One great thing about Lancers (among many) is that we have a long history. This means that we often have the joy of seeing riders join us when they are young and then have them ride with us into their adult years! Emma Murphy-Barteaux is one such rider and we are very happy to be featuring her as our adult rider of the month!
Emma grew up close to Lancers, just on the other side of The Commons and remembers watching in awe as Lancers rode in the old riding ring that used to be across the street. She recalls being extra delighted anytime her and her family would walk by and horses would be turned out so she “could lure them over to the fence and pet them”. In 1997, at the age of 8, Emma got her chance and started at Lancers in the Beginner Junior Course! Over the years she moved up through the ranks from ride 9 to ride 1. She did Pony Club, completed Rider Levels (and was even a demonstration rider for the pilot program that became Rider Levels as we know them now), groomed for and later rode in Musical Ride and performed at The Fall Fair, showed on the provincial hunter circuit, participated in clinics, gave barn tours and pony rides during Open Houses, and worked as a Sunday stable hand and as a barn monitor! Fast forward twenty years and Emma now rides in our J-ride, our advanced ride for young adults.
When asked what she enjoys most about Lancers, Emma explained that the accessibility of Lancers in an important aspect for her. She explained, “My family is not horse-y and is not wealthy so going outside of the city for riding lessons as a child would have been out of the question. If it wasn’t for the location of Lancers I would not have been able to pursue riding, my passion for it would have been lost and I would have never gotten to experience one of the greatest loves of my life - horses! The team spirit and comradery at Lancers is second to none. Even in competitive settings everyone is supportive and encouraging and is always happy to see their fellow Lancers do well”.
Emma found it hard to narrow down her favourite memories of Lancers but decided upon showing her all-time favourite horse, the late Rocky. She loved getting Rocky all dolled up and showing him off property was always fun and a great source of pride. She added, “I always tried to make sure he was turned out as well as possible to distract from his awful “Spare Parts” show name”. Emma rode Rocky from the time he came to Lancers as a spunky five-year-old (1998/1999) right up until his death in 2014. She reminds us of how important horses can be to us: “He was with me through out very formative years, all through junior high, high school and beyond. We did everything together (show, clinics, musical ride etc.). He meant the world to me; I still think of him and miss him every day”. Emma’s current favourite is Inga who very much reminds her of Rocky with her similar “you have to earn it” disposition.
We are so happy that Emma still rides with us at Lancers. She particularly enjoys riding in her current J ride as several of them have ridden here for many years and she finds it great fun to be reunited and reminisce about past times and past horses. When not riding, Emma enjoys her dog Hart, cooking, DIY projects, and photography (Emma is also vegan and loves tattoos)! In her future, she would like to combine her love of animals and helping people, perhaps through therapeutic riding and therapy dogs. Horse ownership is a lifelong goal/dream and she is determined to make it happen one day!
We certainly hope Emma continues to ride with us for another 20+ years! Her story is inspiring and is another reminder of how fortunate we are to have horses in the city. It is great to see many of our riders taking a moment to stop during a lesson warm-up and talk to passers-by and tell them about their Lancer horse. Emma’s story goes to show that you never know, that small child on the fence wanting to pet the horse might just be a future Lancer! Thank you, Emma, for your service as a Lancer for the past twenty years. Don’t forget to share your reminiscences with us!