Our Featured Adult Rider of the Month is Sandra Chaisson!

 Sandra and Chevy! 

Sandra and Chevy! 

Almost exactly a year ago to the day, here at the Lancer office we received an email from Sandra asking about adult lessons. It was fortunate that we had a space open in our adult membership for an experienced rider, and Sandra joined us in our Tuesday morning adult ride. At that time, little did we know about Sandra’s riding back story nor of course, did we know how great she is! It has been great getting to know Sandra over the past year and it has been rewarding to see how much she has become an active part of the Lancer community. Spoiler alert: we’re never letting her go!

 Sandra and Mikey 

Sandra and Mikey 

Sandra has been riding for as long as she can remember and says that she can’t remember not having horses in her life! While born in Halifax, her family moved to New Brunswick and it was there that her father had a big black ex-RCMP musical ride horse! Riding was always in her blood. In 1977, her and her family moved back to Halifax and she actually rode at Lancers (1977-1982 ish)! Sandra thought she started in about Ride 5 and then moved up into Ride 1B (back then, there was Ride 1A and 1B). As she got older, she was able to buy her own horse, a sweet quarter horse named Sunny. Her next horse was a year-and-a-half old thoroughbred called Sum special. Finally, she found her way to her another dark bay thoroughbred. Mikey, whose show name was Perfect Gentleman, was a well-known hunter horse and with Sandra, they found their way into the dressage ring. Sandra worked with great coaches like Sue Fraser and Peter Edwards and then, when she and her husband moved to Ontario, she moved Mikey and worked with him at York Equestrian and Joker’s Hill. They moved back to Halifax in 1998 and Mikey went to Woodhaven and they had wonderful time together until heartbreaking circumstances caused Mikey to go to Greener pastures (2002). Sandra packed up and didn’t ride for many years. Her heart just simply wasn’t in it. That is, until one day she woke up and said to her husband, “I think I want to ride again” to which he replied, “I knew this day would come”.

 Sandra in the Musical Ride in 1980!

Sandra in the Musical Ride in 1980!

Thinking that she would start close to home, Sandra emailed our office and we replied to her so quickly that there was no changing her mind. So after thirty-five years away, Sandra walked back through those Lancer stable doors on Bell Road! She soon fell in love with Chevy who, she says, she will ride until she gets suspension from him (…the dressage background is coming through).  On top of his sweet disposition, she likes that Chevy is challenging, smart, and very rideable. Over the past year, she has had the opportunity to work with Chevy and was even the very first to rush to the barn to sign up for the Erin MacQuarrie Dressage clinic we had in January. Sandra has also made sure to help out over the past year, particularly with the Spring Spruce up the Barn Day and assisting Jessica in the office for the Downtown Horse Show! One highlight was going for a trail ride when the horses were on their summer break at Salmon River. She added, “it was fun - it is very freeing to be on a horse and going through the woods! Chevy is such a good boy; you don’t worry about falling off or spooking. I think he had as much fun as I did!”

 Sandra at Lancers!

Sandra at Lancers!

One very important aspect of Lancers that Sandra commented on is the very high standard of teaching. Yet, Lancers, she noted, is more than just the teaching as it is about “the community and the positive energy here”. She continued, “I think the kids here are really sweet. I also love the ladies that I ride with. I love their stories. Everybody has a story and everyone has a reason why they ride and I love it. I could smile for the rest of the day when I leave here.” Sandra even joked that when she returns to work (as a real estate agent) after her morning ride every Tuesday everyone in the office askes her, “how was Chevy today?!” It has been great to see that Sandra is enjoying being a Lancer once again and that she has felt compelled to jump straight in to recently become a member of the Lancers Board of Directors. We appreciate her commitment to Lancers and are confident that she will make a strong contribution to our present and future.

 Mikey!

Mikey!

As we do with all features, we asked Sandra about her favourite memory of Lancers. Thinking of her past, she said that her time a junior rider and riding in the Musical Ride (and showing) was a highlight. She said with a change in tone, as a big smile came across her face, “I was a Lancer”! We just had to ask how she found the barn to change over all those years. She agreed that the smell was the same but that the stables look differently. The offices were upstairs and the horses were in straight stalls so she was pleased to see all the horses in box stalls now.             

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Thinking of her future, Sandra said that she would like to keep riding and developing her skills. She added, “I would like to spread the dressage love around the barn even more. It gives people a good foundation. It is the basics of all riding and it is great to see Angie always teaching the basics of dressage in her lessons. Sandra’s desire to constantly learn and fine tune her riding is evident in that every night before her ride, she always watches YouTube videos. “There is so much info on YouTube” she pointed out, “I always enter my lesson with a purpose”.

 Sandra and her dressage boy, Chevy! 

Sandra and her dressage boy, Chevy! 

Sandra, you have many valuable perspectives to keep sharing and we are proud that you have chosen to return to Lancers to do so. While you may have “gotten away” in 1982, we’re never going to let you go again!

Sandra, you have many valuable perspectives to keep sharing and we are proud that you have chosen to return to Lancers to do so. While you may have “gotten away” in 1982, we’re never going to let you go again!