Our Featured Junior Rider of the Month is Elsa Holt!

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When we asked Elsa when she started riding, she responded: “since the womb”. That isn’t too far from the truth. She has already been riding for 11 years, despite being only ten (nearly 11) years old! She started at Lancers in 2015 in ride 8 and is now in ride 4.

Elsa spends quite a bit of time at Lancers and has been involved in just about everything. She has done on-property training shows, clinics, and sometimes competes at off-property shows, often paying for them herself. She is in the Lancer Pony Club and this weekend is testing for her D2 level. Elsa also does her Equestrian Canada rider levels and earned her Level 5 this spring. This year was her second year of being in the Musical Ride and a favourite Lancer experience for Elsa is always Salmon River summer camp! She explained that she really likes Musical Ride because she isn’t usually on that many teams (in sports or at school), and the Musical Ride is being on a team! Some of her favourite memories of Lancers are from Salmon River, especially doing the cross country courses, camping with her friends, and hearing the horses when waking up in the morning.

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When she is at the barn, Elsa loves to hang out with her Lancer friends. Her ride 4 always sets a good example for young kids because they study hard for Pony Club and Rider Level tests. She noted that they usually hang out in the shavings room but then a lot of the time they get kicked out because they are so loud. It really is a marvel that a few young gals can make that much noise! Elsa helps out with hay and shavings deliveries with her friends too. When asked, she noted that she thinks of herself as a good Lancer because she “comes to events” and because she likes Steve and “you can’t be a Lancer without liking Steve”. Steve, for non-Lancers, belongs to Charlotte our instructor and has become our office rescue dog from northern Ontario. Elsa also added: “Good Lancers are good to the horses. I treat them well and am nice to them”. Quite humbly, however, she noted that sometimes she could be a better Lancer because she doesn’t always volunteer for extra chores.

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It is evident that Elsa loves riding and not just because her mum and uncle have made successful careers in the horse industry. Of the appeal, she explained, “I like riding because I like horses and I feel amazing when I am riding. It makes me feel good about myself and shows me what I can do. I can’t imagine life without riding. I am lucky to ride and to be at Lancers”. When asked what she enjoys most about Lancers, she explained “all the stuff I get to do and riding different horses. I have pretty close friends here and I like that I am friends with people who aren’t my own age”. She also noted that she did a project at school about her culture and liked writing that her mum grew up riding at Lancers too. Elsa certainly likes the Lancer horses and her favourites are Oliver, Rainey, and Ollie. According to her, this is because Oliver is good at jumping and he isn’t scared of jumping, Rainey is always looking quiet but not when you’re riding her and it’s cute although it is a bit of a pain to clean her because she is always so dirty. Ollie, according to Elsa, is really cute and small! A list of her favourite horses wouldn’t be complete with a mention of May, her 14.2hh pony at home.

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When not riding (which is nearly every day), Elsa also likes track and field and cross country running at school. It’s probably fair to say that horses will likely win out. We asked her where she sees herself going in the future and she replied, “I want to go to the Olympics but that’s probably not going to happen because not many people go to the Olympics. If not the Olympics, I want to show at the royal and continue with horses in my life”. While being realistic is always a good idea, we think Elsa should keep her sites high, just like her jumps! Well, there’s only one way to find out…watch out for this mighty 10-year-old Lancer. #featureFriday

Janet Hawley