Rachel Legace | Equestrian
Kristyn Filip | Fulcrum Staff
Photo courtesy of Rachel Legace
“Meet a Gee-Gee” takes a look at the people under the jerseys. Whether they’re varsity athletes or otherwise, we ask the players questions you want answers to. We get the dirt, straight from the horse’s mouth.
RACHEL LEGACE, THIRD-year University of Ottawa commerce student and president of the Gee-Gees equestrian team, took a break to talk to the Fulcrum about representing our university, who inspires her, and being a wild child.
The Fulcrum: At what age did you start horseback riding?
Rachel Legace: I started when I was 11 years old.
Can you tell me what a week in the life of a member of the Gee-Gees equestrian team is like? What competitions do you participate in?
We usually practice once a week at Synergy Farm out in Ashton, Ont. Our coaches, Mark Struthers and Lauren Hunkin, provide a variety of different horses for us to practice on. `
As for competitions, we have two separate circuits we compete on: the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, with competitions held in the United States; and the Ontario University Equestrian Association, with competitions held mostly in the Greater Toronto Area. The first circuit generally hosts four shows per year, while the second will host seven this year.
Did anyone encourage you or inspire you to pursue the sport?
I never had anyone encourage me to pursue the sport—it was more so a sport that I tried and then fell in love with. That said, professional equestrians like Eric Lamaze and many other highly ranked riders definitely inspired me to keep working hard to get to the level I’m at today. Our coach Lauren Hunkin competes in the Grand Prix ring with Lamaze, [Ian] Millar, and many other huge names in the business, so we are very lucky to have her, too!
Fill in the blank: My teammates would say I am the most likely to _______________.
Be the wild child at any of our events, fundraisers, and horse shows.
What is the most challenging part of equestrianism?
I would say the most challenging part of the type of equestrianism that we do is “catch riding.” Let me explain. At our competitions, we don’t get to ride our own horses. The university hosting the show provides horses from the hosting riding school and surrounding horse owners. By the luck of a draw, our horses are chosen for us. We then enter the ring before the judge on an unfamiliar horse and ride over a series of jumps, all the while keeping both the horse and ourselves looking impeccable. Not the easiest thing.
What is the biggest misconception about your sport?
I would say definitely the phrase, “The horse does everything.” It seems easy to ride a horse, as it is our job to make it seem so, but when you think about it, I am a 115-pound girl who needs to control every movement of a 1500-pound animal with a mind of its own. Think about riding a bicycle with a brain. Believe me, it’s not easy! If the horse decides that it doesn’t want you on its back, it will make it very clear.
What is your favourite thing about being a Gee-Gee?
Representing our school is always a pleasure, but one of my favourite things would have to be that our mascot is a horse, so it represents our sport really well!
If you have a suggestion for an athlete you would like to see interviewed, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the equestrian team, visit www.uottawaequestrian.com