What's Been Happening?

Two princesses with their princes

It has been a busy time at Harrogate Hills. The 2004/05 show season is underway (current standings). The second show was held on October 31 so, of course, there had to be a Hallowe'en Costume Parade. We were all amazed and delighted by the effort that riders and parents put into this event and the costumes were truly wonderful with both horses and riders dressed up for the occasion. On a sad note Robbie, who belonged to Genna Morrissey, broke his pastern playing in the field while preparations were being made for the parade. Unfortunately he had to be put down. Our sympathy goes out to Genna.

Then, of course, there was the "Teach your Parent to Ride" event. While I have seen photos of the Hallowe'en parade I am unable to find any of parents riding - how can this be? From the comments I have overheard in the lounge it appears there is a whole new appreciation for the art of riding!


Oh What a Ride It Was!

by Sheryl Schweinberger

Sunday, November 12, 2004 is a day I shall not soon forget. This is the day the tables were turned on my relationship with my daughter Rebecca. Rebecca was going to give me a riding lesson, which meant I was going to be the student and Rebecca the teacher. To say the least I was terrified!! Not so much about the ride, more about who was doing the teaching!! All those times I had said to Rebecca, "do as I say, not as I do" were coming back to haunt me with a vengeance!

The day began at 9:30 a.m. in the lounge at Harrogate Hills, with nervous smiles and lots of laughter. After all, we had no idea what we had gotten ourselves into. Most of the kids were pretty tight lipped about what was planned for the day. I know that whenever I questioned Rebecca about how this lesson was going to work she would simply look at me, with a very mischievous grin, and reply "You will just have to wait and see." The only thing I knew was that I was riding Harley. This came as a huge relief for me, as I had visions of trying to hoist myself onto Legacy (a horse that is larger than life!)

Pat began the day with a quick overview of our level of participation, we were then put into three groups. The plan was for one group to ride, one to watch videos demonstrating the art of riding, while the third group went off to learn all about grooming, tacking up etc.

OK, so now that I knew who I was riding my confidence began to return - that is until I discovered that I had been assigned to be in the group to ride first! Now I was getting nervous again. I could tell I was nervous when I called Sam Pederson "Stephanie"!! I kept telling myself this is no big deal, you've ridden before and it will all come back to you just like it was yesterday. Our grooms, who happened to be our children, brought our mounts out to us in the riding ring. God bless them, for they had our horses tacked up and ready to go; one less thing to worry about. For many of us this was our last chance to bribe our mounts and convince them that, if they behaved and promised not to buck us off, there would be the biggest, juiciest red apple they had ever seen waiting for them.

Our instructors took over again showing us how to check our tack and pull our horses legs (this is done to make sure that there aren't any folds of the horse's skin getting pinched by the girth). Next our stirrups needed to be checked for length. Then, and only then, could we proceed to the mounting block. Why is it, when you are about to do something that could be truly embarrassing, life seems to switch into slow motion? It seemed to take forever for my right leg to swing up and over. Maybe it was a fear of not being able to carry out this simple task in front of my daughter, not to mention my sister!

I only pray that no one has a video of me mounting the horse because it was not pretty. I kept telling myself no big deal, just remember heels down and don't forget to post, one two, one two, one two. Oh how wrong I was! When you haven't been on a horse for over twenty years you tend to forget the obvious, that weight thing and the lack of flexibility.

Once I was on Harley and walking around I began to feel better and started to realize how much I missed riding; that is until we had to trot. My first attempt was dreadful. What happened to the posting I was supposed to remember? That's when Rebecca said, "You are doing great Mom, just try not to let your butt slap down so hard in the saddle"!! Easier said than done when your butt is much bigger than you remember!

Wow, I had forgotten what hard work riding is. There is so much to remember - soft hands, squeeze with your legs, look where you are going and try not to bounce so much. No wonder I worked up a sweat! Next was the dismount. Again, not a pretty sight, but at least I landed on my feet.

Then came that magic moment when I looked at Rebecca - she was grinning from ear to ear and said "I am so proud of you Mom". That is when I knew that spending this day with her at the barn was so worth the pain I knew I was going to endure in the days to come.

Thank you Harrogate Hills for an awesome day.

Would I do it again? Absolutely!!


Horse Sense

A rich man was trying to find his daughter a birthday gift when he saw a poor man with a beautiful white horse. He told the man that he would give him $500 for the horse.

