Venturing Hills Equestrian Farm
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VHF Battles Against EHV1
This nightmare began February 3rd when Eddie fell suddenly - and at the time inexplicably - ill. His subsequent death set into action a chain of hellish events that are still ravaging Venturing Hill as we speak. As Eddie had exhibited signs of neurological dysfunction bloodwork was done to establish a cause of death and the results were devastating - Eddie had died from the neurological form of EHV1. This is an incredibly contagious disease with a mortality rate as high as 80%. EHV 1 is particularly dangerous for the very young and the very old - both demographics of which Venturing Hills has an abundance of. EHV1 was most likely brought to Venturing Hills when a horse was purchased in January from a farm that shortly after exhibited signs of an EHV1 outbreak. They made no effort to contact or warn Venturing Hills when symptoms were being exhibited. It took an 18 year old girl watching helplessly while the horse she saved for years to buy died in front of her.Currently, we have 5 healthy horses left and 17 infected. We have transformed our entire barn to separate sick from healthy, in hopes of containing EHV1. In addition, our equine community has rallied behind us to support us during this fight. We could not possibly be where we are without them.As of today, the 21st of February, we have lost three of our horses to this illness. Eddie, Iris, and QT were all taken from us far, far too early.
To comply with provincial government regulations to stop all non-essential economic services and activities in Quebec until February 8th, equestrian facilities must close. Boarders and leasers have access to give essential care and exercise to the horses.
However, we have not lost hope or wasted any time in getting our Rider Levels up online. This is really thanks to the amazing work of VHF coaches Emilie, and Sophie! It was a huge success with our first class on Sunday, and that was when the coaches had less than 24 hours notice to prepare ... cant wait for this week!
Optimism can be difficult occasionally , but our team has really stepped up once again to be amazing, in these difficult times. Our clients received the news of our month long shutdown with incredible kindness, and the students were immediately keen to continue their studies virtually, and ride independently.
As a Farm Family, what more can you ask for?
The horses seemed a little confused when we first starting hanging all these white nets up in the stalls like, "do these humans understand what a stocking is supposed to look like? how can Santa fill that holy thing with carrots!". But when the horses realized we still had regular stockings, and they now had 24/7 access to hay they were pretty content with the whole situation. slowfeedinghaynets.com did an amazing job making them for us!
Anne Marie Duarte also came to visit, and clip our wooly mammoth's. We were pretty grateful as they now resemble ponies and horses once again! It was nice watching the professional at work, and to see some beautiful colours revealed.
All this talk of pretty ponies, and Santa obviously inspired our Intro to Comp riders Elise and Isla. They took it upon themselves to get us all in the festive mood, with a farm photoshoot. Carter and Icy were more than happy to participate as it involved hours of brushing, pampering, treats, and kisses.
From all of us at VHF wishing you a Happy Holidays, and New Year!
It was a difficult year for VHF losing several key members of our herd… when we heard there was a donkey in need, we simply had to have him. It was very entertaining to see the trailer pull up and Mr. Earl Pickles trot down off the ramp, he was not exactly what we expected! Having never seen a Donkey in person we assumed everything was normal, until our vet arrived the following Monday and laughed at us. Upon further research and evaluation it turns out Mr Pickles was in fact a Baby Hinny (reverse mule), his mother was a Donkey, and his father was a miniature pony Stallion… who knew?? His uniqueness only made us love him more, and we cannot wait to watch him grow up in his new forever home with his best buddy President Carter.
Among the losses this year, it was a tragedy to lose Armani unexpectedly one day to a heart attack late in the summer. Rae was shocked and devastated, but knew Armani would want her to continue the sport they loved together. With the help of Selena O’Hanlon, and after months of searching for the perfect next partner (while not really knowing what that could look like) Rae finally met EWSZ Manhattan (Liberty) at the European Warmblood Stallion Farm, and knew she was the one.
It was a hectic 72 hours vetting, and purchasing before the trailer was meant to leave for Florida with her on it! Thankfully everything came together, and we are so looking forward to Rae and Liberty developing a successful partnership, and future in Eventing.
Five Coaches, Three Locations, 4 Trailers, 16 horses, One Day, No Problem!
To organize a group of students for an outing takes a lot of work behind the scenes beforehand, and volunteer power on the day. To organize two large separate outings on the same day, with lessons still happening at the farm, takes something of a miracle, and a seriously incredible team of parents, students, barn staff, and coaches! Between VHF coaches Emilie, Brodie, Tara, Sophie, and Rae we were able to have everything run smoothly, at all three locations.
