Our Featured Alumni is Evan Phinney!
Evan joined Lancers in 2001 after learning about Lancers from her childhood friend, neighbor and former Lancer Kelly Nichols. She participated in a Lancer summer camp and started in the junior beginner course but had been riding since the age of three. Every Christmas she would ride at a barn in Houston, Texas and those rides soon morphed into an interest in riding at a more often structured program which Lancers provided. She rode at Lancers for eleven years and graduated in 2012 after riding in Ride 1 for a few years. During that time, Evan participated in every activity possible. She did summer camps, barn clean ups, helped with shavings and hay deliveries, Musical Ride, canteens, Junior Executive, volunteered with therapeutic riding, Open house, night hay, holidays feeding (her favourite), and even worked as a Saturday barn monitor. Starting her show career in Lancer training shows, she then moved up to EC shows and WEF.
Over the years, Evan had many favourite horses. When she started riding, Cash was definitely her go-to horse but her “ride or die” will always be Alice because she taught her so much. Together, they went from the Salmon River horse show to the Wellington Equestrian Festival where they placed 6th in a big low-children’s jumper class. Similarly, she has lots of favourite memories from Lancers (too many to choose)! The Musical Ride stands fondly in her mind. A special royal memory was when Queen Elizabeth was visiting Halifax, and her motorcade passed by Lancers barn. Evan recounted: “I was on Jacob and we lined the street when Queen Elizabeth II was visiting in our Musical Ride gear. Though she did not stop, you could see the car slow down and she turned around to look!” Normal barn days certainly are also fond memories and she shared: “When I was younger I rode with my friend Taylor. I remember I was grooming Willy and Taylor’s older brother came to watch her ride. He was standing directly behind Willy, who was always super cranky being groomed. I suggested he should move so he doesn’t get kicked but he just froze. I had to physically move him out of the way, right before Willy kicked out. Years later I learned that older brother was none other than Sidney Crosby! Us barn girls really didn’t pay attention unless it was Ian Miller who walked through the doors….”
We asked Evan for a fun (perhaps unknown) fact about Lancers and she told us that her and her dad built the mounting block that is probably still being used in the indoor! She told us to look under it because they even signed it. All those hours spent in the barn and on horseback have certainly paid off. Evan now lives in Washington, DC and is currently the Administrative Coordinator at the Washington International Horse Show. She loves sending WIHS items home for the silent auction at the Lancer Christmas party. Her time at Lancers is now limited to her visits home to Halifax but she is a self-proclaimed “BIG fan” of the Lancer Christmas Alumni Ride and really enjoys getting together with so many people she used to ride with. (We’re looking forward to seeing her again this year on December 27th for the Alumni Ride)!
We asked Evan how Lancers impacted her life and what being a Lancer means to her. Her answer is something that will resonate with many current and past Lancers. She explained, “Not only did Lancers teach me the majority of things I know about horses and riding, but it gave me so many friendships. I lived at that barn. I would go before school, during lunch hour and after school. My mum always joked that I should just sleep there. One thing I am currently learning about the impact Lancers has is that it will always provide me with a horse connection. Though I don’t ride as much anymore, as I am busy “adulting”, I know I am still whenever I am in town to walk through the barn or even for a ride! I just had a visit to the barn with Alice this past September and we shared a Tim Hortons frozen lemonade!” And above all, for Evan, being a Lancer “means being a member of a very, very special group of riders; a group of riders that has a strong background in stable management and horse knowledge and barn friendships; Riders who never, ever forget their Lancer roots, the horses, the staff and fellow riders; and finally, and always, being a Lancer means being a rider who can ride without stirrups, especially when you lose them going over a jump!”
“Once a Lancer, always a Lancer”.