A central Alberta show jumper based out of Join Up Stables, located between Ponoka and Bashaw, has a lot to be proud of.
Laura Lopez, owner of Join Up Stables, and her horse Dali D’Eclipse took part in the Canadian Show Jumping National Championships held in Calgary at the beginning of November.
It was the first time the event was held in Western Canada in over two decades, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the event in its normal Ontario venue for a second year in a row.
Competing in the 1.30-metre class, Lopez and Dali would go on to win the bronze medal in the championships for their class.
Further adding to the accomplishment is that Lopez has only been riding Dali for under a year, after bringing him over from France in the early part of 2021.
“With my new horse, it’s pretty exciting,” said Lopez.
“It’s exciting to see how far I can go.”
Lopez, who originally comes from Columbia, moved to Canada in 2011 after her mother married a Canadian from the area.
“My mom is also in the horse business,” said Lopez.
“When she lived in Columbia, she had a lot of connection to Canada. She would bring show horses here, and she fell in love with the people.”
For Lopez, working with horses has been a life-long affair; one which comes naturally through family ties through her parents and her uncles being involved in the business.
One of her uncles in Europe hosts an annual show jumping event in France which she competes in, when she gets the opportunity.
Closer to home, when she’s not competing, Lopez works at her stables where she offers horse boarding, riding, and show-jumping lessons.
The facility has 10 stalls, and Lopez currently has four riders with whom she currently works with regularly which has helped her get through the pandemic.
“You’re just doing the best you can,” said Lopez.
“With horses, it’s kind of different because you can’t stop. If people aren’t able to come, the horses still need to get worked and fed. That part hasn’t changed that much, because you have to keep going for them.”
During the riding season, Lopez tries to get in a couple of competitions a month, if not more, and is looking forward to getting back on the road as soon as possible, possibly in March when the weather begins to clear.
“There’s a really nice show in British Columbia,” said Lopez.
“If the weather is good, I might start going there.”