Savanah Wilson, OCTRA’s Youth Committee Chair, reached out to our Juniors at the end of last season asking them to submit stories on their experiences from the 2016 season.  Two Juniors answered the call and their stories have been posted to the OCTRA web site.

Both these Junior Riders will receive a gift certificate for Great Leads ‘n Reins courtesy of OCTRA.  If any Juniors are interested in getting involved with this Committee or would like to submit their 2016 story, please contact the Chair at Savanah Wilson.

Charlotte Tremblay

Hello, my name is Charlotte Tremblay and I am 12 years old and this is my write-up about my 2016 riding season. It started out as a disappointment for me because we were obliged to retire my beautiful bay mare Miss T Moonlite, but at the same time it was a great excitement since I got try out my new gelding, Adversity, for the summer thanks to Bob Coleman, Michelle Bignell and Chrystal Woodhouse for having the idea in the first place. This all happened on the May long weekend, so it was a very emotional time for me. 

I started riding Adversity in my lessons at the barn and everything was just fine. We quickly made a strong and lasting connection. Later on, we were invited to pre-ride the trails of the lovely Madawaska Highlands and during this new experience I learned to judge if a trail is safe enough for an O.C.T.R.A. ride. My mom, Nancy Zukewich, and I found the trails were beautiful and were challenging enough to give the horses a good workout this early in the season. 

I had been planning to try a 50 with Adversity at Coates Creek. To prepare for this, my mom and I went to train in the beautiful St Lazare trails with Wendy MacCoubrey and Lynda Townsend.  We completed our first 50 together with the help of our crew, Laura Kelland May. I was really proud of Adversity and impressed with how far we came in such a short time. 

Madawaska was really fun. We completed another 50 together. We were having truck troubles so I arrived at the ride with Laura, our crew, while my mom was getting the truck sorted out and getting horses to the ride. On the first day, I volunteered. I learned to take pulses with a stethoscope from Dr. Stan and Dr. Art. We rode on the second day. But that night, the horses got loose! It was an exciting evening since our horses went running down the road.  Luckily our horses were found at ride camp, but we didn’t find our friends’ horses until the next day. Everyone was worried and it was quite scary. On the third day, the ride manager, Chrystal, was getting tired, so I volunteered to be the ride manager while she had a nap for a few hours. It was quite exciting. 

In the beginning of August, I was invited to spend a week with Wendy MacCoubrey and we called it Endurance Boot camp. Wendy taught me a lot of good on-trail skills and good ground work like how to nicely trot out for the vet. We also went blackberry picking on the trails that we rode on. 

Next ride we did was my mom’s ride, the Merrickville CTR. Near the end of the first loop, Adversity spooked sideways at a log, I came off, cracked my helmet on the ground and got a minor concussion. Everyone took great care of me. Rob and Chrystal took me out for ice cream. After that, my goal was to be all better for Tay Valley which was a month away. 

In the meantime, my mom rode Adversity to keep him fit since I couldn’t. At Tay Valley, Adversity and I completed a 25-mile set speed with my mom and my good friend Ally James. 

We completed another 50 together at Oktoberfest, but the best part was that I got to complete a 6-mile ride n tie with my grandpa the day before, even though he got lost a few times on trail. 

For our last ride of the year, we tried to do a 50 at Larose, but sadly we got pulled at the mile 38 for slight lameness. I’d like to thank Dr. Arthur King for keeping the best interest of my horse in mind and for being honest with me. 

At the end of the summer my family made the decision to purchase Adversity. I’d like to thank the long list of people who have helped me in 2016 to achieve my goals. I also really appreciate all the support of my O.C.T.R.A. family. In the end, I find that 2016 was a big success for my career in endurance riding.

Posted in Uncategorised