Chloe Boydell is a rider from Brampton, Ontario who boards her quarter horse, Sysco, near Acton. She currently rides with the Canadian Cowgirls Drill Team and has had the opportunity to do some pretty amazing stuff! Read about her stories and her involvement in horses below.
How did you get your start in riding?
My love for horses started at age 7 when my parents sent me off to day-camp at a local riding school. Following that, they signed me up for a 6 week package of riding lessons for my birthday. I’m sure they believed it would be a “phase” that I’d grow out of (boy, were they ever wrong!!) My passion of the sport grew quickly from there.
Tell us about your current horse?
My current horse, Sysco, is a 19 year old Quarter Horse gelding. I met Sysco about 9 years ago when I was working at a summer camp and instantly fell in love with his personality. By the end of the summer I was so enamoured that I begged to bring him home. Since then we’ve been an incredible team. His athleticism and willingness have taken us into many different rings. It doesn’t seem to matter what saddle I put on him or what is going on in the ring, he’s there and ready to play. He’s not a complicated ride but he keeps me on my toes. He’s honest and brave but he’s not going to let me get away with slacking off in the saddle. To date we’ve tried our hand in the hunter/jumpers, dressage, cross country, western games, trail patterns, team penning, fox hunting, performance drill, parades, trail riding and he’s even learning to drive!
How did you get involved in the Canadian Cowgirls?
A friend and fellow boarder was a member of the Canadian Cowgirls drill team and invited me to accompany her to practice. I’d seen the team perform once or twice and I jumped at the opportunity to check it out “behind the scenes”. After a few practices I was hooked, I brought Sysco out to their annual Drill Clinic to learn the basics and before I knew it I was getting the call to ride in my very first rodeo! Fast forward a few years, many hours in the truck and several “Who gets to do this stuff? This is incredible!” moments and I’m gearing up for my 4th season with the team and looking forward to all the opportunities and adventures we’ll have this year.
What has been your most memorable show moment?
I’ve had so many memorable moments in the show ring. Some of those clean, perfect rounds (that came along with ribbons) and some not so great rounds (that seemed to come along with embarrassing photographic documentation and a trip to the show’s medic tent.) That said, my most memorable “show” moment wasn’t a competitive one. Last November the Canadian Cowgirls were invited to perform at the Royal Winter Fair – Royal Rodeo. As a kid growing up just outside of Toronto, I spent many hours every year dragging my parents around the horse building of the fair (Did you know there are animals OTHER than horses there?! I sure didn’t!) as well as watching the all of the greats ride in Ricoh Coliseum. These were my idols. My role models. I’m not sure I’ll ever forget that moment, getting to ride in that ring, with a sold out crowd, the energy and adrenaline. I had to stop and remind myself – “This is your life! How cool is this?! Please remember to breathe! Don’t fall off!”
What are your future riding goals?
Going forward there are so many things I’d like to try. Side saddle, reining, roping, extreme cowboy – pretty much any discipline I can get someone to teach me. I may not be great at it but there’s always a lesson to learn and a few laughs to be had. I’d also like to continue with the Canadian Cowgirls – travel with my horse, ride in amazing places and take advantage of the many adventures and learning opportunities presented to me through them as well as sharing the things I’ve learned over the past 19 years with others.
What are some difficulties you have faced while trying to reach your goals?
I would say that I’ve faced the same difficulties as many in the horse industry. Financial and time commitments have kept me from competing at anything more than a recreational level. Injuries (horse and human) have caused training setbacks or cancelled entire seasons. Sysco isn’t young and finding the limits of his capabilities have occasionally caused us to adjust our plans and goals.
What is the one item in your tack collection you can’t live without?
This is a difficult question to ask a self-proclaimed “Tack Hoarder”. I have a tack collection to go along with every possible discipline, colour combination, and trend. It’s a problem (or so I’m told). If I had to choose a favourite – my western saddle. I bought it a few years ago and it was my first ever brand new saddle. It fits both me and my horse well. It’s beautiful and I can sit in it for hours.
What words of advice do you have for young riders out there?
Don’t pass up the chance to try something you’ve never done before. Be confident in the skills you have as well as your ability to learn something from everyone you meet. Go into everything with an open mind. With a little patience, practice and determination the sky’s the limit.
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