It’s a job that requires riding horses every day, all day long. Twenty-year-old Dylan Munro views it as a privilege and there’s no way he’s going to squander this great opportunity.

“I graduated high school in June of 2020 and I got the job with Ben [Asselin] and Kelly [Koss-Brix] in September, which was only supposed to be one gap year from university. It’s now turned into two and three. This is full-time.”

Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Munro moved with his family to the area south of Calgary when he was two years old. His grandfather had a Thoroughbred breeding farm – the renowned Highfield Stock Farm in Okotoks – with a house on it and offered it to the family. So it is no great surprise that young Munro took to horses at an early age.

Dylan jogging a bay horse.

Calippo 57, a talented seven-year-old by Casallco, has stepped up to the 1.35m classes recently and is really starting show his scope and ability. (Attache Stables Insta)

“I’ve been around horses my entire life,” he explained. “My dad and grandfather were always around them. My dad originally taught me to ride Western; he bought me a little pony to ride around. We’d go on trail rides. Eventually, we had a show jumping barn that was leasing out one of our barns and I thought it was really cool, wanted to give it a try, and it went from there.

“My dad always taught me be very thankful for everything, all the horses you get to ride. He’s very supportive with everything we do. He’s very interested in what I do.”

When he got the gig with Attache Stables, a facility run by Nancy Southern, her husband Jonathan Asselin, their son Ben Asselin and daughter Kelly Koss-Brix, it was a dream come true for the youngster.

“Absolutely,” Munro insisted. “I’m very thankful not only for Ben and Kelly, but both Nancy and Jonathan as well, their support for my riding. I’m very grateful for their continued help with all the horses I ride for them. It’s really fantastic to learn from people as great as they are.”

Attache Stables is in the horse selling business and it is Munro’s job to compete on these young horses and showcase them to prospective buyers. Given the relationships that are forged between rider and horses, this can make saying goodbye to a favourite mount difficult at times.

“At the end of the day, I just want to do the best I can for the horses, for the entire family,” he noted matter-of-factly. “It’s sad to see one go; you develop a special connection, a bond with them. But it’s part of the business. All I can do is do my best to develop the best horse possible and hopefully they can go on and make someone as happy as they made me.”

To that end, Munro’s competitive schedule is full. He went down to Desert International Horse Park in Thermal, California, for two months at the end of January, preparing for the Canadian summer circuit that took him to Thunderbird in Langley, BC, and to Calgary for the Spruce Meadows four-week series. While at the Meadows, he rode four horses to some fine finishes in the 1.10-1.35m classes. His one victory came at the Pan American with Calippo 57 in the metre-35 Duncan Ross Cup.

“He’s an incredible horse, a great jumper,” Munro said of the seven-year-old bay gelding. “It was actually Ben’s mom Nancy Southern that bought the horse. They thought she was a little crazy for buying him at the time. But the horse has turned out incredible. I’ve been riding him for just over a year now and really have developed quite a connection with him. He knows his job and I’ve been very fortunate to win a number of classes in California and out in BC as well. He’s been incredibly consistent and I’m lucky to ride him.”

Through the four tournaments, he had 15 top-10 placings, including four podiums. His other metre-35 horse is Gryffindor de Hay, also seven.

“Unfortunately, last year at the Masters, the horse I was riding the U25 with ended up getting sold, so now I have Calippo and Gryffindor,” he said. “They’re starting to step up now, but they’re still developing, so I don’t have a U25 horse right now but … things change. Both of them are developing very nicely and I really look forward to the future with them.”

After enjoying some downtime in July, Munro headed back to Thunderbird in August for two weeks before setting his sights on Spruce Meadows for the September Masters tournament. Just more of that ‘everyday riding’ in order to make both his horses and himself better.

“I keep saying this, but my biggest goal is to get into the ring,” said Munro. “It doesn’t matter what height I jump, whether it’s a four or five-year-old jumping metre-10 class or a seven-year-old jumping 1.35. To be as consistent as I can be I guess is the biggest goal.

“Growing up, I always used to come to Spruce Meadows as a young kid and watch the competitions, especially Masters week. You love to come watch the Nations Cup on the Saturday and then the CP on the Sunday. It’s absolutely a dream and a goal of mine to ride for Team Canada at some point.”