Our Featured Volunteers of the Month are Erin Gorman Corsten and Gerard Corsten!
Erin and Gerard are such a nice couple but they earned their feature of the month status because of their volunteerism and contributions to our Lancer community. Despite their very busy professional lives, they still find time to do their bit for Lancers. Erin and Gerard are parents to Julia (ride 4) and have been involved at the barn since April, 2014. Something else to know about the Corstens is that they have quite the sense of humour and for that reason, we’re going to change it up this week and include some of their Q&As!
Q. Do you ride?
A. Gerard: I do not ride at all.
Erin: He’s right. Neither of us ride, or at least not really. We can balance on the back of a really calm trail horse. Seems like a long way down to us. Recently, we rode on trails at Ashford Castle in Ireland. It was fun and funny. There were some" issues "— reins too long (Gerard: “ I still don't really get what “shorten your reins means”), our horses wandering in the woods to eat ferns and leaves , and I won’t repeat Gerard’s comments about how he felt after his first attempts ever at posting. We have also subjected Julia to trail rides with us in the past, which she has politely and painfully tolerated. We both like horses, and get great pleasure just from being steadfastly grounded as enthusiastic spectators, grooming them, holding a lead line now and again, wrestling on a slinky, brushing out poo encrusted tails, and watching our daughter and all other riders. You’ll often find one of us trying to make buddies with a horse at Lancers, by sneaking all of them mints in their food bowls…(Erin: all my coat pockets seems to have horse treats in them).
Q. What have you been involved with at the barn?
A. We try to help out wherever help is needed: donating supplies or equipment, setting up for a show, announcing a show, volunteering at the canteen, making cookies, brownies, chili, and ensuring there are food supplies at horse shows for hungry girls! Gerard is often seen helping with the barn clean up or with hay and shavings delivery when we are free. If we see laundry to be washed or folded we just do it. Erin likes grooming, and is frequently seen sweeping or tidying.
Q. What do you enjoy most about Lancers?
A. We enjoy the fact that the riders have such a good time with the horses and with each other, while seemingly loving the learning of responsibility and the skills associated with the sport. We also very much enjoy spending time around the animals. It’s actually quite relaxing, and quiets the mind. It’s been a really exciting learning experience to partner with Lancers to bring “Candy" to the barn.
Q. Who is your favourite horse?
A. Gerard always liked to see and visit with Sarge, as he has a lot of personality. Erin has great fondness for Punkin, who taught both her nieces to ride at Lancers, and who also was Julia first horse love affair at Lancers. Though she gives Erin heart palpitations with her need for speed, we are now falling in love with Candy - “Sweet Sensation” has so much to teach the girls. I am told “she is super fun to ride”. She is fun for us to watch too.
Q. What is one of your favourite memories from Lancers?
A. Seeing our daughter participate in her first "away” training shows on Alice and Tootsie are a favorite memory! Watching the Musical Ride always make Erin cry. Those who know us know we start thinking about Hallowe’en fun shows months in advance, coming up with costumes that the horse will tolerate and still look amazing!
*We can attest to that. Julia always has fantastic costumes! Fun Fact: Erin rode at Lancers for summer programs back in the early 80’s over a summer or two during junior high school, recalling horses named Suzy and Thunder. She remembers Thunder well as he was so so tall (at least in my memory) but amazing to ride.
Q. How does volunteering at Lancers compare to other volunteer opportunities in your life?
A. Gerard: Lancers offers the opportunity to contribute as much as I have time for, which I very much appreciate. There are lots of great volunteers, so if I’m too busy, there are just so many others to pick up the necessary tasks!
Erin: I enjoy feeling like I’m contributing to an organization that is community oriented, teaching so many life lessons to our daughters and sons many of which align with our core values — including teamwork, responsibility, animal welfare, and being part of a community. I volunteered for years with Guides Canada, and on professional organizations, but I feel volunteering Lancers allows me to be connected to my “tween” directly and indirectly in ways that are so meaningful. I like just being at the barn, chatting with the senior girls who I have also seen grow up and now become mentors and instructors to my own child.
Q. Do you play any other sports/hobbies?
A. Gerard: Not regularly. Erin: Wine consumption. That’s a sport, right? Seriously, we like travel, gardening, and are highly competitive game night nerds.
Thank you, Erin and Gerard, for helping out and being great example of Lancers!