Our Featured Staff Member for June is Elizabeth Melvin!
As June has five Fridays, we are pleased to announce Elizabeth as our featured staff member of the month! Elizabeth is a fundamental part of the Lancer community. She has been a stablehand here for 28 and a half years! That makes Elizabeth our staff member who has been here the longest. Back in the pre-internet days, Elizabeth saw the job posting in the newspaper.
Many people won’t know but Elizabeth arrives at the barn every Monday-Friday at 7:30am. Her day starts with feeding the horses, turning out the first group of horses and then mucking their stalls. Half way through the morning, she switches turn out groups and then works on those horses’ stalls. Around lunch time she sweeps the barn and then gives the horses their lunch feed (and then takes her own lunch break). After lunch she does more turn out and moves on to tidying the barn, including the locker room, upstairs, and the bathrooms. She then feeds the horses again, and leaves at 4:30pm! On top of these regular tasks, Elizabeth also works with our other stablehand Saskia. Together they also make sure horses have hay, grain, any necessary supplements and administer medication to any horses in need.
Elizabeth’s work here is a continuation of her family’s involvement with Standardbreds and harness racing. About ten years ago, Elizabeth took the Lancers adult beginner course and her daughter Emily rode at Lancers for ten years, only ending last June after finishing in Ride 1. While she does get on her daughter’s horse every once and a while, she is more used to being in the cart rather than on the horse’s back! Elizabeth’s favourite horse at Lancers as is Simba. She likes that he has lots of character and is quite playful during turn out!
When asked how working at Lancers compares to other places, Elizabeth noted that Lancers is well organised and has a much nicer atmosphere. Being in the middle of the city adds to the appeal (makes for nice lunch breaks)!
We also asked Elizabeth what she enjoys most about Lancers to which she replied that she likes, of course, working with the horses, but also that there are lots of nice people here. Particularly Elizabeth pointed out “it is nice to meet all these people who come in and it is nice to see people who used to ride here a while ago sometimes even as kids, come back and bring their children with them”! On that note, one of Elizabeth’s favourite memories of Lancers was in June 1991 (almost exactly twenty-six years ago) when she was called up to the Mitchell Room only to find that everyone had thrown her a surprise baby shower complete with decorations and a stroller with a big bow on it!
Because Elizabeth has been here so long, we couldn’t resist asking her for some fun facts about Lancers. She noted that when she started here, most of the horses were black or bay (in keeping with the original 1936 Lancer ideal). Gradually horses of other colours have been added to the Lancer heard. She also mentioned that she has been caring for Peter, who is now 19, since he arrived at Lancers as a two year old!
We really appreciate everything that Elizabeth does for the horses and for our riders. We value her commitment to Lancers and hope to keep her around for many years to come (perhaps another twenty-eight)? Thank you, Elizabeth!