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Riders hone their skills at Bible Hill clinic


BIBLE HILL, N.S. —

Paisley McCallum’s horse doesn’t always make things easy for her.
But the 15-year-old knows the spirited mare has made her a better rider. 
Paisley and Gem, whose show name is Moonshine, were among horse-and-rider teams taking part in the Yann Candele clinic in Bible Hill on Nov. 23-24.
“She’s challenged my abilities, and helped me become stronger,” said Paisley. “I got her six months ago. I’m not sure why I chose her. There was something about the look in her eye. It’s hard to describe.”
Paisley grew up around horses and decided, at age five she wanted to take riding lessons.
“As soon as I had my first lesson there was no going back,” she said. 
Gem, as well as another horse and her two retired ponies, are kept at her family home in Brookfield, where her father, Mike, helps her with barn chores.
Paisley had a concussion after a riding accident with another horse, but it didn’t slow her down for long, and she credits Gem with restoring her confidence.
Following the Yann Candele clinic, riders had the opportunity to tackle some jumps and Paisley and Gem cleared 3-ft. 6-in.
“She hasn’t done that height before with me, so it was pretty exciting,” said Paisley. “I was a little nervous, but I knew she’d take care of me.”
Paisley’s coach, Suzanne Perry, who runs Opportunity Farm, organized the clinic, which drew riders from as far as northern New Brunswick.
“Jann spent individual time with every student and made sure everyone took something away from it,” she said. “He truly wants to help them improve.
“He’s fantastic and everyone who attended was positive. I have a wait list of people who want to attend the clinic when he comes back, which I hope will be in the spring.”
Candele has competed in many international show jumping events, including the 2016 Olympics. He grew up in France and now lives in Ontario.
He instructed four levels during his recent clinic, and Perry rode in one.
“I think it’s important for coaches to continue training,” she said. “If people aren’t open to learning and expanding their education, they’re not passionate about what they’re doing any more.”
Paisley doesn’t think she’ll ever lose her passion for riding.
“My goal is to compete around the province, to progress in height and become a stronger rider,” she said. “I really enjoy being around horses, even when I have to go out in the cold. They’re more than worth it.”

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