Our featured junior rider for February is Charlotte Harper and it is without a doubt that everyone will know her for her love of Willow! Charlotte started riding three years ago. She came to a Lancers summer camp and simply fell in love with horses. At nine-years-old, she was able to enroll in the beginner junior course and then joined as a junior member! She has been at Lancers ever since and is now in ride 7. Charlotte told us that she remembered that her first ride was on Bud and she just loved him. We can’t blame her there as Bud is a gentle giant and is the crème de la crème of horses! Everyone at Lancers now knows that by far, Charlotte’s favourite horse is Willow. Her love for Willow never waivers and Charlotte even diligently showed up at the stables to welcome Willow home when the horses returned from their August summer vacation in the countryside.
This just goes to illustrate that Lancers is quite a unique place where riders, without owning or leasing, can develop a strong bond with a horse. Charlotte is fortunate to have the opportunity to ride Willow in nearly every lesson and show! The duo will be making another appearance at our Dead of Winter training show next weekend. But Charlotte doesn’t only see Willow on the days she rides; we’re certain Willow is getting spoiled with treats on days when Charlotte comes to Lancers just to visit her special pal!
One of Charlotte’s favourite Lancer memories was her very first training show. She rode Chevy that day but he was being a bit cheeky! After the last jump of the course, he decided to go towards all the other participants who were lined up at the end of the arena. “I have improved a lot since that show”, she added. While she might chuckle about this memory, it is a nice reminder of how much progress riders make and that all the fun Lancer extra-curriculars are a big value-add!
Beyond her twice-weekly riding lessons and participating in training shows and Lancers’ Pony Club and fun events like the Halloween Fun Show, she also tries to help out. Charlotte noted that “besides being at the barn for weekly rides, I like to help the younger rides and do extra chores during the week. My mom and dad say that Lancers is my second home.” Charlotte can often be seen helping riders in the Junior Beginner Course picking out their horses’ hooves or getting tacked up. It was inspiring to see that even at such a young age, Charlotte is genuinely embodying the Lancer spirit of trying to help and mentor younger riders. Think, just three short years ago, it was Charlotte who had an older Lancer helping her… and now she has gained the inherent responsibility and most importantly, the genuine desire to share her horse knowledge with others. Perhaps in the next five or seven years, she will work towards becoming a barn monitor or even a Lancer camp counselor! With her evident love of Lancers and the horses, last year she even volunteered as an Honour Guard and a tour guide at our June Open House.
Charlotte’s favourite part of Lancers is definitely the horses but she also loves the people here. “I have made many good friends at Lancers”, she pointed out. Many Lancers will know Charlotte for her strong friendship with Megan, another R7 rider. It has been nice to see their friendship develop over the years and during much of their time spent at the stables now has them joined at the hip!
It is clear that a love of horses is in Charlotte’s veins and she now wants to be a veterinarian and always be with horses. She added, “I want to be a competitive jumper and own my own horse one day”. We just love that sense of aspiration. Without it, we would never come close to reaching our goals! When not at Lancers, Charlotte enjoys singing, taking vocal lessons, and being involved in school musicals and recitals. She also stays active by playing intramural sports and she particularly likes hockey!