RSE Young Riders Series
If you should have the pleasure of meeting teenage equestrian rider Quintyn Baeumler, you will come away with an appreciation of the possibilities that he represents to the equestrian community and, indeed, to other communities well beyond it. It was our decided pleasure to speak with Quintyn recently about his involvement in the world of riding. He is a fine young man who shared with us some of his thoughts and experiences in his equestrian career thus far.
It was likely no real surprise to his family that Quintyn took up riding, given that he has always had a love for animals, and reflected upon various ecosystems. Starting to ride at about ten years old, Quintyn worked hard and long at his sport. Quintyn rode in the Bahamas, for example, and trained there with Erika Adderley, while attending Boarding school. Presently, he is home in Canada, training with Scott and Dee Walker at the Forest Hill farm in Caledon, Ontario. This winter Quintyn will be at the Wellington Equestrian Festival in Florida further working on his riding. Because of this kind of dedication, inside of three years Quintyn qualified to appear at the Royal Winter Fair in 2018. No small accomplishment, indeed.
I asked Quintyn what he might say to other teenagers and even younger children about their choosing to take up riding too. He replied:
“It’s such a unique sport, and once you try it you are immediately connected. And if you try your best, and push through the harder times at the beginning, it is such a rewarding sport. It’s so different, that it is like nothing else you’ve experienced until you’ve sat on a horse and tried it for the first time.”
One of the things which is striking in Quintyn’s outlook is his understanding of the idea of connection between himself and his horse. Quintyn suggests that there can be an immediate connection. This sense of an almost magical connection between rider and horse lies at the heart of Quintyn’s vision. He sees himself as part of a team which does not share the same language, but which must find ways to acknowledge and work around that reality. The horse, Quintyn will remind you, does not speak your language. Yet, in spite of this, the horse is able to follow the rider’s direction:
I love pushing myself to do better and better. And I think it is really cool that you are on an animal that doesn’t speak your language, has no idea what you’re asking it, and you have a connection with the horse. It is not only you that is progressing, it is you and your horse as a team. And you are going out every time getting a little bit better. I’ve enjoyed seeing my progression over the years.
The word “connection” applied to the relationship of rider and horse has, of course, been used in the equestrian world before, and it, to be sure, will be used again. Still, in these words we perceive the need to examine the imperfection of the connection, so as to provide a starting point from which a better connection can be made. There is no easy “ON” button to start up the horse as if it were a piece of machinery. There is, instead, a great need for patience and wisdom to recognize, and allow for, the imperfection that is inherent in the relationship. It is from here that an evolving rider-horse relationship moves forward.
Quintyn’s other key emphasis here is that of his understanding of the nature of an equestrian team. To be sure, Quintyn envisions a team of horse and rider. But what is moving is Quintyn’s outlook on the true composition of the “team” that surrounds him. It is an inclusive one that extends beyond himself and his horse. Quintyn’s team extends to include everyone who supports him. He explicitly includes his parents and coaches. You get the sense in speaking with Quintyn that he carries the presence of his entire team with him, wherever he goes. He carries it with him whether it is to a weekday riding practice or before going out into the arena to compete at the Royal Winter Fair. Speaking of his appearance at the Royal Winter Fair, Quintyn commented:
“It was such an amazing feeling. I did not see myself there at such a young age. And walking into the ring was just amazing. The big crowds, the spotlight is on you, and having your name and the horse’s number put up on the screen was really cool. It is such an amazing experience because it takes your entire team, your horse, your coaches, everyone, to get there. So that when everyone is there you know that you’re there with some of the best riders. It is a great feeling. You know that you’ve qualified, and you worked really hard and you’ve made it”.
It is such an amazing experience because it takes your entire team, your horse, your coaches, everyone, to get there.
He further recalls a particular memory of his waiting to go into the arena at the Royal. Quintyn said: “I was looking at the ring and talking to my coach there, right before I was about to go in. And I just had a moment of “Wow” I can’t believe I’m here doing this”.
