Every “Penny” Counts – Distribution of the Provincial Governments $250,000 to Support Public Riding Stables

May 27, 2022 (Aurora, ON) – 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 funding criteria was communicated to the membership, requiring applicants to have the following in order to be eligible:

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

Funding applications were accepted until Monday May 2, 2022 at 4:00 PM, where 101 stable applications were 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 who 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!

“100% 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.”

Lindsey Partridge of Partridge Horse Hill

“We 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.”

Carol Bisaillon of DreamCatcher Farm

Fun Facts from the Application:

  • Of the 87 complete applications, 80% of riding schools in Ontario have been in operation for greater 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 old
  • 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.

$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 is 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.

Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries

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