While Pat Was Away

These people came out to play!

Spearheaded by Christine Benns and her fellow "Friday Night Ladies" in the form of Pauline Gooding, Darlene Rennie and Donna Pelrine, the Lounge that we have all come to know and love was transformed into a clean, sparkling, well organized phenomenon - as well as the washroom and passage leading to it. There are now hooks to hang coats, lunch bags, sweaters etc., and a bench to sit and pull on your boots and space on the counter. The ceiling has been painted. The walls and cupboards have been painted. Shelves have been installed. The carpets have been cleaned!! (Did you know they had a pattern?)
They also had an attack of spring fever planting flowers, hanging baskets and planters. The flowers were all supplied by Madsen's Greenhouses thanks to Michelle Payne.

Although it was Christine's idea in the first place, she is adamant that she did not do all the work - many people, who do not even ride on Friday evenings, if at all, joined in and contributed their various talents! Everyone was most impressed by the way the "young adults" conducted themselves - dreaming up projects of their own, voluntarily doing some of the heavier work and generally not having to be asked. The whole project showed the true Harrogate Hills spirit. Now we all have to keep it like this!

Very many thanks to everyone who participated!



Over the years I have finally figured out that the main reason people say they don't like cats is because they expect cats to be dogs.

They actually think that cats should come when they are called, do tricks, fetch things or even acknowledge your existence in a vaguely meaningful way.

For the most part, once you get past that mistake, liking cats is easy. And sometimes they can surprise you. At least that is what I have found. About seven years ago I was still in the cat indifference phase of my life but that didn't stop a new arrival at Harrogate from weaving his way into the fabric of farm life.

I began this experience by refusing to make eye contact and, I am told, I even escalated to splashing water in his general direction in the hopes that he would take a hint - but this 6-month-old cat refused to be deterred.

Sarah named him Skeeter and, while I tried to ignore him, it seemed he was here to stay. Skeeter apparently decided that I needed to be won over because it seemed everywhere I went I would find this goofy cat flopped down in front of me.

I would find him on the table during summer camp, surrounded by children who were enthralled to watch as Erin painted his nails with non-toxic paint. Like a little stuffed toy he would let them put his head on a pillow and cover him in a blanket. He would accept the indignities with a contented purr.

When we were in the field putting hay out, he would join us, playing with the hay and enjoying the walk like, dare I say it, a dog!

Finally, after one particularly long summer day, as I put the hay out for the next day, I decided to stretch out in the field and look at the stars for a while. Sure enough, stretched out beside me was Skeeter. I recalled thinking how odd it would seem if someone came out in the field to see the two of us lying in the moonlight. But it apparently didn't strike Skeeter as odd in the slightest and he purred so contently that I almost fell asleep. I think that may have been when I finally realized that we were friends.

Over the years I just took it for granted that Skeeter would be sitting on the top of the stall doors supervising me while I mucked out and then escorting me to the muck pile.

While he never wanted to come in, I would expect to find him waiting outside my house in the mornings so that he could join me in the walk over to the barn to begin the day. One of the certainties of life of course is that we should never take things for granted.

This past year he started to lose weight and, despite the best efforts of Michelle and the vets in Uxbridge, whatever was ravaging his digestive system could not be stopped.

On March 3 there was hardly anything left of Skeeter, his once robust frame having faded to less than when he had arrived at six months old. Michelle came to the farm and did the kindest thing we could do for him. It is hard to believe how much I miss him and I think it is time that I give up telling people that I am not a cat person.


And More Cats

You may have noticed some new cats around the ban. It seems word got out that there was a feline vacancy at Harrogate Hills.

We now have Heidi whose territory is at the front of the property - she is sometimes even invited into Pat's house!

Taylor is a veteran of the Lounge and can usually be found occupying one of two fleecy beds.

Squeak has been around for about three years and patrols the rear of the barn.

Rugby can generally be found in the central part of the barn but is showing the same tendencies as Skeeter - he likes to help teach in the arena and supervise the positioning of hay in the field.

