Our featured volunteer for March is Renée Lutwick who is an adult rider and a Lancer mum! She rides in our A2 and the Tuesday morning adult group (and is really happy when she can sneak in a third ride in a week when she can do a private lesson). It is hard not to always sense Renée’s enthusiasm for Lancers and she always makes a point of volunteering her time and effort whenever she can! We are very lucky to have her.
Renée started riding in September 2015 in our adult beginner course (at the tender age of 55, she notes). Her daughter Elise had been riding at Lancers since 2013 and she just couldn’t hold back any longer! Over those years, Renée became more involved and volunteered at Lancers gradually. She started by contributing to the donations and sponsorships from her workplace to helping with the Christmas party dinner and events that needed food such as canteens at our horse shows or other aspects of Lancers that did not require “horse knowledge”. Renée almost always single-handedly supplies our potlucks with the best food! She added, “I did more as I got to know more about Lancers and horses”. She has helped with hay deliveries, selling Chase the Ace tickets, and has been a chaperone for Pony Club events (and has driven many kids to off-property events and horse shows). Last year she even volunteered as one of our medical Doctors on site for the Downtown Horse Show and this year is also becoming more involved with fundraising and our Musical Ride! Renée is always willing to volunteer and does so despite being so busy in with her professional career. Simply put, she fits in so much for us!
For Renée, volunteering at Lancers is unique, of course, because her other volunteer opportunities are missing the horses! She explained, “there is something very special about being around and working with these big beautiful animals. For me, it is also more time spent and involvement with something my daughter is passionate about and soon my youngest will be involved as well.” Being involved in something her daughter loves is easier but it also makes it more fun when everyone is involved! “There are lots of sports out there”, Renée added, “but Lancers is a great place to come and you just feel like hanging out. It is also wonderful that Lancers brings in extra things and opportunities like groundwork clinics”! In that vein, she enjoys (besides the horses, of course) that the stables are a very relaxed, warm, and welcoming atmosphere. There is also something special too about the peer-mentorship at Lancers too. She explained, “I remember feeling so impressed with how the teen riders helped the little ones when my daughter started at eight years old and they helped me out too once I started riding”!
When she isn’t volunteering or riding (or being active in her other activities like sprint canoe/kayak), it is fair to say that Renée can be found watching over her favourite horse, Mato. Her love for our recent arrival was even reflected in her long-term goal when we asked her about her riding future. She joked that she would aspire to be the oldest person at the Olympics but was serious about becoming a stronger rider so she could ride Mato in a few years. She loves his appearance and that he is a baby. That being said, she also has fun riding Heidi and Bella. This year, Renée is even going to do her rider level three (with the jumping course too)! Speaking of favourites, we asked Renée about her favourite memory of Lancers. Seeing her daughter Elise in her show attire for the first time and at barely 60lbs, going over jumps with this creature that is twenty times her size, was a definite wonderful memory! The first time she saw the Musical Ride also stands out in her mind. She explained, “the Musical Ride is really awesome. It almost chokes you up and brings tears to the eyes”.
Well, Renée, we just can’t wait to see all the other great things you shall bring to Lancers. We just love your enthusiasm, and for that matter, the enthusiasm that your whole family shares for horses and Lancers. Thank you for being a dedicated volunteer and thinking of Lancers for so much. #featurefriday