What makes the farm special is its not-for-profit management (all funds are returned to the program to improve fencing, riding areas, paddocks, tack, equipment and new horses). The farm is able to offer much-needed recreation and educational opportunities to the surrounding communities. We think of our students, parents and staff as family!
We chose the name Todd Hill Farm out of respect for the original land owners. Our 70 acres was once part of a much larger parcel of land granted to the Todd family in the mid 1800’s. Charles Todd and his son Abijah cleared the land by hand, raised livestock and grew crops to feed their families. In 2005 John and Karen Gillighan purchased the property from the estate of Abijah’s son, Lorne Todd. It had not been in use for many years and had been mostly reclaimed by trees. Together with a few dedicated friends, John cleared the land, pulled stumps, picked rocks and reseeded the fields. They found evidence of barn foundations, stone walls and several interesting artifacts such as old bottles, china, ox and horse shoes. John and Karen had a dream of returning the farm to its original glory, but this time as a horse farm to serve the growing interest in the community. Over the years, they have built barns, paddocks, run-in sheds, arenas, trails and fields and Todd Hill Farm is now home to 30 horses.
The photograph presented here is Charles Todd and his son Abijah in 1910. The Todds, originally from Scotland, were granted a large tract of land in the mid 1800’s. The house in this picture is still standing today and belongs to Abijah’s grand-daughter Linda Todd. It is located across the road (Highway 2) from the big hayfield out front.
Our students have a strong connection with the horses, staff, and farm operations. Everyone is part of the family! There are no “cliques” and no feelings of entitlement or privilege. Everyone pulls their weight and all students are expected to do a chore after their lesson. Many of the students volunteer without being asked – picking up a shovel when needed, or helping a younger student tack up a horse. Parents have expressed appreciation at how their children have developed a sense of purpose and pride – this positively affects to their relationships at school and at home. Caring for a horse is truly confidence and character-building. Todd Hill Farm offers a variety of programs to meet the needs of riders as well as those who just want to learn more about horses and spend time getting to know them better.
Take a look at some of the wonderful things our students and visitors have said:
Todd Hill is a great place for riders of all ages and experience. It is family owned and it truly shows in the way that they care. They have a wide range of school horses who can teach you many lessons. Would recommend to anyone looking for a welcoming barn or to get back in the saddle!
Love this place. Horses, roosters, cat. Granddaughter loves to take lessons there. What’s not to love!
I couldn’t have found a better place to start riding again! The horses are all amazing, the instructors are extremely intelligent. I feel like I’m part of a family. There’s no where else I would rather ride.
I have been riding here for 6 years and never had a bad thought before. I’ve had multiple falls that left a few scratches but what do you expect, it’s riding an animal! I love this place and it makes me feel like it is my second home! 🐴
The coaches are always knowledgable on training you to ride. They have excellent horses and programs for almost everyone.
Todd Hill is a welcoming place for all ages. The owners live on premise and take good care of the horses.
Psychologist or horses. Best friends forever. Barns bring it all together and Todd Hill has been wonderful. Thank you for everything!
Great place to make new friends and ride.
The standing joke in the horse word is “Aren’t all horse farms non-profit?” – meaning very few actually turn a profit! That’s because caring for horses properly is expensive! When you add farm upkeep, machinery repair and building maintenance to that, many farms can barely keep their head above water. In our case, Todd Hill Farm Association is a registered Non-Profit society with the NS Registry of Joint Stocks, registration # 3265666.
When we incorporated the farm in 2012, we carefully considered what our purpose would be and how we could best serves the community. Horseback riding is a sport (equestrian), so we modeled our organization after popular sports clubs such as soccer, hockey and volleyball. Most sports and recreational clubs are set up as non-profits, as their purpose it to serve their student body and the communities they reside in. Todd Hill Farm’s purpose is the same. Because of the variety of programs we offer and the diverse groups we can service, we follow the guidelines of a sports club as well as a recreational facility.
We are self-funded, meaning we use the revenues coming into the farm to cover the expenses and running costs. Occasionally we will apply for regional, provincial or federal sports and recreation grants to meet specific needs, such as making the facility safer and more accessible, purchasing new equipment for therapeutic programs and training staff. Students who volunteer here can use their experience towards volunteer credits that are often required for post secondary applications and jobs. We are very thankful to Service Canada for supporting our Summer Students who assist with our horse camps and summer programs.