The poor man replied, "I don't know mister, it don't look so good," and walked away.

The next day the rich man came back and offered the poor man $1000 for the horse.

The poor man said, "I don't know mister, it don't look so good."

On the third day the rich man offered the poor man $2000 for the horse, and said he wouldn't take no for an answer. The poor man agreed, and the rich man took the horse home.

The rich man's daughter loved her present. She climbed onto the horse, then galloped right into a tree. The rich man rushed back over to the poor man's house, demanding an explanation for the horse's blindness.

The poor man replied, "I told you it don't look so good."


A "Typical" Saturday

by Erica Clayton

A typical Saturday: the horses being fed and turned out, brought in, parents dropping kids off for their lessons and work, the lessons running on time, hay and mucking all done. Right? WRONG. That is what you may think goes on, but really that's the simple job description, so this is our story.

Yes, you are all right, the horses do get fed in the morning at 7:30 when Pat gets to walk into the barn full of impatient horses all saying: "Come on Pat, any time now!" and to the lovely sounds of their hooves on the doors. Then it's time to turn out. Sometimes this means bringing two horses out at the same time and most of the time one wants to walk quickly while the other will just dawdle along. This results in a lot of stopping and encouragement for the slow one to get a move on. The boys in the back field are always the most interesting to take out. There are times when we wish that those guys could understand what lightning is and that "scary" objects and other horses in the field are a normal part of the day. After that mucking, sweeping, and hay gets done. All three of these things get done pretty efficiently because of all the people who work together so well.

Then there are the lessons. Our time is well spent atop the horse learning how to become fine young equestrians. We always try to get the lessons running on time but somehow that hardly ever happens. However, I think that all of the kids would agree that we all enjoy being on horseback whether on time or not. We must also make sure that the horses are in and that everyone in the afternoon has all the help they need so things can run as smoothly as possible. It's not just the older kids that help with this, but the younger kids as well. The intermediate riders are always there to lend a hand to the beginners.

At the end of the day when all the horses are in (and after much debate about who wants which horse and how few trips we can make) there is one final walk through and top-up of the barn to make sure the horses will be comfortable until Pat sees them at night to feed them again. As well we have some of the workers out in the field haying and watering the horses' stations for the next day.

I think that the people that make most of this happen don't get the credit they deserve. The parents all need to be thanked for driving us to and from the barn and standing in the freezing cold, watching us learn our day's lesson. I get my daddy up bright and early at 6:00 on Saturdays and all he asks is why he's getting up at such ungodly hours of the morning. Well that's what parents do so well, support their kids in anything they want to do. Then there's Donna who starts off with most of the beginners and gets us ready to be shipped on to Pat. You can't forget Gerry (and his many, many lists that keep us "on track" throughout the day). He comes some Saturdays to make sure that we all know what we are supposed to do and to make sure that Legacy gets spoiled. This leads us up to the one person who is the head of Operation Saturday and that is Pat. She is the one who gets up each morning and comes to care for her children and makes sure that they are all right. She is also the one who opened Harrogate Hills and gave riders, young and old, the privilege of learning how to ride. In the end Pat puts all her time and effort into making sure that each horse is equally cared for and loved. And there you have it: a so called "typical" Saturday at Harrogate Hills.

Jack Frost


Dressing for Warm Winter Riding

Worried about you or your child riding in the cold? Worry no more!

Riding is my no means a sedentary sport, it is aerobic and causes one to perspire, however this makes it all the more important to dress properly in the cold weather. If you are too cold, too hot or too wet it is hard to think happy thoughts. Layering is the answer.

The inner layer (underwear) is the most important as it is in direct contact with your skin. If this layer is wet it draws the heat away from the body twenty five times faster than a dry layer and can lead to hypothermia. Synthetics, such as polypropylene and polyester, are the materials of choice as they are light, strong and absorb very little water. Invest in some long johns made out of these materials - cotton is the very worst choice for underwear as it absorbs and holds moisture.

The mid-layer provides insulation and wicks the moisture from the inner layer. To slow heat loss this layer must be capable of retaining the warmth that is generated by your body. Synthetic fleece or pile garments are very durable and require less care than wool, which absorbs up to 30% of its weight in water leaving it heavy and difficult to dry.
The outer layer protects your micro-climate from the elements. In the arena (which will hopefully be dry!) a breathable, uncoated, wind shell may be all that is needed. If you plan to venture outside a waterproof (coated) jacket might be appropriate. Coated raingear will trap moisture inside the garment making it uncomfortable and, eventually, soaking the inner layers. There are no miracle fabrics but, if you strip off a layer or open ventilation zippers before too much moisture builds up on your inner garments, you will be a happier rider.

