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Team #639 Klara Bystrom and Felina

Team #639: Klara Bystrom and Felina
From: Red Deer County, Alberta, Canada
Ages: 79 & 21
Combined Age: 100
Test: Third Level Test 3
Date: May 13, 2023

Growing up on a farm in Central Alberta, horses were a major part of my childhood. Horses played an important part in farming in those days and our riding horses were part draft as they served dual purposes. We rode to school and tied them up to a post until school was over. I still remember my first day of school. I was more than a little scared, but the horses were brought up, I was lifted on, and away we went. We only had one saddle, so the oldest child got that. We had three miles to ride, and my parents felt it was spoiling children to drive them to school.  As we got older, we did acquire riding-type horses and the highlight of my life was being able to show at the local fairs.  

After school and starting a career, I bought a horse and bought one for my husband too. We enjoyed riding together and going on cattle drives. We eventually moved from the city to our present farm. I ended up trading my horse to a neighbor for a milking machine which we needed. That was the end of my riding for a few years as raising children and working as a Medical Laboratory Technologist consumed all my time until the children were old enough to need a pony.  

After that it was Pony Club time and helping the girls with their horses, leaving very little time for me to ride. We sold the horses when the girls went to university, and for 20 years we didn't have any horses on the farm until a neighbor pastured his horses at our place. My daughter saw that and decided that it was only right that she should buy a horse. I agreed to feed and look after it for her, as I was now retired, however, I certainly wasn't going to ride it! A short time later though I got the urge to ride again and borrowed a saddle and off I went, I was hooked! This is the same horse I am riding today, and we have come a long way.  

My brother had built a riding arena on the family farm, so I boarded my horse there and started lessons with Sheri Cameron, who is still my coach. It has been a wonderful adventure, with lots of ups and downs along the way. A week before my 80th birthday I rode my Century Club ride. I never dreamt I would still be enjoying the challenges of doing dressage and moving up the different levels. For my Century Club ride, I rode Third Level Test 1. I really appreciated the support of my coach, Sheri Cameron, who always has urged me on and helped me continue to achieve higher levels. It has been and continues to be a wonderful experience. I also would like to thank my fellow riders for all their encouragement and the Yzerman family for allowing me to ride in their arena for the last five years. Thank you also to The Dressage Foundation for recognizing Seniors, and the PA/ADA organization for the celebration after the ride.