The 18-year old coach at HSE Stables south of St. Thomas is teaching young riders
who have a similar passion for training and showing horses
June 21, 2022
By Rob J. Ross
MOSSLEY, Ont. - Alexis Coombs has loved being around horses since she was five years old.
Her mom tried to introduce figure skating, but Alexis preferred an actual barn over one that houses an ice rink.
"I did one skating competition and that was not for me. I changed right to horses," said Coombs, who bought her first horse at age nine.
"I love being in the ring and showing. I show jumpers, so the fastest time wins. The adrenaline rush you get from that is amazing. The reward of riding an animal that could make its' own decisions, but chooses to listen to you is incredible," said Coombs, "I love buying horses that don't know much and training them from the beginning. It feels so rewarding when you worked and you taught your horse yourself."
Coombs and her current horse, Harley, has competed at shows across the province, including the provincial championships.
Now 18, the graduating student at Parkside Collegiate, who is attending Guelph University this fall for zoology, is sharing her love for riding and showing horses with younger riders.
"I started my coaching journey when I was 16. I finally got confident enough to bring them to shows and they can be in the ring and have a great time," Coombs said. "I really starting coaching because I wanted to shared my passion with other kids. As as coach, I love seeing my kids smiling and having fun. It's nice to know our hard work is paying off."
Coombs has taken Vonne Townsend and 11-year old Courtney Lang, under her wing and both competed in a show for the Prelude Circuit, at the Andromeda Equestrian Centre, just east of Mossley, on June 19.
"I was super nervous this morning," admitted Coombs, at the show. "I don't get nervous when I show my own horse. I was so nervous, because I can't control the horse. I can yell what I can from the side of the ring, but it's been really good."
Townsend, riding Lady, won her first ribbon.
"Vonne was determined to get a ribbon," said Coombs. "And in the last class she was entered in, she got a sixth place ribbon The smile on her face was worth all the hard work her and I had put in, to get her to be the rider she has become. She has a big potential in the sport."
Lang overcame a somewhat uncooperative horse and a slight fall in her debut with Coombs.
"Courtney's passion and determination is second to none," said Coombs. "The pony gave her some troubles at this show, but she persevered and at the end of the day both myself and her were very proud of how she rode. She has outstanding sportsmanship. Her future in riding is very bright."
Another young rider from HSE Stables, Nadia Underhill, also won a ribbon in her debut, riding 12-year horse Toby and coached by Julia Claus. Riding for two years, Nadia was introduced to the sport by her mom, Katie, who also shows horses.
"I was excited and nervous," said the Grade four student at Kettle Creek Elementary, in Port Stanley. "I love being with horse all day. I like spending time with Toby and jumping."
The Prelude Circuit is like a beginner division. Horse and rider have four rounds, each round having different elements that are judged. Ribbons and points are awarded for each round and at the end of all rounds, the rider with the most points is the champion and the runner-up, the reserve champion.
Andromeda is one of seven shows this year for Prelude, all in the Elgin-Middlesex-Oxford region. Also hosting shows are HSE, Railside, near Dutton, Highland Green, in Arva and Eden Ridge, west of Woodstock.
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