get the idea. Nothing thrilled me more than a pony ride. My bike was a poor substitute, but it was all an urban kid had. Then I lucked out – five years at a summer camp that had horses!

There wasn’t much riding after that until decades later, my daughter, who had become an accomplished equestrian, trainer, and teacher, bought a horse farm. She taught me so much, introduced me to dressage, and helped me buy and learn to ride an amazing Lippizan, Romeo (aka Siglavy II Romanza). Sadly for me but happily for her, she then left horseback riding behind for a new and wonderful life in a different place.

Romeo and I found a new trainer, Christine Betz, who took us on the journey toward the Century Club ribbon. Her school horse, Sport, cared for me while helping teach me how to be a better rider on him and on Romeo. When Romeo had to retire, I continued to ride Sport and even showed him once. I thought we would do a Century Club ride together, but we lost Sport to colic quite suddenly.  His passing left the entire barn in mourning for his great heart and caring spirit. Almost immediately, Beth Belack reached out to offer me a lease on her beautiful Arabian, Kidman.

With Christine’s guidance and a few more years of riding, Kidman has been teaching me to be focused, relaxed, and a lot braver. He is a gift who keeps on giving. On April 29, 2023, a week after Kidman turned 24 and a few months after I turned 76, we rode a Western Dressage First Level test at a recognized show. Even though we scored 8 and even 8.5 on a few elements, the best part was the score of 7.5 for harmony. The judge’s comment was, “Lovely pair.”

It took me what feels like 100 years to experience connecting and communicating with a horse in a way that makes us both happy. After our wonderful ride, my very supportive husband and I got to celebrate with Christine, Beth, their families, and other competitors from the barn – they’d arranged for flowers and a cake that said “100”! That kind of crew is hard to find and easy to treasure. My plan had been to compete one time, qualify for the Century Club ribbon if possible, and then retire from competition. I’m rethinking that plan now!