ANGIE HOLT

Head coach and BARN MANAGER

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Angie is an Equine Canada Competition Coach and a former Lancer. Angie learned to ride in the Lancer Junior Beginner Course and was a junior member of Lancers in the 1980s and 1990s. While at Lancers, Angie competed at the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto with her legendary horse Prince of Thieves (Robin). Angie began her teaching career at Lancers before spending a number of years developing her equestrian skills as a working student in the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. In Holland, she managed a barn of 80 horses and has also held riding and/or coaching positions in Florida, Quebec, and New Jersey at top level Hunter/Jumper facilities. Angie has been coaching in the HRM since 2002 and Lancers is very fortunate to have her back.

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As Head Coach and Barn Manager, Angie has a very clear vision for Lancers. She strives to ensure that Lancers fosters each rider with a sense of discipline, responsibility, and empathy, and cares for others, be it animal or fellow community members. Above all, she hopes that every rider comes out of the program a better person. Her coaching philosophy is to try to help each rider discover their own potential and work towards a higher level of communication with their horses, recognising that each horse and rider combination will present a unique set of challenges. At the core of her teaching values is encouragement - to do their best, to constantly expand their knowledge of riding and horse care and to be good citizens in the Lancer and Halifax community. Through riding, without really knowing it, riders are learning and developing essential life skills such as verbal and non-verbal communication skills, listening skills, an ability to negotiate through complex relationships, and spatial awareness, and characteristics like courage, perseverance, patience, self-reflection, and an attuned awareness of others. Angie inspires Lancer instructors to approach their lessons with structure and to similarly encourage their riders to uphold Lancer values.

In their own words:

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Lancers?

“I most definitely enjoy the sense of community and the horses. There is such a broad demographic of people riding here from such interesting backgrounds, all coming together for their love of horses. The horses at Lancers are truly incredible. I’m amazed every day at how much they give our riders. It’s incredible to watch a horse and rider come together as one, and to see the horses offer this special connection to so many different riders is truly humbling.”

What do you think makes Lancers unique? 

“Being in an urban setting offers some unique advantages as well as challenges. We not only have a great sense of community within the barn but are part of the community at large as well. We always try to serve the community with free events like our Musical Ride performances and Open House events. The city of Halifax has these horses as part of its landscape and we enjoy seeing Haligonians and visitors on our fence line observing the horses play outside and watching our lessons.”

How does Lancers compare or contrast to other barns you have worked/taught at? 

“The emphasis on horse care rather than just riding is really put into action at Lancers. Youth spend their days here caring for the horses whether they have a lesson that day or not. The teens help the younger kids with their chores. Whether it’s mucking stalls, loading hay into our loft or putting the finishing touches on a horse to get them show-ring-ready, the riders are a part of it from start to finish.”

What else should riders/members know about you? 

“I am a mother of two young girls who also ride at Lancers. I consider Lancers my “village” that helps me raise them. I am eternally grateful for all of the support I get in helping them grow into caring, responsible citizens.”
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A little-known fact about you is...

“I can ride a unicycle and stand on my head!”

MELISSA REID

Instructor

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Melissa is a Level 1 Coach and spent her early coaching career teaching at Lancers. Melissa left Lancers to obtain a Bachelor of Education and eventually moved to England where she was a barn manager and instructor for seven years. She managed and taught at a stable that had 80 horses, 40 of which were school horses. Melissa returned to Canada a few years ago and we are thrilled that she is back teaching at Lancers.  

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Melissa absolutely loves to teach. She cares about her students and the horses and as she says, “that moment when a rider ‘gets it’ is like nothing else”. While Melissa herself is no longer able to ride, teaching has become her therapy. Melissa teaches on Tuesday evenings and you will often see her with her adorable dog Henry who equally loves coming to the barn. When she says “do you want to go see the horses?” he knows exactly what she is talking about and whines all the way there in the car!” A little-known fact about Melissa is that after driving in the UK for eight years, she still gets in the wrong side of her car to drive on a regular basis! 

 In their own words: 

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Lancers?  

“I love what Lancers stands for. I have yet to see a riding school with the enthusiasm, high standards, and quality of horses and horsemanship that you see here. I take such pride in saying that I teach at Lancers, not only because it is a place near and dear to my heart, but also because of what Lancers represents in the horse community. We care about our riders. We care about our horses - and it shows. I just love being a part of that and I look forward each and every week to seeing my students and watching them grow.”  

What do you think makes Lancers unique?  