Brodie and Tara took 6 students to Touch a Rainbow Schooling Event, at Terelisa's Farm. It was an absolute blast, and such a positive first competition experience for many of the VHF riders. A day full of first experiences, facing fears, and fun competition with lots of team spirit and good sportsmanship. It was a true testament to the eventing community, and something we look forward to in 2021.
Rae and Sophie took 6 students to the Junior Invitational Hunt with the Ottawa Valley Hunt Farm. The students were smiling from ear to ear the entire time. It was amazing to watch them gain confidence throughout the ride. After all, what better way to learn bravery then galloping after your best friends in the woods following the hounds. Thank you to all at the OVH for hosting us.
Coaches invitational Hunt at the OVH Farm! Fun and Ribbons at Oakhurst Horse Trials It was another amazing weekend for the VHF team at Oakhurst Farms Event!! On Saturday We had two of our top riders competing in the training division. Manuella had an amazing first event of the season with Dime, and Levi came 5th with Elodie.
On Sunday we had a team of 3 riders go out with 4 horses and each came home with a ribbon. Charlotte and Aphelia came 5th in the pre-entry division, Rae with Spotlight came 9th and with Winnie came 4th in the pre-entry division and finally, Brodie and Jelly came 5th in the pre-training division. It was also the first event for the horses and the first event Charlotte has ever done. We couldn’t be more proud with the results from all horses and riders. A huge thank you to Oakhurst for hosting the show with amazing COVID protocols in place. We are already getting excited for more events to come next show season.
We thought what better way to prepare for such a big weekend than a Hunt with the Ottawa Valley Hunt Farm. The VHF coaches were thrilled to once again participate in the Coach’s Invitation Hunt. It was a ton of fun and as always we wanted to say a huge thank you to the OVH Farm for doing such a great job organizing it.. The coaches are looking forward to bringing students next month, and already counting down the days till the coaches invitational next year!
With last minute notice that we would be unable to compete at our planned Equine Canada sanctioned competition we decided it would be fun hosting a schooling event ourselves at VHF where ALL AND ANY ARE WELCOME. Community is a big part of the eventing world and the horse world in general, especially in the Ottawa area where we are small but mighty. It is a shame everyone could not play nice in the sandbox especially with the limited show season this year. Our kids were disappointed at first but we are a team and stood together to make the best of it!
The atmosphere was amazing, and the comradery shown by all participants and volunteers is exactly what makes this sport so fantastic. The weather was beautiful and in 24 hours we were able to pull off having levels from Intro eventing through to Training with all 3 phases. Our hearts were warm and fuzzy inside as we watched a complete demonstration of teamwork, friendship, and barn family coming together to make a miracle happen. It looked and was absolutely everything you could want in a day of competition.
VHF was thrilled to announce that we would be having a Momo Laframboise (mostly xc) clinic on Friday July 31st. It has been a goal to have Momo back on the farm for over a decade now, and we were so excited to have this opportunity for learning and development! Originally from Luskville, Quebec, Momo grew up on a large breeding and training facility (now known as Venturing Hills Farm) where Momo's foundation began.
Starting with pony club, Momo moved to the hunter/jumper ring, and soon found her love for eventing. She went on to compete numerous horses at the international levels throughout North America and Europe becoming the first Canadian woman to win a CCI Advanced. Momo has represented Canada on several occasions. Our students had such a fun day learning from Momo, being brave and facing new challenges!
The delicious lunch was made and prepared safely by Sophie O'connor and as usual it was impeccable. The cold cucumber soup could not have been more refreshing, and the desert was to die for...We wish every Friday could be this fun at VHF!!
It's hard to believe it was a decade ago in 2010 we purchased Princess Grace as a 5 year old. She went on over the years to event up to Training level, Jump the 1.30m’s, and after having her baby continued on to have a successful career in dressage now up to the 3rd and 4th level. As a phenomenal mare, we thought she would be the perfect horse to start our breeding program. In 2015 VHF’s Summer Grace was born, and this week we celebrated her 5th birthday. Here's to the #1 trailblazer, first homebred, and our sassy adorable little mare… Happy Birthday!
