Harrogate Happenings

There has been a lot going on over the last few months!

On November 20th we were brave enough to take Tobias and Pete to the Santa Claus Parade in Newmarket. This was a big step up from the Mount Albert Santa Claus Parade which we have participated in for the last couple of years.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus joined us for a photo opportunity while we were lined up on Cane Parkway waiting for the parade to begin.

There were so many people and there was so much going on! Bands, clowns, baton twirling cheer leaders, cheering crowds, fire trucks and lots of candy canes! But, of course, the horses were perfect and took it all in their stride – though they disguised their nerves very well, their bowels did seem to work overtime which turned out to be quite the crowd pleaser!

Many thanks go to the brave riders, Nikki Pelrine on Pete and Geoff Bishop on Tobias, and to everyone who came out to help, support and operate the clean up shovels on the day!

On December 12th the weather was not the best but the annual Pot Luck Party carried on regardless.

Once again the Quadrille was the highlight of the evening, this year with eight horses and riders! Cassie Rennie on Pete, Jessica Stephen on Wapiti, Nikki Pelrine on Nemo, Lily Coyle on Savannah, Megan Knott on Ben, Geoff Bishop on Sadie, Sarah Potter on Rocky, and Kandice Coates on Mandy, They did an exceptional job!

It may be hard for the non-rider to appreciate the skills involved but, in addition to trying to remember all the moves in the correct order – which is not easy! - the riders have to be constantly aware of the body language, speed and position of the other seven participants. Not all horses are comfortable with the closeness required in some of the moves.

Thanks also go to Nick Clulow who volunteered to step in and demonstrated his previously unknown choreographic talents and, ably assisted by Shelby Comeau, got the basic moves going . . . Pat just ironed out a few wrinkles at the last minute!


Christmas Break

by Mikaela Grimble

On Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 I participated in a clinic at Harrogate Hills. The topics for the day were restraint and lunging.
In restraint, we learned about all the different ways to use a lead rope with a chain on it, such as putting the chain on their gums, or under their top lip [these are very harsh, you would only use these if you absolutely had to.]

We also learned about the twitch. A twitch is made up of a short pole with a loop of chain on the end. You use the twitch by putting the chain over their nose and under the top lip, and then twisting the pole until the chain is snug.

When you twist the pole, the chain tightens around the nose releasing endorphins that relax your horse. There is a benefit to this. Say for example, the vet was trying to stitch something, or give a needle, just before the vet would do what he or she needed to do, you would simply “twitch” the pole and that would keep your horse calm. Although this works on most horses, it doesn’t work on all.
The next thing we learned about was lunging. First we put a surcingle and loose side reins on Babe. Gradually, they were tightened, and Babe started to drop her head and bring her back up. I never knew that you could put side reins on when you were lunging to make your horse become round. Some of the uses for lunging are to get some of the energy out of an energetic horse before you get on, and like we did with Babe, you can put on side reins to make your horses’ head drop. This will strengthen her back and make it easier for when you ride her.

On January 5th, Savannah and Nugget went on a road trip to Aberlake Equestrian Centre in Durham Region. The object was to get them used to going in a trailer and to give them an “off-site” experience without the stress of having to compete in a show. They rose to the occasion and seemed to enjoy their new extra-curricular activity.


What Does a Horse Say with its Voice?

The snort - "there may be danger here"

The squeal - "don't push me any further" generally directed at another horse

The greeting nicker - "hello, good to see you" generally heard at feeding time!

The neigh - "I'm over here, is that you?" "Yes, it's me, I hear you" from one horse to another.

The blow - "what's this?' or "life is good" depending on the tone.


It May Look Like Winter ...

But It is Time to Think Summer

Summer Camp!

Lunch is provided every day!

Be sure to register early in order to take advantage of the discounts offered.


What Does a Horse Signal with its Ears?

Pricked ears - startled, vigilant, alert

Airplane ears - (flopped laterally with openings facing down) - tired, lethargic, lost interest in the world, at a low psychological ebb

Drooped ears - very dozy or in pain

Drooped backwards (towards rider) - submissive towards and listening to its human companion

Flicking ears - may indicate the verge of bolting in terror

Pinned back ears - angry, aggressive, dominant

You know it's cold when your whiskers freeze!


Can You Recognize These Ears?

A. Penny

B. Cirrus

C. Buddy the Cat

D. Pebbles

E. Shade

F. Bandit

G. Tobias

For answers, point to the image.


Harrogate Instructors

Do you think you know your instructor? We asked them all to write something about themselves and were quite surprised at what we did not know!

Carolyn Horner

Carolyn started taking riding lessons at the age of 11. As a teenager she joined the Leitchcroft Pony Club and competed at D and C Rallies and obtained her Pony Club B certificate.