“Lancers has this energy that takes on a life of its own. It is something I have never seen anywhere else. The volunteers that help to keep Lancers running smoothly are just incredible. Angie is also amazing. She cares so much about every horse and rider.” 

How does Lancers compare or contrast to other barns you have worked/taught at?  

“Lancers is, bar none, the best barn I have taught at. The Lancer standards are incredibly high, the enthusiasm the volunteers bring to the organization, and the quality of our horses make Lancers a unique and amazing place to teach.” 

PAT STEELE

Instructor

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After many years out of the saddle, Pat came to Lancers as an adult rider and rode here for ten years. She joined Lancers as an instructor in the past few years. She achieved her Level 1 Coaching certificate in 1978 when she was actively involved with the Canadian Pony Club. She was an instructor at both the Rothesay and the Fredericton Pony Clubs. As a junior rider, Pat competed in horse shows and three National Pony Club Rallies and she achieved an A level, the highest level that Pony Club awarded. She also competed in eventing up to preliminary level, which includes dressage, cross-country and stadium jumping. Pat teaches adults on Thursday evenings and her riders always appreciate her encouraging teaching style.  

 In their own words: 

What do you enjoy most about Lancers or teaching at Lancers? 

“I love my Thursday night classes. In the first lesson (A2), I teach adult riders who are either just learning to ride or returning to riding after so many years ago that it feels like starting over. They bring a great positivity and try anything that is on the menu for the lesson. They are all so supportive of each other and have a great sense of duty for the health and well-being of the horses - and this is paramount in my approach to teaching. My other group of riders (J3) has previous riding experience and I see my role as helping them transition from being just a “rider” to assessing the horse they are riding and evaluating how to improve that horse/rider experience.” 

What do you think makes Lancers unique? How does Lancers compare or contrast to other barns you have worked/taught at?  

“Lancers is unique in that it offers horsemanship and not just “riding lessons”. I wouldn’t want to teach at a stable that doesn’t teach horsemanship as part of their curriculum. Also, having a membership at Lancers makes riding so much more affordable than horse ownership.” 

What else should riders/members know about you?  

“I wouldn't have had the opportunity to begin riding it there hadn't been a Pony Club with a similar set-up as Lancers and I am thankful for that. I can't imagine my life without horses. Even though I don't have the physical strength I used to have, I still work to improve every time I ride and I still get that sense of exhilaration as everything else falls away when you focus on that experience.” 

BELINDA MAIER

Instructor

Belinda is a Level 1 Coach and rode at Lancers in the 1990s and early 2000s.  
As a rider, she showed in the hunter and jumper ring in Nova Scotia and through her participation in Pony Club, she had the opportunity to compete in Quebec and South Africa. Belinda particularly enjoyed medal classes; the CEF medal was her favourite class. Her love of coaching led her to her current career in education. Having a school teacher who is accustomed to working with youth is a great asset to Lancers. Belinda is particularly happy to be back at Lancers after a number of years away. Working with riders who are passionate and want to learn has reignited her passion for education. When not teaching at school or Lancers, Belinda also teaches the Equine Theory course for individuals looking to earn their instructor certification and she is also an evaluator for the Learn to Ride rider level program for Equine Canada.  


 What do you enjoy most about Lancers or teaching at Lancers? 

“I love the Lancer spirit and sense of community. Everyone is so passionate about the horses and the barn and work so well together to make Lancers the fantastic facility that it is.” 

What do you think makes Lancers unique? 

“The history of Lancers, as well as the people over many generations who have worked hard to continue and build upon the many Lancer traditions such as the Musical Ride, make Lancers unique.” 

What else should riders/members know about you?  

“I find it very rewarding to be part of that “light bulb moment” when something clicks for a rider or a horse.” 

CHARLOTTE GRACE

Instructor

Charlotte has been riding at Lancers since 2001 and recently joined the team as an NCCP certified instructor. Charlotte has been riding since 1999 (at Briarwood and Pine Hill) and started at Lancers in 2001. While also riding at Lancers, she has competed in on and off-property shows around the province. Her show experience also extends to the very important and skilled role of groom. She worked as a groom for Evan Phinney for twelve summers and even accompanied her to the Royal West in Calgary. After a year in British Columbia, Charlotte returned to Halifax as was keen to return to Lancers. She was enrolled in lessons at Lancers before she was enrolled in university classes for that fall! She noted, “Since then, I’ve pretty much lived and breathed Lancers. Distance made my heart grow fonder”. A self-proclaimed stickler, Charlotte expects her riders and horses to be well turned out with clean tack, tidy tucked-in shirts with belts, horses that are groomed to a shine with no shavings in manes and tails and hooves that are free of dirt and debris. This is important, Charlotte explains, because it not only shows good horsemanship but it shows respect for your coach, the horse, and Lancers as an institution. 


