20th Anniversary!

Did you know that this year marks the 20th Anniversary for Harrogate Hills?

To commemorate this milestone we would like to add a Twentieth Anniversary Section to the recently up-dated website.

It would be very much appreciated if you could take a few minutes to put something in writing and either e-mail it to or drop it in the box in the Lounge.


Summer 2005 - Intensive Riding Programme

Before you know it summer will be here again - it happens like that every year!

If you are considering taking part in the IRP (Intensive Riding Programme) it would be wise to start making plans now, as some of the sessions are filling up quickly.

A session runs for two weeks, each student has one horse for the session and will develop a true equestrian partnership involving mutual understanding and trust. Dressage, jumping and cross-country skills will be covered as well as a good dose of theory. A special show, open only to IRP participants, is held at the end of each session. Most importantly, everyone has a great time and it is a memorable way to spend the summer

For fuller details check out the web site or talk to your instructor.


"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). $25.00 firm. Call Rebecca, 905-473-9570.
  2. One pair of black Miller paddock insulated riding boots, ladies size 5, good condition. $15.00. Call Cathy Miller, 905-898-8088.
  3. One pair of brown leather Miller paddock boots, size 3. $10.00. Call Stephanie Wagg, 905-954-1094.
  4. One pair of brown leather Miller paddock boots, hardly worn. $15.00 Call Stephanie Wagg, 905-954-1094.
  5. One pair of black Mountain Horse winter riding boots, size 5. $15.00. Call Stephanie Wagg, 905-954-1094.
  6. One pair of brown full chaps. Childs small. $15.00. Call Stephanie Wagg, 905-954-1094.
  7. One pair of black suede Ariat Half Chaps, extra small. $10.00. Call Allie Demoe, 905-473-6939.
  8. One pair of full black chaps, child's large. $25.00. Call Allie Demoe, 905-473-6939.
  9. One pair of black Amazonas Super Comfort tall leather riding boots. Size 8½. Call Janet Dalby. 905-862-0882.

Looking for used Show Jackets, Breeches and Show Shirts. Let me know if you have any of these items you wish to sell.

Thank you. Sheryl Schweinberger (905-473-9570)


The Eyes Have It

Have you ever looked into a horse's eyes? Of course you have! If you look very closely, you might see tiny, dark, cauliflower-shaped blobs around the pupil in the middle of your horse's eye. Don't panic! These are called nigra bodies, and they are absolutely normal.

The horses' eyes are perfectly adapted to his "natural" life as a grazing herd animal. Like other grazing animals, the horses' eyes are located in the orbital cavities on the sides of the head. He can see a predator approaching from way off to one side. In fact, the horse can see all the way around him, except for two small blind spots - one about a metre in front of his nose, and another directly behind him. That is why you must always warn your horse before walking behind him.

When a horse looks at something close to him, he will stretch out his neck and lower his nose, he may even touch the object so that his sense of smell and touch can back up his sense of sight.

If your horse's attention is drawn to something in the distance, he will prick up his ears and lift up his head. By lifting his head, the object he is watching will come into focus. That's why your horse widens his eyes and carries his head high when he is in unfamiliar surroundings, such as a new pasture or on the way to Blue Star Farms!

Because of the position of the horse's eyes, he can see an obstacle as you canter towards it, but, by the time you actually get there, a low obstacle is in his blind spot. He is jumping by memory! Think about this the next time your horse hesitates or refuses a jump.

According to experts, horses only see in shades of gray, with maybe a hint of colour. Don't imagine that your horse prefers brown jumps to blue ones, or that he gets nervous every time he sees you wearing your new pink sweater. He just doesn't see bright colours the way you do.

Another difference between your horse's eyes and your own is that his eyes take longer to adjust to changes in light. Remember that the next time you bring a horse into the arena from the bright sunshine or the snowy glare, especially if he seems to hesitate or snort nervously. Give him a few extra seconds for his eyes to adjust to the dimmer lighting.

