Skip to main content

Team #677 Lynn Crivello and Eddie

Team #677: Lynn Crivello and Eddie
From: Chicago, Illinois
Ages: 69 & 32
Combined Age: 101
Test: Introductory Level Test B
Date: August 5, 2023

My ride is dedicated to my coach, mentor, and friend Denise Berry-Hanna and to the Hannaberry Farm community (two-legged and four-legged) that she and her family have built and fostered.  

Ten years ago, my husband died after a long illness. After 35 years of being a partner, wife, caregiver, and breadwinner, I was at a point where I had to redefine who I was and find a path forward into a new life. I’m sure that many of my Century Club fellows have been there. 

That first year was the hardest of my life. But I learned to ride a motorcycle at age 60, and while riding my Triumph Bonneville down a country road, I discovered Hannaberry Farm. I had taken lessons there years ago, but this encounter sparked a memory of my 12-year-old horse-obsessed self. So, it was back to the future for me. I scheduled a lesson, and little did I know how it would change my life.  

In my first year after “getting my legs” and mastering the basics, I started traveling to ranches and farms across the US and the world. I rode a cattle drive in Wyoming, through the hill country of Texas, in southern France, in a wildlife refuge in South Africa, Hyde Park in London England, and the glacial and volcanic landscape of Iceland (three times). I fell in love with equestrian travel. In the future, I’m planning a ride to Portugal (for Golega) and of course, I want to get back to Iceland. The great thing about equestrian travel is that you don’t need to bring a partner; they have one in the paddock for you. In Iceland it is Eldur; Africa was Spice; France was India; and England was Lilly.  

I learned early on that my weight would limit my choices in riding and that I needed more in the way of physical fitness if I was going to ride 150 miles in a week or roam the plains of South Africa. So, with the guidance of my coach Denise, I was able to start eating a healthy diet and I began working with a personal fitness trainer.  In the last two years, I’ve lost 85 pounds and I can now bench press 85 lbs. and deadlift 105 lbs.

I could not have achieved all of this without the support from the community I discovered at Hannaberry Farm. There was no judgement from my peer group although I think there was some curiosity from the kids trying to figure out what this old lady was about. But we talked the same language about falling off and getting back on, about the new horse or the ones that step on your foot. Today I’m just one of the gang, and they were there with me on the day of my Century Club ride to help saddle Eddie, get fly spray, check the girth, and cheer when I won a blue ribbon.

Denise Berry-Hanna is the force that won’t stop. Can’t is not in her vocabulary and woe be to you if you utter it. I learned from Denise that there is always a path forward.  It may not be easy, it may take some hard work and commitment, and it may not be the path you started on. The path never ends, learning never ends, and evolving never ends…Until the end.