At this time of year, we always have a few Lancers who set off for the next phase of their lives when they finish university. Their departure always leaves a void but we are so proud of their achievements. To mark the occasion, Kathleen Bowman, Gabby Lemoine, Ashley Keary, and Elizabeth Rollinson are our featured adult riders of the month! These young women are strong, smart, know how to advocate for themselves, and are ready to take on the world! While we can’t claim too much responsibility for who they have become, we hope that during their time with us they have felt supported and that being a Lancer has added something to their lives which will stay with them long after they have left the stables in the Heart of Halifax. As our alumni Kevin Crosby said, “once a Lancer, always a Lancer”. So, Kathleen, Gabby, Ashley, and Elizabeth, may Lancer red always stay in your heart. We know you will bring great things to this world and from all of us back at Lancers, we’re rooting for you!
Kathleen Bowman is leaving Lancers after riding with us for four years during her undergraduate degree at Dalhousie. This year she rode in A1 on Tuesday nights and loved that gang! On top of that, Kathleen has been an extremely valuable volunteer since last September coming every Wednesday and Friday mornings to help our stablehands with a variety of tasks! Kathleen was our featured adult rider of the month in November so you can read more about her on our website. In that feature, she spoke about how she was pursuing her dreams of becoming a veterinarian and that her top choice of vet school was University College Dublin. It was just nine days ago that she emailed us to say that she had been accepted into vet school at her top choice and will be moving to Ireland! We are beyond thrilled for Kathleen and are so happy that we could provide her a space to volunteer with animals. Last week was Kathleen’s last volunteering shift with us and it was a sweet moment to see how much Elizabeth, our stablehand who had been working with Kathleen, valued having her around. Kathleen, your genuine concern for animals is so apparent and your future patients will be lucky to benefit from your calming disposition and high standard of care.
Gabby Lemoine has been riding at Lancers the longest, fifteen years to be exact. She started in 1997 when she was seven years old and took a few years off during her undergraduate degree. In recent years, she returned as a J-rider and Ollie has been her favourite horse. She even had the opportunity to lease him during her second year of law school. Gabby’s favourite part of Lancers is the horses but also for the wonderful community it provides. She explained, Lancers is an inclusive place with a focus on volunteerism, teamwork, and learning. Anyone who loves horses, who is passionate about riding and horsemanship, and who isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty (both literally and figuratively) has a place here. The community focused aspect of Lancers is something I treasure, and it’s one of the reasons I am so heartbroken to be leaving (for the second time in my life). As Gabby sets to depart on her new chapter in life (next Tuesday to be precise), she reflected back on her best memories of Lancers which included finding a life-long friend when she was just seven, spending all of her evenings and weekends at the barn, traipsing around horse shows with her friend Jaclyn, riding Willie and Babe in the Mediums, and of course, Musical Ride. She added, “I look back on those days as some of the best of my life. More recently, coming back and being welcomed with open arms, gaining back my confidence as a rider, and making wonderful new friendships with both junior and adult riders has been so special”. The great thing about memories is that you can take them with you anywhere. Gabby is graduating from Dalhousie Law School in May and her Lancer memories will accompany Gabby to Toronto where she is articling at a big law firm. After articles, she is moving to Ottawa for one year to clerk at the Federal Court of Appeal. After that, it’s very likely she will return to Toronto with the hope of practicing Aboriginal and Administrative Law, maybe with Intellectual Property and Tax mixed in! Her larger dreams are to buy a horse, someday move back to Halifax and have her children in the Musical Ride. Gabby, Halifax’s loss is Toronto’s gain.
Ashley Keary has been riding for sixteen years and started riding at Lancers this past November in our J rides. Ashley has been a great addition to our rides and has brought us much expertise and experience, as she rode with none other than Ian Millar prior to University. She has competed at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and even did some FEI competitions in Hong Kong! We are sorry to see her head back to Ontario. She explained that while most moments at Lancers are great, her best memories include volunteering with the therapeutic riding program. She loved the essence of the program and had the pleasure of meeting wonderful teachers and riders. Another favourite moment was one day when she rode the sweet veteran Simba and as she was tacking up, he started to non-stop softly play with a corgi plush toy keychain on her bag! “It melted my heart”, she said. She also mentioned that it is hard to choose a favourite horse but she really enjoyed riding Sadie, Rockette, and Ollie. Ashley’s future plans include finishing her psychology degree at Dalhousie accompanied with an Animal Behaviour certificate. While she isn’t sure where she will end up geographically, she will always have horses in her life.
Elizabeth Rollinson also joined us in November and rode in the A3 group on Wednesday nights. Elizabeth rode in Ontario and was able to join us for her last year at Dalhousie. Elizabeth loved riding Alice and we hope she can keep riding when she returns to Toronto having now graduated from her undergraduate degree! We wish you all the best, Elizabeth!