When we asked Mary when she started riding at Lancers, she promptly responded: “March 3, 1983”. How does she remember the exact day, thirty-four years ago? “It was a milestone”, she replied.
Mary began her riding career at Lancers in 1983 by joining the adult beginner course. It was the first time she has been around horses and was a particularly special experience because she never thought that she could ride because of her allergies. In fact, for the first ten years, she had to wear a mask while grooming (that’s dedication)!
During her time at Lancers, Mary organised the musical ride for five years, acted as ring crew for the Downtown horse show, has helped with hay, shavings, clean up days, and has even given tours for our open house and Doors Open. She very much enjoys showing people the facility.
Mary has spent her whole riding career with Lancers. What she enjoys most about Lancers is the community atmosphere and history. Particularly, Mary values that fact that Lancers brings together riders of all ages to enjoy the same horses and space. “It doesn’t matter your age”, Mary explained, “we are all supportive of each other”.
Mary added that while she has ridden at some other barns over the years (in addition to weekly rides at Lancers), the Lancers' history makes it very different from any other barn. In this vein, Mary (with enthusiasm in her voice), urged “for those of us who are lucky enough to ride here, it is important for us to realise and recognise how special it is. It is unique”. Lancers, Mary points out, has been very lucky to host many talented instructors with high-level qualifications and international experience.
Another special feature of Lancers for Mary is our location. Despite not having a car, she is still able to ride a horse every week! On this, she noted that while some other cities have “urban” barns, most are privately owned and are so ridiculously expensive that you can’t get in!
Mary intends to keep riding at Lancers for a very long time! She enjoys the riding but also the horses and the people. While Mary answered all of our questions with ease, she was stumped when we asked her to name her favourite horse. You could tell the fond memories were flooding back as she replied, “of all time…was….Ms…and then Digger…the very first horse I loved was Thunder…then there was Jenny…I loved Moonbeam for years…and Phyllis…now, Simba and Alice”.
Like most of our interviewees, Mary also had to think hard about her favourite memory from Lancers because “there’s so many, it is hard to choose”. She decided upon: “all the great horses we have been able to ride over the years. A lot of good horse people have come for clinics and have said to us that they can’t believe these are school horses”. It is little wonder that when Mary isn’t riding (or enjoying yoga), she loves to read biographies or anything to do with horses.
From Lancers, past and present, we thank you, Mary, for adding so much to our community and for loving our horses. Here is Mary enjoying her ride on Alice.