Most importantly, take care of your horses' eyes. Always be careful when brushing his face, being extra gentle around the eyes so as not to touch the bristles of the brush to the cornea. Use a damp sponge or cloth to remove mucous and dirt from the corners of the eyes. Call your instructor if you notice any unusual clouding, swelling or tearing of the cornea. It may be a sign of a problem that could endanger his vision. Remember, your horse's eyes, like yours, are his windows on the world!

What do YOUR eyes see in this picture?


Sarah Mark

(A Harrogate Biography)

It occurred to us that some of you may not know Sarah and may be asking "Who is this Sarah Mark?" and "What qualifies her to run a clinic?" We will try to explain.

Little Sarah and Big Cheyenne!

Sarah Mark began her riding career at Harrogate Hills Riding School when she was 8 years old. Had she stopped riding after about two years it might be that she would only be remembered for the shockingly high number of times that she fell off. To be honest, I started to develop a sort of morbid fascination with it at the time. There Sarah would be, riding through a corner. There Sarah would be on the ground. Sarah cantering up to a jump followed almost immediately by Sarah picking herself up out of the dirt. If she ever cried about these tumbles, I can't say that I remember. I just always recall waiting to see some sign that she had lost her nerve or was starting to doubt the wisdom of having chosen this sport.

Those doubts never appeared. It seemed every time she fell off she just got back on and worked even harder. She became a shadow to any instructor in the arena, soaking up as much information as she could even when she wasn't riding. Her work ethic spilled into other aspects of her time at Harrogate too. To this day, Sarah can't sit still while others are working and this was a habit she developed right from the beginning. The school bus would drop her off at the farm and she got busy straight away doing whatever tasks were required.

Sarah with Mr. Moe

Sarah's tumbles lessened over time and she began to show the signs of a gifted, thinking rider. She managed to find a horse at a neighbouring farm that she could ride and show and it was "Nikka" that gave Sarah a chance to get her feet wet in the showing department. In the early 90's she purchased a young horse named "Moe." Sarah broke and trained Mr. Moe herself and won the Aurora Trillium Championships with him in the mid nineties. After competing on the "A" circuit with Moe, and winning a number of Champions and Reserve Champions, it was time for Sarah to go away to university and Moe was sold.

A Winning Combination

While in University the horse bug got the better of Sarah again and she bought another horse. She trained "PJ" and competed on the Trillium circuit finishing third and fourth overall in Ontario two years in a row. (Having ridden both of her horses, albeit briefly, I was struck by how forward, correct and straight both horses were. This may seem a commonplace compliment but one would be surprised how rare this can be.) Clearly the training Mr. Moe had received from Sarah was not a fluke and in 2003 her new horse "PJ" caught the eye of Wayne McClellan, a top hunter jumper coach, and he purchased the horse for one of his students. Now called "Angel's Gate" Sarah's gray mare competes on the Palm Beach circuit in Florida.

Perhaps it is because it did not come easy for Sarah that she is now an excellent coach herself. She has studied with many good riders and coaches over the years and no doubt has absorbed everything she could from them, just as she did at Harrogate. Her equestrian interest lies in the show ring and she has enthusiastically come on board at Harrogate to share her riding perspective and experience with our students here.

Sarah aboard PJ


Sarah Mark's Tune-up Clinic

by Melissa Montanari and Nikki Spensieri

Prior to Sunday, February 13, 2005 our biggest worry was feeling nervous about the next show. We kept thinking, "we're not ready, we need more practice!" Fortunately, all that changed after attending Sarah Mark's amazing Tune-Up Clinic. The clinic was instructed by Sarah and we focused mainly on jumping. It was amazing how much we learned from the clinic and how much we loved it. Sarah is such a great instructor! We started off with about an hour of theory, followed by everyone's favourite part…RIDING!! We spent about an hour and a half of riding and jumping … lots of jumping! We were in the 11:00 a.m. lesson and everyone's horses were amazing. We're sure that everyone enrolled in the clinic learned something new and improved their riding skills. One thing is for sure … we had a great time! We had to admit, we learned a lot more than we expected. The cost of this fabulous clinic … $45.00, given the opportunity to participate… PRICELESS!!!


