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Team #695 Susan Aquino and Philippides

Team #695: Susan Aquino and Philippides
From: Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts
Ages: 74 & 26
Combined Age: 100
Test: First Level Test 2
Date: September 17, 2023

I have always loved everything about horses. An early memory was my refusing to put on a dress for my kindergarten teacher’s “meet and greet” and instead wearing my Annie Oakley vest and boots, the guns had to be left at home. My favorite Christmas present was a horse mounted on a frame with four heavy-duty springs for great bouncing. I think I might still have a photo of me in my cowgirl outfit with my “Buttercup.” Those heavy springs needed to be replaced frequently.

I enjoyed my first riding lessons at summer camp and during the school year I was able to take weekly group riding lessons with the Girl Scouts. It wasn’t until after college that I was able to get a horse of my own. Looking back, I learned that riding is only one small part of owning a horse! After graduate school, came another horse, a Lippitt Morgan, Stillwater Pistol. We enjoyed trail rides and made new riding friends. I first heard about dressage from a fellow barn mate who had a dressage horse!

Family and work brought a horseless gap of about six years and then came the urge to find time again for what I loved. In the early 1990s, I found a terrific Thoroughbred, Uncle Larry. We enjoyed eventing through Training Level and had some fun success at dressage shows. Uncle Larry lived a well-loved 29 years under the care of a good friend.

After I found Larry a well-situated home close by, I purchased a rather green six-year-old gelding named Philippides (“Flip”) in 2003. He didn’t particularly care for eventing or hunter paces. Flip was a bit squirrelly, and I did not like it when the going got rough. So, we focused more on dressage. Flip became better trained, and we had good fun showing at schooling dressage shows in eastern Massachusetts for many years.

Flip had a serious incident on January 4, 2020. A call from my barn mates saying Flip was acting stressed and the vet had been called. I rushed to the barn, hooked up the trailer, and Flip was at Tufts Large Animal Hospital by 4 P.M. Surgery started at 7 P.M. to remove a dangling lipoma that had wrapped around his colon. Recovery was easy, just a few months, as there was no damage to his intestine. The USDF’s Connection Jan/Feb 2023 issue has an excellent article titled “Pedunculated What?” about Flip’s ordeal and this form of colic.

And just like that, our combined ages are 100! He is still so much fun to ride. We ride a few times a week, including a weekly lesson with my wonderful instructor, who focuses on where Flip might be a bit stiff, with fun exercises to loosen a stiff poll, jaw, or back. I cherish my time at the barn, my lessons, and time spent with Flip and my barn friends.