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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Riding talent highlighted at Lazee G Ranch’s “Phantom Masquerade”

by Adam Gault

For the past dozen years, the Gagnon family’s owned and operated Lazee G Ranch has been showcasing some of Essex County’s up and coming equestrian talent at the annual ‘Shodeo’ performances.

Taking over the south-east Windsor ranch for two performances this past weekend, this year’s Shodeo theme was “Phantom Masquerade,” which was a tribute of sorts to the long-running musical, “The Phantom of The Opera.”

Featuring trick riding, high jumping, synchronized team riding, and gymnastics on horseback, the annual crowd-pleasing event offered the ranch’s students of all ages the opportunity to showcase their talent, as well as the progression in their hose riding abilities since enrolling in one of the many riding classes offered at the local ranch.

“All of our riding students that have been riding all year, it’s something they look forward to. They’ve practiced their drills, or their riding skills, and then they’re able to apply them in front of an audience,” explained riding instructor Hanna Colenutt of the ranch’s longstanding tradition. “We have some students that’ve been riding for 12 years, they’ve been here for every Shodeo we’ve ever done. Then we have new students that start every year, and they hear about this Shodeo and it’s something they can work towards all year.

Citing a resurgence in the popularity in the musical “The Phantom of the Opera,” the ranch decided that this year’s show would celebrate the influence and impact of the award-winning musical, in addition to allowing the riders the opportunity to design and wear an elaborate array of costumes.

“We wanted to elaborate [on the musical]. We added a masquerade version of it, and just more theatrical [performances], we can play with more costumes, more music,” Colenutt said. “We got in character with the costumes, and the music, and got all the horses dressed up, so it’s been a lot of fun.”

Over the past 25 years, the ranch has blossomed from it’s humble beginnings as a nearly empty field near the Windsor-Tecumseh town-line, to offering classes, events, and demonstrations to horse enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels, with the annual Shodeo being one the crown jewels in the ranch’s annual calendar.

For more information about the local ranch, visit


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