My first exposure to riding horses was the summer of 1980 when I went to Rainbow Valley Ranch, alas, it is no more but is the heart of my love of fat ponies, do anything appaloosas, trail rides, teaching and friends that last a lifetime. As a teenager I started riding regularily at Leitchcroft Farms, which, again, is no more, but exposed me to dressage basics, schooling shows, Pony Club and a more disciplined, European focused lesson structure. (AKA “Old School Techniques”). The 407 expropriated Leitchcroft and I moved further out to Crossfields in the 90’s. I spend many years riding there, even working out of the office for a time. I discovered that I love the challenge of taking a unbalanced, sort of green question mark of a horse and working them into a schoolmaster and fantastic hunter show partner. Crossfields eventually succumbed to suburbanization and the following years was an on again/ off again relationship with riding and barns as time and money allowed. I moved up to York (now RCRA) with the Crossfield folks, but eventually ended up at Cornerstone riding with Barb Mitchell. I moved out to Calgary for a time and got to experience Mountain trail rides and watch shows at Spruce Meadows. I part boarded a horse at a private barn; I got married and had a daughter; Finally after my longest period off riding I started up again at a small lesson barn in 2011, working my muscles and confidence back up. I learned first hand that adults, whether returning to riding or never ridden before, approach the whole horse thing differently and it became my mission to create atmosphere that will make horse riding welcome, accessible and friendly to all, no matter what their age, size, ability or comfort!
Since I’ve been back in the game I had the opportunity to finally buy a horse of my very own, Marshmallow – a barn favourite and rather large Percheron with the kindest heart and greatest work ethic. She’s eager to learn, although she isn’t the most graceful or athletic horse around, she’s ready for anything!
Our plans for the immediate future are to participate in fun low level shows that are adult friendly, riding with the Hamilton Hunt and working on getting certified as an instructor so that I can teach adult beginners reach their dreams of riding horses confidently. I’m also being a horse mom supporting my daughter Maddy as she starts her own life long journey with horses!