Maritime riders awarded Jump Canada Bursaries
by Jana Hemphill
For the fourth year in a row, two Maritime riders have been recognized for their impressive achievement in equestrian sport while maintaining a high level of commitment to their education. Erin Cecchetto, 17, of Brooklyn, Nova Scotia, and Campbell Legere, 14, of Hammonds Plains, N.S., are two of only five riders across the country to receive the 2015 Jump Canada Youth Bursary, in the amount of $2,000 each.
Both have been sitting on horses since birth. Legere got her first pony at three years of age. Then, Ribbons and Rainbows, a medium pony and “the real love of her life,” came along. Ribbons took her through the lead lines all the way to the hunters. Magic Trix, a small pony, took her to the Royal Winter Fair in 2010, her first of five Royals.
Cecchetto was two when she got her first pony, Tigger. At 10, she began riding Ever So Clever, with whom she had many championships in the pony jumper up to the 1.10m division. These successes include placing fifth overall junior at the Canadian Interprovincial Equestrian Championships in Bromont, Quebec, representing Team Nova Scotia, a highlight of her career.
Legere rides with mom, Heidi MacInnes, at home, and trains with Benoit Breard when she is in Quebec or at the Royal. Her training schedule includes riding horses four to five days a week. She had three horses to ride this summer, along with a few to school for others. Among her many successes, Legere says the highlight so far was being invited to compete in the Jump Canada Medal in 2014.
Cecchetto trains with Jenn Sarsfield. In 2015, she showed her horse Cleopatra in the 1.10m and 1.15m divisions (including winning the 1.15m division in Bromont), and worked with her four-year-old, Lexus. Her advice to other riders is to work with the horse that you have, as each horse can teach you something different. “You do not need to have the fanciest horse to be able to excel in this sport,” she says. “Sometimes when you face difficulties, you have to find ways to work through them without getting your spirit down. At the end of the day it is the effort and work that you put in that count.”
Legere agrees: “Ride as many horses as you can because they all have lessons to teach you. Have patience, and remember that your accomplishments are not necessarily the ribbons you win, but having a ride you are proud of and making something better that you found difficult before.”
A great Royal for Maritimers
Maritime Equine Canada competitors had an impressive showing at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto, Nov. 6-15.
Rhyan Rusaw of Chester, Nova Scotia, and Tristar placed in all four Medium Pony Hunter classes. Riders from Restless Pines Farm of Halifax competed well, especially in the Hunter Stake classes. Zoe Girard and Made You Look won the Large Pony Hunter Stake; Courtney Thomas and Nova Scotia-bred Canadian Warmblood, Zazou, placed second in the Adult Amateur Stake; and Campbell Legere and Nirvana were third in the Children’s Hunter Stake. Olivia Leclair of Middle Musquodoboit, N.S., and Dancing with Stars were just out of the ribbons in the Large Pony Hunter division with solid rounds.
In the jumpers, Alex Jamael and Raphaella M of Mactaquac, New Brunswick, finished third overall in the Junior Jumper division with two top-four placings. Emma Chaisson of Halifax, N.S., and Quick Step Z competed in Junior Amateur Jumper. Grace Munroe from Wolfville, N.S., and Ever So Clever, as well as Chantal Newton from North Wiltshire, Prince Edward Island, with Madeline, competed in the Pony Jumper division. Munroe came home with a fifth-place ribbon in the Pony Jumper Final on Nov. 15.
Shawna Rinzler-Johnston of Moncton, N.B., traveled to the Royal with three Canadian Sport Horse Association entries. Home bred K-OS, Bellphina, and Bedrock all came home with ribbons.