DOB: August 11, 2000
Hometown: Ottawa, Ontario
Stable: Millar Brooke Farm
Coach(s): Kelly Soleau-Millar (however, I train with all the Millars at any point as well)
Current occupation: University student
Favourite Netflix show: Grey’s Anatomy
Favourite food: Pizza
Coffee or tea: Coffee 100%
Competition superstitions: I always carry boot stick in my ring bag, even if I don’t use it.
If you could ride any horse in the world: Beezie Madden’s “Cortes C”
Can’t live without: Chapstick!!!
Rayne Dubois’ goals for the 2019 show season did not include qualifying for the RAWF, but she finished off her year with a bang, securing the victory in Canada’s most prestigious equitation final.
Dubois’ partner for her victory in the CET Medal Finals was the 18-year-old Danish Warmblood, Ferraro K, whom she only began leasing in April of 2019. The two wasted no time getting acquainted and Dubois credits ‘Jose’s’ experience in the ring to much of their success; the gelding is owned by Karen Sparks ‒ a top rider and executive director of the Wesley Clover Foundation ‒ and had prior experience doing the equitation and high level jumpers. “The goal for the season was to just have fun and see where it took us,” explains Dubois of her initial expectations for the 2019 season. “We planned to do the 1.20m division and the CET Medal, and then if we were doing well in the CET, to try to qualify for regionals. I was there to be competitive, but I never thought I would qualify for the Royal my first year trying in the CET. After I qualified, my goal at the Royal was to take it all in and just enjoy that I was even there.”
This realistic goal-setting speaks to her workmanlike approach behind the scenes and certainly helped manage the expectations of what could have been a nerve-wracking first trip to the Royal Winter Fair. In keeping with her mentality for the season, Dubois’ goal was to enjoy the experience. “I did feel the pressure of being at the Royal because I am very competitive and like to do well, but also I really just relaxed about winning and enjoyed the moment,” recalls Dubois. “I had an excellent team and amazing horse, an incredible support system that came with me to the Royal and an insanely successful season behind me, so I had really already won by being there. My mentality was, ‘whatever happens, happens.'”
Dubois credits longtime family friend Elizabeth White for introducing her to horses as a 12-year-old. Hoping to encourage her discovery of a new hobby, White registered Dubois for a summer riding camp at Partridge Acres in Ottawa, ON. White has since maintained her support of Dubois’ pursuits in the ring. “Elizabeth has allowed my riding to progress every step of the way,” says Dubois. “We do this together and she is the reason I have been able to come so far and have so many opportunities. When we first started our journey, she wanted to give me the opportunity of the positive experience horses can bring into your life, and she was so right!”
Dubois eventually became a student of the Ian Millar School of Horsemanship at Wesley Clover Parks in Ottawa before moving to Millar Brooke Farm in April of 2019 to train with Ian and Jonathon Millar and Kelly Soleau-Millar. “It has been an absolute pleasure being able to train under such talent, and I am so grateful to be apart of the Millar’s program,” says Dubois. “The operation they run is so prestigious and I have learned so much from my first six months with them. They have taught me that every learning opportunity is valuable, whether you are sitting on a horse, watching your other team mates compete, or setting jumps in the arena for another lesson.”
The Royal Horse Show marked the end of her partnership with Jose, but it left no shortage of memories. “One moment that stuck out to me the most, other than the win, was when Ian Millar rode out on José for his retirement ceremony,” says Dubois. “It was so special to see the equestrian I have idolized my entire riding career ride out on the horse that I had just won the CET Finals with and who has become such a special partner to me. Another incredible moment is that almost all my coaches were able to be in the ring with me to present the award. To have Ian, Kelly and Jonathon, my mentors, in the ring for the presentation made the moment even more special.”
For the moment, Dubois is focused on completing her psychology degree at Carleton University in Ottawa, and although she doesn’t rule out a future with horses, her priority remains simply with the pursuit of knowledge. “The impact that the win had on me is that it has really boosted my urge to learn more. What else can I take on next, what can I practice more of? It has really made me appreciate the hard work it takes to excel at something. I’m now super-eager to learn more in the jumper ring and see what else I can accomplish.”