Her father served in the Horse Cavalry National Guard of Brooklyn, New York, in the thirties, and he gave her riding lessons since she was 6 years old. Today, Betty Osborne is 82 years old and has been living in Salem for the last 44 years. Sammie is a gorgeous brown Morgan mare who is 18 years old, and he has been living in Osborne’s barn for 11 years already. Betty’s and Sammie’s ages together (82+18) make up the number 100 and that is one of the gateways to the Century Club of United States Dressage Federation. Each year, the Dressage Federation takes exams of potential members for the Century Club, an exceptional club with a unique platform to honor senior riders and senior horses.
Betty Osborne likes the idea of being admitted into such an interesting organization, but, unfortunately, was not able to make it there this time. Her performance along with Sammie at the exam on October, 19 was not impressive enough for the judges at the event. Nevertheless, her efforts for the last eleven years were remarkable. Sammie and Betty were a team for all these years, and they trained themselves at the Hollie McNeill’s Riding Right Farm three days a week. They were taking lessons that would establish a non-verbal communication, enabling Sammie to trot and canter without a verbal cue needing to be thrown.
It was a five minutes test that Betty and Sammie had to go through; she was judged on how effectively she could make use of her seat, hands and legs to get Sammie to make certain moves. The judges were the officials of United States Dressage Federation. The executive director of the Dressage Federation, Jenny Johnson, revealed previously that there would be no ribbon presented to her. However, Betty’s being the seventh member from New York to come to the Century Club has been recognized. Being admitted into the Century club is perceived by its officials as a “special” and “unique” way of honoring and celebrating senior riders and their senior horses.
Betty Osborne did not back away from the competition, despite having challenging conditions on her body; she went through a back surgery shortly before the competition, and she still has a bad knee. Somehow, she always kept a good balance on a horseback, and she still does so. Her trainer, McNeill, found her balance on the saddle pretty good for her age. Horse riding is such a sport where, according to Betty, the rider is responsible for the horse as well besides watching the safety of his/her own. The lessons at the McNeill’s farm developed excellent understanding between Betty and Sammie.
Not being able to make it to the Century Club is not the end of the world for Betty Osborne; she came in with the horse and participated in the competition, and at the end of the day, that's what matters. For her, riding horses is a kind of therapy that keeps her going.