There is also a big tom cat, Notch (so named because of the bit missing from one ear) who graces us with his presence in between adventures.


Coming Clean

A friend got into a hospital elevator with an orderly who was wheeling an elaborate machine. The device had several pipes, dials and gauges. "Man, I'd hate to be connected to that machine." "So would I," agreed the orderly. "It's a carpet shampooer."


Which Ones are Harrogate Horses

Below is a list of two different horse colours. Do we have any of these? I think so but which ones are they? Remember these are only two of the colours. There will be more described in the next issue of the Mane Bit.

Bay: Bay horses run from light reddish or tan shades to dark brown and mahogany/auburn shades. Bay horses always have black points (legs, muzzle, mane and tail, and the tips of their ears are black). Many bay horses have black legs that are covered by white markings.

Dark Bay: Dark brown coat, reddish or black highlights, black points. An uneducated horse person may think this horse is black...but we know better!

Gray: Gray horses have black skin with white or gray hair. Many horse people will call a gray horse "white", but if their skin is dark, they are gray! Gray horses are born dark, sometimes black or brown, and their hair coat turns lighter as they grow older.

Light Gray: This is the type of horse that people mistake for "white". This horse is a light gray, not white. If you see the skin (around his nose, inside his ears, and between his hind legs) is black then you can tell that this horse is really a light gray.

Dapple Gray: A dapple is like a small, white "eraser" mark. Dapple gray horses usually have dapples throughout their entire body, often with darker colored points.

Fleabitten Gray: A fleabitten gray is a horse with a light gray body, but with little speckles of black and/or brown. These speckles are like tiny dots that are pretty much evenly distributed throughout the horse's body. Don't get this color confused with roans or appaloosa coat patterns!

Steel Gray: Steel gray horses are a dark gray, silver color. The horse has a black base coat with lightly mixed white/gray hairs. Many steel gray horses lighten and turn into a dapple gray or a light gray with age.

Rose Gray: Medium gray horses are those whose hairs are tinted with red. This type of hair gives the horse a light "rose" tint. Rose gray horses often have points that are darker than their body color, including mane and tail.


Cleaning Up

By Melissa Montanari, Miranda Wheeler, and Jayme Feliz

The day began extremely well as we all began washing, painting and pruning. Everyone's spirits were high and we were all determined to make the barn look fabulous by the time Pat returned on Monday. By lunch time we had already cleaned pictures, painted part of the lounge and chopped down the unwanted branches! At the end of the day fences were painted and mended, branches were cleared, the lounge received a total makeover, and the barn looked INCREDIBLE! That evening we all went home tired and covered in dirt, paint, bark and sap, with satisfied grins on our faces.

The day had been amazing and much had been accomplished. Not only did we helpers get to miss some school (or work) but we got to spend the day at the best place in the world HARROGATE HILLS!

Would we do it again? In a heartbeat!

Thank you to everyone involved in the clean up day!!


A Typical Saturday

By Nicole Henriques & Megan Perrier

For the past few years we have been volunteering at Harrogate Hills, helping children learn the proper way to groom and how to tack up. We also help with the barn chores. Here's how our typical Saturday goes . . .

A typical Saturday afternoon begins after our lesson. We turn our horses out and then we start to get ready for the rest of the day. The first thing that we do is bring the horses in from the fields for the 12:15 lesson. This lesson is for the kids that can ride by themselves but need a little bit of help. We will usually stay in the lesson until everything starts to run smoothly, then we will go and eat our lunch. After our lunch we go out and get the horses for the 1:15 lesson. By the time we bring the horses in, the kids are all at the barn and ready to ride! We spend half an hour helping the kids tack up. Once they are done tacking up we bring them into the arena and help them get on. Once Donna, the instructor, comes in we will stay for the rest of the lesson, running with the children and their horses. After the lesson we will help them un-tack and groom their horses and make sure all of their tack is cleaned and put away properly.

