Everything you need to know about Horse Lover's Weekend at Upper Canada Village
I was beyond thrilled to be invited to photograph at Upper Canada Village to capture their yearly Horse Lover’s Weekend event.
Horse Lover’s Weekend at Upper Canada Village (in Morrisburg, Ontario) is a weekend long celebration of the horse including demonstrations by phenomenal horsemen and women such as Farrah Green (horsemanship specialist and President of the International Horsemanship Association), Lindsay Partridge (founder of Harmony Horsemanship) with her lovely Thoroughbred mare Fairly, the Capital Cowgirl drill team (wow, those girls can ride!), Kariane Lafrance and her talented horse Spirit, Ken Reid’s phenomenal driving demonstration with the team from Reid Acre Farms, the Scottish Horse Whisperer and other amazing activities including wagon rides, a parade, an intro to becoming a horse whisperer, a race and a full-blown mock horse auction!!!
But there was something else that topped ALL of this… but first, let me tell you about Upper Canada Village.
Upper Canada Village
Upper Canada Village is a heritage park and the grounds of the park replicate the life of a village in the 1860’s complete with authentic buildings, ornamental gardens, farm animals and friendly knowledgeable staff dressed in 19th century clothing. The immersive experience is a really interesting way to learn what life was like in that era.
I particularly enjoyed watching the Blacksmith do a demonstration!
Upper Canada Village had an action-packed schedule of presenters and entertainment - here were some of the highlights:
The Capital Cowgirls
The Capital Cowgirl Drill Team is an absolute treat to see - these girls can ride really well and have a wicked routine.
The team is coached and choreographed by Jennifer Byvelds, owner and operator of Nation Valley Ranch in Chesterville, a certified riding instructor and has been teaching competitive riding teams for 10 years.
Farrah Green - horsewoman extraordinaire!
Confession: I am completely biased about this person.
Phewf - ok, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, I can tell you about horsemanship (horsewomanship?) specialist, Farrah Green.
Farrah is one of those people you meet and instantly know there’s something special about them - not only is she incredibly talented with horses but she’s also a gifted communicator. She is wonderful at explaining what she’s doing with horses in a completely straightforward manner that is easy to understand and entertaining all at the same time.
She’s also President of the International Horsemanship Association (IHA for short) - a fledgling organization that is quickly gaining traction by building a community and resource hub for horse lovers around the world. Whether you’re new to horses or have been around them for years, I highly recommend popping over to their site and checking them out.
Getting the opportunity to see Farrah in action at Upper Canada Village was a definite treat and not to be missed.
Kariane Lafrance and her Wonder Horse, Spirit
Watching these two is like watching magic!
Kariane and Spirit have a beautiful connection and watching them perform (they did everything from liberty to riding bareback and bridleless to tricks!) is so touching because you can see the incredible amount of trust and respect that they have for each other.
Spirit works hard for Kariane and when you see the depth of their ability to communicate it leaves you awestruck!
I haven’t even mentioned the best part yet, but I’ll get to that…
Lindsay Partridge - phenom!
I was thrilled when I heard that Lindsay Partridge was part of Horse Lovers Weekend because I have heard her name often but never had the opportunity to see her in person!
Lindsay is an accomplished horsewoman, founder of Harmony Horsemanship, and is well-known in the horse community as being a champion in the 2015 and 2016 International Thoroughbred Makeovers in addition to having won many awards and titles for Extreme Cowboy Racing, Jumpers, and Horse Training.
It was a pleasure to see her with her gorgeous Thoroughbred mare, Fairly at Upper Canada Village as she walked us through an exercise which helps to create a more calm connection between horse and human. I’ll definitely be adding that exercise to my training toolkit!
Ken Reid’s Driving Demonstration
Did you know that a giant hitch with four horses could be turned on a dime?!
I was blown away by the precision and accuracy demonstrated by the driving team from Reid’s farm. In addition to the fact that the horses and rig were ridiculously aesthetically beautiful (shiny chrome and stunning details in the harnesses), the horses were expertly controlled and they were able to turn the entire rig around all the while pivoting on one wheel!
I’ll be thinking of this the next time I ask my gelding to yield on his hindquarters… if a team of four horses and a wagon can do it, he can too!
And there was so much more!
I can’t possibly cover everything there was to see and do in one blog post - but here are just a few more photos of the fun that was had:
The very best part
Ok, I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. The location was lovely, the demonstrations were incredible, the horses and presenters were amazing… but there’s one thing that sticks out in my mind above everything else...
I think everyone involved in putting together Horse Lovers Weekend would probably agree with me that the very best part of Horse Lovers Weekend was watching people of all ages, experience the joy of horses. Getting to see the delight in people’s eyes as they gently touched a horses long face was truly wonderful and there’s really nothing quite like it.
I know one thing for sure
I’ll be going back again next year! A big congratulations to the organizers of this year’s event because it was a definite success.
Were you able to attend this year? I would love to know what you thought of the event - let me know in the comments!
If you weren’t able to attend, will I be seeing you there next year?!