Tag Archive: Humber College

Horses for Courses

I got a chance to go horseback riding last week. Growing up in Caledon, the opportunity to ride was everywhere–but for some reason, I never made the introduction. Perhaps because it was seen as an unnecessary expense? Or something no one ever thought would be a priority?

Well, as it turned out, the experience of driving up to Uxbridge ended up being purely magical. We learned the ropes in a safe, graduated way, got an amazing ride on picturesque trails and then truly bonded with the animals.

Petting the horse

Except for those from our group who had experience riding, none of us knew what to expect. It’s hard not to feel a little anxiety, but achieving a “first” means you’re having an adventure. The fact that the darkened skies kept spelling rain also put us in a different spot.

When it was time to step up and mount “Latte,” my aptly named/paired horse, I felt unease and a total lack of familiarity with the beast. This animal could have bucked me off with relative ease and made no bones about showing me he knew what was up.

Me and Latte

Out of everyone in our group, my horse seemed to be the lone non-conformist, refusing to line up facing the exit. I tried to turn him using the method we were shown, and he just didn’t respond.

“Let him know you’re in charge,” suggested someone.

I relaxed, and lo and behold, Latte began to respond, taking his place near the front of the line. During the last part of the trail ride, I really began to enter that quiet, contemplative head space–a place that is harder to access living in the city.


Inside the house

What we all learned was that animals are easily spooked. Especially prey animals that have learned to avoid humans for their survival.

Still, the process of bonding with a horse can be incredibly rewarding. They learned to trust us and we all learned to care about each other.

In the end, it was harder than you can imagine to watch that farm disappear in the rear-view mirror. Truth be told? We knew we were leaving a part of ourselves behind.


Cover Girl

Three-time boxing world champion and 2012 Olympian Mary Spencer made a visit to Humber College today in order to give a boxing seminar. I debated whether or not to go– would this be a demonstration, a real workout and could I take something valuable away from her? The answer was a little bit of all three.

Just last August, Spencer had lost in her first match of the Olympics:

Spencer fell to Chinese boxer Li Jinzi in a quarter-final fight at the Olympics on Monday, losing 17-14 in front of a near-capacity crowd in the ExCel arena in east London. A win would have at least guaranteed her a bronze medal.

Spencer received a bye through the first round of the 12-woman draw, and she was drawn into the easier side of the bracket, avoiding two fighters who have already beaten her this year.

The National Post, August 6, 2012

A video of the final round of this fight is available here (only for Canadian viewers, sorry!). Spencer appears to get swarmed by an opponent who clinches without hesitation. Spencer’s long arms made it hard for her to fight on the inside, and she is too inactive in the final round.

As for the seminar, due to the mixed-experience level of the group, the instruction was at a beginner-to-intermediate level. We did a warm-up, stretching, three rounds of “Polish boxing” (punching with high-knees), basic combinations, defense, suicides (sprints back and forth across the gym) and a cool-down.

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