Lancers is Deeply Committed to Mental Health

Today is World Mental Health Day and at Lancers, we are deeply and wholeheartedly committed to mental health. When Lancers was established in 1936, a sense of camaraderie was a founding principle. Under the Lancer name, riders were to share a mutual trust and respect, support each other, and work together. 82 years later and we are just as genuinely dedicated to holding, fostering, and celebrating our community that encourages peer-support, all through a love of horses. The physical and mental health of our riders and horses are never far from our minds.

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Through the love of horses, Lancers is a safe community where we can express ourselves, ask for help when we need it, support each other, and talk when we need to. We are proud that within our community, our riders, the majority of whom are young females, feel safe to develop as individuals with a strong voice. Our programs are set up in a way that older junior riders mentor younger juniors, right from the very first day. As the younger juniors grow in their sportsmanship skills, they soon learn to become mentors themselves. In doing this, everyone who walks through our doors has someone they can look up to and who they feel comfortable with; everlasting friendships are formed. On bad days, coming into the barn with the horses and feeling the social solidarity of the barn, provides a welcome reprieve. We are all here for each other. Every Lancer, whether a junior or adult rider, instructor, staff, or parent, look out for one another.

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Some people may think that Lancers is all about riding but that could not be further from the truth. Unlike sports with inanimate equipment, our sport and activity rely on the trust of another living being. The positive effects of the horse-human relationship and connections have been well documented through studies and programs throughout the world. Horses aren’t just big pets; they are animals that respond to us, they feel our emotions, they sense all the fibers in our being. They say so much but yet never say anything at all. Above all, horses listen. They listen to us when we are happy, when we are frightened, or angry, or simply pondering what comes next. We recognise that our riders, volunteers, staff, parents, and friends are exceedingly fortunate to have that opportunity to share these great animals. At Lancers, we also recognise that we are custodians of what are in effect, Halifax’s horses, and are dedicated to ensuring that we share the horses with the greater Halifax community. We are always thankful to see (and hear) people coming to the fence line to visit the horses. They learn the horse’s names, get to know them, and smile from even just a few minutes watching them. Sometimes this includes tourists, or hospital staff in scrubs, sometimes daycare children, sometimes patients in wheelchairs. In addition, we offer therapeutic programming and riding, public barn tours, school visits, open houses, and summer Musical Ride Performances so we can share these horses and have the HRM experience the joy and benefit of horses for no cost whatsoever. We are so thankful for all that we can share and for all that horses give to our lives. #WorldMentalHealthDay

Janet Hawley