Every Penny Counts 

Aurora, ON — May 27, 2022 – On April 12, 2022, Ontario Equestrian (OE) released a statement announcing the distribution of $250,000 to Ontario’s public riding schools from the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries, in an effort to stabilize sport and recreation due to the negative impact left by COVID-19. 

The following funding and eligibility criteria was communicated to the membership: 

  • Be an active Ontario Equestrian member stable, with three or more active school horses/ponies; 
  • Have at least one EC NCCP Certified Coach; and 
  • Be currently delivering riding programs. 

Funding applications were accepted until Monday May 2, 2022 at 4:00 PM, with 101 stable applications received, representing 1,414 school horses and ponies. Within those applications, 87 were complete with either an EC NCCP Certified Coach or an EC Coach License holder with a Certification Exemption.  

Each application was reviewed and the funding dispersal was unanimously agreed to by a committee of directors from OE’s Board. The $250,000 was divided evenly among all horses from the 87 eligible stables that applied. This means that each of the 1,199 school horses will be receiving $208.50! 

Of the 1,199 school horses receiving funding the most popular name was “Penny,” proving every penny does count! 

Lindsey Partridge of Partridge Horse Hill commented: “100 percent of the cheque will be used to buy hay. Each horse eats about 1.5 round bales of hay per month, which is approximately $150. We are expecting this price to increase due to raising gas and fertilizer costs. This could cause our hay to be over $19,000 for the year. We are so grateful for any help during this unprecedented time of record inflation after restricted services that prevented us from reaching our full income potential.” 

Carol Bisaillon of DreamCatcher Farm will be using the funding “to support our base management program as well as expand our school horses pasture areas, add additional shelters, have a saddle fitter verify our saddles fit for each horse, and upgrade the saddles as needed.” 

Fun Facts from the Applications: 

  • Of the 87 complete applications, 80 percent of riding schools in Ontario have been in operation for more than 10 years; 
  • The greatest rationale for requiring funding from riding schools was due to a reduction of participants and revenue due to the pandemic; 
  • Each riding school has an average of 14 lesson horses per facility (1,199 school horses/ponies); 
  • The average age of a lesson horse in Ontario is 15 years; 
  • The most common name for a lesson horse/pony is Penny; 
  • The next common names were Bella, Charlie, Jack, and Teddy. 

Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ontario Equestrian has worked diligently and tirelessly to provide funding opportunities for our equestrian partners. A total of $3.47 million has been secured for our members: 

  • $220,000 - For the Herd Campaign; 
  • $3 million - The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Equine Hardship Fund; and 
  • $250,000 - Provincial Sport Funding. 

This funding has ensured that stables and riding schools across Ontario can continue to provide the quality care and services our equine friends and equestrians deserve. 

As we have identified through our recent strategic planning process, OE is making a substantial investment to work with and assist the Ontario riding stables. Helen Richardson has been hired to lead this initiative. Over the next year, Helen will be focusing efforts on creating a world-class Stable Program that will help provide more opportunities for stables in Ontario to access resources and collaborate to continue to grow our sport. Helen will be reaching out to many of you for your insight and feedback. Please watch for updates on this exciting initiative. 

For more information, visit www.ontarioequestrian.ca.

Photo courtesy of OE