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Team #623 Sharon Everson and Jamaican Heartthrob

Team #623: Sharon Everson and Jamaican Heartthrob
From: Orlando, Florida
Ages: 74 & 27
Combined Age: 101
Test: Introductory Level Test A
Date: March 25, 2023

“How old are you?” I heard on innumerable occasions over several years from my riding Instructor, Hilda Donahue. She would continue to explain that The Dressage Foundation sponsors the Century Club ride and awards a lovely rosette to rider-horse teams whose combined ages equal or surpass 100. “You might ride Krista Hoeppner’s Mia,” who was somewhere in her 20s and going strong. For many years we were both too young.

Well, gratefully, we both aged well…and on a Saturday, while our spirits believed we should show in Grand Prix, we rode our Century Club ride instead in a lower-level dressage test. It was the culmination of many competitive experiences for both of us. 

Mia, the barn name for Jamaican Heartthrob, is a 27-year-old registered Paint whose breeding goes back to Secretariat. She was bred to barrel race, though she never did. She has been shown successfully in horse trials by both Hilda and Sam Bueckanon, lower-level dressage, and show jumping. She has been a reliable trail horse (her preference) and attended several Parelli camps. The Secretariat genes came through the one time she was bred and produced a bright chestnut filly. She is currently a schoolmaster, who has patiently and safely taught many to ride and jump.  

When I first moved to Florida and started taking lessons with Hilda, she put me on Mia to assess my skills. Mia was a willing partner and could raise her game to the level of the rider. What a treat. I subsequently moved on to other horses and currently ride Hilda’s talented Arab, Al Marah Speed, whose barn name is Malone. 

I came to riding in my mid-30s after a competitive fencing career.  I was soon hooked and at Main Line Farm (MLF), trainer Cheech Barber found my heart horse, a seven-year-old sorrel Quarter Horse, Santelli. At MLF, with an assortment of other horse addicts, we trained and competed in horse trials at Novice Level. It was challenging, exhilarating, humbling, and fun! After about 10 years of horse trials, we moved to Willow Hill Farm (WHF), with Denise Dahms and Annette Mohr, where Santelli excelled in Hunters! Who knew all along he was a Hunter? More fun with the Willow Hill family until his retirement at 25. I loved him every day for 23 years. He’s buried on a knoll at WHF.  

To answer Hilda’s question, I’m 74. I am so grateful for her encouragement to do the milestone Century Club ride, to Krista for allowing Mia to share the adventure, to the Ashmore Team for their support, and to The Dressage Foundation for providing this unique experience. It is one that I will fondly cherish.