Harrogate Hills Invitational Horse Show

This summer ended not with a whimper, but a bang!

The last weekend of August saw the First Annual Harrogate Hills Invitational Horse Show that allowed participants to demonstrate the skills acquired either during the Intensive Riding Program or from the weekly lessons.

Of course everyone was a winner, horses and riders, but the following riders achieved the distinction of Champion and Reserve Champion on their respective division.


Due inclement weather (that's rain), the Combined Training/Cross Country Division had to be postponed.


The Blue Star Shows

Twice during the summer some of our riders ventured up the road to participate in the Blue Star horse shows. Maggie Gooding took Jack; Sam Pederson was on Pete; Stephanie Wagg rode Eddie; and Rebecca Schweinberger went with Scout.

These two excursions proved to be valuable experiences for both horses and riders. Harrogate Hills was proud to be represented by this successful team. Special congratulations are to be extended to Sam Pederson and Pete who received recognition as the Reserve Grand Champion.
For complete results go to


The Very Best Hamburgers in the World--A Parent's Perspective

By Chris Wagg

Is it just me, or are those not the very best hamburgers in the entire world?

Surrounded by the pastoral beauty of Harrogate Hills, chatting with Janet and Joan at the grill, seeing the horses dressed to show, and watching the excitement in our own children just being there makes the Harrogate Hills Horse Show a venue of tremendous importance to us parents. O.K…. that might be a little dramatic, but something sure does make those hamburgers taste like the very best in the entire world.

The only time that I seem to be drawn away from those culinary oddities is at the start of each division in which my own child will be (as I have been educated) "showing" her favourite animal. Her favourite animal by the way happens to be just about any horse that she is riding at the time. So away from the grill I pull myself to join the other parents beside the sand ring as we cheer on our young horsemen and horsewomen.

I'm not sure why it is so compelling to watch someone else's child on course, but it is. Perhaps it is the spirit of the other riders pulling so hard for each other that transfers to the parents. As compelling as it is to watch an unrelated rider however, the world comes to a near stand still when our own child is the one on stage. Just standing at the rail looking out over a ring of sand filled with a series of jumps I find myself transfixed momentarily in a world that can only truly be appreciated by a parent.

I'm sure there are several levels of equestrian parents around, but the one's that I can relate to best are the parents like myself who have yet to acquire the level of knowledge that may very well take some of the fun out of the sport. The parents that can relate to me not immediately noticing that my little baby sitting atop a giant of a beast has apparently committed the equestrian faux pas of picking up the wrong lead as she started her canter. I say apparently because I still only identify which lead they're on correctly about half of the time. Mathematically I am really no better at it than the laws of probability. I do however see it a lot more accurately if I happen to be standing near Pat or any other of the Harrogate experts, who by the way come in very handy as colour commentators if you pay attention.

"The wrong lead!!" I gasp to myself…Oh No! How is that going to affect our quest for the "RED" ribbon? (Notice that it is our quest when describing ribbons valued higher than Green. As if I have anything at all to do with what is going on during the ride.) And why, by the way, is it that when a course is executed (to the untrained eye) flawlessly it is the horse's good deed, and yet something as simple as the wrong lead leaves the same animal absolved of blame. It seems so unfair to us parents that our own source of pride could solely be responsible for such a blunder. These are simply the distorted thoughts of a parent I suppose. "Oh well", I think to myself in blind faith, "maybe the judge didn't see the wrong lead." But of course the judge did see it…"heck Pat saw it, and she is in the arena some 50 yards away". The only chance that the judge didn't see it would have been if I were the judge myself. As I gather my composure "O.K." I say, "It's just one little thing". There is still a whole course to go through.

No sooner had I lulled myself into what was to be a false sense of acceptance than I have to endure the next challenge on course. As if the aforementioned wrong lead wasn't bad enough, now it seems the most beloved creature in the entire universe; the sole focus of our little girl's recreational attention; the reason that we spend hours together driving back and forth to this barn in the first place … I am talking of course about the horse … has decided that today of all days is the day that he is not going to jump the pretty little jump with all the flowers at its base. My Horse Show thought for the moment instantly becomes …."There goes our "Red" ribbon for sure".

It is at that moment as I am standing in the beautiful morning sun that is bathing the Sand Ring, that my mind suddenly drifts back to those cold winter nights standing inside the adjacent arena. Like many of us parents I would stand there for hours watching our budding equestrianados go through their drills under the tutorial eye of the master herself. I suddenly remember one of the critical lessons, ingrained in these young riders, is control of your horse-control of your horse at almost any cost. As I stood there on those cold winter nights watching those particular lessons of equestrian importance, I truly understood the value of them. I remember thinking that those lessons might serve not only the student well but perhaps me as well. Now however, as I stand by the rail with all the other parents on this beautiful summer day watching the practical application of those valuable lessons, I am beginning to realize that the cost that I had so casually discounted so many months earlier was going to be the loss of even the "Blue" ribbon. Good grief what colour is third?

