Our Featured Adult Rider of the Month of November is Victoria Bell!
Victoria is one of our newer faces at Lancers but even in her short time with us, she has quickly become someone that many of us know as she chooses to spend so much of her time with us! Victoria is our adult rider of the month because she has already become a committed member of the Lancer community through volunteering, her positive attitude towards returning to riding, and her sportsmanship.
Victoria grew up in Montreal and rode as a youth between the ages of eight and sixteen. She rode regularly, went to horse camp, and was very involved with Pony Club! Life then took her to Toronto and then, twelve years ago, to Halifax when her and her husband wanted to relocate and find a great place to raise their children. With the vision that “coastal would be cool”, they chose Halifax! In Halifax, Victoria used to teach yoga and was very fit and active until a motorcycle accident put a halt to it all and she couldn’t teach yoga anymore. This all led Victoria to think about returning to riding, a physical activity that would actually enjoy doing! After thinking about it for a while but assuming that the waitlist at Lancers would be astronomically long, one day in the summer she drove down Bell road and decided she might as well put her name on the waitlist and give it a shot! This worked because we were able to get her into a new adult ride in September! Victoria joined A4 and not long after, quickly wanted to step up her riding game and so also joined A2 so she could ride twice a week. While she hasn’t completely found a favourite Lancer horse yet, she is equally fond of Bud, Alice, and even Chevy because he is very, very sweet. She also has a self-proclaimed sweet spot for Valour, one of the police horses, because he is “very handsome”.
In those three months, Victoria has really come to marvel at the fact that there is a horse stable in downtown Halifax and loves the fact that she lives two minutes away! In that time, we have really enjoyed getting to know Victoria and were quick to benefit from her volunteerism. She has already been volunteering every Friday afternoon as a lead and side-walker with HALTR, our therapeutic riding program. She has also been very supportive of our Chase the Ace fundraiser and ensures she always buys her weekly tickets! In addition to contributing her time, we appreciate the very positive attitude Victoria has taken to returning to the saddle after a number of years off. Riding can be an intimidating sport, especially as a returning adult rider, but we are so happy that Lancers can facilitate Victoria’s return to riding (we are also quite impressed with her riding skills considering the break she took)! One of the core principals of Victoria’s attitude (which she embodies perhaps without even knowing it) is sportsmanship. She is encouraging and helpful to her ride peers.
While we’re enjoying having Victoria around, it seems that Victoria is equally enjoying Lancers, particularly, seeing all the junior riders learning to take care of the horses. She elaborated by explaining that it is so great to see the group that rides before her on Mondays (ride 9). “They are very young but they are grooming, hopping on stools, picking up big hooves - they are feisty gals and there is no fear”, she said. Victoria is also a great proponent of Pony Club as it is really good for young people to learn responsibility. There are those riders who are happy when their horse is out in the ride before them so they don’t have to groom and tack up but then there are other kids who are so interested in learning and they bring their notebooks and just want to learn everything about horses. For them, it isn’t just all about the riding - it’s the grooming, taking care of the horses, teaching them responsibility and sportsmanship in a good way. Victoria particularly loved watching the children in the Halloween fun show. “The costumes”, she said, “were the cutest things I’ve ever seen!”
Victoria’s children will be graduating from high school next year so she will be able to travel more but she would definitely like horses to be part of her life. The best part of riding, according to her, is that you have to be totally focused; you can’t be thinking about your to-do lists as it takes your full concentration. For Victoria, it isn’t just about riding but about grooming and just being around them. In the ring, however, Victoria would like to learn to jump again and perhaps even one day do lease or buy a horse! Until then, Victoria will continue her love of riding motorcycles and baking. She is actually a professional Boulanger and in the future, would like to volunteer to teach children with disabilities to cook! We are so excited to have Victoria continue to hone her riding skills and for all that, she will continue to bring to the Lancer community. And thank you, Victoria, for getting back in the saddle!