By Emily Penn
Lane Wilson was born into the world of horses. His father and sister are both successful reiners and Lane has followed in the family footsteps. The 17-year-old from Uxbridge, Ontario, has become a successful competitor in the national and international reining world, taking home the individual gold and team silver medals in the Junior Reining divisions at the 2011 North American Junior and Young Riders Championships (NAJYRC) in Kentucky. This humble teenager credits much of his success to his family and his horse, and works hard to balance riding with the rest of his life.
We recently caught up with Lane and asked him about his riding career and his plans for the future.
Horse Journals: How did you become interested in horses and reining?
Lane Wilson: Horses have always been a part of my life. My dad, Randy, has been training Quarter Horses for 35 years, specializing in reining for most of that time. I guess you could say I could ride before I could walk. I remember competing in my first reining class when I was nine years old.
Photo: Jill Denovan - Reining runs in the family! Lane (right) and his father, Randy, ride out together on Shiner and Shiner’s daughter, Shiner’s Finest Jewel.
Tell us about your current horse.
I started riding No Finer Shiner, an 11-year-old palomino stallion, about five years ago, and I’ve been showing him for the past three years. Because “Shiner” is a stallion, I can’t compete with him in youth competitions; this has forced me to jump into stiffer adult competition, as well as international youth competition, where stallions are permitted. Shiner was my dad’s “go to” horse for many years before he was handed over to me. My father and his lifetime friend, Mark Lipfeld, co-own him and I have to thank them for the opportunity to ride the horse. In addition to being a very competitive horse, Shiner is also great around the farm, whether on the trails or giving lessons to green riders.
Which horse has been the most influential in your riding career to this point?
Shiner has definitely been the most influential horse in my career. Everything, from ground rules with a breeding stallion to horse show etiquette, was taught to me with Shiner.
Photo: Jill Denovan - Family is of the utmost importance to Lane, who is pictured here holding his eight-month-old sister, Sienna.
How do you balance school, family, and friends with horses?
Balancing horses with my life requires a delicate juggling act. I am a senior at Uxbridge Secondary School. Coping with the academic pressures of Grade 12, my part-time job at Clems Custom Wing Shop, paying for my own vehicle, and helping out with a therapeutic riding program are not easy, but have their rewards. I have been accepted into Sir Sandford Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario, and I plan to start in September 2012, studying environmental technology. I do end up sacrificing a lot of school and work time for horse shows but it is something I am willing to do to further my show career.
What do you do for fun, other than riding?
Obviously riding horses is one of my favourite pastimes but I also snowboard in the winter and motocross race in the summer months. I love those sports but, just like any other kid, I get the most enjoyment out of spending time with my friends and family.
Photo: Jill Denovan - Receiving his gold medal in the Individual Junior Reining Division at the 2011 NAJYRC is a memory that Lane will hang onto for the rest of his life.
Tell me about your experience at the 2011 North American Junior and Young Riders Championship. What was the most memorable part of the event?
The 2011 NAJYRC definitely topped previous years for me. It’s the ultimate test for youth riders. From the moment you qualify in May, you devote yourself 100 percent to this one competition. I competed for Team Canada alongside my younger cousin, Emily Wilson, and we achieved a silver medal in the team competition. It was great to share that with my family. The most memorable moment for me was my victory in the individual competition. Shiner was at the top of his game and I couldn’t have been more proud. Everything I had worked for that year boiled down to that one three minute run. The make-or-break moment of my show season, the whole reason I chose to ride and qualify, was to win that medal, and finally having it all pay off was incredible. Taking the top spot on the podium while they played my national anthem and put an FEI gold medal around my neck is a memory I will hold onto for the rest of my life.
Photo: Randy Wilson - Lane grew up surrounded by horses and was competing in reining by the time he was nine years old.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I’ve ever received was passed down from my grandfather: “If the job’s worth doin’, it’s worth doin’ right.” I remember this saying in every aspect of life from work to school, and especially when I’m in the saddle. The worst thing a rider can do is to cut corners and push their horse's limits. Taking the time to learn and grow with your horse at a pace that doesn’t risk hurting the horse physically or mentally is what this saying means to me.
Who are your riding inspirations?
Like just about any other up-and-coming youth in the reining world, I look up to Shawn Flarida for inspiration. No one has come close to his success in the show pen at major events around the world. I look up to my father and sister as well; they’ve taught me everything I know.
What are your plans for 2012?
2012 is going to be a big year for me. I was elected to be the Ontario Reining Horse Youth Association Vice President. I’m looking forward to organizing fundraisers and getting back into youth competitions as for the past two years I have been focused on the NAJYRC. This year I plan to give Shiner a break and hopefully try out a new gelding or mare in the youth 14 to 18 classes and show alongside my friends every weekend.
What are your long term goals with regard to your riding career?
I do not wish to pursue a career training reining horses like my father but I do plan to continue my non-professional career for as long as possible. I love riding horses; it is the one thing I’ve known my whole life and I can’t ever see myself not owning or showing horses for the fun of it. In the near future I’d like to start working with young three-year-olds and four to six-year-olds for limited aged events like futurities and derbies.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
I would like to thank my mom, Susan. She does so much for me, and even though she is unable to go to many of the shows, she’s still my biggest fan. From doing paper work to ironing my show clothes, the things my mom does for me behind the scenes are some of the most important ones. Without my mom, I would not be where I am today. I would also like to also mention Mark Lipfeld (co-owner of Shiner) as he is my biggest financial supporter.
Main Article Photo: Lane and No Finer Shiner put in a stellar performance at the 2011 NAJYRC, earning them the Individual Gold Medal in the Junior Rider Reining Division.