CDS Equestrians Balance Competition & School While on the Road

The month of February is when National Horse Show events get underway in the southern United States. The Aiken, South Carolina, Winter Classic and the World Equestrian Centre in Okala, Florida, host two of the biggest. Both of these progressive show jumping events host USEF rated hunters and jumpers from across North America.

This year, three of our Grade 10 equestrians from King have been training and competing in South Carolina and Florida for the past few weeks and benefitting from the scheduling accommodations offered as part of CDS’s High Performance Phys-Ed Program (HPPP) for provincially or nationally ranked athletes in Grades 9-11 to help balance busy training schedules.
Throughout CDS’s history, there has been a willingness to customize class schedules specific to the needs of student-athletes to allow them time to compete competitively at a provincial or national level, while still prioritizing their academics. Now thanks to CDS’s robust remote learning offerings, these athletes receive real time support from their teachers on Google Meet, check in with their HPPP Faculty Advisor Ms. Steadman a few times a week, and are able to schedule their 30-40 hours/week of training around class time.

Show jumping is the sport and practice of riding horses over a course of obstacles and requires many efforts on behalf of both rider and horse. In show jumping there are three different disciplines:  Hunters, Jumpers, and Equitation. Hunter classes are conducted over a simple course of obstacles and the horse is judged on its form as it makes its way through the course. Jumping classes have the primary goal of not knocking down any jumps or encountering any refusals within a set period of time – but the form of the horse and rider are not being judged. Equitation is a combination of these two disciplines where the rider is being judged while jumping, and the horse should carry an efficient pace.

Alexa Hrynyk is competing in Jumper and Equitation classes south of the border with her two horses Imago and Bandit. She trains at The Meadows Equine in King City and has been riding competitively since she was four years old. She is currently competing out of Ocala, Florida, at venues such as WEC and HITS. Her most recent achievements include top results in big equitation classes with Bandit, and moving up to the 1.20m jumpers with Imago.

Alexa’s goal this year is to qualify for the Pre-Junior Championship (NAPJC), which is a jumper class, with Imago. This event takes place over multiple days in August as part of the Great Lakes Equestrian Festival in Michigan and features both team and individual competitions for 14-16 year old riders with fences up to 1.30m.

Sydney Hansen has been riding recreationally her entire life. Though she has competed at schooling shows and Trillium Horse Shows, she entered the highly competitive A-circuit competitions when she was 12. Sydney boards her horses at The Stables at Fairfields and coaches with Santana Wright. In 2020, she was awarded overall reserve champion at Angelstone Tournaments on her 9-year-old Westphalian gelding Shadowheart. In 2021, Sydney was Champion on her 15-year-old Dutch Warmblood Commonwealth at Ottawa Equestrian Tournaments in the Children’s Hunter division.
Sydney has high hopes for 2022, and is currently training in Aiken with planned competitions throughout South Carolina, North Carolina and Florida. She will be competing on Commonwealth again this year and is currently searching for a second competitive mount with the goal of another successful A-circuit summer season and a focus on qualifying for the Canadian Nationals at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in November.

Isobel Bruun has been riding since she was a toddler at Larking About Stables in King City. She first started showing on the A-circuit in the Hunter class and captured the Junior Future Hunter Champion title six years ago. Riding has been a passion of Isobel’s from a young age and she has grown up spending winters competing in Aiken with her mother, grandmother and younger sister, Lila. Isobel also hopes to compete at the 100th anniversary of the Royal Horse Show this fall.

This year Isobel has two young horses with her in South Carolina and Florida – Rock Steazy and Hitchcock. Her goal is to work on accuracy with Steazy, and get Hitch, a 9-year-old, to ride more accurately in the Hunter category. In their first show together in early February, she and Steazy, the younger of the two horses, were Champions in the older Children’s Hunter category and placed first in the combined classic across two days.

All three students find the accommodations offered through the High Performance Phys-Ed Program to be an incredible support system while training and competing away from school. Isobel appreciates the flexibility and makeup tests and Alexa found a recent assignment on confidence and goal setting very applicable to the mindset necessary for equestrian training. Sydney also appreciates the support of her CDS community and the HPPP in helping her to achieve her Canadian and international goals for equestrian sport and competition.
We wish them well in their upcoming competitions!
CDS has a long history of accomplished equestrians, starting with co-founder and past parent Moffat Dunlap, who along with other past CDS parents and grandparents, either played important roles with the Canadian Equestrian Team or competed in the equestrian events in the Olympics. 

Land Acknowledgment

CDS wishes to recognize and acknowledge the land on which the school operates. For thousands of years, these have been the traditional lands of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. We also recognize the traditional territory of the Huron-Wendat, Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee peoples who also shared this land.  CDS respects the relationship with these lands and recognizes that our connection can be strengthened by our continued relationship with all First Nations, by acknowledging our shared responsibility to respect and care for these lands and waters for future generations.

School Information

13415 Dufferin Street King, Ontario L7B 1K5 
(905) 833-1220

Founded in 1972, The Country Day School is a co-educational private school offering programs in JK-12 and located on 100 acres north of Toronto in King.