Following Her Passion

An 18 year old athlete from Bezanson has temporarily moved away from home in order to train and practice in the sport she loves. Alyssa Lavalley, a recent graduate from Peace Wapiti Academy, is training at the Gorsline Stables in Sherwood Park, Alberta. An already decorated equestrian show jumper, Lavalley hopes to use this experience to grow and develop her skills and abilities and further her love of the sport. Lavalley explains,” the reason I do this sport is because I’ve always loved horses and always been told I had a good connection with them. They have actually helped me so much when I was really little.”

Alyssa & Whiskey
Alyssa Lavalley and Whiskey. Photo credit Lianne Lavalley (submitted)

Equestrian show jumping courses are designed with a certain pattern in which you must go over 12 jumps in the cleanest (without knocking down a rail) and fastest time. Lavalley says,

“I love the challenge and working with a horse to honestly become one. There is no feeling like having a horse trusts you with everything you control and knowing they are in your hands. All sports have their glory but this one has brought the most to me.” Lavalley competes on her horse Whiskey SR, who is named after the Smoky River ranch they both call home.

Lavalley is a former Bezanson School student athlete who competed in many sports for the Bulldogs including cross country running, track, volleyball and basketball. Growing up in Bezanson has given Lavalley many opportunities to excel on the athletic and academic stages, as well as in numerous community events such as the annual horse show. Recently Lavalley was awarded with an Academic Excellence Award for her performance in her senior year of high school. During her final year at Peace Wapiti Academy, Lavalley continued on with school athletics and was a member of the Titan senior ladies basketball team. This past spring the senior ladies basketball team earned a birth to 3A High School Provincials where they earned an ASAA Team Sportsmanship Award.

Lavalley has been an avid horse rider since she was very young. “I started riding horses since I was 5 or 6 then started jumping for fun around the age of 13 just at the ranch”, says Lavalley.

She then started competing on a more competitive level in 2014, and has earned numerous awards at events across the province. These awards include a first place finish at the Gorsline Fall Classic and a second place finish at the Spruce Meadows Champions Welcome in Calgary. That event has been her most memorable as she and Whiskey were in first place with a clean round right up until the last competitor. Lavalley says, “We were in first place till the last rider and horse beat me by less than a second in time.”

The decision to move away from home to train was not as difficult for Lavalley because of the connections she has made over the years. “Honestly it wasn’t that hard to move away because I know a lot of people in Edmonton that helped so much. A lot of people I would consider family”, says Lavalley. “The hardest part of moving away was not being out in the country and being around my family so much,” Lavalley says as she also credits her supportive family for the ability to follow her passion.

Alyssa Lavalley. Photo credit Lianne Lavalley (submitted)
Alyssa and her younger sister Kayla make up a duo known as Team Red. They have travelled together and competed together over the past few seasons. “Team Red is what me and my sister call ourselves since we are both red heads and our horses have the same colour of hair. So we are known as that now and have our own facebook page”, explains Lavalley.

We wish all the best to Alyssa as she follows her dream, and want to remind her that her home town is behind her every step of the way. Bezanson continues to be a place of growth for our young people; this is just another example of a local success story.

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