After the lessons are over, all the workers have a group meeting and the jobs that still need to be done are distributed. Our job is usually to clean the lounge. We start off by moving the tables and sweeping the carpets. Once we are done sweeping we clean the dishes and wipe the tables down, after that is finished we go and clean the tack room. When all the jobs are done our day comes to an end.

This is what a typical Saturday is like for us. We enjoy every minute of the day and when we leave we are counting down the days until next Saturday.

(Editor's Note: It's great to hear that Nicole and Megan enjoy every minute because we enjoy their being at Harrogate too. Thanks so much for all your help and thanks to all the other volunteers who help as well.)


Did You Know

Erica and Rebecca started their Harrogate careers by helping out on Saturdays - this summer they will be teaching during Summer Camp!! They are SO excited to be doing this and we are too.

Their enthusiastic approach to teaching will be a great addition to the camp.


Children's Fitness Tax Credit

Up to $500 in eligible fees may be claimed, per child, to enroll your child in a qualifying program of sport or recreational activities, up and including the year in which the child turns 16.

Visit for more information.


Recent Study

Young people need one and a half hours a day of at least moderate intensity physical activity for cardiovascular health.

Norwegian School of Sports Science, Oslo



by Kandice Coates

Some of you already know that Pat and Gerry are putting together another Show Team. Last year we traveled to Blue Star, just down the road from Harrogate. There we showed successfully, and had a blast. This year we are going to head to Blue Star again and we are also attending Pause Awhile. Before attending the shows we have to focus on what we have to do in order to be ready. For instance, setting goals. How will we feel? Are we going to have fun? So, I'm going to tell you how I get ready for my shows. This may even help the younger students who are planning to attend in-house shows at Harrogate.

The night before the show, all riders attending the show will come to the barn to braid, groom and bathe their horse, get all the stains out of their coats, and whatever else needs to be done. You should always do these things before the show because you want your horse to be showing off in the ring. I believe that once you and your horse know each other it is a wonderful thing. I know Lil' Chey and I believe that she knows me. I guess that I am lucky to show her because I also feel confident on her as well and I can trust her when riding her.

I'm going to start with the goals I have when getting ready for a horse show. As for being a rider, you should always have some goals that you want to accomplish. I have them in each lesson, shows, practice rides, whatever I am doing on or with a horse. But for this show, coming up on June 10, I have some goals that I wish to achieve.

  1. When I'm in the ring I will always have confidence in what I am doing.
  2. I will try to the best of my ability to show people watching the class that Harrogate Hills is a very caring place and that we have caring riders.
  3. To not get disappointed if I don't do well in the class in which I am riding.
  4. I don't want to change anything in the style of my riding. I will just stay calm and pretend that I am in a lesson.
  5. I will make myself proud by riding at the best ability that I have.
  6. Last, but not least, I will just have fun at the horse show because that is the best thing that you could bring anywhere you go!

I will try my best to achieve the goals I have set. I will carry a smile when I am showing, even if I have not done that well and all that I can say is that I had a blast!
Another thing is my feelings about the show and showing period. Last year I found I was more excited than nervous because I was anxious to go to Blue Star. Another reason is because I didn't get to go in the first Blue Star show in June last year. I had broken my ankle, which made me so upset, but I still went to watch the team show their hardest! Then, in July, I got to show and I found it was the best time of my life. It was a new challenge in my life and I was looking forward to it. I'm the kind of person that wants challenges in the things I do. It gives me something to always work on. Already I have the feeling of excitement, but I get the feeling of butterflies in my stomach just before I'm in the ring - then I take a deep breath and they're gone. I love to ride and I love to show. I can't wait for the up coming season of shows.

I hope the people who are going to show for the first time have learned what to do. I always have feelings about the show I'm going to and I always have goals in whatever I'm doing with horses. Hopefully we will see some of our Harrogate Hills people at Blue Star on June 10th. You can come and cheer us on! If you have any questions about where it is then you can ask Pat, Donna and Gerry.


