Local riders to compete at provincial level

Four area riders are excited to be saddling up and heading off to the Caledon Equestrian Park at Palgrave, Ontario this week where they will compete from Thursday, September 8 to Sunday, September 11 in the Trillium Championships.

The four, Rayanna Marcellus (Pigeon Island Road resident), Courtney Casselman (Morrisburg), Julie Julien (Cornwall) and Josee Marleau Vallieres (Cornwall) all ride out of the fledgling Sarabeau Stable owned and operated by Sandy Marcellus.

With her stable having less than one year under its belt, Marcellus says that she and trainer Cheryl Levere are thrilled to have four of their riders qualify for the Ontario Championship.

Courtney Casselman, who is heading into Grade 8 at Seaway, is experiencing her first year of riding competitively. She will compete with Piccolini (Picco) in the large pony division.

Rayanna Marcellus, now in her third year of competitive riding, will ride Short Notice in the Small Pony category, Sweet Cherry Wine in Medium and Picco in B Equitation.

Sweet Cherry Wine and Picco are both owned by Sarabeau Stable.

The more experienced rider of the quartet, Julie Julien is from Cornwall and has been riding since she was four years old. This is Julie’s second trip to the championships, the first riding her own horse Palakari. She is riding in the Adult Amateur category.

Seventeen-year-old Josee of Cornwall has been riding competitively for seven years and she will ride Sentimental Journey (barn name Coco) for the championship.

Although Sandy’s daughter Rayanna started in the sport in the Quebec circuit, they switched to the Ontario when they established Sarabeau Stable.

“It’s a bigger circuit and covers all of Ontario which is divided into seven zones,” says Marcellus. “The seven top riders from each of the seven zones will compete in each of the divisions in the championship.”

“In the Quebec Zone, only the top four qualifying horses go to the championship.”

Riders qualify for the championships by accumulating points in zone shows. Sarabeau Stables could have rode in either the Ottawa Zone or the Eastern Zone, but chose the Eastern zone which had fewer shows.

The fewer shows kept the costs down, and also freed up more weekends for other Sarabeau riders to compete at local fairs.

Courtney finished second overall in the Eastern Zone with Picco in Large Hunter to qualify while Raynanna was second overall on Sweet Cherry Wine in Small Pony and sixth with Short Notice in Medium pony. She was first on Picco in B Equitation over fences and 5th in B Equitation on flat.

Julie on Palakari was sixth in Adult Amateur Hunter, third in Adult Equitation over field and sixth in Adult Equitation on Flat.

Josee and Coco were fourth in Children’s hunter, second in A Equitation over Fences and fourth in A Equitation Flat.

A is riders 16-18 years, B is 13-16 years and C is up to 12 years. In Equitation, the rider, rather than the horse is being judged.

“For our first year of being open, having four riders go to the championship is really good,” said Marcellus. “There are a lot of barns out there.”

“We have 10-15 riders out every week which is a good number for a first year stable,” says trainer Cheryl Levere. “Every year you generally grow and expand but you don’t want to get really big as you lose the fun.”

“And we are trying to keep it fun and enjoyable. We want our riders to understand what the horses are all about. It’s not just about competition.”

“I am here most weeks, seven days a week and the show kids are here probably five or six days a week.”

“To compete it takes work,” says Levere. “They are out here riding to improve everyday.”

Levere explains that “we want the riders to help with the chores. It’s just not to get on a horse, ride it and then go away.”

Each visit includes about 30 minutes on the horse and 60-90 minutes to care for the horse (brush, tack etc.)

Not only do the kids learn to ride, but they learn responsibility and benefit from the exercise. “You use every muscle in your body when riding.”

Levere expects that the four Sarabeau riders and their horses should do well this weekend.

Picco in his second year of competitive riding, “has improved over the last year. He’s learned how to relax, and how to take care of somebody.”

“This is Sweet Cherry Wine’s first year showing a full curcuit, and she’s holding her own.

Coco is in her first competitive year and PalaKari is coming off an injury.”

In addition to the success of the four competitive riders, Marcellus is pleased with how well “our Fair Team has done” in Williamstown and Avonmore.

The fair team includes Jeana Lamothe, 13, of Ingleside, Steph Quosdorf, 16, of Cornwall, Troy Webb, 14, of Ingleside and Bryanna.

“It’s all gone well,” says Marcellus of her longtime dream to own a riding stable. “I couldn’t be happier. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of kids and the horses and ponies here are all so quiet.”

“Last fall we started out that we were going to establish a horse/pony club, and here we are.”

Our barn slogan is Dream, Believe, Achieve.

Sarabeau Stable will to run clinics throughout the year and will accept new riders at any time.

“It would be nice to have 30 riders, but you have to start somewhere,” says Marcellus.

For more information call Sandy at  613-543-4561.

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