Sweet Seniors! On #YourDressage, we have been celebrating the special horses in our lives that are ages 20 and up through photo galleries and exclusive stories. Join us through the end of November as we celebrate the ‘Golden Oldies’ of the dressage community!
By Jessica Lund
It is said that things get better with age and, like a fine wine, Claredy Locomotion has aged beautifully.
Place yourself, for a moment, in the shoes of a nine-year-old girl. You’ve been placed on a horse a handful of times, and thrown off just as many, and yet today you’re being told this horse is different, you’re being told this horse is yours. He has a funny stripe down his nose, and his tail drags on the floor, and he doesn’t throw you off right away, which is nice. You’re told his name is something or other, but his barn name is Flame, which is a lot easier to remember, and as your parents smile, while you giddily bumble about, reality skips a beat as a small part of your brain finally catches up with what was said: this horse belongs to you. You had gained a friend, a companion. My name is Jessica Lund and I had no idea I was embarking on an adventure that would cross great distances and span two decades (so far).
It was as a green-broke three-year-old that Claredy Locomotion entered my life. Originally touted as a nice prospect for a Morgan pleasure horse, it became apparent after a couple of years that rail performances were simply not in the cards for us; he got too overly excited by the many other horses in the ring, and I was too tiny to have any say otherwise. So, much to the chagrin of those around me, we packed up and relocated to a nice little jumper barn and pursued the noble art of dressage.
Here we’re going to skip ahead a bit, a little over twelve years, and not because nothing of note happened in between. There were plenty of regional and national awards won, new people, new places, a plethora of barn name changes (we landed on Booboo), and an uncountable number of peppermints consumed, but it was simply not until later that we really hit our stride. By this point, we had earned our USDF Bronze Medal as a Jr/YR and had two scores toward our Silver Medal when unprecedented events led to the resurfacing of a childhood dream of mine. That was, to compete at the Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show. We had shown in many smaller events thus far, but this was a bit different. This was larger. Much larger. With nearly one thousand horses in attendance and a twelve-hour drive, I was, understandably, a bit apprehensive about bringing my then-seventeen-year-old horse. Those around me said Booboo was too old and that I shouldn’t waste my time. The voice inside me, however, said age was only a number and so to Morgan Grand Nationals we went!
The drive down to Oklahoma was rather uneventful, though that did nothing to help my growing anxiety. It’s true that age is only a number, but one thousand horses attending is also a number, and I didn’t know how my horse was going to react. It is worth noting, at this point, that Booboo hardly ever spooks, is an angel in the crossties, and is just an all-around “Good Boy”. So it came as a surprise to no one, except somehow me, that he was perfectly content and well-behaved even in this extreme new environment. Seeing this, I was now awash with a new feeling: a fierce determination. We were no longer here merely to show, Booboo and I were here to win, and win we did. The titles of World Champion Fourth Level and Reserve World Champion Third Level were ours, and as we paraded around the ring during the ceremony Booboo was buzzing with excitement. He was a show horse to the core, and I could feel his jubilation with every step. Now the “Bed of Roses” was not quite as magnificent as its name entails, and there was, in Booboo’s opinion, a distinct lack of carrots at the award ceremony. Even so, at an age where others called him geriatric, we were standing in the limelight.
That was five years ago now, and Booboo hasn’t seemed to age a day. We are still riding almost daily and his age has never been a limit, only a reminder of how long we’ve been together. We’re still striving for our Silver Medal and I’m confident that, with Booboo at my side, there’s not much we can’t achieve.