Walnut Creek Equestrian Earns Century Club Dressage Membership
At 81, lifelong horsewoman Mary Grace Davidson has the bones of a 30 year old according to her doctor. The Walnut Creek, California equestrian and owner of Lucky Acres Dressage Training Center, has had her share of broken bones from horseback riding injuries. However, Davidson keeps coming back. In fact, like the cat with nine lives, Davidson added Century Club member to her list of equestrian titles which include horse trainer, horse breeder, horse show competitor and dressage judge.
Davidson Completes Century Ride for US Dressage Federation
Davidson recently joined the elite ranks of equestrian riders when she completed her Century Ride for the Dressage Foundation at Yarra Yarra Ranch in Pleasanton, California. This is a special dressage Century Ride for which the ages of the rider and horse total at least 100. In 15 years since the first Century Ride, only 80 dressage riders have qualified for this equestrian title, five being from California.
Davidson Rides Argentine Thoroughbred in Horseback Riding Competition
Davidson rode Rush in the horseback riding competition. Rush is a 19-year-old Argentine thoroughbred owned by Lucky Acres boarder and friend Valarie Case.
“I was planning to ride my own horse, an Anglo Trakehner named Marquis, but we lost him on Valentine’s Day due to a tragic trailering incident,” said Davidson.
Davidson Couple Hold Strong Equestrian Ties to Walnut Creek
A native of California, Davidson graduated from the University of California at Davis back in the days when it was a true agricultural campus, majoring in general agriculture. For the next 15 years she combined a successful career as a technical editor in the budding aerospace program with a busy side life of horseback riding and training. Her husband, Clyde, and Davidson purchased eight acres near the budding community of Walnut Creek in Northern California. Now, over 40 years later, the couple still run Lucky Acres as a small dressage training center amidst a neighborhood of upscale homes and boutique wine vineyards.
Davidson Horseback Riding Career Dates Back to 1960’s
Davidson’s dressage horseback riding career started in the late 60’s, nurtured by the opportunity to host many of the best clinicians, including Hilda Guerney (who taught monthly at Lucky Acres for 10 years), Melle van Breugen, Gerd Politz and Dennis Callen. Davidson has trained five horses to FEI levels, is a USDF bronze and silver medal holder, and has been a long-time student of Willy Arts.
As a successful older rider in the early days of dressage, Davidson won eight USDF Vintage Cup (riders over 50) first place awards, from training level through grand prix, on four horses, as well as USDF Masters Certificates at all levels. Many of her best days have been those as a dressage judge, dating back 30 years. Davidson still keeps an active schedule, having judged at major horse shows throughout the United States and Canada, including many USDF Regional Championships.
Her competitive equestrian career was capped on her 75th birthday, when Marquis and Davidson received a score of 62% at Intermediate I. Marquis was to have been her ride for membership in the Century Club. He was a sound, safe and willing partner for 16 years but, alas, Davidson lost him on Valentine’s Day in a tragic trailering incident. Mary Grace and her husband Clyde have been active in the Contra Costa County equestrian community for many years and have helped in developing Equestrian and various equestrian projects throughout the county and Walnut Creek. Mary Grace is a dressage judge and continues to travels all over the country to judge equestrian events.
Marquis photo courtesy of Mary Grace Davidson. Photo of Davidson riding Rush courtesy of Jim Stevens/Bay Area Newsgroup.