Our Featured Staff Member of the Month is Maddy Whidden
Maddy Whidden is one of our junior riders and just started working at Lancers as a casual stablehand this year. While we have fantastic full-time stablehands during the week, on weekends and holidays, we have a roster of junior and adult riders who work as casual stablehands. Maddy previously volunteered as a junior camp counselor at a facility elsewhere in the city but she is enjoying her shifts as a stablehand, particularly as it is her first paid job in the workforce! As Lancers, we greatly believe in mentorship, self-development, and providing work opportunities for our young riders, within a safe and educational learning environment.
Like others, Maddy had to earn her Emergency First Aid certificate, wait until the age requirement, and navigate our stablehand training before she could start in the role. Many of our young junior riders wait for the day that they can become stablehands so it is a coveted position to have! Being a stablehand carries a lot of responsibility. Always working in pairs, weekend stablehands are responsible for the care of all the horses for the day. Maddy explains that this includes feeding the horses grain and hay, turning them out, cleaning their stalls “to make sure they have a nice bed to sleep in”, cleaning the barn, scrubbing and filling water buckets, and doing laundry. Maddy noted that through her training, she “learned a lot about first aid for horses and humans”. Maddy enjoys her stablehand shifts as she likes being around the horses and taking care of them. She also added that working as a stablehand isn’t too out of place because at Lancers, you already have to do chores as a rider so you learn so much.
Maddy started in the Lancer junior beginner course five years ago and is now in Ride 3. She loves being around the horses and her friends at Lancers. As a child, Maddy always found horses majestic, pretty and nice animals. When asked what makes her a good stablehand, Maddy responded that it is because she can go and do what she needs to do and get things done (especially, admittedly, when she isn’t with a bunch of friends in the shavings room). Rupert and Merlin are her favourite horses at the barn as she likes both of their personalities. One of Maddy’s favourite parts of our Salmon River camp was getting up early and looking after the horses (and then going on fun trail rides)!
Finally, we asked Maddy about something that most people may not know. She wants to make sure that people know that riding is a sport and that horses are a lot more work than people think! “You have to co-operate with a horse that doesn’t speak you language and be able to trust them”, she added. When Maddy isn’t riding, preparing for Pony Club testing, working as a stablehand, or hanging out at the barn with her friends, she can be found playing Ringette. She manages to balance riding with a Ringette game each week along with two practices and two gym sessions! While she really enjoys Ringette, she says that from from time to time, riding can be more fun because it isn’t a task and you get to be around an animal that you like rather than just a ring!