CLAIRE FERGUSON

Instructor

Claire is an NCCP certified instructor and teaches both youth and adult lessons on Monday evenings. Claire is another Lancer instructor who began riding in the Lancer Junior Beginner Course in 2007. She takes the sport very seriously and began competing at a young age. She has competed in both the hunter and jumper ring and aspires to do more in the jumpers. Over the years she has become a familiar face around the barn. In addition to riding three times a week, and prior to becoming an instructor, Claire spent two years as a barn monitor and this year was a full-time summer camp counsellor. She was in the Musical Ride for the past four years and is the current Vice-President of the Lancer Junior Executive. When she began her role as a Lancer instructor, teaching came quite easily to her as Claire possesses some wonderful leadership skills. For Claire, it is the incredible range and versatility that makes Lancers unique – from beginner courses to showing opportunities, clinics, and fun weekends, you can be with Lancers from age eight, right into adulthood.  


CAROLINE FERNANDEZ 

Instructor

After riding at Lancers for the past eight years, Caroline has now joined Lancers as an NCCP certified instructor. In 2017, she also held the full-time role of March Break Camp and Summer Camp counsellor. Caroline began riding in 2009 and has spent the entirety of her riding career at Lancers but has also had the privilege for owning her own horse, Jakey. After getting a start in the show ring on Lancer ponies, she now competes with Jakey in the jumper ring with numerous championships in the 1.15 division. In addition to competing, Caroline has been the leader of our Musical Ride for the past two years. Caroline teaches some of our youngest riders who benefit greatly from her kind and patient teaching style. According to Caroline, she is happiest teaching beginners because she loves “seeing them fall in love with horses and the sport”.  


LAUREN WILLETT

Instructor

Lauren is another enthusiastic former Lancer who is now an NCCP certified instructor. She started teaching at Lancers in 2016 and we are very lucky that she can stay with us during her studies at Dalhousie. Lauren attended the Lancer beginner summer camp in 2008 and was hooked; she graduated from Ride 1 in 2016. During that time, Lauren was involved in Musical Ride, rider levels, barn monitoring, stablehanding and Junior Executive. She was also fortunate enough to participate in competitions and leased Oliver (one of our school horses) in her last year of the junior rides. This means that Lauren has a long institutional knowledge of all the different experiences one can gain at Lancers. Lauren teaches the Saturday morning Lancer lessons but she says it never feels like work. Her experience of learning to ride at Lancers as a child has greatly influenced Lauren’s approach to teaching. She recalls being a horse crazy kid who was excited to learn all she could about horses and now she marvels at the fact that she gets to teach junior riders who are just like that! She can also relate to riders, like herself, who love horses but are a bit timid. She wants all riders to know that they can come to her with any horse questions.   


ELIZABETH MELVIN

STABLEHAND

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Elizabeth Melvin is Lancers full time stable hand who has worked here since 1989.  She has an extensive background in caring for horses having grown up in a “horse family” that raised and trained standard bred horses. Elizabeth looks after the horses daily needs as well as playing a vital role in maintaining their overall health and wellness.

Elizabeth is acutely aware of all of our horses quirks. This is important because she is able to note any change in behavior that could affect the horses health and happiness.  


SASKIA FELDERHOF

Stablehand

From an early age, Saskia had a love for all things animal. But when she saw her first horse, that was it! And so it began...From books about horses to riding lessons, it was clear she had found her passion. 

Saskia’s first job at a large hunter/jumper boarding and lesson facility came along in her early 20’s. Here, she found not only an employer, but a mentor. Like a duck to water, she quickly accumulated knowledge of horse care and gained essential hands on experience. Soon, she was promoted to barn manager, and became a groom for one of Nova Scotia’s top professional jumper riders. With compassion, work ethic, and attention to detail, Saskia excelled, not in showing horses herself, but in the work that was required behind the curtains. She had found her niche!

Saskia has been fortunate to have managed some of the top equestrian facilities in and around Halifax, and has been a horse owner herself. With over 20 years of experience to her credit, she continues to work in the equine industry with the same passion she started with as a child. 

 

 

 

Two feet move your body. Four feet move your soul.