Our Featured Alumni is Alex Brisseau
Many Lancers will remember Alex Brisseau who only left Lancers in August 2017 to work at Millar Brooke Farm as a groom. Before leaving Lancers, Alex rode, worked as a barn monitor, and was one of our trusty instructors! Her time at Lancers prepared her extremely well for her current role as a professional show groom.
Unlike many of our riders who started in the junior beginner course, Alex came to Lancers and joined Ride 9 right away because she had riding experience from another barn. A spot opened up in ride 9 and she took the opportunity to join the Lancer family. She rode in our junior program until the age of 17, did two years in Ride 1, and barn monitored and stablehanded. She then moved to Quatar for a year and once she graduated high school, she returned to Lancers and joined a J-ride. Alex earned her rider level 6 and became a qualified NCCP instructor. In 2016 and 2017, she worked at Lancers as an instructor, teaching on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. She also taught summer camp and at our Salmon River members’ summer camp.
Teaching the Lancer beginner summer camp stands out as Alex’s favourite Lancer memories. She explained, “I liked when we had the last day with the little shows and seeing how far they have progressed considering they couldn’t hold their reins on the first day. I also liked when they came back again the next year.” Alex was indeed a very popular instructor and many children she taught in the camps are now in our junior membership program! Having the chance to become an instructor and having employment at the barn were important opportunities. Reflecting on past days, Alex proclaimed Juno to be her favourite Lancer horse of all time. “He was a bit clunky and not the fittest for jumping but he would always try anything, had a big heart”, she said. “He was comfy to ride and great at Musical Ride and he never even did his whale buck thing with me”.
Over those years, Alex was an active participant in Lancer life. She was on the Junior Executive, did her rider levels, helped with shavings and hay deliveries and clean up days, and did training shows. Basically, she explained, she did everything under the sun. All of these experiences helped Alex in her job as a professional show groom. She went to work for Ian Millar’s barn, Millar Brooke farm for 14 months. As a groom, she prepared horses for shows and took care of them at their home farm. With Millar Brooke, she went to Wellington Equestrian Festival, Palgrave, Ottawa, Lake Placid, NY, and Traverse City, Michigan, and Angelstone in Guelph.
Alex is now going to work for Mélissandre Lincourt in Florida and then will be going back to Montreal with her. Alex explained that all the skills she learnt at Lancers, from brushing, tacking, grooming, braiding, showing, bandaging, and taking horses off property, have been critical for her job. She added that the work ethic she learned from Lancers has also been fundamental and explained, “you don’t leave until all the work is done. Even if your horse is done at a show, you stay until everyone is done and if someone has to go in early, you all go in early”. According to Alex, the focus at Lancers of putting your horse first also translates into her job. She noted, “at shows, there are long hours and you have to always put the horse first over your needs. Horses have a specific schedule of when they eat etc. and you work your schedule around them. You eat and take little breaks whenever you can but their needs come first”. Lancers also practically impacted her life as it is through Angie that Alex got in touch with Millar Brooke and earned her job. In the horse world, Alex explained, it is all about referrals and people watching you work. She said, “someone is always watching you so making yourself useful and having a good work ethic will take you far in this business”.
Finally, we asked Alex what being a Lancer means to her and she very quickly replied: “community”. “You can always come back”, she added. That actually inspired Alex in her own life as Lancers was a huge reason why she came back to Halifax after Quatar. And she just keeps coming back to visit us whenever she is back in Halifax and every time she walks through those barn doors, all we hear is screams of joy as young riders are thrilled to see her. “No matter what stage of life or work you’re in”, she added, “you can always come back to Lancers”.
From junior rider to instructor, we are very fortunate to have Alex as Lancer alumni.