A: For Hands on Horses, the minimum age is 6. For all other programs, the minimum age is 8. This is based on the month your child turns that age, so if she turns 8 on April 15th and you want to enrol her in Grass Roots Horsemanship that starts on April 9th, we would accept her application.
A: Yes, we have Hands on Horses which is a non-riding personal development program and we have regular riding lessons for adults at all levels from beginner to advanced. We keep our adult groups separate from our youth groups.
A: We don’t offer a regular private lesson program, but on a case by case basis we may be able to arrange for a few. For example, if your child needs some extra attention to overcome a challenge, or to prepare for a Rider Level test you can request a private session. We also do our intake assessment lessons as privates so we can properly assess what level / lesson a new student would be best suited for. Our maximum student count per lesson is 5. Occasionally we will have some students who are away and it might mean that fewer students are present for a particular lesson. When this happens, we proceed with the lesson even if it’s just with one student (a private). In this case, the lesson would be 30 minutes instead of one hour.
A: No, all horses at Todd Hill Farm are owned or leased by the farm
A: We currently only offer English riding lessons. We do have several horses that are well-trained in Western disciplines and we have Western tack, so we occasionally do a trail ride or lesson with a Western slant to give our students some variety. We have a few instructors who can teach Western riding.
A: We have gotten so busy with our lesson program that we no longer offer trail riding to the public. We do occasional trail rides with our students and also in camps. The Todd Hill Farm trails give us access to miles of logging roads around the Oakfield area.
A: We try our best to accommodate birthday party requests from our students. We handle them on a case by case basis if they can occur during our less busy times and when we have staff available. At this time, we are unable to accommodate birthday party or other event requests from non-student families.
A: We can only accommodate students who are able to ride at the same times and same days each week. Our lesson calendar is quite full and we rely on our regular, weekly students coming on a regular schedule. When someone comes at different times week to week, it leaves unfilled spots in the lesson calendar and affects our staffing and horse usage.
A: We do have a lease program but we are not expanding it. At this time, we are not accepting new leasers. If you are interested in leasing, please let your instructor know and she can put you on a waiting list. There may be more leasing opportunities in the future.
A: Because we are not accepting new leasers, we are allowing regular students to show at a few off-property venues in the 2022 season. These would be different venues than our leasers compete at and will serve as a fantastic learning opportunity for our students. Students can earn “Show Credits” by volunteering at Todd Hill Farm. For more information on this program, contact our Program Manager, Katelyn McElman. We run 4 in-house shows per year and those are open to all students.
A: We allow students to work in exchange for extra lessons, but not in exchange for their regular weekly lesson. Every 6 hours of work can be traded for an extra lesson. This opportunity is available for students age 12 and older riding at Level 3 or higher.
A: Yes. Once/week is the minimum required, but our Twice-as-Nice program is 2 lessons per week at a discounted rate of $400 per month and our Thrice-as-Nice program is 3 lessons per week at a discounted rate of $600/month. This is a good option for a keen student who wants to lease and is on the waiting list.
A: As a non-profit association, we rely on our volunteers. We are happy to provide letters of reference and proof of volunteer hours to anyone who asks. Volunteering is an important activity and is very useful in post-secondary applications and future employment. We offer volunteer experiences for adults with horse experience too! If you used to ride and love horses, we would love to have you!
A: There is often confusion between a charitable organization and a non-profit organization. Todd Hill Farm is not a charity. We are run the same as a sports club or community organization, for example like a hockey team, soccer club or even a garden club. By not having a profit “motive”, we are able to funnel all revenue back into our programs as well as our horse and farm maintenance and development. We are a recognized not-for-profit association with NS Joint Stocks. Our registration number is 3265666. Todd Hill Farm offers corporate and community sponsorship opportunities. The generosity of local businesses allows us to offer prizes at our in-house horse shows, provide our students and staff with necessary training and safety gear, make expensive tack changes to help horses with sore backs and a lot more. In 2022, we plan to roll out some new programs to offer riding opportunities to families enduring financial hardship. Like any business, we still need to break even and cannot afford to lose money. The owners of the property, John and Karen Gillighan, do not take any salary or compensation from Todd Hill Farm but are engaged full-time in the day to day running of all operations. Todd Hill Farm leases the land and the buildings.
A: We choose our lesson horses based on their disposition and training / experience. A good horse can be any size, colour or breed. Currently, the following breeds are represented in our 30 horses: Thoroughbred, Quarter Horse, Percheron, Clydesdale, Dutch Warmblood, Hanoverian, Morgan, Appendix, Paint, Arab, Welsh, Newfoundland, Appaloosa, Trakehner, Oldenburg, Russian Warmblood, Selle Francaise and Haflinger. Our smallest pony is 13.2hh and our largest horse is 17.1hh
A: During the warmer months we have a dress code: No open toed shoes in the barn and no tank tops, crop tops or t-shirts. Summer shirts must have a collar (like a polo or blouse). Students riding at Level 2 and higher are expected to wear proper riding breeches and either tall riding boots or paddock boots and half-chaps. The minimum standard for all levels, including Short Stirrup, is boots with a small heel to prevent the foot from slipping through the stirrup. Children below age 12 must wear a helmet when working around the horse, even when unmounted. All riders must wear an ASTM approved helmet while on horseback. We have helmets available to lend for our beginner programs. Once a student advances above the Grass Roots v]level, they are expected to have their own helmet.
A: In addition to online stores, there are a few local retailers that deal in equestrian supplies. Here are a few:
Greenhawk Equestrian – 477 Cobequid Rd. Lower Sackville 902-864-9303
The Equestrian Closet (consignment store) – 225 Cobequid Rd. Lower Sackville 902-869-0173
Double D Tack Shop – 71 Park Rd. Elmsdale 902-883-0092
Decathlon (Mic Mac Mall) – 21 Micmac Blvd. *Note – not all helmets sold here meet ASTM standards. Please double check before buying.
A: We encourage parents to stay for the first few lessons. Once your child is comfortable here and knows the routines, you are welcome to drop them off and return about 30 minutes after lesson end time for pick up. All students have a chore to complete after their ride. Tim Hortons, Burger King and a Big Stop Irving are just around the corner from the farm. We also have wifi in the lounge and parents are welcome to hang out there if they need to work. We also have bleachers in the riding areas if you would like to watch the lesson. If you come with younger siblings, please do not let them out of your site. We have an open pond and electric fencing.
Click the Link below to read about some common questions that are asked about horses.
This link will take you to explore some of the phrases you’ll hear during riding lessons.