Liv­ing the Dream

Avon View equestrian eye­ing pro­vin­cial, na­tional teams

Valley Journal Advertiser - - COVER STORY - BY COLIN CHISHOLM WWW. HANTSJOURNAL. CA Colin. chisholm@ hantsjournal. ca

Bril­liant, a stark white horse with hints of grey, tries to use metal bars to itch a scratch on her ear. Notic­ing this from her pe­riph­ery, Maddy Singer reaches up and takes care of the itch for her.

It’s ap­par­ent that the pair, Singer and Bril­liant, have a strong bond – train­ing ev­ery day prob­a­bly helps that.

Singer, who will soon turn 17, is a stu­dent at Avon View High School, but for her, horses take prece­dence.

“I’ve had (Bril­liant) for three years and we started out, me and her weren’t get­ting along, and then we just started get­ting along and now hope­fully we can go higher in jump­ing,” Singer said. “Just both do­ing a lot more this year.”

The young equestrian has been rid­ing horses since she was seven years old and shows no sign of stop­ping.

As she talks about her ex­pe­ri­ence at the Mary Henry Equine Cen­tre at the Hants County Ex­hi­bi­tion Ground, also known sim­ply as “the barn,” horses from other gates neigh en­thu­si­as­ti­cally as own­ers bring in hay.

“I used to go to a farm in Brook­lyn as a child with my aunt and she’d put me on the horses and I’d just sit on them, and that got me in­ter­ested in rid­ing. I had a dirt bike and my dad said I could ei­ther get an­other dirt bike or an­other horse and I picked the horse,” she said.

“I just thought I could go some­where with the rid­ing in­stead of dirt bik­ing.”

Busy sea­son ahead

Be­ing part of the equine world has cer­tainly kept her busy, com­pet­ing reg­u­larly in horse shows. She hasn’t been out­side the prov­ince yet for a show, but she’s hop­ing to get to that level.

Dur­ing the in­ter­view, Singer was get­ting ready for the Windsor Spring Horse Show from May 18- 21. The event is one of the main fundrais­ers for the Avon Pony Club, bring- ing in rid­ers of all ages.

It’s the sec­ond show of the year so far, pre­ceded by train­ing all win­ter.

“We’ve been train­ing reg­u­larly, get­ting them fit and ready to go,” she said. “We do a lot of work­ing with jump­ing, get­ting her body up, and things we’ve never done be- fore that we’re try­ing this year.”

One of the big­gest as­sets is the bond be­tween horse and rider.

“There’s a lot of trust be­tween the horse and the rider,” she said. “It’s about mak­ing sure the horse doesn’t stop on you, dump­ing you off. The horse wants you to be there so they have the con­fi­dence to make it over.”

For the Windsor Spring, Singer is hop­ing to achieve Mitre- 10, her goal for the year. She’s only done it once or twice, and has fallen off – but, as the say­ing goes, she’s get­ting back on the horse and try­ing again.

“I see my­self go­ing fur­ther with this, go­ing a lot higher with jump­ing, and hope­fully teach­ing down the road,” she said. “I ride five times a week at my house and most week­ends I’m go­ing to horse shows.”

Spend­ing all that time around horses has led to a tight- knit group of friends.

“A lot of peo­ple call us ‘ the horse peo­ple’ - we’re all dressed in our rid­ing stuff and a lot of the peo­ple hang out in groups, like there’s the barn groups, me and my coach all hang out in a group,” she said. “Some of the hunters will hang out, some of the jumpers.”

Keep­ing at it

“To me, ( Bril­liant) is like fam­ily. I would never leave her be­hind. For me, she comes first.”

Singer has her eyes on the pro­vin­cial and na­tional equestrian teams and says she’s go­ing to con­tinue to work hard to make it to that level.

Singer is not a one- trick­pony; she’s also an avid hockey player, par­tic­i­pat­ing in Avon View’s girls’ team and a women’s league in Brook­lyn.

But horses have be­come the dom­i­nant part of her world – luck­ily, her fam­ily lives on a farm with a rid­ing ring that al­lows her to keep up with it at all times.

“If I’m hav­ing a bad day, the horses make me happy and that’s what lights my day up,” she said. “There’s a lot of money and time that goes into this, so I’m re­ally grate­ful to my mom and dad sup­port­ing me.”

COLIN CHISHOLM

Maddy Singer with her horse Bril­liant at the Hants County Ex­hi­bi­tion Grounds where they were get­ting ready for the Windsor Spring Horse Show from May 18 – May 21.

COLIN CHISHOLM

For young equestrian Maddy Singer, horses are a huge part of her life - spend­ing al­most ev­ery day train­ing, rid­ing and bond­ing with her horse Bril­liant.

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