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Team #655 Susan Chase and Serengeti of Cedar Lane

Team #655: Susan Chase and Serengeti of Cedar Lane
From: Richmond, Indiana
Ages: 77 & 23
Combined Age: 100
Test: Introductory Level Test A
Date: June 10, 2023

Like many Century Club members, I grew up a horse-crazy youngster, taking every opportunity to ride, though I never rode a pony of my own and never rode enough to satisfy my appetite for equine fun.  As an adult, I had two wonderful riding adventures in Iceland and, as I look back on those trips, I feel fortunate to have got home in one piece. I was by no means an equestrian.

A geographic relocation into the country’s heartland in 2016 brought me within the orbit of a truly gifted riding coach, Sheila Wilson. For the first time in my life, I was able to embark on a systematic program of learning to ride, to ride so neither I nor the horse got hurt, to ride with a sense that it was not a just short-term lark. Luckily, Sheila was fearless in her willingness to take on a 71-year-old novice. Lucky too she had a wonderful Arabian pony, Thunder, who could be my partner because, when I first met Sheila, I declared I only wanted to ride a pony to be closer to the ground. (I do not remember saying that, but I am assured I did make such a demand.)

Thunder, a 21-year-old Arabian gelding, knew a lot about dressage. Sadly, injuries he had sustained early in life meant he had to retire before we could make a Century Club ride. Luck smiled on me again when, as Thunder retired, Serengeti of Cedar Lane (Sera) joined the horses under Sheila’s care. Sera satisfied my “must be a pony” requirement and we teamed up to learn together. Though Sera had had training, including police horse training (though she was never a police horse), she had never actually been in any horse show. Now Sheila had TWO novices on her hands. 

Sera was 22 when I rode her in her first-ever horse show and she did an outstanding job, winning first place on her first test. She has become a beautiful, fit creature and has proven herself an excellent partner. From the start, we’ve been a happy team and trotted into the arena for our Century Club ride proud of being newbies, a rider with just shy of six years of dressage training and a pony with two years of dressage practice. If Sera could offer her two cents to the narrative, she’d say we’re just two old sassy gals having fun together. I would not argue with that for an instant.  

My goal in riding is to be engaged in the work needed to be a good rider. Just being on that journey is an immense source of joy. How lucky am I to have guidance from a patient, optimistic, enthusiastic coach like Sheila Wilson and to be partnered with ponies who brought fun to the process?