At Harrogate Hills:
Sunday, June 24, 2007

At Blue Star:
Sunday, June 10, 2007 Sunday, July 15, 2007

At Pause Awhile:
Sunday, August 12, 2007 Sunday, September 9, 2007 Sunday, October 14, 2007 Sunday, November 11, 2007




Wheel of Fortune

Every rider who enters a Harrogate Hills horse show has the chance to win one of the following:


From the Mailbag

Dear Mane Bit,

First I want to thank you for the time you put into the Harrogate Hills newsletter. I enjoy the tidbits I get from this newsletter. I also enjoy reading about the Harrogate riders and all the horses. I can't keep up!

I am known as Geoff's Mom at the barn. It is hard to believe that he was about eight years old when he started riding (and under six feet tall!). Horses have always been Geoff's life. We used to take him for drives in the country so that he could stop and look at the cows and horses. So, when he turned eight we could put it off no longer and started on an adventure to look for somewhere he could learn to ride. I made arrangements to look at another barn but, before we got there, we saw the sign on Mt. Albert Road - we were immediately hooked on Harrogate Hills and have not looked back. Donna's warm and positive personaility and her joy for children convinced me I should look no further.

It is hard to believe this boy, who wheels muck and lugs hay, used to come to the barn and complain about the strong smell. My shy, quiet boy has become a somewhat quiet teenager who has been mentored by a caring team at Harrogate Hills. I don't see him much because he is always at the barn. I am forever grateful to those who help to shape and mature him.

Like many who walk down past the stables, I find that it is well run and clean. Older children help the younger ones, as well as the adult classes. It is so neat that they want to be there.

Geoff never complains when he drags out of bed at 6:30 am to be at the barn, helping Pat, for 7:30 am. It amazes me that, when he could be sleeping in, he keeps his commitment to be there. Geoff now helps out with summer camp - we once missed a summer, but no more! Some days are hot but there are no complaints - he just wants to be there.

Gone are the days of rubber boots and borrowed helmets! He now has size 13 boots, half chaps and his own helmet.
It's worth the drive, the early hours, the late nights. I agree - Harrogate Hills is the place to be. Ruth-Ann Bishop

(Editor's Note: I am ALWAYS looking for something new for the next edition. Please do not be shy! Any contributions can be e-mailed to or slipped into the box in the Lounge. I look forward to YOUR contribution!)


At the Zoo

A kangaroo kept getting out of his enclosure at the zoo. Knowing that he -could hop high, the zoo officials put up a ten-foot fence. The kangaroo was out the next morning, roaming around the zoo. When the fence was 40 feet high, a camel in the next enclosure asked the kangaroo, "How high do you think they'll go?"

"About a thousand feet," the kangaroo said. "Unless somebody remembers to lock the gate at night!"

(Remember - this also applies to horses!)


Anatomy of the Foot

A. Coffin Bone
B. Navicular Bone
C. Short Pastern Bone
D. Long Pastern Bone
E. Sesamoid Bone
F. Cannon Bone


Clean Sweep Harrogate Hills Style

Tall Leather Field Boots
Good condition. Size 6R. Talk to Joan or Erin Follet. $25.00

Tall Rubber Boots
Brand: Cadett. Colour: Black. Size 7. Condition: Used but in good condition. $15.00

Tall Rubber Boots
Brand: Cadett. Colour: Black. Size 7. Condition: Used but in good condition. $15.00

Show Jacket
Brand: Regal. Colour: Black. Size 8. Condition: 1 year old and in very good condition. $45.00
Please contact Samantha Enright at 905-954-0359 or e-mail

Used Riding Pants:
Size 12 Children's (Royal Highness) Blue with embroidered white horses down one leg.
Size 14 Children's (Equituff) Beige with one embroidered brown horse head
Size 16 Children's (Royal Highness) Black pull-on breeches
Size 30L (Royal Highness) Blue with embroidered white horses down one leg.
Call Christine at 905-473-9742. $10 each.


Summer Camp

Have you registered yet? There are still a few openings!