It seems like yesterday and at the same time it feels like a lifetime ago.
That was the year I had this vaguely insane notion to start my own riding school.
I had managed the University of Toronto’s riding school for a few years and after it shut down, I managed to find temporary homes for all my school horses. Then began the search for a place where I could start again.
There were some moments where it seemed unlikely, but on October 1, 1985 the farm at Gormley came available for lease and so happily, my U. of T. school horses and me were back in business.
I am reminded of all of this because this week, Rochelle Morais has been up from the States for a visit to the farm. She was my first Camp Director all those years ago and having her here this past week has been wonderful. We’ve been reminiscing and cleaning, cleaning and reminiscing…lots of fun.
On Friday night, some of the original campers are coming to the farm for a reunion of sorts. These are kids that were as young as 7 back when Harrogate started operations. We have all tried to keep in touch over the years but getting together has proved problematic. Some are in other provinces and some are in other countries. Some are doctors, lawyers, paramedics, veterinarians and many have started families and have children of their own. But the ones who are able to are going to come for a visit.
It is a bit unsettling to think too much about the amount of time that has passed but I can’t begin to express how honoured I am that they still think enough of their experiences at Harrogate to want to meet up here this weekend.
We are already thinking of a bigger reunion in the future…where everyone could plan way in advance to arrange their schedules so that they could travel to the farm. Maybe in three years for the 35th anniversary…yikes…my fingers sort of hurt typing that…
As most of you know, our young riders, affectionately known as ‘barn rats’, get to learn a lot about horses simply because they get to spend a lot of time here.
But for those of you who were ‘born to ride but forced to work’ we’re offering a day long work-shop with the horses. You don’t even have to be a rider to join us. You can just be someone who would love to know more about the wonderful world of horses.
Our goal with this workshop is to compress a lot of the barn rats’ experience into a time frame that better suits your busy schedule.
We know that when you have a job and responsibilities, it’s likely hard to find the time to ride once a week, let alone take time to learn about horses.
So, we’re going to fill in those knowledge gaps for you. This is an interactive workshop, where you’ll be handling the horses, working in the arena, in the round pen, and learning all about feeding, grooming, and general care. We’ll teach you how to know if your horse is in good health and what to do if you think he’s not.
In the process, you’ll understand even more clearly how the horse thinks and why he reacts the way that he does. We think that you’re going to end up learning so much about the horse that you’ll appreciate him even more than you do already!
We’ll have refreshments throughout our day and cap it all off with a catered dinner where we can continue our discussions over a glass of wine.
So if you know anyone who might be interested in learning about horses and spending the day at Harrogate, please pass this along. We’ll cap the day off with a nice catered dinner…and wine…Did I mention wine?….:-)