Jacksonville, FL – For equestrian Olwen Busch and her horse Filibuster, a dressage show this past weekend held very special significance. Busch competed in First Level to be officially inducted into The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club, which honors competing horses and riders whose combined age is at least 100 years old. “Since I am 82 and Filibuster is 20, I figured we should do it now while we are both still sound!” said Busch.
The Northeast Florida Equestrian Society Board of Directors was thrilled to congratulate Busch for her accomplishment. From 2004 to 2007, Busch was an invaluable board member of the Northeast Florida Equestrian Society, which manages the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. Busch pursued the opening of hiking and riding trails at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center— trails that now stretch on for miles— and has been a generous donor and fundraiser for the Northeast Florida Equestrian Society.
In order to be inducted into the Century Club this past weekend, Busch performed a dressage test before a rated judge. She was rewarded with a beautiful ribbon from The Dressage Foundation, and a trophy will shortly follow.
Despite masterfully completing her test (even with Filibuster spooking a bit at a dog that took interest in the pair), the show ring has never been Busch’s favorite place to be. She began riding bareback across deserts in Idaho and Arizona at the age of five years old, and, throughout the next 77 years, she has ridden throughout the world in disciplines such as hunt seat, cross country, saddle seat, reining, and dressage. Busch’s experiences on horseback have included international horse safaris with her husband, training sport horses, and riding a stag hunt with the Kermaingant Hunt Club in Normandy, France just five years ago. Today, Busch enjoys dressage and trail riding with Filibuster.
“The real thrill I have always gotten from riding has nothing to do with competitions won or lost, but with the joy of still being able to handle a horse, keep a tight seat on a lively horse, work the horse in new ways, and explore new country (and new cultures) from horseback,” said Busch.
Busch and Filibuster have proven to be a strong team together. “As a result of our many different shared experiences, I feel a camaraderie with Filibuster that I never felt with the veteran show horses I rode growing up,” she explained. For Busch and Filibuster, it was love at first sight. “In 2002, I heard about a lively gray Arab/Hackney gelding that was for sale,” she recalled. Although Busch was advised to watch the gelding’s performance videos before actually seeing him, she insisted on meeting him in person first. “One moment with him in his stall did it,” said Busch. “I dutifully watched the videos afterward, but they had nothing to do with my decision to buy him.”
Since then, the pair has enjoyed many memories together, and now will be forever listed in The Century Club’s rankings, as well. Now, Busch plans to spend her summer working with her five-year-old Akhal-Teke mare Gulkana. “Filibuster will be Gulkana’s trail companion this summer, and I hope to start showing her myself in dressage. After all, if I can survive the Century Ride class, maybe I am ready to start showing again. One is never too old to have new goals. May the bucket (list) never run dry!” smiled Busch.
And of course, she plans to continue enjoying rides on Filibuster throughout the summer and the years ahead. Busch said, “May we gracefully grow old together, helping each other stay fit, alert, and always curious about what lies beyond the next bend in the trail.”
The members of the Northeast Florida Equestrian Society are honored to have one of their own be inducted into The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club, and will continue supporting horses and riders through the facilities and events offered at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The Jacksonville Equestrian center provides a place for riders of all disciplines to enjoy doing what they love on its 80-acre premier estate. The facility is known as a family-favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events all year long, and is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville. It features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. For more information, visit http://www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at 904-255-4227.