Our Featured Junior Rider of the Month is Jill Ryan!
Jill is one of our Ride 1 riders whose presence around the barn can’t be missed with her friendly, sarcastic manner full of cheeky wit. Jill has been riding for seven years and has spent her whole riding career at Lancers. She came to a Lancers camp when she was eight years old and started in the beginner junior course when she was nine. She also rides in the 3x program!
Over the years, Jill has been involved in many Lancer extra-curricular activities. She has been in the Musical Ride for five years, the past two of which she has been a leader, has been the Secretary for the Junior Executive for the past two years, and this year, was a Leader-in-Training at Salmon River camp. Jill has earned her Equine Canada Rider Level 7, participates in a lot of on and off-property shows as well as clinics. She works as a barn monitor and a stablehand and also volunteers for night hay and clean-up days. In fact, any free time that Jill has is spent at the barn. She is always willing to help out! There is a running joke amongst her peers though about how far she lives outside the city (even though it is only 25 minutes). She often takes the bus to and from the barn which always shows her commitment to her riding.
Like most of our riders, Jill found it tricky to just choose one favourite horse but she decided on Oliver and Rockette (they are neck and neck, apparently). Jill explained that they have distinct personalities and they are both very fun to ride! Her other choices were Alice and Tootsie, and former Lancer horses, Peter, Buddy, Norman, Freddie, and Babe! Jill’s favourite thing about Lancers is that you can make so many friends- including the horses. She loves hanging out with the horses and thinking up show names for them. “They are really big teddy bears”, she added!
In that vein, one could be reminded of the saying, “horses will never break your heart, only your bones”. Jill certainly has broken some bones; she broke her leg falling off Peter when jumping and has broken some toes in her time (and even a concussion has befallen Jill). Beyond any injuries, Jill said that she “can’t imagine what kind of person [she] would be without it”. She explained, “it has changed my character for the better and it has helped me become a person that I am proud of”. Jill’s priority is always to improve her skills in any way, shape, or form.
Jill has had many great memories of Lancers including last year at Salmon River camp when Giquau got loose and the riders had to “saddle-club it” and take the bomb proof horses and hunt for him in the woods! Competing at the Atlantic Fall Fair had been a dream of Jill’s since she was a kid and she will always treasure the memory of having the special opportunity of being able to complete and perform the Musical Ride at the fair in 2016. Jill particularly liked the dog and horse relay class and watching all the riders in the Hunter Classic and guessing their scores with Angie and the gang. This year was also highlighted by participating in the Paul Halpern clinic and showing Peter in the 2’ class at the Downtown Horse Show.
While not at the barn, Jill is very involved in the Nova Scotia Secondary School Students’ Association, particularly the participating in the Inclusion Committee. She also works as a swimming instructor at the wave pool and is training to be a life guard. In her future, Jill is aiming to go to university at Dalhousie and to pursue a career in the medical field. She hopes to have her own horse one day so she can have a special connection with one particular horse.
Well, Jill, we are fortunate to have you and we can’t wait to have many more great times with you in our company!