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Islander only woman in Canada to earn elite equestrian course design certification

Meghan Rawlins is the only woman in Canada with FEI Level 3 certification
One of the courses Meghan Rawlins designed at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. Rawlins has also become the only woman in Canada and the U.S. to have earned an FEI Level 3 course design certification. (Courtesy of Meghan Rawlins)

A Metchosin horse stable owner is celebrating a pair of recent career accomplishments which put her in the upper echelon of the sport in Canada.

In October, Meghan Rawlins – owner of Cedar Vista Stables – earned the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) Level 3 course designer certification, and earlier in November, was tasked with designing courses at the prestigious Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto.

“It’s the largest horse event we have in Canada, and it is a very cool event to participate in. This year was also the 100th anniversary, which made it extra special,” said Rawlins. “I think it went really well, and the feedback was excellent. Everyone seemed really happy with the courses and how they rode. We had some really wonderful scores, which is how you can tell if the courses are riding well.”

Rawlins started preparing for the show – her second time designing courses at the event – in September, and during the show designed 15 to 20 different courses over the event’s nine days. She was tasked with designing all of the hunter event courses, medal final courses, and derby final courses, while also assisting with the jumper courses.

READ MORE: Metchosin horse heroine celebrates Canadian equestrian breeding award

But while participating in the prestigious event for both its 100th anniversary and its return after two years of cancelled events over the pandemic was exciting, it was earning her level three course designer certification which means the most to Rawlins.

“There are only five of us in Canada with an FEI Three, and I am the only woman in Canada and the U.S. that has that ranking,” she said. “When I first started, reaching this level was not something I thought I would do, but I am super happy that I have been able to follow that path, it’s very cool and I really enjoy it.”

Rawlins has been riding and competing her entire life, and made it her career in 1998. She slowly worked her way up the course design certifications and is now qualified at the second-highest level which means she can design courses at nearly every competition level except Olympic events.

With the new certification added to her resume and yet another major Canadian event under her belt, Rawlins said she is now setting her sights on getting involved in some major equestrian medal finals in the eastern U.S. and eventually working her way up to designing courses for FEI four and five-star events.

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