At just 25-years-old, Megan Lane has developed an extensive dressage resumé most only dream of. The Canadian rider and her Dutch Warmblood mare, Caravella, have represented Canada at the Rio Olympics, 2014 World Equestrian Games, and the 2015 Pan American Games.
As a junior, Lane achieved six podium finishes at the Junior and Young Rider Championships and qualified 5 horses for the event. It was during that time Lane came across Caravella at a hunter/jumper barn. Together, Lane and “Capri” have travelled the world on their journey from First Level to Grand Prix greatness.
What inspired you start riding?
Since before I could walk or talk I was drawn to horses… My first word was actually horse!
My mom and I share a passion for horses. Ever since I was born she would take me to the barn in the baby carrier. So my life with horses to this day is an extension built on from when I was very young. I thank my family for the time and support involved in allowing me to pursue a life with horses.
As a toddler I would ride my moms 17.2h Hannoverian who had the sweetest and gentlest disposition. When I was 3 years old a family friend who was also a vet gave me a pony that was more my size (under 10 hh) named Crazy Bull. Rightfully named, I began my basic training with Crazy, and began taking on green or reject ponies to train, show and sell. My mom believed that every horse taught me something new and I was so proud to see them succeed with their future riders.
When did you realize you wanted to pursue a professional Dressage career?
Even as a young girl I had a great ability to focus and loved the fine-tuned correctness that is pinnacle in dressage. I love to jump, and still enjoy cavalettis and pole work in my training.
Are there trainers or riders that shaped your riding style or that you particularly respect?
I have always admired Kyra Kyrklund as a rider and horse person. I think she has an incredible way of explaining dressage and spent many hours watching her training videos for fun. In my eyes, would say I have my own “style” though.
You spend a lot of time developing young horses. Are there any characteristics you look for in youngsters?
I look for 3 good gaits with good mechanics. The way they move and use themselves as a young horse will never change and is extremely important for the Grand Prix. I also like a horse with a lot of energy as a young horse. When thinking about major games, they have to be able to do the Grand Prix, the Special and the Freestyle and still be thinking GO!
Do you have any particular training philosophies or techniques you’ve developed?
Horses are very sensitive to pressure so I feel it is my duty to make sure they are calm in order to make competing a positive experience. A Grand Prix test takes incredible stamina to complete and therefore have to make sure they use their energy in a positive way. A nervous muscle is very inefficient.
Talk about Caravella and other horses that have been impactful in your riding career.
Caravella (Capri), is a very particular horse when it comes to who she likes to have around her. She lets people know right away whether you are approved or rejected! She has a really sweet side to her though and knows how to work that side to get a treat out of you! She also has a strange love for soft things so I have a stuffed animal in her stall for her to cuddle.
Capri is extremely powerful, that was one of the things that I found most impressive about her at first. She certainly has had the biggest impact on my career - I’m so happy to have her be my first horse that I’ve trained from 1st level to Grand Prix. We’ve travelled the world together over the past 9 and a half years.
One of the other horses that had a big impact my riding career is named Dolany (aka Lucky). Lucky is a 15h PMU that was rescued from slaughter when he was 3 months old. Seeing him at rest you would never know he would be able to do what he does. He taught me how to be a sensitive and technical rider, showing me the impact time and correct training have a on a horse. I still own Lucky and he is currently being ridden by a very talented junior rider just outside of where I grew up. I have owned him for 15 years now.
What is your daily life like? How do you balance a busy show schedule with your personal life?
In the depths of show season I have to admit to not having much of a balance, the horses and show mind set definitely take over. I thankfully have very supportive family and friends.
What are your plans for the coming year?
I am currently aiming to qualify for the World Cup in 2017, however, with only 2 positions given to the whole of North America, this will be my greatest challenge to date.
Visit Ms. Lane’s website for more information and updates!
By Ashley Fairfield-Remeza