Introducing Evan Phinney
Date of Birth: January 27, 1994
Discipline: Show Jumping
Hometown: Halifax, Nova Scotia
My riding career started with the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers (HJBL). Lancers gave me the opportunity to learn to ride, acquire horse experience, work at the ‘The Stable’ and compete in hunter/jumper classes. I was a stable hand, a barn monitor, participated in the Junior Musical Ride, eventually riding as one of the four Musical Ride leaders, learned stable management skills including mucking out stalls, properly securing a hay net, clipping, bandaging, braiding, administering medication and knowing when it is time for a horse to leave. I competed at local, provincial, national and international levels on HJBL school horse Wonderland. For five years I was the Saturday morning barn monitor for the very junior rides and I considered myself a mentor to the younger, beginner riders helping to pass on the barn routine and equine knowledge. I was twice the recipient of the Kenny Irving Trophy for the top HJBL Junior Rider (’09,’11) and I received the Sarah Louise Award (’10) for leadership and barn participation.
A unique opportunity at HJBL is the Musical Ride, where I learned how to be a team member and leader, which is a novel concept in the usually individual sport of competitive riding. (Think of the RCMP Musical Ride, except performed by 16 junior riders all under the age of 18, on school horses!) A seven year member of the Musical Ride, I started as a groom, then a spare, a rookie rider, eventually working my way through the ride to become one of four ride formation leaders. I fulfilled the role of the president of the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers Junior Executive (similar to a school student council but at the barn). As the leader of a small Executive, along with our junior members, responsibilities included organized fun days, canteens, fundraisers (for items such as barn washer and dryer, horse tack), and Musical Ride team jackets. The equine experience, education and leadership opportunities I have had at the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers has been so extensive that I am confident in saying that Lancers contributed greatly to both the person and the rider I have become. I will always be a loyal and supportive alumnus.
My competition experience started on Lancer school horses. I had the honour to train and show the Lancer horse Wonderland, starting at grass roots training shows and eventually competing at the EC Gold level in the 1.0m jumpers. Wonderland and I evolved from barely being able to canter or halt at in-barn training shows to ultimately competing at WEF (Winter Equestrian Festival, Wellington, Florida) in 2011 placing 6th out of 59 horses in an International Low Children’s Jumper class. In 2011 we also had a first and a fifth placing at International Bromont. Alice is the horse that sparked my passion for stadium jumping and prompted me to acquire my own first horse Duke of Earl. Training with this experienced 18 year old jumper, Earl taught me many lessons. In September 2011 we competed at the inaugural Canadian Equestrian Championships in Bromont, Quebec, as jumper members of Team Nova Scotia. Earl and I earned an individual bronze medal and contributed to both the Jumper Team and Team Nova Scotia bronze medals. It was an honour and a privilege to represent Nova Scotia. I was able to return to WEF in January 2012 to ride in the College Prep Invitational, as the only Canadian rider in the competition, placing 4th in my over faces class on a ‘pooled’ competition horse. Wanting to work towards my goal of competitively jumping 1.20m, Million Dollar Baby was my new lease. The most important lesson I learned with Milli was that not every rider and horse are a team. We had a good show season, qualifying to represent Nova Scotia at the 2012 Canadian Inter-Provincial Equestrian Championships. I competed on a leased competition horse, Bill Bailey as my lease with Milli had ended. At the CIEC’s Bill Bailey and I had a 7th place jumper round contributing to Team Nova Scotia placing second overall.
This summer Bling, was my new mount. Along with my new coach’s guidance (and trailering!) I competed in Nova Scotia, Quebec and Ontario. Bling and I accomplished two goals. By the end of the season we successfully jumped in some 1.20m classes. We will be working to be more competitive at that height and with experience maybe even move up to 1.30m The second accomplishment was participating in the CET Medal and qualifying tenth for the Eastern CET Regionals. Competing at regionals confirmed that I need more experience in medal classes. We did end on a high note coming home with a 6th place from the jumper phase of the CET Medal. Bling and I started together in June and had a great season. Bling jumps better than I ride! Our short time together makes me excited to compete at the EC Gold level next year. This will take support from my parents and my coach. With only one Nova Scotia EC Gold show in the month of August, that has 1.20m classes or higher, it will be necessary to travel outside of Nova Scotia to Quebec and Ontario for both CET Medal classes and 1.20m jumper competitions that have three or more competitors in each class.
I have been able to combine my riding pursuits throughout school. I had a 3.0 GPA in my first year of university at Acadia. I am a volunteer Acadia campus tour guide; officially take photos for the Acadia Athletic Department, the yearbook, the university newspaper, special events and Acadia’s Relay for Life; was the top fund raiser for the Acadia Equestrian Team for the Relay for Life and was one of the top three overall relay fundraisers. My part-time job is a student blogger for Equals6; and I have just started a student photography business (Phinney Photography). An honours high school student at Sacred Heart School of Halifax I earned a ‘Silver Level Pin’ for school participation; was a member of Sacred Heart’s chapter of the Children’s Help Line; was a grade eleven prefect; a St. Vincent’s Guest House weekly volunteer; participated in the Me to We social action/service trip to Kenya to build a school; was a three year member on the championship SHSH varsity volleyball team; hosted and participated on an international student exchange attending school in Connecticut; hosted Columbian exchange students for five years; coordinated the Teens for Jeans effort at SHSH collecting over 250 used jeans for homeless teens; was co-editor for the 2012 Sacred Heart year book; was awarded the Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation Scholar-Athlete for SHSH; received a provincial Certificate of Merit for: demonstrating leadership and showing exemplary conduct in promoting positive change in your school and community for the Province of Nova Scotia; was presented with the Nova Scotia House of Assembly Resolution 2368; and was awarded the SHSH Faculty Award and the SHSH Nova Scotia Legion Scholarship at graduation.
Horses are a part of who I am. This sport has taught me numerous skills such as good time management, organization, patience, problem solving, empathy and sympathy, competitiveness and when just to enjoy the ride. I want to be able to continue this journey as I work on completing my business degree at Acadia University. Being chosen as the recipient for 2013 Horse Sport Young Riders’ Scholarship would allow me to manage the fiscal responsibilities of school along with the financial demands of competing out-of-province at the EC Gold level. Exactly, as the Horse Sport Scholarship information states: ‘The inspiration for the revamped format is to provide a more substantial prize that will have an impact on a riders’ finances.’ This is one hundred percent the way this scholarship would assist me to continue riding at a competitive level.