The inclusion of parents and coaches in the makeup of his “team”, in turn, suggests yet another admirable quality that characterizes this young man, and this is that of appreciation. Quintyn appreciates those who have supported, and continue to support, him and have stuck by him. He appreciates those who have encouraged him, “pushed” is the word he employs, to be the best that he can be. I asked Quintyn, with Father’s Day approaching, what would he say as to the support he has received from his father, and his mother too. In a response that was immediate and heartfelt he answered this way:
“I am so thankful to both of them. Because riding is such a unique sport and most parents don’t know much about it. So, I’m so thankful that both of my parents have allowed me to do it and they’ve given me these amazing opportunities to ride different horses, and train at the top level and go to the Royal. I’m so thankful that if it’s something that I want to do, they will always be behind me, to support me and to push me through. And, if ever I’m having a hard time, they are always there to say it’s okay, and help me get through it and keep pushing me to be the best that I can.”
I’m so thankful that if it’s something that I want to do, [my parents] will always be behind me, to support me and to push me through. And, if ever I’m having a hard time, they are always there to say it’s okay and help me get through it and keep pushing me to be the best that I can.
Sometimes the printed word does not always capture the expressed sentiment perfectly and the meaning slips through the lines of the page. It can leave out the emphasis of the speaker and the modulations of their voice. Quintyn’s answer is an example of this. When Quintyn said “I am so thankful to both of them,” it was with an emphasis on the word “so.” When you read the quote, draw out the word and you will come closer to appreciating the sense here. It is important and relevant because this captures in good measure the character of this young man. He is a very appreciative youth, as is also evident in his sentiments regarding his coaches Scott and Dee Walker:
“A huge thank-you to them, because they have taught me things that I don’t think I ever would have learnt about, not only about the horses, but about life and responsibility. I’m so thankful to have them always pushing me and helping me and allowing me to achieve my goals.”
Unafraid of hard work, having the wisdom to set goals, and then having the determination to pursue them, he nonetheless never loses sight of the value and power of his team. In his view, his parents, coaches and horse all help him to achieve his full potential. This is evident, too, in his answer to the question of what advice he would have for other young people who want to compete at the Royal:
“My advice would be to train hard and be focused and determined. Don’t get down on yourself. You have to remember that you are riding an animal. It doesn’t speak your language, it doesn’t exactly know what you are asking. So, it takes a lot of patience and determination and you can’t worry about what other people say. I’m a boy and there’s not many in the industry, so it’s kind of just going out there and giving it a shot and trying your best.”
One of the themes that we have been developing in these pages is that of the life lessons that riding has taught the individuals whom we have had the privilege to meet. I asked Quintyn what life lessons he has learned. Listen to his answer:
“One of the biggest things for me would definitely be patience and being able to care for something. I am only 14, so I don’t have children or bills or anything like that. But I think having a horse puts a level of responsibility onto you. You always have to make sure that you are always feeding and grooming the horse, and it has taught me a lot about responsibility. It has taught me how to take care of an animal and make it progress in the sport.”
To take this a short step further, the care of horses has taught him to care about somebody, something, other than himself. This suggests a real benefit for a young person participating in the equestrian world.
I asked Quintyn how he measures the progress that he makes in riding. He answered that he looks for progress in his training, rather than in his performances. It is in the hard work of training where he measures movement in his ability. He has grown to be able to do “harder competitions with bigger competitors and better riders.”
To which we simply respond: Ride on, young man, ride on.
WHO IS DOUGLAS ALLEN?
Douglas Allen is a PhD Candidate in History at the University of Toronto. His historical studies are of late medieval and Renaissance Europe. He is interested in using the lens of identity to explore and understand history, human motivation and action. Douglas is also a writer who is currently writing a novel set in the City of Winnipeg in the 1980’s, which explores the nature of indigenous and non-indigenous relations