By Aynsley Cairns, HCBC Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Horse Council BC (HCBC) former board member Barb Schmidt presented the HCBC 2015 Sherman Olson Lifetime Achievement Award to local horseman, Borge Olsen during the 2016 Canada Cup Vaulting Competition at Chilliwack Heritage Park on May 28th.
Horse Council BC’s annual awards serve to honour outstanding achievement within BC’s equestrian community. These awards acknowledge those who have stood out from the crowd over the past year and who have made a positive impact on the community as a whole. Each award recipient was nominated by two or more other Horse Council BC members.
HCBC is reaching out to the various equestrian communities throughout BC so that we are able to present each award at a recipient’s club, event, competition, or barn party of their choice, surrounded by their friends and the people that support them.
Horse Council BC’s Sherman Olson Lifetime Achievement Award was established and first presented in 1981 to honour individuals who have made exceptional contributions to BC’s equestrian community. These contributions, whether they have been through education, mentoring or leadership, have made a lasting footprint demonstrating a lifetime of commitment and dedication to the on-going progression of the equine industry. Each recipient of this prestigious award is a BC resident having achieved prominence through commitment and hard work, in turn positively impacting BC’s equine industry and inspiring others. This award is only awarded when warranted and is not necessarily given every year. The Lifetime Achievement Award is considered the premier award of Horse Council BC.
Vaulting at the 2014 BC Summer Games. Photos courtesy of HCBC
Borge Olsen, who turns 94 this year, is considered to be the “grandfather” of vaulting in Canada. His early efforts to develop the sport are credited with helping to usher this country into the international vaulting arena.
Born in Denmark, Borge earned his trainer’s license in that country and then brought his astounding expertise in vaulting and dressage to Canada. He was a national dressage judge in Canada for over 30 years, but it is his significant contribution to the sport of equestrian vaulting that has endeared him to countless athletes, coaches and judges.
In the early 1970’s Borge introduced vaulting to the Chilliwack Pony Club. The youngsters were so enthralled with the sport that the group evolved quickly into one of Canada’s first vaulting clubs, The Cheam Vaulters. In 1972, Borge founded the country’s first provincial vaulting association, The Equestrian Vaulting Association of BC, because he believed that the future of the sport depended on groups working together for their mutual benefit.
Borge’s accomplishments as a coach and lunger were instrumental in bringing many Canadian vaulters to the elite athlete level. His vaulters were among the first provincial and national vaulting champions in Canada and several went on to represent this country at the world championships. Even today some of Borge’s vaulters remain among Canada’s top competitors, coaches, lungers, and judges. Forty-five years after he first brought vaulting to his community, Borge’s legacy continues to grow as the sport of vaulting can now be found in Canadian provinces from coast to coast as well as a national organization, Vault Canada.
About Horse Council BC
Horse Council BC is a membership-driven not-for-profit association representing the interests of the equine industry in all sectors throughout British Columbia. Tradition, strong values and superior hard work provided by our volunteers has made Horse Council BC the largest and most successful multi-discipline, multi-breed equine association in Canada.
Horse Council BC continues to grow each year with membership reaching over 23,000 in 2014. Horse Council BC actively represents the equine industry in agriculture, industry, sport, and recreation through education, grant funding, club support, government lobbying, liability insurance, and participant programs.
About The Equestrian Vaulting Association of BC
The EVA of BC is a registered not-for-profit society, with the mandate to support and grow the sport of equestrian vaulting (or “vaulting” for short) in British Columbia through education and actively supporting the development of coaches, clubs and vaulters.
About Equestrian Vaulting
Vaulting is the performance of gymnastic and dance-like movements to music on a moving horse.
The horse is controlled by a lunger who sends him in a circle around them on the end of a lunge line which is attached to the bridle the horse wears on his head. The horse also wears a special surcingle around his belly which has hand grips and stirrup-like loops for the vaulter’s feet. Vaulters begin working in walk and progress, with training from a qualified instructor, to be able to execute fantastic freestyle performances in the canter. Vaulters learn to have the agility and athleticism of gymnasts, the grace and expression of dancers and the balance and feel of equestrians.
Main Photo: (Top row L to R): Marilyn Ricka, former vaulting host; Lynn Wallden, HCBC staff and vaulting judge; Alisa Schmidt, top ranked FEI vaulter; Darla Ricka, FEI level vaulter; Colin Schmidt, former vaulter and current vaulting judge. (Bottom row L to R): Borge Olsen, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient and “godfather” of vaulting in Canada; Lori Wallden, former vaulter and student vaulting judge. Photo credit: Marion Photography/Divine Equine Photography