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Nation Valley Ranch wrapping up a successful season

·2 min read

A unique sport has come to life at a Chesterville ranch. Equestrian vaulting – otherwise simply known as vaulting – is an incredible sport in which gymnastics and dance are performed on horseback. The sport is recognized by Equine Canada, and is one that is taught locally in North Dundas at Nation Valley Ranch.

Vaulting coach Jen Byvelds corresponded with the Times regarding the Ranch’s successful vaulting season.

“Our vaulting program is a combination of dance, gymnastics and horses, all rolled into one for this unique and spectacular sport!” Jen wrote to the Times. “Our competitive team shows against clubs in western Ontario, Saskatchewan, and British Colombia.”

This year marked the first time vaulters got to show off their talent in a year-end recital. Jen told the Times that each team got to work on a choreographed routine to perform at the recital, all working with the Disney movie “Frozen” as a theme. While the show was only open the family members of the performers due to COVID-19 restrictions, a videographer was on site to make sure that all of the special moments were captured.

Amazingly, the vaulting program at Nation Valley Ranch is geared to participants as young as eight years old. Vaulting is known to have a positive impact on self-discipline in kids, likely because of its multi-faceted nature, and the dedication required.

“This is not an easy sport,” Jen explained. “It takes very special horses, and a lot of dedication. It's a sport you have to train for: stretch training, flexibility, and syncing to the horses’ movements while holding yourself in challenging positions. [The performers] cross train with aerials, acro yoga, dance and gymnastics here at the Ranch. It takes quite a team of coaches.”

Jen certainly fits the role of an experienced coach, having coached the only Canadian women’s intercollegiate polo team for a number of years. She is also the founder and coach of the Capital Cowgirls Drill Team. She wrote about what it is like to be involved in such a unique sport.

“I love these team equestrian sports. The friendships it builds, the way the entire club comes together and supports each other, the care and love the teams give to the horses. It's such a different vibe than individual equestrian sports I’ve been a part of in my past. The vaulting is a younger crowd than I am used to, so we have an even larger community with amazing parents as well. It's a very special thing we have growing here.”

Those interested in learning more about the activities at Nation Valley Ranch can visit their website at www.nationvalleyranch.com.

Brandon Mayer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Grenville Times

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