Our Team

 

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 owned and 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.

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.”

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. For the 2018-2019 year, Melissa will be on maternity leave. 

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.”

 

Belinda Maier

Instructor

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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.  

 

In their own words:

 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

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Charlotte has been riding at Lancers since 2001 and joined the team as an NCCP certified instructor in 2017. 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. 

 

In their own words:

What do you enjoy most about teaching at Lancers? 

“I'm a new instructor so I'm really enjoying the learning experience of teaching all different levels and age groups. Teaching all different levels has helped not only my teaching skills but also my riding skills. I feel I am becoming a better rider and having more 'a-ha' moments, I believe this translates into my teaching and vice versa. I think I tell Angie at least once a week about some revelation I've had either through teaching a lesson or riding in one.” 

What do you think makes Lancers unique?  

“I think every Lancer has the same answer to this question, without a doubt the Lancer community is the most unique part of this magical place. It is rare to find a barn that is filled with people who are here because they genuinely love the horses and the sport. I don't think any Lancer would tell you they are only here to have riding lessons. We come to Lancers because we love every aspect of the sport and all the hard work and dedication that is involved in keeping 27 horses happy and healthy. Lancers wouldn't be what it is without our community of riders, young and old, who come together in good times and in bad to keep this place alive.” 

What else should riders/members know about you?  

“I am open to all questions, comments or criticisms. I still have a lot to learn about teaching and riding and hope that all riders and parents feel comfortable enough to ask me any questions and give me any and all feedback they may have!” 

A little-known fact about you is... 

“When I rode at Lancers as a kid, I split my summers between riding and sailing competitively. I made the decision to pick horses over sailing when I was 16 and I haven't regretted it even once.” 

 

Brenna Noble

Instructor

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Brenna recently earned her NCCP instructor certification and is joining the Lancer team of instructors in September, 2018. She brings nearly ten years of riding experience and has achieved her rider level 6. Brenna began riding in our Junior Beginner course at age eight and is an instructor who has been trained through the Lancers’ junior membership program. Over the years, she has developed the skills to also work as a barn monitor and stable hand. Brenna leases Ollie and has been showing for a number of years in the hunter ring. She has also been a member of the Junior Executive and a leader in the Musical Ride.  

 
 

In their own words: 

How has Lancers prepared you to become an instructor? 

“The Lancer team has helped and supported me throughout the journey of becoming an instructor. That support and dedication that Lancers shows their riders is part of why I wanted to be an instructor.” 

What do you think makes Lancers unique? 

“The Lancer community is so special; it has taught me discipline, through the importance of getting a job done, patience, through working with horses, and most importantly, the value of teamwork. I want to be able to give back to Lancers by passing on those values.”  

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

“The Lancers learning experience is special as there are multiple instructors and they have all had their own teaching styles and tools. This has allowed me to see what type of teaching best benefits me and other riders while also gathering teaching tools from each one over the years. On top of instructors, there are barn monitors who teach in the barn and older riders who help the younger ones without prompt. It is one huge team sharing knowledge and a love of horses.”

What else should riders/members know about you?  

“Becoming a barn monitor was a huge step for me, as it showed me that I was capable of helping people reach their goals. I loved to see the kids (and adults) learn, and have their eyes opened to their own capabilities. My favourite thing about teaching is the moment when someone realizes that they can do more, and surprises themselves with what they are capable of. I love the motivation and pride it not only instills in the rider but also myself. Every person I’ve met through Lancers and riding has had an influence on the person I’ve become in the horse world, and I hope that my impact on some will be helping them reach those special moments of achievement.”  

A little-known fact about you is... 

“I have a fish named Dumpling and a cat named Avocado. I’ve also lived (and ridden) in New Zealand.”  

 

Gracie Walker

Instructor

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Gracie qualified as an NCCP certified instructor in 2018 and has earned her rider level 6. Gracie started riding nine years ago. Her first introduction was at the Lancers summer camp and she was instantly hooked. She completed the Junior Beginner Course and has been riding in the junior membership ever since. As this is her last year as a junior, she made sure to save up enough to lease Sadie, her favourite horse. Gracie is the Treasurer on the Junior Executive, was a Musical Ride leader in the 2018 season and is a Lancer Pony Club member. In 2017, she traveled to Kelowna, BC to participate in the National Quiz and this autumn, she will be going to the same competition in Ottawa with fellow instructor, Brenna.

 
 

In their own words:

How has Lancers prepared you to become an instructor?

“Last year I decided I would like to begin my path to becoming an instructor and the whole Lancer team was very supportive. I was able to get help from both Angie and Belinda who helped mentor me through the process. This year I also got the chance to teach the Pony Club lectures at Lancers for the more beginner riders which was a great opportunity for me!”

What do you think makes Lancers unique?