There were so many smiling faces the first week back, Brodie and I were very excited our recreational and competitive lessons have resumed at VHF - following strict COVID protocols. Every Saturday we release a Google Sheets live document with time slots for the week. We will have a 30 min disinfecting period between each slot. We ask that you PLEASE respect this window of time so the staff have adequate opportunity to disinfect the area in preparation of the next group.
We ask that masks be worn at all times, and that recreational riders only enter the barn to use the bathroom facilities.We have built four lovely outdoor tacking areas, and a fabulous outdoor tack cleaning spot, all of our outdoor rings are in top shape, and we are adapting to 2020 with a positive attitude, can do attitude. Our aim is for the farm to be a happy and COVID safe place to come and connect with animals/nature.
Brenda’s long awaited baby was finally born in the wee hours of the morning, under the crescent moon. She is dark for now (but will turn grey), with a small strip of white across her face that resembles a moon beam. We felt an appropriate name would be “Iah” Egyptian for Moonlight.
There are so many people that made this foal possible! A huge thanks to Dianna for breeding Brenda, and looking after her these past 9 months in Florida, additionally to Rebecca and Rachel at their farm for taking such amazing care of Brenda and the baby at the end of pregnancy, and beginning of Iah’s life. Dr. Palarme and Russell Equine as usual were also phenomenal in their care for both Mom and Baby, and Jessica Pavely rushed to the rescue with a baby shoe when we needed it most.
They always say it takes a village to make a dream come true, and Iah is lucky to have such an incredible group of people behind her from day 1. It will be exciting to see how this Filly develops, and where she will go over the next few years!
Thirty-One is a pretty impressive age to reach for any horse, and definitely one worth celebrating for a horse whose lived a life as special as our man Fleet. Fleet has been at the farm since 2005, over 16 years. Having lived his young life in California and competed up to the FEI CCI**** level, he made the journey all the way to Luskville, Quebec, Canada.
At age 19 he went to NAJYRC with Sophie Laframboise (14 at the time), and retired into the wonderful care of Alexei O’Connor to live out his days. Fleet is the guardian of the farm and while he may have lost his vision over the years, his other senses were only heightened. COVID19 and the closures simply could not stop us from celebrating this special horse, and the wonderful family who owns him. Happy 31st Birthday Fleet!
To comply with provincial government regulations to stop all non-essential economic services and activities in Quebec until April 13, equestrian facilities must close. Boarders and horse owners do not have access. Only owners and managers of equestrian facilities as well as their employees are allowed on the properties. As they are responsible for the care, custody and control of the horses, managers and employees are to provide the minimum care required.
The term “equestrian facility” refers to any establishment that houses horses. The access restrictions apply to the entire property, that is, the buildings and outdoor spaces.
February , 2020
Mimi and Vince have been working towards their dream of being a top international pair since their partnership began, in 2015. Mimi had trained horses her whole life, and knew she had what it took to train her own horse up the levels. This pair have achieved success after success in their partnership and became known for their impeccable showjumping, and unbeatable dressage. Mimi walked into this winter with a goal, and is she ever doing it in style!!
It took years of sacrifice, training, and coaching help from Selena O’Hanlon, John Macpherson, and Fraser Duffy to get there. At the Preliminary level in Ocala Monkey and Mimi are Win, Win, Winning!It takes a dream team, but with their unicorn socks, monkey symbols, and Blue/Red colours that is exactly what Mimi and Vince Are! Wishing them luck the rest of the season.
It was a flurry of activity at the Farm between Christmas and New Years as the hay, people, and horses made their way down to Ocala Florida for the winter. There were delays caused by a massive snow storm, flights canceled and rebooked, highways closed, and a bit of chaos all around but within a few days everything was sorted, and both horses / humans were settled in at BarnStaple South.
Experiencing Ocala for the first time was a thrill for the youngest member of our team Noraly. She jumped on every opportunity to learn and watch, giving 100% to those she helped. It was a particularly exciting day when Tik Maynard called and asked if our VHF South team would be interested in helping make a Noelle Floyd Masterclass Video.
It was an incredibly fun, different, and rewarding experience that taught both riders and horses so much. It is incredible opportunities like improving one’s horsemanship, watching Grand Prix’s every Sunday, going to jumper schoolings every Wednesday, and having access to so many local competitions that make Florida a once in a lifetime learning experience for both horses, and riders. We look forward to seeing how our riders and coaches will improve this winter season!