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Avon View student passionate about horseback riding

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.
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.

WINDSOR, N.S. - 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, bringing 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 before that we’re trying this year.”

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

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.

“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-trick-pony; 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.”

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