And so, with the lessons of horsemanship well learned, around the failed jump go my very little rider and her great big horse as they realign for yet another try. This time with a more determined pace and a much better line, I have no idea if the lead is right. They once again approach the dreaded flowered jump. I can actually feel my hand clenching the rail and then it happens …. another refusal. This one more abrupt than the last, but somehow my little rider is still on. "Surely that is enough of that," I think to myself. Unfortunately for those of us who simply don't know any better, that is not enough of that. Those lessons learned in that same barn in which many of us parents have stood freezing, are not easily forgotten.

One more time, it becomes obvious, is in order. "Is she O.K.?" I start wondering to myself. She doesn't look frustrated, or sad or outwardly concerned, but I feel badly for her. If I knew the first thing about getting that horse over the jump I would be tempted to cry out some kind of advice to her. Thank goodness I know what I don't know.

It takes two more tries, which I suffer through step by agonizing step, but eventually horse and rider both make it over the flowers …. awkwardly mind you, but over. It is at that moment that I notice, as I feel a sense of relief and pride, that there is an overwhelming demonstration of recognition and encouragement coming from the other riders as they await their own turns. Now there, I think to myself is a true demonstration of the real lesson of "horsemanship". On this day some horses will "show" better than others and for that they will be awarded ribbons of different colours. It is however, the spirit of horsemanship that is really on show here, and stemming from that the "Red" ribbons I am sure will come.

"Look Daddy, I got a "Yellow" ribbon"…. says our own little horsewoman as she runs up and snaps me back in real time, followed by "wasn't He great today?" He, being the horse of course. The horse, which so authoritatively gained the upper hand and then had it slowly wrestled away. "He sure was," I cheer. I think to myself (as I hope many parents do) how much more enjoyable this is than simply fighting for the top spot with no consideration for horsemanship as it has been demonstrated here.

"Shall we wait for you to un-tack?" I foolishly ask. "No thanks Dad, can I stay at the barn for a while, and you can pick me up later?" That's the way it should be.

We parents have, at one time or another, sat in cold arenas watching our children embark on their careers as professional hockey players and Olympic champion figure skaters. We have spent our time standing on the sidelines of our local soccer pitch and baseball diamond. We have gazed proudly over facilities full of gymnastic equipment so foreign to us that the fact that our children simply didn't get hurt draws us to the conclusion that they must certainly be the best little gymnasts this side of most Eastern Block nations. Nothing however, for this simple neophyte equestrian parent, is more enjoyable than spending a few hours in the arena, beside the sand ring, or in the stable simply in the company of these wonderful horses all dressed up on "Show" day and watching the immeasurable sense of joy and pride on the faces of our children.

I can't speak for all parents, and I can't speak for all Horse Shows, but for most of us, if not all of us that enjoy the Harrogate Hills Horse Shows, even the hamburgers taste like the very best in the entire world.


The Intensive Riding Program(Summer 2004)

By Nicole Makrimichalos

As many of you know, this summer Harrogate Hills Riding School provided a special and new camp called the Intensive Riding Program (IRP). The program lasted 2 weeks per session and ran for four sessions.

During the camp each rider was assigned a horse for the duration of the session and placed into Maggie's, Mary's, or Pat's group, depending on the rider's ability. Along with riding, the campers also learned how to care for their horse and other helpful facts (theory). The temperature of the horse, feeding, learning what grain and Krunch are, what a bridle is, how to clean tack, and much much more was taught.
A 'normal' person might find all of this hard work but for a horse lover it's all fun and games! I am one of those horse lovers and was lucky to get enrolled and very much involved with this extraordinary program.

I was 'blessed' with a lovable, excitable, and handsome horse named Willie and for two weeks rode in Pat's group and had a blast! My group focused on jumping and the cross country part of the program.

At first the horses were wary of the huge cross-country jumps and raced to the fence/jump. It took a lot of cooperation from both the horse and rider, but in the end it was worth it. Everything was smooth and the riders really appreciated what each horse had done. Whether it was keeping good rhythm, clearing the fence, or getting rid of a bad habit, it was a success. Everything was well earned.

I think that many people learned more than they imagined there was to know about horses - like how every horse is different and has different needs. How one horse would allow you to touch his or her face with a sponge while some were nervous at the sight of a sponge.

It was just an overall amazing experience that helped the horse and rider bond. The Intensive Riding Program in one of those experiences that will provide you with knowledge that will help you in the long run. Hopefully everyone will share many more special moments with other loving horses and creatures.



Two shaggy old dogs were walking down the street. Captain sits down and scratches his ear, then turns to Champ and growls, "If one of your fleas jumped onto me, we'd have the same number." Champ barks back, "But if one of yours jumped onto me, I'd have five times as many as you!" How many fleas are there on Champ?


