Duo love horses

GLEN DAWKINS -- Winnipeg Sun

, Last Updated: 9:17 AM ET

Carol and Kyra Lavallee are collectors. But while other mothers and daughters collect stamps, coins or even shoes, the Lavallees collect horses.

"I've always had at least one horse, if not two," said Carol. "Now we have five."

The mother-daughter tandem are competing this weekend at the Heart of the Continent horse show at the 1999 Pan American Games show rings on the Red River Exhibition grounds. While 20-year-old Kyra is riding dark bay gelding Dark Island in the jumper events, Carol is on bay gelding Dexter in the hunter division.

"We just tend to collect (horses)," said Carol, whose family lives on a five-acre spread in Headingley. "I've got one that's 32 years old and I've had him for 30 years. They become part of our family."

Dexter, a 14-year-old former thoroughbred race horse from Ontario, was Kyra's hunter horse before she handed him off when her mother decided to try her luck as a regular on the horse show circuit last year.

"(Dexter) was my first horse and he started me off in the ranks," added Kyra, who has been competing since she was 11. "Now I've passed him along to my mom and he's starting her off in the ranks."

Manitoba's premiere horse show, the Heart of the Continent features some of the best riders and horses from Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Minnesota, Iowa and California. The competition wraps up tomorrow at 2:40 p.m., with the $15,000 Red River Exhibition Grand Prix attracting top riders from Manitoba, Minnesota, Alberta and California.

The Future Prix kicks off tomorrow's championship schedule at 10 a.m., with many of the top young riders taking part. Tomorrow's schedule also includes a Thank You Prix, a dog agility contest and a horse and dog relay event.

Admission and parking are free.

"It's nice (that Carol is riding Dexter) because I know the horse so well," said Kyra, who finished seventh in the Future Prix at last year's Heart of the Continent and last year's Manitoba Hunter Jumper Association Manitoba Derby horse show. "I've ridden him so I know what it's like. I've been there, done that so I know what she's going through and I know what she's feeling."

While most people are familiar with the jumper division from watching the riders at the Olympics and on TV, the hunter division is less recognized but no less difficult. Unlike the jumper division where the emphasis is on the jumps, the hunter division events is all about style and form and is judged like figure skating.

"You need a horse that goes around quietly with the same pace, the same rhythm and the same jump out of its stride every time (for hunter)," said Kyra, who was sixth yesterday in her Jumper Division event while Carol has a first, a second and two fourths in first four events at this week's Heart of the Continent.

"It takes a totally different mentality to be a jumper than to be a hunter.


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