Riders prepare for upcoming season

Competitors face multiple challenges as they get ready for shows this spring and summer


Reported by Jennifer Blake

As show season approaches, preparations are in full-swing at Southlands Riding Club.

Mona Grace Sache plans to participate in multiple shows throughout the spring and summer. These days, the 13-year old has been riding her horse Eddison D every day for an hour.

“We work on muscling Eddison up, getting his cardio back,” Mona Grace said. “Then I work on muscling myself up and getting fitter myself so I can ride him properly for the shows.”

Southlands will hold its first Spring show on March 2.

“I’m riding three to four horses a day, and I’m teaching as well as helping around the barn and managing,” said riding instructor Deborah Bell, who plans on competing this year as well.

Preparing in any condition

Bell said the recent snowstorms have made preparations difficult, due to bad roads and frozen footing.

“Giving our horses any more than two or three days off is hard. They really struggle mentally without getting out, getting proper exercise,” Bell said.

Bell said that Southlands Riding Club members work all winter to refine the horses’ and riders’ skills.

Mona Grace has a team including her coach and mother to help prepare for shows.

“It’s a family passion,” said Christine Sache, Mona Grace’s mother.

Mona Grace said her coach provides a lot of emotional and physical support during show season, and said Bell was “very helpful to her.”

“It’s great to work with the horses and the riders as athletes and develop them,” Bell said of her riders.

A girl’s best friend

But Mona Grace said some one-on-one time with Eddison D is equally important.

“I do like having time just with my horse to get myself prepared for the show,” she said.

Mona Grace said she had to build a relationship with her horse in order to understand what he needs from her.

“He likes having a connection with one certain person,” said Mona Grace, who one day dreams of working up from local competitions to the world class Fédération Equestre Internationale events.

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