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Team #714 Marian Rabe and Danny

Team #714: Marian Rabe and Danny
From: Bridgton, Maine
Ages: 74.5 & 25.5
Combined Age: 100
Test: Third Level Test 2
Date: October 15, 2023

Our journey to the Century Club ride began at suppertime on May 25, 1998, at Ring Farm in Bridgton, Maine. Danny’s mother waited for privacy to bring her foal into the world.  It was her third foal; she knew the drill. Dan was standing by her side nursing when I saw his big white blaze for the first time, an hour later.  Mom and colt welcomed human attention, and they got plenty of it.  Danny learned about wearing a halter, walking beside his person, picking up his feet, and loading and riding in a trailer.   

At two, he left “home” as a gelding for a couple of months to go to “kindergarten” at Terry McClare’s Footloose Farm in Brownfield.  He enjoyed lots of groundwork, tacking up, basics under saddle, and riding trails with friends. Back at home, we practiced, and Terry visited to keep us going forward. Later, Dan returned to Terry’s for another month of natural horsemanship schooling, as an always willing learner. Terry brought Dan as “her ride” to a Buck Brannaman clinic; Buck labeled Dan the “gentlest and best broke horse” there. 

Dan is my constant friend and sympathetic listener through heartbreak and disaster.  His life at Ring Farm includes always open stall doors to paddock and field, hacking with his barn mates, and occasional visits to natural horsemanship clinics. In 2004, his western saddle retired, and dressage school began. My friend and instructor, Beth Brainerd (and her two lovely talented daughters) helped us practice and develop our love of classical dressage. It was a family belief that if they could clone Dan, all adult amateurs would ride a "DanMan."    

When he was 16, he “went to camp” at their farm weekends, learning flying changes with Beth’s daughter, Amanda. Occasionally Dan and I entered local dressage schooling shows.  My joy in life was caring for the horses, taking regular lessons, sometimes twice a week from Beth, and haying in the summertime. A schooling day was followed by a hacking day, preferably with a friend. Danny went off to Puckerbrush Farm with Amanda riding him Prix St. George in a recognized show. He was always up for a challenge, and Amanda had fun wearing a new fancy coat. 

I learned of the Century Club ride and kept that as our goal. The years passed for Dan; dressage training, trail riding, and therapy horse in “Walking with Horses,” a PATH-certified program. Dan is a star therapy horse, light to lead, calm, safe, and considerate of his human's space. He made me proud on October 15, 2023, putting in his ultimate best effort on each step of our test.  I am so grateful we had the opportunity to become members of the Century Club.