After graduating from the University of Toronto with a geology degree she took a ten-year break from riding. Her time was spent exploring for gold and other minerals in remote locations around the world including Indonesia, Tajikistan, Argentina and Brazil.

A trail ride in the Vivian Forest rekindled her love of riding. She started part-boarding one of the trail horses and eventually purchased Romeo.

Shortly after buying her Romeo, her husband was transferred to Colorado, USA. Carolyn took Romeo with her and trained with former US event team rider and current FEI dressage rider Grant Schneidman. It was through Grant that Carolyn learned to appreciate the dressage phase of three-day eventing. Romeo competed at several events and hunt paces. He proved to be a very bold cross-country horse.

After 3 years in Colorado, Carolyn and her husband returned to Ontario. Carolyn bid farewell to her geology career and started a freelance coaching and training business.

She and her husband own a small farm in Mount Albert where they keep three horses. They have Romeo, now retired at 30, Avanti, a 12 year old thoroughbred and Foxy, a 9 year old Canadian Sport Horse.

In 2010 Carolyn competed in Pre-training level eventing with Foxy and training level dressage with Avanti.

Carolyn has been teaching at Harrogate Hills for 7 years and has been an Equine Canada certified instructor since 2001.

Laura Shell

Laura has been riding horses since childhood. She believes in a well rounded equestrian education with an emphasis on harmonious horsemanship. She started her riding education training at a hunter/jumper barn. As she continued to ride and learn she began to explore her interests in cross country riding and dressage. Currently, Laura rides mainly dressage with her 17 hh equine partner 'Eagle'. She also rides and trains her five year old gelding 'Ebony' in dressage and over fences.

Laura graduated from the University of Guelph's, Kemptville College with certification in Equine Management and Coaching & Horsemanship. Once she completed her Equestrian Canada's rider level program, Laura successfully took her English Coach Level I examinations.

Laura gained experience teaching full time at a large riding school before venturing out on her own on a freelance basis. She currently teaches at Harrogate Hills Riding School two days a week. She also teaches private clients and spends time training their horses and her own.

Laura believes in working together with her students to help them achieve their riding and horsemanship goals and encourages continuing education. She emphasizes the connection between horse and rider, and takes immense pleasure in the success and enjoyment of her students in their equine activities.

Claire Flotner

I first started riding at Harrogate Hills when I was ten years old, I managed to convince some friends from school to join me and we quickly fell in love with all things 'horsey'. While having fun we managed to learn a lot and meet new people who have turned into lifelong friends.

Over the years I took part in shows, went to camp every year, became a camp councilor and, under Pat's guidance, started teaching. I was also lucky enough to have my own horse, Sunny, for about eight years but, sadly, he suffered badly from arthritis and got to the stage where another winter would have been too much for him.

There was gap of a few years in my Harrogate life, when I went to University and travelled, but I am now married, living in Uxbridge and very happy to be back and teaching on Monday evenings.


Oldest and Youngest

Which is the oldest horse at Harrogate Hills?

Lugor - he was born in 1982 making him 29 this year! It may surprise you that Jake and Pebbles are close behind, both being born in 1985.

Which is the youngest horse at Harrogate Hills?

Nemo, Nugget, Marley and Penny were all born in 2005. Nugget's actual date of birth was June 5th, but we do not have dates for the others so they all deserve a mention.



Where does a snowman keep his money?
In a snowbank!

What did the dog say when he sat on sandpaper?


What Does a Horse Signal with its Tail?

Held high - alertness, activity, exuberance

Held low - sleepiness, exhaustion, pain, fear, submission.

Swishing movements - irritation when troubled by insects and other pests OR frustrated and confused by the rider

Tucked in - cold, needs to warm up


Chestnuts and Ergots

Horses do not have fingerprints but can be identified by their chestnuts - callous like growths on the inside of the legs, above the knee on the forelegs and below the hock on the hind legs.

No two chestnuts are exactly alike and some horses may have them only on the front legs, while others have none at all. Ergots are similar growths that appear on the back of the fetlock - these are usually hidden by hair and are less noticeable (Savannah has big ones!).

Chestnuts and ergots are thought to be the vestigial remnants of toe pads, before the single hoof evolved. They are made of the same tough tissues as the hoof.

Chestnuts and ergots are harmless and can be left alone. But if you don't like the look of them and want to trim them you, or the farrier, can do so without hurting the horse. Sometimes they are quite loose and you can peel off the outer layers with your fingers. If the chestnuts are hard and dry, you may be able to soften them by applying petroleum jelly or baby oil for a few days. Be gentle when removing the tissue - if you remove too much you'll create a painful wound similar to cutting your fingernail too short.

Please don't do this on a Harrogate horse without talking to Pat first!




Christine Benns Photography



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