Fifty percent of heat loss occurs through the head. A good wool or fleece hat will not only slow heat loss through your head it will also make your hands and feet warmer because of the improved circulation. Try a balaclava under your helmet.

In an effort to keep your head and vital organs warm the heart reduces blood flow to the hands and feet. Again the layering system works best - thin polypropylene glove liners are available at outdoor stores; these will make a huge difference worn inside your gloves as they draw the moisture away from the skin. Either wear a thick pair of socks made from a wool/acrylic/stretch nylon/polyester blend or try polypropylene liners under wool socks (even knee-highs or pantyhose help). Socks should fit snugly - if they are too tight circulation can be restricted and a big, loose sock can bunch up leading to blisters.

In my experience rubber boots are the very coldest things in the entire world. Even unlined, leather boots will keep your feet warm when worn with good socks. However it is important that the boots are a good fit.

Dress in these layers and you will be surprised how much fun you will have riding this winter!

(For more detailed information see Dressing for Winter)



"A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle."
Ian Fleming

"Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people."
W. C. Fields

"There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."
Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)


"Clean Sweep" Harrogate Hills Style

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

  1. One pair of used Cottage Craft PVC riding boots, hardly used, black size 35 (ladies 5). Price $25.00 firm.
    Call Rebecca at 905-473-9570 or see me at the barn on Wednesday nights.
  2. One pair of used Mountain Horse winter paddock boots, black, size 6. Price $50.00 or I am willing to trade for the same boots in same condition in a size 8. Willing to trade for other items.
    Email me at attention Allie Demoe.
  3. One pair of black Miller paddock insulated riding boots, ladies size 5 - good condition. Price $15.00 firm.
    Call Cathy Miller at 905-898-8088
  4. One pair of brown leather Miller paddock boots, size 3. Price $10.00 firm.
    Call or e-mail Stephanie Wagg at 905-954-1094 or
    You can also find Stephanie at the barn on Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights or on Saturdays.
  5. One pair of brown leather Miller paddock boots, hardly worn. Price $15.00 firm.
    Call or e-mail Stephanie Wagg at 905-954-1094 or
    You can also find Stephanie at the barn on Monday, Tuesday and Friday nights or on Saturdays.


How to Warm Up Your Horse

by Megan Perrier and Nicole Henriques

On the ground

  1. Bring your horse into the middle of the arena.
  2. Throw your reins over your horses' head
  3. Check your girth (make sure that it is snug!!!)
  4. Then put your stirrups to the right length (to know if they are the right length put your hand in a fist then put it to where the buckle is. Then put the stirrup iron under your arms. If it fits with no slack then you know your stirrup is the right length.)
  5. Then you can take your horse to the mounting block.
  6. Gather up the reins so that there is no slack then grab the main.
  7. Put your left foot into the stirrup and swing your right leg over. (Be sure not to kick your horse and land gently!)

On the horse

  1. Go out to the track and walk around 5-10 minutes.(start to the left)
  2. When 5-10 minutes is up you can start to do shapes (circles or figure eights) to see if the horse moves away from your leg.
  3. Do some downward transitions to see if you can control the horse.
  4. Then do uppward transitions (halt to a walk) to see if the horse moves off of your leg.
  5. IMPORTANT THINGS TO LOOK FOR: Does your horse go forward? Do they come back or stop? And do they move off your leg?


Horse Show Standings

As of November 22, 2004

Open Division

Stephanie Wagg


Sam Pedersen


Rebecca Schweinberger


Erica Clayton


Thea Bourne


Billy Mason


Nicole Makramikalos


Novice Division

Ainsley Miller


Bridgette Hodgson


Sam Enright


Megan Perrier


Rebecca Robinson


Thea Bourne


Geoffrey Bishop


Nicole Henriques


Nick Clulow


Kenzie Johnston


Short Stirrup Division

Melissa Montanari


Cassie Rennie


Kandice Koates


Taylor Cameron


Taylor Beesor


Amanda Gallagher


Nikki Spensieri


Nikki Pelrine


Emma Madsen


Lauren Martin-Stowe


Stephanie Aharan



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