Hayley Mercer spends a quiet moment with her horse Gavin. The horse, which also goes by the show name Crown Royal, will join Mercer as she competes at the Canadian Equine Team national finals in Toronto next month. photo courtesy Fred Mercer

Langley teen riding in national equestrian competition

Seventeen-year-old Hayley Mercer is riding in the Canadian Equine Team nationals in Toronto.

Langley teen Hayley Mercer is going on a cross-Canada road trip accompanied by her horse Gavin.

The pair are headed to Toronto where they will compete at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair for the Canadian Equestrian Team Medal in November.

Mercer placed second at the CET regional finals in September to qualify for the national competition, which is held at Toronto’s Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

The top four under-21 riders from B.C. are moving onto the national finals, where 16 riders compete for the top title.

Last year, Mercer also qualified to compete at the national level.

She said this year, she knows better what to expect.

“It’s good to go back a second year because now I know what I’m expecting.

“I focus on performance and not outcome. I try to look at it like, ‘how am I going to do this best for myself and my horse,’ not ‘I want to win it,’ which really helps because it takes away the nervous energy of the show.”

Mercer rides six days a week at Langley’s Thunderbird Show Stables.

Her horse Gavin, who goes by the show name Crown Royal, is only seven years old.

“It’s pretty young. For doing the CET Medal, it’s not as common.

“It’s very technical and competitive so he can always pull something babyish, but I can’t get mad at him because he’s still learning,” said Mercer.

Mercer has been riding horses since she was five, and has been riding Gavin for one and a half years.

Mercer said she always had an interest in riding horses, but it was a relative who really sparked the passion.

“We actually like to blame my grandma. She used to live on the Island, so when we went there she would do something special for us. So one year I went over and had a couple (riding) lessons and it started from there.”

Now, she couldn’t imagine her life without horses.

“I see it as an outlet. It’s nice to go after work or after a rough day.

“Even if you’re not riding you can spend time with your horse and it’s calming. I love the competitive aspect and the challenges.”

Mercer said she likes to focus on the ‘bigger picture’ during competitions.

“There’s a lot of setbacks but you have to look at the bigger picture because things aren’t always going to go your way. You’re going to lose 90 per cent of the time and win 10 per cent of the time, so for me, it’s focusing on the bigger picture.”

Since Mercer will age out of the CET competitions in a few years, she has bigger goals set.

“I’ve always wanted to be a Grand Prix rider and compete in FEI. I definitely want to take a run at the Olympics and eventually have my own business.”

Mercer added that she definitely thinks her future career will involve horses.

Just Posted

VIDEO: G-Men seek revenge Saturday night in rematch at Langley Events Centre

Portland’s Winterhawks downed the Vancouver Giants 5-3 during a road trip down south.

Tommy Chong says cannabis legalization makes him proud to be a Canadian

Legendary marijuana advocate and comedian celebrates cultural milestone at Kelowna event

UPDATE: Abbotsford murder victim was brother of slain gang leader

Mandeep Grewal gunned down Thursday, brother Gavin killed in North Van in 2017

Children’s author shares her story with West Langley Elementary students

Gabrielle Prendergast toured Fraser Valley schools and libraries from Oct. 15-19.

Nominations wanted for Langley moms in need

The Mama Coach launched the 2nd annual Christmas for Mamas Giveback campaign.

Singer k.d. lang receives Alberta’s highest honour

Celebrated singer-songwriter k.d. lang received the Alberta Order of Excellence in Edmonton

B.C. tickets win big in Lotto Max draw

Jackpot carried over; B.C. tickets share Max Millions prizes

‘Mom, I’m in trouble:’ Canadian faces 10 years for alleged graffiti

Brittney Schneider, another tourist caught spraying message on walls of Tha Pae Gate in Thailand

Feds consulting on national anti-racism strategy behind closed doors

Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez says people still face systemic racism in some communities

Enbridge aims for mid-November to finish B.C. pipeline repair after blast

A natural gas pipeline that ruptured and burned near Prince George caused an explosion and fireball

How to get government cheques if Canada Post staff go on strike

The Canadian Union of Postal Workers said members could go on rotating strikes as early as Monday

Man who sexually assaulted teen is declared dangerous offender

Anton Foulds has more than 30 convictions, dating back to 1991

Anti-SOGI school trustee files defamation lawsuit against BCTF president

Barry Neufeld says Glen Hansman’s words caused him “indignity,” “personal harassment,” and “anxiety”

Most Read