Ruth Allum is the head coach and trainer at Oakhurst Farm in Ashton, ON, which she operates along with her husband, Mark Nelson. During her more than 20 years as a coach, Ruth has guided students from beginner levels to international competition. As a certified High Performance 1 Coach – Eventing, an NCCP Learning Facilitator, NCCP Coach Evaluator and an NCCP Master Coach Developer in Training, all her students receive the benefit of Ruth’s careful attention to detail in riding, physical and mental preparation, and building a strong horse-and-rider team.

Oakhurst hosted a popular Three-Day Long-Format clinic and competition in 2018 – a throwback to the old days of eventing where steeplechase and roads-and-tracks were a factor. “The education component of the long-format three-day is a passion for me, so I think we will see it at Oakhurst again in the not-too-distant future … when my family and volunteers have recovered from hosting the last one!”

Ruth also shapes the sport as chair of the Equestrian Canada Eventing Committee and as a member of the EC National Coaching Technical Committee. In 2018, Ruth travelled across Canada as part of the Cross-Country Pilot Program that was added to the EC Rider Level Program to introduce safe instruction and evaluation of cross-country riding skills, increasing the visibility for eventing without the requirement or expenses of competing. “It has shifted direction slightly for the moment,” she says of the program. “In the immediate works is a pretty exciting project coming out of the National Eventing group for 2020. The inspiration of combining a program of athlete development, talent spotting, and coach education is the focus for 2020 and we hope through this it will unite Canadian event riders in a coherent journey of increased learning and opportunity. The details are being finalized and I can’t wait to share the dream with everyone!”

Foreseeable Future

• Help students fulfill their goals (whether that’s canter on the left lead or win an FEI event)

• Run fantastic events

• Bring eventers across the country together through a common athlete development goal.

• Enjoy my family … they indulge and embrace my whims without judgment, like horsey movie nights in the indoor arena and yet another drill team performance. They applaud me when I win and lift me up when I lose.

Mission Possible

“In the future I will still be mucking stalls, delivering as many lessons as I can at home, going to every event I can fit in my schedule, teaching in every province and territory I can get to – and of course still loving every minute of it! I have been lucky enough to have tremendous mentors and have watched them give back to the sport community and have tried to model my role in eventing after them. I hope in 10 years I have been bumped out of the way by a group of go-getting volunteers who are keen to put their stamp on the eventing scene in Canada.”