BENSON - Four years ago, Janet Hall and her twin daughters, Neela and Abigail, had never ridden a horse.
They were invited to a birthday party at DeeAnna Lyke’s place, which included horseback riding and after their first ride, they were hooked on the animals.
Janet approached her husband Lucas about getting horses. Lucas had no issue with this, but only if his twin daughters took riding lessons along with their mom.
Her family farm is located by Benson and had lots of room for horses. In fact, they had a horse that came with the farm. It was out with the cows and was treated as one, up until now.
DeeAnna Lyke at the time lived west of Stoughton and is an experience rider. She has trained horses and given lessons for many years. Lessons would begin weekly for the Halls with Lyke as the coach.
The 13-year-old twins, Neela and Abigail, were excited, scared and nervous about their first lessons.
“These animals are big and strong and a little intimidating,” said Janet.
Every Friday night the three new riders would take lessons. They were first taught about horse care, as they knew little about this. Next was horse tack, including the proper fit of a saddle and how to care for all the tack that would be needed with the ownership of a horse.
Finally, the lessons began on how to ride.
The farm horse was inspected by Lyke, and it turned out that this horse was well trained and in great shape. She was also in her later years, so it was decided that the old farm horse would live out her days in the lush pasture.
“These lessons have taught us so much,” said Janet. “If it wasn’t for Lyke’s knowledge, guidance and pushing us to ride properly, we wouldn’t be where we are today.”
A horse was purchased for Janet, Neela and Abigail. Just recently another horse was added to the herd. Astrid will be Neela’s new mount.
Last year Janet and her daughters attended their first Saskatchewan Riding Club Association (SCRA) competition. This event was hosted in Moose Jaw, and they participated on behalf of the Stoughton New Hope Horse Club.
This event holds western pleasure classes and gymkhanas as well and is a weekend long event. It is based on points and the highest point earner receives a buckle. Abigail was high point earner in her division and received the buckle.
Over the four years, they have continued to take lessons, which consists of western pleasure, working equitation, trail challenges and barrels. The twins admit they love doing barrels and anything with speed, but so does Janet.
This summer they have attended jackpots and rodeos, and the love for the sport keeps growing.
“Each time my girls ride, they get better,” said Hall.
It is their intention to attend the MBR in Manitoba and also to return to the SRCA, which will be held in Saskatoon this year.
Lessons will continue throughout the winter with Lyke, and they will also partake in a winter barrel series.