On September 19, 1996, Zrinka arrived in Halifax by plane. Three days later she was walking around Halifax with her husband and was surprised when she saw horses in the city. She had ridden horses in Croatia so decided she should enroll at Lancers. For the first 2-3 months, she started out riding in an evening adult ride. It was there that she met Lynn who became her fellow riding buddy for the next twenty years! Zrinka chuckled when she thought back to these early days because she said she didn't speak much English. Without knowing what the instructor was saying, she would peak at other riders and try to do the same thing.
Zrinka has therefore been riding at Lancers for twenty-one years and the only break she had was when her daughter Tara was born in July 1997. The riding gene seems to be in the family as Tara started riding at Lancers when she was 7. Tara also continued a long stretch as a Lancer and rode throughout all her junior years and "aged-out" in ride 1 when she graduated high school.
Soon enough, Zrinka joined the Friday morning ride and has been in that ride for many years now. Over these years, she has dedicated herself to Lancers and has done many jobs along the way. She again chuckled when she recalled that her first act of volunteerism at Lancers was at the Downtown Horse Show, possibly in 1998. The riding ring was across the road and because she didn't have much English, Zrinka decided to take a wheelbarrow and pick up all the horse manure left on the road. She said, "it was a messy job but I loved it". While Tara was a junior rider, Zrinka (with Lynn) helped run many of the Saturday canteens. She was also a board member for two terms, did night hay, some on-site shows, and did barn clean-up days. Zrinka has participated in everything but is slowing down now that she is working full-time. Yet, one particularly special memory was when she and Tara came to the barn in a snowstorm to do night hay. "It was just so peaceful, beautiful, you had the horses, the atmosphere in the barn – I can't even describe it to you". It is a moment we should all try to pause to take in.
Zrinka's favourite horses are Bud and Inga although she said her heart is really with Cash, a former Lancer horse from many moons ago. When asked what she enjoys most about Lancers, she quickly responded, "the community spirit; I love the spirit of the people who ride horses at Lancers". She added, "Lancers has become my second family – Lynn, Tamzen, Barb, Peter, Helga – everyone". It is wonderful to hear that Zrinka values Lancers and particularly that she hopes that Lancers will stay for many more years and that everyone can work to keep that spirit and love of horses so that Lancers, the tradition, and special place, won't disappear. In the same vein, we greatly value Zrinka who always comes into the barn like a happy and feisty burst of wind. In the future, Zrinka intends to sit on a horse for as long as she can! "If I can sit, I will sit", is her motto. We look forward to having her at Lancers for many more years...."until she is 104". #FeatureFriday