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Team #679 Ricki Bunkin and Dodi Ben Krushan

Team #679: Ricki Bunkin and Dodi Ben Krushan
From: Chagrin Falls, Ohio
Ages: 78 & 23
Combined Age: 101
Test: Training Level Test 3
Date: August 1, 2023

During a recent discussion in a book club, a question was posed about a book that influenced our lives. Without hesitation, I replied, the Black Stallion series. I dreamed of having that black horse. That was the beginning of my equine journey. 

While in my late twenties, a serendipitous opportunity happened. I was given access to a horse through a local camp. They were looking for horse counselors, and my friend and I were up for the challenge. Luckily, Bay, the honey (horse x donkey) we cared for, was kind and forgiving as my friend and I were “greenhorns.” We moved Bay to a family-friendly stable in Newbury, Ohio. I began discovering all the opportunities, lessons, and lifelong friendships the horse world affords. 

After some time of sharing Bay, my sister decided to take her over and I bought my first horse. His name was Sir Leo. He was a registered Quarter Horse. As I began trying new types of riding, I realized I needed instruction and wanted to pursue eventing. Eventing really excited me, but Leo was not the most cooperative mount for this type of riding. Then, I got my black stallion (really a gelding), Phantom Dancer (Clyde was his barn name)!  He was a beautiful specimen with intense talent. He was an Anglo-Arab. It was with Clyde that I learned more about dressage. We were successful in events and loved to take exciting rides around the Chagrin Valley. 

When Clyde became too arthritic to compete, I bought a red dun Quarter Horse named Kansas. He was steady, but not as exciting as Clyde. As it happened, one of my friends who loved Clyde bought a mare that was the same breed. Surprise, surprise – she was pregnant! My friend offered me the foal. I said no at first, but my husband was all for the challenge. In comes Dodi Ben Krushan (DNA confirmed that his daddy jumped the fence and had his last hurrah with his mom)!

This lanky, feisty colt came home with me at three months old and the adventure began! To say that training this hot blood was challenging is an understatement. He is very athletic but highly reactive. My daughter and I were not sure he was going to ever settle down and cooperate. After continued hard work and perseverance with my granddaughter, daughter, and myself, Dodi has become a family horse and beautiful dressage horse! At 23 years young, he was my mount for our Century Club ride. We have worked hard together, and I am excited that he was my ride for this event! He is my joy, my friend, and a great partner.