Featured Junior Rider of the Month is Brenna Noble

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Spring at Lancers is always an exciting time. Our horses and riders get a bounce in their step as we begin to ride outside. Musical Ride practice launches and our busy spring/summer activity of therapeutic riding, camp, shows, and endless extra-curriculars is on the horizon. Yet, it is also a bittersweet time as the realisation dawns that we will soon be waving farewell to another group of wonderful Lancers who are graduating and leaving for university. Every spring, when we feature our graduating riders, it brings it home, just not for us but for them, that another chapter will begin. Soon, the place they have called their second home for a decade and a place they have come every single day, will be a place to visit as an alumni.

At Lancers, our programs are structured with a strong sense of mentorship which means that as junior riders progress, they inherently become mentors and role models for younger riders. When our graduating riders leave us, they leave a void in our community. Each spring, it seems near unfathomable to have our community without these graduating riders who each individually give so much to Lancers in a variety of ways. Yet, we are always confident that they will take with them on their new journey the Lancer spirit. Brenna Noble is one such graduating rider who we are very excited to see embark on her next chapter in life but are equally saddened to see her go.

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Brenna began riding in the Lancer junior beginner course ten years ago when she was eight. It was always her mother’s dream to ride as a child so Brenna had the opportunity to sign up for the beginner course. (And many years later, Brenna’s mum finally had her dream of riding and now rides twice a week in our adult rides). Starting in ride 12, Brenna has moved up through the ranks into ride 1. Over those years, she has participated in every aspect of Lancer life. Just like many other young Lancers, she started out helping with shavings and hay deliveries and clean up days. She began stablehanding and has also worked as a barn monitor. She also participated in Lancer training shows and worked her way to off-property shows which she has now been to many! Brenna has been an active member of the Junior Executive for the past five years, was the head of fundraising for three years, and this year is the President. With her team, she has planned community outreach efforts such as taking Jake the pony to Saint Vincent’s Nursing Home to spread some Christmas cheer and collecting donations for Mission to Seafarers’ Christmas boxes.

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Brenna has been in the Musical Ride for four years, two of which she was a leader. A summer highlight for Brenna for the past three years has been our Salmon River camp at which she was a leader-in-training for two years. She has also embraced our Lancer Pony Club and testing, and even represented Nova Scotia at the National Quiz. She has been the recipient of our Sarah Louise Smith Trophy (given each year to the Junior rider who contributes most to Lancer activities) and our Musical Ride Award. She has lovingly leased Ollie for two years which means she rides four times a week. Brenna earned her Rider Level 6 a few years ago and earned her instructor qualifications and began teaching at Lancers this year as a NCCP certified instructor. This year she is also one of our Therapeutic riding instructors. Above it all, Brenna has even volunteered her time to help with some administrative tasks in the office.

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Like so many of our riders, she manages to balance her participation at Lancers with her riding and excelling academically. She used to sail, sing in the Girl’s Honour Choir, and play field hockey until, as she says, “horses took over my life”. She added, “I happily spent six days a week at the barn”. When she was younger, she used to enjoy hanging out at the barn and helping out. While she still enjoys the unique social atmosphere at Lancers, she now also really enjoys teaching and seeing her riders have those “lightbulb” moments. She noted, “I love teaching because I get to pass on what I know about the sport”.

Over the years, Brenna’s favourite horses have included Phyllis, Bud, Punkin, and Ollie. Brenna explained, “I rode Phyllis a lot when I was young. Bud has been my wonderful Musical Ride partner. I love everything about him and his amazing personality and how he takes care of his riders. When I am teaching, I know I can trust him. Although now retired, Punkin is a sweet horse and I rode her in the downtown horse show one year. I love how tough she is on the outside but so caring on the inside (kinda like me). Ollie is my size and I love his sassiness”.

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Reflecting on her past horses, Brenna also noted that there is no way she can pick one of her favourite Lancer memories. While Ride 5 sleep overs were a highlight, Brenna noted: “when I think of Lancers, the first thing that comes to mind is walking to school and passing by the horses turned out in the paddock every morning. Whenever I pass by I can take a deep breath out, and am flooded with memories and feel grateful that they have all helped me to become the person that I am today”. She added, “Over the years, my time at Lancers has taught me leadership, determination, teamwork, and patience (that one was tough). One of the biggest impacts Lancers had on my life however was very recent and I would go so far as to say it reshaped my outlook on life. I am very competitive and quick to look ahead to whatever my next goal may be. I often forget to live in and appreciate the present moment. One of my biggest wake up moments was when I was teaching junior course earlier this year. Having the new riders trot for the first time, I remember looking up and being met with the biggest smiles, and infectious laughter. Reflecting back on those moments, I always smile. At that time, the riders were enchanted by the present, and I was drawn right in with them.”

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In September, Brenna will be attending McGill University for a Bachelor of Arts and Science and leaning towards majoring in sustainability and social sciences. She would love to someday play a role in turning around our planet's climate crisis. The one thing she is sure of is that she wants to keep riding! Next year, she plans on trying out for the McGill Equestrian team, and will keep taking lessons regardless of whether or not she makes the team. As she heads off on this very exciting journey, she hopes to take some of Lancers with her. She explained, “I hope to carry forward that same care for others, while not forgetting that a little tough love isn't always a bad thing”.

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We also asked Brenna what she will miss about Lancers. She replied: “The people, the horses, the quick walk across the street from school, chats in the locker room before rides. Most of all the laughs and good times. It's going to be really hard leaving such a strong community of dedicated athletes who are all so supportive of one another. That is one of the special things about Lancers; everyone is watching out for each other, and happy to supply a shoulder to cry on when things get tough. I know I can always count on my friends at the barn when I need someone. Moving forward, I know that I've made connections for life”.

We are so thankful for all that Brenna has given us, wholeheartedly, for so many years. She has been a true leader in our community and has always exhibited the Lancer spirit with the highest integrity and sense of sportsmanship. We know that she will make us so proud.

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Brenna, we look forward to welcoming you as one of our newest members of our alumni network in a few short months. We look forward to the first time you walk through those barn doors on a visit. We’re certain there will be LOTS of squealing with excitement from our Lancers.

Janet Hawley