Horse Show Standings

As of February 27, 2005

Open Division

Stephanie Wagg


Sam Pedersen


Rebecca Schweinberger


Erica Clayton


Thea Bourne


Billy Mason


Nicole Makramikalos


Novice Division

Sam Enright


Ainsley Miller


Bridgette Hodgson


Rebecca Robinson


Megan Perrier


Geoffrey Bishop


Thea Bourne


Nicole Henriques


Kandice Coates


Nick Clulow


Kenzie Johnston


Short Stirrup Division

Cassie Rennie


Melissa Montanari


Taylor Bessor


Kandice Coates


Taylor Cameron


Amanda Gallagher


Nikki Spensieri


Lauren Martin-Stowe


Nikki Pelrine


Emma Madsen


Kelsey Sydorenko


Stephanie Aharan


Short Stirrup Novice Division

Bridgette Craft


Taylor Eakin


Megan Rothenbroker



Sponsors of Harrogate Hills Horse Shows


Horse Cookies


½ cup of vegetable oil
1 egg
1 tsp. baking powder
½ cup of molasses
4 tsp. milk
½ tsp. ginger powder
1 tsp. vanilla
2½ cups of wheat flour
1 cup of sweet feed mix

Mix all ingredients together; roll dough to ½ inch thick.
Cut into simple shapes (or just make balls and flatten them). Bake on greased cookie sheet for 1 hour at 325°
or until crunchy but not burnt.


New This Summer

This summer come out and try your skills at "Ride & Tie" the Harrogate way.

Keep your eyes and ears open for more information on this cool equestrian sport!

Be warned - you not only have to be able to ride, you will also have to run!


On the Light Side


Five-Point Hoof Health Check

  1. Size up their symmetry. Notice whether the two front hooves look similar and whether the hind hooves resemble each other - they do not have to be exact but should be very nearly the same size and shape.
  2. Examine the wall and coronary band. As you pick up each hoof, run your hand over the outside wall to feel for defects. Check out the coronary band in the same way. Tender spots and moisture should be investigated.
  3. Inspect the sole. Pick out each hoof to see if the sole is all the same colour. A dark spot indicates a puncture wound or bruise.
  4. Compare frogs. The frogs of the front hooves should be the same size and shape, as should those in the hind hooves. Lightly press each frog with your hoof pick - they should be slightly spongy.
  5. Check the shoe. Most Harrogate horses only have shoes on the front feet - make sure they are not loose.



Question: When riding in a group, how much space should you leave between each horse?

Answer: One "horse's length" - if this is hard for you to judge be sure you can see the back feet of the horse in front of you.


Clean Up Days!

It's Harrogate's 20th anniversary this year and in honour of this, we're having CLEAN UP days to organize, repair and paint! It's a chance for everyone at Harrogate to participate in making our favourite barn an even nicer place to ride and spend time. Students and families of students are all welcome!

The first of four scheduled clean up days is Sunday, April 24th, 2005, from 9am to 4pm. This will be a tidy and organize day. Old wood, fence wire, buckets; etc. will be collected and put in one junk pile at the back of the property. Then we'll rake and tidy the grounds. Later in the afternoon, we'll BBQ hamburgers and hotdogs to celebrate all of our hard work!

All you need to bring is:

There will be a sign up sheet in the barn: on the doors in the feed/tack room. If you'd like to participate please put your name and an email address where we can reach you. We'll be sending out a confirmation email before the day as a reminder.


The time that you spend at our CLEAN UP days may qualify for your high school volunteer hours, so make sure to check with your school. You can have fun AND collect volunteer hours!

Upcoming CLEAN UP days will be:

If you have any questions, or have a special expertise that you'd like to offer, please contact Joanne (Jack's human) at (905) 473-2725 or email: