Venturing Hills Equestrian Farm
The Venturing Hills Equestrian Staff Team
Venturing Hills Equestrian Farm has a dedicated team of around 15 members. We are always looking for strong, keen, hard working individuals with a passion for horses and learning.
At Venturing Hills we take pride in what we do - providing premium equine experiences for horses and humans in sales, lessons, boarding, training, and more.
Want to join our team? Send us an email!
Over the last 12 years, Venturing Hills Equestrian Farm has grown dramatically. We began with 12 indoor boarding horses and have since expanded to over 40 horses between our indoor and outdoor boarding services.
Through years of hard work and expansion we have added three outdoor boarding paddocks, four outdoor stalls, 10 turnout paddocks, two outdoor rings, 80 XC fences, a 4th tackroom, a hay barn, and our newest addition: round pen. This is just a short list of improvements that we have completed, and we are constantly creating new projects.
In addition to this we have built a large Recreational Riding program for your weekly horse lover, a superb Introduction to Competition program for more competitive youths, and are gradually building a fun Adult Amateur program with a focus on competitive and non competitive outings such as the Ottawa Valley Hunt and Pontiac Trail Association.
A huge driving factor behind our growth is the terrific team of barn managers, farm managers, staff members, working students, coaches, and volunteers who have worked together to form the tight knit community many call a second home.
Rae Becke: Co-Head Coach
Born in 1995, Rae Becke began riding in 2007 when her family purchased their family farm - now known as Venturing Hills Equestrian Farm (VHF). Homeschooling and a lot of hard work allowed Rae to move from never having been on a horse, to competing at the acclaimed international young riders event (NAJYRC) in 2013 (placing 8th individually, accompanied by her horse Merry), and the Richland CCI3***S that same year. She became a carded athlete, and was named Quebec’s top Preliminary Eventer for the year.
Rae started her coaching career at 15, when she co-founded and developed the Venturing Hills Equestrian Summer Camp Program. These camps were tremendously successful, doubling in size every year, and leading to the implementation of a permanent recreational riding program at VHF. Furthering this success, she founded an “Introduction to Competition” program, and set up the Equine Canada Rider Level Certification program at the farm, to help, teach and support more young riders interested in entering into the horse world.
Recognizing the value of education and professional development for all, Rae stepped back from the International stage of competition in 2013 to begin her degree. In 2017 she graduated from St. Francis Xavier University with a BBA, specializing in Marketing. Upon graduation and returning home, Rae jumped back into her beloved horse world and took over the reigns as Managing Director and Head Trainer at the Venturing Hills Equestrian Farm.
Rae is constantly working towards her own international riding goals with Eventing coach Selena O'Hanlon, and Dressage coach John Macpherson. In February she upgraded her mount, "Hold Your Hat" to the Preliminary level, and in September completed Foshay International CCI2**L with a personal best in Dressage. Rae is also presently working on her Competition Coach Specialist certification for Eventing through Equine Canada, and her Cross Country Course Building certification. Rae brings a broad perspective to the sport she loves, and sees it as a conduit for young riders to develop into strong, confident, proactive, can-do adults.
Rae is determined to make a future for herself in this sport, and to make a lasting impact on those that she guides along their ‘ride’.
Brodie Seabrook: Co-Head Coach
VHF Is Proud to introduce you to Brodie Seabrook.
Brodie started riding when he was seven years old and began eventing when he was 11. He belonged to the Oxford Downs Pony Club. As a Junior Rider, he self-produced Maybee A Secret, an OTTB, to intermediate levels and International 1* (new FEI CCI 2*L). He enjoys the progression of training the horses, learning and teaching new skills and continuously improving what they are able to do together.
Brodie trained for two years in the United States as a working student receiving daily training and gaining experience on many different horses. During the winter 2017/18, he travelled to Belgium to take the position as rider for Olympian Karin Donckers.
As well as training his own horse, he has produced and trained a wide variety of horses and ponies for clients. Ranging from young and inexperienced horses to those with more experience, he has also competed for many clients in eventing from Pre-entry up to Preliminary. Along with his passion for training horses from the ground up, Brodie has developed a love for teaching children from the very beginning as well. Head coach of the Tiny Tots program (1- 6 year olds) Brodie demonstrates patience, helps foster a love for the animals, and ensures every kid has the absolute most fun possible. He has a talent for showing kids exactly how magical the horses can be, even if they are nervous or shy.. just give Brodie a try!
Brodie is passionate about riding and Eventing and the relationship that is forged between horse and rider. He is eager to share this passion with students. Brodie is currently working towards his Equestrian Canada Instructor certification.
Tara Shade: Coach
Mimi Bilodeau: Coach
Tara started riding at the young age of four. Tara knew horses were both a passion and her future. She began at a hunter-jumper farm in Hudson, Quebec, where she learnt the hunter style of riding. She began attending riding camps in Vermont, from the age of eleven to sixteen where she grew and flourished into a determined, hard working equestrian.
Recognizing her people skills, the camp hired her to work and coach at sixteen, allowing Tara to continue learning and growing as an equestrian. At the same time, she was also being taught the aspects of eventing and competed up to the Novice level, which she won three years in a row!
Furthermore, she has done xc, dressage, and showjumping in a schooling environment up to the Preliminary level. Tara joined the VHF team in summer of 2018 as the Equine Barn Communications Manager and assistant Recreational Riding coach. In winter of 2019, Tara took over full responsibility of the Recreational Program after successfully completing her Equine Canada rider level six.
While being at Venturing Hills Farm, Tara has successfully participated in multiple clinics in disciplines such as dressage, showjumping and cross-country. She has been coached by Selena O’Hanlon, John Macpherson, Siobhain O’Connor and Momo Laframboise. After learning with these Olympians, she has gained the knowledge to adjust her position depending on the discipline.
Tara has amazing organizing skills, which she developed while studying at the University of Guelph, in their Performance Horse Handler Program. In this program, she was given a track broke off the track thoroughbred (ottb) to retrain for the Retired RaceHorse Project. The program also taught Tara how to manage a farm and most importantly how to handle and care for high performance horses.
Tara’s positive attitude and contagious smile makes for a nice energy in the barn. She enjoys sharing her love and passion for this sport with all her students. In addition, Tara continues to educate herself so that she can best support her students in all of their equine goals. Tara educates all her clients from the first time they interact with a horse, to advanced competitive riders.
VHF is proud to introduce you to our competition coach Mimi Bilodeau.
When she is not riding, coaching or bringing our talented riders into the show ring, Mimi operates a sport physiotherapy clinic that she co-owns in Aylmer. Mimi began her riding career at the age of 10 and has never looked back since. Outside of school, her youth consisted of horse related work which naturally led her to pursue equine studies. At 17, she moved to La Pocatière and three years later completed her certificate in a highly recognized Equine Science Program.
Mimi brings her experience working as a barn manager, trainer and competition rider for a breeding farm to VHF. While working at the breeding farm, she received her NCCP and Equestrian Canada Competition Coach Certification. In 2009, she started her undergraduate studies in Human Kinetics at the University of Ottawa and graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2012. Immediately afterwards, Mimi completed her Masters degree in Physiotherapy.
Mimi has focused her professional credentials to firmly establish herself as a vibrant, bilingual individual with a well-deserved reputation for successfully developing aspiring riders into strong competitors who demonstrate excellence in their sport. She applies scientific principles of physiotherapy to both rider and horse, and has developed many young, sound horses to pursue various equine disciplines with their new partners. Under her tutelage, students have competed successfully from pre-entry to preliminary level in eventing.
Currently, Mimi is taking a break from riding as she sold her long time partner “Make My Day” in March 2020. An 8-year-old Canadian Sport Horse who she took from his very first competitions to the 2** international eventing level and gave him a solid record as a winning Preliminary horse in Florida.
Mimi is a certified Sports Physiotherapy First Responder and is one of the few National Para-Equestrian Classifiers in Canada. Mimi takes her holistic approach and transfers it into her riding and coaching. The symbiotic relationship between movement, passion, and the horse is where Mimi finds her strength and helps her students to discover theirs.
VHF Is Proud to introduce Sophie, the latest addition to the VHF Coaching team.
As our programs are expanding and growing, we are thrilled to offer such an excellent selection of talented, dedicated, hard working and fun instructors. Sophie is entering her final year at Elmwood School where she is the Community Prefect, Captain of the cross-country running team and a passionate student of the arts and sciences. Post-graduation, Sophie is exploring her options for further education and experience in the fields of equine care and agriculture, based on her childhood love of the farm.
Sophie has been part of the VHF family since 2007 when Rae began babysitting her at the farm and playing with ponies at the young age of 3 years old, a Tiny Tot herself! Sophie first attended, then volunteered at VHF camps every year since they began in 2009, until she started running them herself in 2019. At the age of 8, Sophie got her first pony Kiwi, and to this day she continues to enjoy riding him for leisure, while Kiwi is still teaching kids in our program what he taught her many years ago. Growing up surrounded by the horses, VHF staff, and riders, has made the farm like a second home for Sophie. When Sophie is not coaching camps, or Tiny Tots, you can usually find her tidying the barn, riding horses, running the farm’s social media, or catering our various clinics and events. There is really nothing she can't do!
Starting the Equine Canada Rider level program with the same enthusiasm Sophie gives everything, she quickly passed her RL 3 in the first year. The following winter in 2019 she achieved her Equine Canada Rider level 6 certificate. Sophie has been developed and coached over the years by Rae Becke, Mimi Bilodeau, and Brodie Seabrook. She has also ridden in clinics held at the farm over the years with Selena O’Hanlon, Siobhain O’Connor, John McPherson, Momo Laframboise, and Peter Gray. Sophie has also recognized the value of on/off property experience and attended her first hunts with OVH in 2019, hoping to do her first competitions in the fall of 2020.
Sophie began teaching the Tiny-Tots program at VHF under the tutelage of Brodie in spring of 2020. She was a natural fit given her upbringing at the farm, and enjoys sharing her passion with these young riders so that they may start the pursuit and love of everything equine early like she did. Having found her love of teaching, Sophie is looking forward to furthering her own teaching education, and seeing her students develop into talented equestrians of the future.
Sophie O'connor: Coach