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Team #640 Linda Ward and Ms. Pietra

Team #640: Linda Ward and Ms. Pietra
From: Hamburg, New York
Ages: 69 & 32
Combined Age: 101
Test: Training Level Test 1
Date: May 13, 2023

I was 44 years old when Pietra, an Arabian mare, came into my life.  I'd always been horse obsessed as a child but never had the chance to actually ride.  My love for horses never wavered even after moving on to a busy life.  Then, in 1998, I visited my newly retired parents in Arizona who surprisingly had three horses, one being a 7-year-old Arabian mare.  She was my Dad's favorite and they would ride the range together.  Knowing that Dad was going to sell them, I asked him if I could have one, and soon my dream came true. Three weeks later, Pietra stepped off the trailer in Western New York.  Our exciting and wonderful journey was about to begin.

As a total beginner in all things equine, I found myself a trainer after a pretty interesting first year.  Judy West, an accomplished dressage instructor, worked with both of us as we learned dressage together.  By 2006, we were ready to show and did so through 2014.  It was lots of fun, and though we were often the only Arab showing, we did well and learned a lot.

Life changed again and showing ceased but my bond with Pietra never wavered.  Our great times continued.  It was then that I heard about the Century Club and made it a goal to someday complete.  This year, Pietra turned 32 and we hit our magic number of 101.  We moved back to Judy's barn in April to get ready and what fun we had!  Then on May 13, 2023, we completed our ride in front of super supportive friends and family, most notably my husband, Doug, who always encouraged my incurable horse habit. 

The past 25 years have gone by so quickly.  Pietra is an amazing mare, full of sass and heart.  She has taught me patience, given me confidence, pulled me through tough times, and provided me with immense joy. I am truly thankful for my "equine spirit." And thank you, too, to TDF's Century Club for giving us more "mature" riders the chance to continue that special partnership we will always have with our horse through dressage.  Ride on......