Our featured adult rider for July is Stephanie Fennell and we really can’t believe that we haven’t featured her earlier because she is a fantastic Lancer and always approaches her time here with a genuine desire to help others and give back. We have been fortunate to have Stephanie among us since February, 2017. Stephanie tells the story of how she got into Lancers in a rather funny way. She had been on our waitlist for the adult beginner course for some time and in February, we opened registration and Stephanie was next on our waitlist and so could register. So excited, she woke up her daughter, put her in the car in her PJs and drove to the barn to submit the payment and application. But just as she was signing up, she mentioned that she had some riding experience. Stephanie jokes that she was “rejected” from the beginner course and was told that our adult membership would be better suited to her experience level. We just happened to have a space in a suitable adult ride on Thursday nights. Stephanie recounted, “I felt like I was 12 years old again….my first lesson was on Alice…and it took me two weeks to walk upright again after that lesson”.
Stephanie rode as a child until her parents became unsupportive of the risk involved in the sport. She promised herself that when she “grew up” she would start again. She then dabbled in riding while living in Germany. Fast forward 15 years and when she was on maternity leave, she realized that she “must be grown-up enough now” to start to ride. She leased a horse in Enfield and everything was dandy until the horse moved to Moncton. Lancers was the next step! It is pretty clear that Stephanie thoroughly enjoys her time at Lancers. She explained, “I enjoy being with horses and learning from people of all ages and backgrounds about horseman/womenship. Life is grand at the Lancers! Each day I get to spend there, I feel like I get younger. I love hanging out with everyone, especially the new riders and the older riders. They share their experiences and anecdotes on each horse and I love hearing all the stories”.
Stephanie says that she enjoys every moment at Lancers but her most recent favourite memory was her first Lancer horse show with Alice this spring. She elaborated, “we cantered so well in the last flat division, that I had a permanent smile on my face for the next week. I felt like I was flying and I could tell she was having a great time as well”. Stephanie very much likes riding Alice, especially because she is reliable when learning a new task. But her “family of favourites” also includes Bud because he is faithful and dependable and Simba because he is playful and has no problem serving up attitude.
Stephanie has given her time to Lancers although with work and family, it is challenging to find a consistent volunteer schedule. She really enjoys learning from Helga about the barn during August clean-up (during which Stephanie helps out a lot). She describes herself as “the crazy one that washes the wash stall from top to bottom”! Since our quarantine, Stephanie has used initiative to find a new way to contribute. Since she can’t enter the barn, she has been tending to the memorial garden at the front of the barn.
In the future, Stephanie hopes to be able to join the Tuesday or Friday morning rides which are always much sought after. She also has aspirations of doing different rider levels but she knows that will take some time! She even has visions of moving into a loft apartment above the stables! Her dream, however, is for her daughter Evelyn to join Lancers (she is already on the beginner course waitlist for when she turns eight). She explained, “I hope that she will get to experience the wonderful community and be exposed to the older riders who provide such leadership to the new riders. We are so blessed to have this facility and these horses in our city and 10 minutes from our house”.
Stephanie, we are glad that you jumped at the chance to join us and that you enjoy your time with us as much as we enjoy our time with you. It is so apparent that you give your heart to Lancers and we are thankful that you found your way to Bell road.