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Team #676 Sandra Carnet and Tamara

Team #676: Sandra Carnet and Tamara
From: Clermont, Georgia
Ages: 75 & 27
Combined Age: 102
Test: Introductory Level Test A
Date: August 5, 2023

I was a horse-crazy kid. My life with horses started at age five when my mom would take me to Stilles Pony Farm in what was then suburban Atlanta, GA. For 25 cents a round, you could ride a pony around their track. When I was eight years old, I graduated to real riding lessons at the Vogts Riding Academy and rode until I went to college. Then I became a wife and mom and had a successful career.  Although I always dreamed about horses from day one, I never had a horse of my own.

Fast forward to 1996, when my pent-up demand for a horse and owning a horse farm spurred our move out of Atlanta to northeast Georgia where our beautiful Oxer Farm became a reality. In the interim, my daughter rode the jumpers competitively, my husband and I started foxhunting, and our little farm became a favorite venue for many wonderful schooling shows for combined training, recognized by the Georgia Dressage and Combined Training Association. We have been honored to host three Century Club rides at our farm, but I never thought I’d have the opportunity.

However, my Century Club ride is not about me. It’s a tribute to Tamara, my courageous Clydesdale/Cross foxhunting partner of nearly 20 years. She’s been with me since she was four years old. She retired sound from foxhunting a few years back. She was slowed by the inevitable onset of arthritis and mild ringbone. At 26, she willingly and with every fiber of her noble heart, rose to the challenge of getting back into shape for us to do a little dressage together. 

Starting in early July, we trained for brief periods, early in the mornings and late evenings. We enjoyed warming up on the hills and lanes at our farm. She gradually came back into shape and started working through the stiffness that comes with less activity. Thanks to the goal of riding together at a combined age of 101, we did our Century Club ride! Just the two of us foxhunting gals headed down the centerline.

Along the way, we’ve had a fantastic team of friends, coaches, equine therapy professionals, and my steadfast husband, Jean, who is our photographer, chief farm manager, and riding partner. But the lion’s share of the credit goes to my incredible mare, Tamara. As she always has, Tamara carried me safely, enthusiastically, and with great dignity. She is, indeed, the horse of my lifetime and deserves great credit for this achievement.