Ladysmith teen Callum Epp-Evans was awarded Year End Champion by the Vancouver Island Hunter Jumper Association in his heigh classification for 2019.
The championship was based on cumulative points from horse jumping events over the year. Epp-Evans was shocked to find out that he earned the title of champion.
Epp-Evans is a Ladysmith Secondary School student. He fell in love with horse riding while vacationing with his family in Iceland. His parents booked a horse tour, and he was hooked from there.
Epp-Evans trains at the Michael Lake Equestrian Centre in Cedar, and is coached by Norah Ross. Epp-Evans said Ross has taught him everything he knows, and without her he could not have had the level of success he achieved this year.
Ross has coached for decades, and has had many students go on to win awards and championships across North America. Ross said working with Epp-Evans has been a fun experience.
“He came along really quickly. I started him off on what might have been his first horse, then I was able to lease him a horse that had a little more jumping ability. Once we did that, his natural ability really had a chance to rise. It’s been fun,” Ross said.
Not only does Epp-Evans train, ride and compete, he also takes care of the horse six days a week. He is responsible for feeding the horse, grooming it, and cleaning the stalls. He has undergone extensive training in how to control the horse, and give it commands.
“It’s commitment. It’s not like a bicycle where you can just put it away for the weekend because you’re busy. You’ve got that commitment for the horse. It’s such a wonderful learning experience for young adults,” Ross said.
Equestrian sports require significant financial investment, which can often be a barrier to success in the sport. Despite that challenge, Ross said that Epp-Evans has what it takes to succeed.
“Hard work, dedication, and talent goes a long way. Callum possesses the desire to do the sport, so anything is possible,” Ross said.