For the month of December, we are featuring Paul LaFleche as our adult rider of the month. Paul rides in A2 on Thursday nights and has been riding with us for three years! Although he rode at the National Equestrian Park in Ottawa when he was 30, Paul enrolled in the adult beginner course a few years ago and then joined our membership. Anyone at the stables on Thursday nights knows that Paul’s favourite horse is Bud! According to Paul, Bud is the best because he is very experienced, has a good speed and canter, is calm, and takes care of every rider. This year, Paul achieved his NSEF rider level 2 and he hopes to complete level three next year and hopes to eventually get back to jumping which he used to do years ago!
Many people will know Paul because he is always enthusiastically helping out around the barn, particularly with hay and shavings deliveries, barn clean-up days, and giving tours at our Open House days. You may also know Paul because he can often be seen cycling (or rollerblading) home from the stables all year round. He says there is nothing better than cycling home after a ride because it is so relaxing and you can think and see the world around you. He lives in a heritage home in the Hydrostone so it is a good fair hike too! One of the reasons Paul likes riding is because it requires very different muscles and discipline from any other sport and it trains you in a different way. Paul would know because he also plays ice hockey once or twice a week – balance is key to both though!
Paul has a PhD in electro-magnetic wave propagation (…huh?...) and currently works for the provincial government. He is also the proud father of twelve-year-old twin girls who have both ridden at Lancers. One of his favourite memories from Lancers is when his daughter Ruth was in a fun-show and rode in the $5 bareback class. She won the class and won the $5 from all the other riders for a total of $35! For Paul, the Lancer’s sense of comradery is also important; he enjoys the fact that riders help each other out. He also enjoys those nice days of riding outside and having people walking along looking at the horses. He likes the way that the horses are integrated into the life of the city. He added, “it is very rare that you would have a riding ring in the centre of a city and people can drive or walk by and see riding. It is a valuable thing and people take it for granted”.
One of Paul’s memories of Lancers (before he was a Lancer) was when we had the riding ring across the road where Citadel High School now stands. He said that so many Haligonians have memories of the traffic stopping on Bell road so the Lancers could cross the street. “You rarely see people riding in the city or grazing a horse near a provincial museum. It is a completely different experience”, he added. We really appreciated hearing Paul’s insight as sometimes we forget how unusual it is to have horses in the centre of the city. Paul would know because he has moved across Canada for work (in the government, academia, and the private sector) including Ottawa and Toronto (Ontario), Montreal (Quebec), Churchill (Manitoba), Uranium City (Saskatchewan), Tuktoyaktuk (Northwest Territories), and Nanisivik (Nunavut). He liked working in the North when he was young but he moved to Middleton, Nova Scotia in 1994 and to Halifax in 1999. When Paul isn’t riding, cycling, or working you can find him doing puzzles…perhaps a big horse puzzle would be a nice holiday gift J Thanks, Paul, for all that you bring to Lancers!