 “One of my favourite parts of Lancers is the emphasis on horsemanship and learning about caring for horses as well as riding them. I think that this is very important as all riders should learn about the animals they care so much about.”

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

 “All of the extra-curricular opportunities!”

 What else should riders/members know about you?

 “In the future, I hope to work in veterinary research and be a professor of equine veterinary science!”

A little-known fact about you is...

“A little known fact about me is that I have been skiing since I was 4 years old and before I got too busy with horses, I competed as a freestyle skier!”

 

Lauren Willett

Instructor

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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.   

 

In their own words:

How has Lancers prepared you to become an instructor?

“I love teaching at Lancers because it never feels like work. I remember being a horse crazy kid who was so excited to learn all I could about horses and now I get to teach young riders who are just like that!”

What do you think makes Lancers unique?

“The best part of Lancers is definitely our horses. When I was learning to ride I rode at a few different barns along the way and no riding school had horses as good as ours. Lancers has so many well-natured horses that are perfect to learn on. There is also a community feeling to Lancers that I haven’t felt at any other barn. Every day Lancers is full of people and there are so many different events going on outside of regular lessons.”

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

 “Something that riders should know about me is that they can come to me with any of their horse questions or issues. Whether it’s during a lesson or just around the barn I’m happy to help share any information I can.”

 What else should riders/members know about you?

 “In the future, I hope to work in veterinary research and be a professor of equine veterinary science!”

A little-known fact about you is...

“I used to be a bit of a scared rider when I was younger so I can always relate to someone who loves horses, but is still nervous.”

 

Sophia Andriopoulos

Instructor-In-Training 

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Sophia Andriopoulos has been an active member of Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers for the past eight consecutive years. She has earned her ride level six and is currently working on becoming an NCCP certified Instructor.  Sophia had her first introduction to riding at the Lancers’ summer camps then continued in the Junior Beginner Course. Since then, she has been riding in the junior membership, participating in horse shows, barn monitoring during the week, and stablehandling on the weekends. Sophia also holds the position of head of Social Committee of the Junior Executive and has also been a part of the Musical Ride for the past six years. Sophia leases Rupert and together, they compete in the jumper ring.  


 

 In their own words:

How has Lancers prepared you to become an instructor? 

“I am currently working towards becoming an instructor. Lancers is providing me with valuable mentorship time and ways to get lots of practice.” 

What do you think makes Lancer’s unique? 

“I love that I live in a city that has a stable which can house 27 horses right in the middle of an urban centre. Lancers is across the street from my high school and is a 15 minute walk from my house. It is special to have a community so heavily involved with our barn. Every day you can see young to old people who stop by to see the ponies.”   

What do you enjoy most about Lancers?  

“I see and feel that Lancers has a family environment. Riders of all ages are connected through the love of our horses. I have met some of my best friends through the barn.  We all stick together through the late nights, early mornings and hard work. Going to the barn allows me to forget about the pressures of being a teenager and is a safe environment. Your horse will never judge you!” 

What else should riders/members know about you?   

“For a small person, I have a very large voice which can be heard throughout the barn before I am seen.”   

A little-known fact about you is... 

“I love Rupert.  He has been my partner in crime for almost three years.  He also has his own Instagram account which can be found @kingrupert_.”  *This is actually a very well-known fact about Sophia* 

 

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Elizabeth Melvin

Stablehand

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. 


Barn Monitors 

At Lancers, each lesson day is assigned a barn monitor who, throughout the year, is responsible for overseeing and helping riders groom, tack up, prepare for their lessons, and complete ride chores like watering or feeding hay. Barn Monitors play a crucial role in the Lancer system that ensures that all riders are safe and learn correct horse care and horsemanship and are First Aid certified. The positions of Barn Monitors are filled by experienced junior riders and therefore provides youth with often their first source of employment and one that is within a safe and educational setting. Many of our instructors were former Barn Monitors. 

Our 2018-2019 Barn Monitors include:

Sophia Andriopoulos

Chloe Cook

Barb Mabe

Emily Rafuse

Jill Ryan


Weekend Stablehands

In a similar vein as Barn Monitors, junior riders and some adults are employed as stablehands on weekends and vacation. These individuals take on all the care for the horses and are First Aid certified. This stablehand role also gives junior riders the experience of caring for the horses and learning correct stable management protocol. 

Our 2018-2019 weekend stablehands include: 

 

Chloe Cook

Sophia Andriopoulos

Gracie Walker

Faith Tilley

Ella MacDonald

Gracie Walker

Maddy Whidden

Aminata Karakach

Kat Stratton

 

Kate Stewart-Good

Breagh Langille

Mia Chapman Belliveau

Leah Chevalier

Maya Jessome

Julie Rice

Kate Hartlen

Lael Grant Church