We often define and put far too many limits on ourselves and those around us because of age. Two of our local riders and an incredible horse named Sage have raised the bar and proved that attitude overrides age.
Sage is a 30 year old Saddlebred who was adopted by Centaur Rising at Anchorage Farm in Pine in 2013. A home with Kris and Jim Cooper was a great fit. Jim is constantly monitoring Sage’s condition and needs. Sage needed an experienced horse home because of his special feed and care requirements in his maturity and wouldn’t we all! Under their care and active riding program Sage has flourished. When he arrived, the life was gone from his eye. His initial gaits did really did not include a true trot or canter. He had never learned to do circles and was very one sided to the right. Then Leanne Tousey entered his life and helped him reach his riding potential.
Leanne, a mountain area resident, is a lifetime dog and horse lover. Leanne grew up riding at summer camps, but despite her pestering, her parents would not buy her a horse. She was married to her husband Mike in 1965 and they eventually moved their family from northern Iowa to southern California. Riding horses was one of the sports that kept their kids busy. Leanne’s daughter spent a significant amount of time training, showing and enjoying time at Cal Poly Pomona Arabian Farm. Leanne’s dream was rekindled there to someday return to riding and more specifically to focus on dressage.
After thirty years of breeding and showing Miniature Schnauzers, culminating in handling a dog she bred to a Best in Show, Leanne decided it was time to follow her dream to return to riding. In September of 2015 at the age of 72, Leanne found Kris Cooper, trainer and owner of Anchorage Farms. Kris was happy to take on the challenges of an adult beginner and the rest is history. Kris, a couple years younger than Leanne, understood the challenges and limits Leanne may have. Kris describes Leanne as more agile than someone half her age and rides because she really enjoys it.
Kris credits Leanne with working with Sage to learn to leg yield, turn on the forehand, something he had never learned before and was quite resistant to in the beginning, and how to stop without being pulled on. He even does shoulder-in!
This year, Kris and Sage worked together to earn their Century Club Membership through the Dressage Foundation (dressagefoundation.org). The Century Club recognizes Dressage riders and horses whose combined age totals 100 years or more. Horse and rider perform a Dressage test at any level, at a Dressage show or event, and are scored by a Dressage judge or professional. Then on August 14, 2016 Leanne and Sage earned their membership into the Century Club. Congratulations to Kris, Leanne and Sage!
Kris has been one of the only and longest running lesson and camp programs in our mountain area. They have 12 gentle horses that were used this year in their Little Kids Camps (5-7 year olds) and she can certainly teach the older generations. She would like to start a program for older people who may not want to ride, but would enjoy grooming, cleaning tack and being around the horses. For more information go to centaurrising.org. Heather McWilliams © 2016