Nov 23, 2016 - Kerstin Kormendy for SoGerman
Two young women crossed the Atlantic to gain experience with horses in Canada and Germany. Part one features Elena Secci, who traveled from the South of Germany to spend a month volunteering at the Rideauwood Farm Dressage Training Centre in Merrickville, Ontario.
Elena Secci lives in the South of Germany, right at the Swiss border. The 17-year-old student had the opportunity to visit Canada and spend a month volunteering at the Rideauwood Farm Dressage Training Centre in Merrickville, Ontario. In the summer, she spoke with SoGerman about her experience in Canada.
Interview has been translated from German into English and edited for length.
Q: When did you start horseback riding?
A: I’ve been doing horseback riding for 11 years. I go riding at a therapeutic riding school; we work a lot with kids who have special needs. We have one young woman, who is very successful and went to Rio for the Paralympic Games, which is really cool. I often go on riding holidays and see how it works at different riding schools.
Q: What do you like about horseback riding?
A: I like horses and working with them. A horse is a living being that you have to take care of. It’s not just a ball or something like that. There are so many different horses with so many different personalities. I like that a lot.
Q: Why did you decide to come to Canada?
A: The couple I live with are very good friends of my uncle. They came to visit us a year ago or so. They told us about the riding school here and asked if I wanted to visit them. And so I wrote them shortly after, asking if I could really come and visit, to improve my English for school, because I will be writing my Abitur and graduate next year.
Q: What did you do during your time here?
A: I volunteered at the riding school five times a week. Because it was hey season, we made hey, which was always very exhausting. Then, I mucked out the stables and prepared the horses for riding. It was a lot of fun. Other than that, we explored Ottawa and went to see a great animal park and a water park.
Q: Why do you think should people travel more?
A: For sure, traveling allows you to get to know other cultures and other people, to learn how to accept others and to see that there is not only one way to do things.
Q: What will you take home with you?
A: I definitely take home all the advice I learned here for riding, and just the experience, the fun. I will definitely come back again.
Q: What will you miss the most from Canada?
A: The friendliness of the people and the openness. Everyone welcomes you so warmly and everyone is very friendly without any prejudices. And of course the horses! Rocket, the white one, who became so dear to me…
Q: What advice would you give to those who travel to Canada?
A: Just talk and don’t be shy. In the beginning, I was very shy while speaking English, because I wasn’t sure if I said something wrong or not. But you just have to be open and speak a lot. Then, everything works out fine.
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