I was born into the horse world as my mother is Maureen Walters, Level 2 coach, Senior judge, FEI Steward, Master Course Conductor for Equine Canada, current Prix St. Georges rider, and much, much more …. I got my first pony when I was two and competed in lead line that year and have been competing ever since.
My Grandfather: Norman Hughson
Pictured below is me when I was a little girl with my grandpa. My grandfather was always extremly supportive of my riding and love for horses. He passed away but the love for horses lives on through his family.
My mom was always teaching lessons and would have me with her as she could not afford a baby sitter at that time. We lived at Pacific Riding for the Disabled for several years where I would assist the disabled riders with tacking up, grooming and riding. I competed in my first three day event on my pony Lucky at age 9 (Langley Riders Mini Event).
Later we moved to Regents Park, an 80 acre Equestrian Farm in Aldergrove. I would tack up numerous school horses, warm up, cool down, and jump any horse available to me. I painted jumps for $3.00 per hour and I thought at that time it was the best job ever. My mother taught me about top quality horse care and farm management every day as she was managing Regents Park. We lived in an area attached to the indoor arena so at any moment my mom needed me she would tap on the window and say "Robyn get your hard hat - I need you to get on this horse right now!" My mom provided daily education, feedback and advice on every aspect of horses from care to working with boarders, to how to teach lessons with school horses and of course riding. Some of the feedback was....."ROBYN!!! WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!! YOU CAN NOT DO THAT!!!" she would often exclaim at the top of her lungs. Any one who knows my mom knows how passionate she is about horses and how she reacts when something is not done properly (don't mess with my mom). At age 10 I started eventing more consistently.
In 1989 Andrea Taylor gave me her Grand Prix trained dressage horse “Martins Gyseyn”. I practiced and learned from his extensive dressage training as well as competed him in all three disciplines (dressage, jumpers, and eventing).
My mom also gave me her horse Woodbyrne (Woody) as we could not afford for us both to ride. She also gave me all of her tack, riding clothes, and equipment. I rode him Preliminary level eventing and along with daily coaching from my mom I took clinics from the top local trainers.
By age 13/14 we moved to Sirrocco Stables in South Langley (Sirrocco was mainly a dressage barn at that time) and I began riding and training horses for people, cleaning stalls, pulling manes, painting fences, turning out horses and teaching riding lessons in Pony Club to earn money to fund my riding. I also began showing other horses for added income. From there we moved to Bakerview Stables where I rode approx. 5 horses per day after school, taught riding lessons for the local Pony Clubs, tested Pony Club and competed in shows.
I would ride any breed, colour, size, shape etc. just for the love of horses and riding. I often would take on difficult horses and enjoyed the challenge.
I also trained and showed the Swedish stallion ‘Flaminko’ when he first arrived from Sweden (dressage lessons and clinics with Deitrich VonHopfgarten, Lorraine Chappell) .
Pictured above is Robyn on Flaminko, Swedish Warmblood stallion, 5 yrs old, imported from Sweden (1993)
In 1994 we moved to a small farm in Chilliwack and my mom bought me ‘Extraordinaire’, a thoroughbred off of the race track for me to event. I trained him and competed him in the upper levels of eventing and some dressage and some 3’9” jumpers. He is the horse in which I attended 11 years of specialized eventing clinics with Lucinda Green, Therese Washtock, Nick Holmes-Smith, Bruce Mandeville, Peter Grey) and obtained many of my riding goals and dreams (see accomplishments).
During this time I also continued training and competing other horses, teaching lessons, and testing Pony Club ('A' PC Tester).
I moved to Armstrong in 2004 and the following year ‘Extraordinaire’ aka ‘Mack’ fractured his pastern and had to put down. He is buried on our farm by the big tree. Since then I have been rebuilding my young group of horses. We stayed in Armstrong/Vernon for 8 years and have now returned to the Lower Mainland.