Featured Adult Rider of the Month is Constance MacIntosh

MVIMG_20180930_161057.jpg

When we talk about Lancers being like a family, sometimes it is quite literally true. With our junior and adult riding programs, we have a surprising amount of parents who are also Lancer riders. Constance MacIntosh, mother to Brenna Noble (our featured junior rider of the month) has been a Lancer parent for the past ten years but three years ago, joined Lancers as an adult rider. Constance explained her rationale by noting, “Brenna grew up here and it was clear that she has strength, resilience, judgement, and openness by virtue of the work here. It is really incredible watching your child grow up here. I watch her gain confidence and become a focused kid who knew she was capable of doing really hard things and that even if you failed at something five times, it didn’t mean you weren’t going to succeed on the sixth time. It was an important lesson in the context of hard, physical (and dirty) work so I wanted some of that!” Constance laughed and added, “the physical labour maybe not but it is the great equaliser and it’s important to have that”.

IMG-2640.jpg

Constance entered into A2 on Thursday nights with Pat and moved into Belinda’s A3 group last year. Upon seeing how much faster junior riders were progressing by riding twice a week, Constance joined our Tuesday morning adult ride because she “knew [she] needed to learn more”. For Constance, it is a difficult choice between the people and the horses in terms of what she enjoys most about Lancers. She added, “Maybe it is the attitude. It is a ridiculously supportive environment for learning about yourself as well as learning to develop the skills sets. You are challenged personally every single time you are here. There are always people here to help you see it through”. Constance also found it tricky to choose a favourite Lancer horse as they are all so lovely. Ollie, who Brenna leases, is a contender because she has heard so much about him over the years. She explained, “I have heard about this little horse`s progression who got distracted by butterflies with a cute personality, who lost his distraction with butterflies but kept his cute personality”. While Constance does ride Ollie (which is incredibly sweet to have mother and daughter ride the same pony), she rides Tootsie the most. She added that there are good days and bad. “The good days are very, very good and I get the hint that maybe, just maybe that horse is bending, regardless, she is always so sweet at the end of the ride, full of cuddles and rubs”, she said. Constance added that she hopes to one day ride Inga because she has seen her do so much at Lancers (camp, therapeutic riding, shows, adult and junior lessons etc.) but some of the adults don’t find her to be their favourite because of her stubborn personality.

IMG-1181.JPG

Over the years, Constance has had a taste of various volunteer and parent roles at Lancers which includes driving riders and grooms to horse shows, helping with barn clean up days, shavings and hay deliveries, and canteens. An annual highlight for Constance is giving children Pony rides at our October Open House. She explained, “it is such a blast and all the children have lovely stories and they are so busy telling me how much they love the horses that I worry that they won’t get a chance to actually feel the horse ride!” So many of the children, according to Constance, know the horses’ names having visited and watched them in lessons and turn out. Beyond volunteering, Constance has also kicked her riding into another gear recently. She completed her rider levels 1 to 3 this spring and made her training show debut at our Jump into Spring Training Show. She was so pleased with her ribbons that she pinned them to her shirt for the day! Constance is pretty focused on improving her riding and her goal for this year is to learn to bring a horse to a tidy halt without using her reins.

IMG-0231.JPG

When we asked Constance what impact Lancers has had on her own life, she explained that Lancers got her through her parents’ deaths: “It allowed me to completely focus on something else emotionally and physically. It continues to give that complete moment of focus and attention.” Beyond all the hard work, Constance has found some very special memories and moments at Lancers. A recent favourite memory was turning Jake the pony into a reindeer this past Christmas and parading him with all the junior riders across the Commons to St. Vincent’s Nursing Home for a holiday visit. She added, “Jake was ridiculously perky and wanted to burst into a trot, and the juniors were so delighted to form human barriers at every road we had to cross. Of course, it was such a treat to be at St Vincent’s, where the residents kept trying to talk the staff into bringing Jake into the building, and so many of them had beautiful stories to share about their love of horses.  And, as a bonus, I got to share the experience with Brenna”. Another recent favourite moment was watching Brenna teach a class of new riders, and seeing how much they made each other smile. “It felt like I was seeing into those children’s futures, and all the joy that could come to them over their coming years at Lancers, while at the same time marvelling at how Lancers has supported my daughter growing up to be a strong, kind and confident young woman who knows the value of mentorship”, she added.

 When not at Lancers, Constance is a competitive curling coach for competitive teams in the under 15 age group. She also enjoys travelling to places like China and New Zealand and enjoys lots of back country canoe trips and what she calls “hard core food gardening”.

We look forward to many more years with Constance as an adult rider and can’t wait to see her grow even more as a rider. Who knows…maybe she will make her debut in the Downtown Horse Show this year!

Janet Hawley