"Clean Sweep" Harrogate Hills Style

Some of you may have noticed that I posted a notice in the lounge indicating a new program called "Clean Sweep" Harrogate Hills Style. As the name suggests, this will give you a chance to "clean sweep" your home of any unused or outgrown riding apparel or tack that your son or daughter has outgrown. These items are still in good condition and there is likely a young rider out there who would be interested in purchasing these items - my way of recycling.

My hope is to provide a free forum for riders to advertise in The Mane Bit. I will continue to update a list and post it in the lounge; this way the "Clean Sweep" marketplace will be as current as possible. Please remember the column is strictly for advertising - the buyer and seller must agree upon a price for their items. Simply provide me with a contact number or e-mail address along with a brief description and your asking price. I will list the information in our new column. This way an interested buyer can contact the seller directly to complete the transaction.

Again, one last thing, PLEASE do not ask Pat any questions with regards to this column - any questions or suggestions should be forwarded to myself. While Pat supports this program, she is far too busy running the barn to get involved. If we have enough items that people wish to sell we will set up a table at the next Harrogate Hills show. Let me know what you think; positive criticism is always appreciated!

You may contact me via the following:

  1. e-mail:
  2. Phone: 905-473-9570 (ask for Sheryl or leave a message)
  3. Write out the info and place in an envelope in the box in the lounge

To date these are the items for sale in our "Clean Sweep" marketplace:


Attention All Budding Journalists

Erica Clayton has very kindly agreed to assume the position of Kid's Editor for The Mane Bit. If you have anything you would like to contribute she would love to hear from you. Articles, games, contests, pictures, anything that you think might be interesting will be considered for publication. Four editions are planned - Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer.

Either talk to Erica in person or e-mail her at

Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to contribute to this edition - it just would not be the same without you!


Do You Know Your Bits?

By Stephanie Wagg

Check to see how well you know your bits by matching what kind of bit the horse uses with their name. You cannot use the tack room to help!

Types of bits to choose from:

a. Pelham
b. Rubber mouth Pelham
c. Loose ring snaffle
d. Full cheek egg butt
e. Egg butt
f. D-ring
g. Full cheek snaffleh.
h. Full cheek jointed snaffle with roller
i. Kimberwick uxeter
j. Kimberwick jointed uxeter
k. Australian snaffle (fulmer)

(Submit your answers with your name by October 30th .)


On the Light Side

Q: What do you say to a sad horse
A: Why the long face?

Q: Where do horses shop?
A: Old Neigh-vy

Q: How do you make a slow horse fast?
A: Stop feeding it. (haha hehe)

Q: Why did the horse eat with its mouth open?
A: Because it had bad stable manners.

Q: Why did the pony have to gargle?
A. Because it was a little hoarse.



Yes, it is true! Mirrors for the arena have been purchased from the proceeds of food sales at the Sunday Shows held over the winter and spring. Two have been set up in the arena - they do have to be re-mounted to reduce the "wow" factor. Once this technique has been mastered two more mirrors will be put up at each end of the arena.

Personally I was glad to see my perfectly proportioned Harrogate horse also looked short and fat in the mirror! This defect WILL be overcome.


Did You Know?

Hairs from horse's tails are used to make violin and cello bows.


The Point Structure

The following chart explains how the points will be awarded for our shows this season.

Please note the following rules regarding the accumulation of points:

Points can be transferred from division to division in the following circumstances only:

  1. Points gained in Short Stirrup can be taken to any other division.
  2. Points gained in Novice can be taken to any other division.
  3. Points gained in Open cannot be transferred.


Seabiscuit--The Movie

He was boxy, with stumpy legs that wouldn't completely straighten, a short straggly tail and an ungainly gait, but though he didn't look the part, Seabiscuit was one of the most remarkable thoroughbred racehorses in history. In the 1930s, when Americans longed to escape the grim realities of Depression-era life, four men turned Seabiscuit into a national hero. They were his fabulously wealthy owner Charles Howard, his famously silent and stubborn trainer Tom Smith and two hard-bitten, gifted jockeys who rode him to glory. By following the paths that brought these four together and in telling the story of Seabiscuit's unlikely career, this film illuminates the precarious economic conditions that defined America in the 1930s and explores the fascinating behind-the-scenes world of thoroughbred racing.


Practice Rides

When:    Tuesdays and Fridays 5:00 to 6:00
Length:  45 minutes on horseback (approximate)
Who:       Independent riders who need minimal supervision
Who:       Riders wishing to practice or refine a skill
Who:       Riders who wish to train a horse.
Cost:       $25.00 per ride.


Special Events 2004-2005

Again this year the most successful horse show participants will be awarded special prizes. Grand Champion for each of our three divisions will receive a $100.00 gift certificate toward purchases at Tack Town; Reserve Champion will receive a $50.00 gift certificate; and third place winners will get a $10.00 gift certificate. (In our Short Stirrup Novice division prizes will be $60.00, $30.00, $10.00 gift certificates from Tack Town.

Make plans now to join in all our fun events of this 2004-2005 season.