Brookson Farm, Ottawa

Brookson Farm, Ottawa


ANNOUNCER: Here’s Victoria and
Anthony with an AMI This Week short cut. [music playing] There’s definitely
a huge culture around horses which
has led riders to coin the phrase from
the public referring to them as horse people. ANTHONY MCLACHLAN: Definitely. Whenever you meet
someone who is a rider, you can tell they have
such a love for the animal. VICTORIA NOLAN: Well this
sparked the interest of Ottawa presenter, Shelby Travers,
who loves dogs and wanted to find out if horse
people are like dog people. ANTHONY MCLACHLAN: Shelby
heads to the country to meet the horses and their
coaches of Brookson Farm to find out what it’s all about. SHELBY TRAVERS: Ah, the
quiet of the country. This is where I’m going
to learn to ride a horse. But first, I want to
learn more about the farm. ASHLEY BENCKE: I’m Ashley
Bencke and I’m the manager of operations at Brookson Farm. It’s a nice big facility. We have about 350 acres tucked
in right on the green belt. We have about 20 horses that
we use in our school program, and probably about 30 horses
that are here as clients or as young horses that are
growing up in the field. SHELBY TRAVERS: For
their riding program, the school is open to a
broad range of students. ASHLEY BENCKE: We start our
kids off at three years old up to any age. The great thing
about riding is it’s a sport where you can start
young, you can start old, you can pick it back up and
it’s accessible for everyone. SHELBY TRAVERS: And
if anyone is feeling uneasy about
getting on a horse– ASHLEY BENCKE: We
have very safe horses that we use to help
build confidence for new riders, timid riders. We have some riders
that come that are very shy and nervous around horses. So the horses that we
select for our program, it’s very important that
they’re calm, they’re quiet, and they’re safe for
all of our riders. SIONNAN CARDILLO: Good girl. SHELBY TRAVERS: Sionnan Cardillo
is an instructor at Brookson. She has been riding
since she was a child. SIONNAN CARDILLO: My favourite
part about being on the farm is just, I think,
enjoying the farm. It’s a beautiful facility. There’s amazing people here. And just being around
the horses is definitely why I keep doing it. SHELBY TRAVERS: According to
Sionnan, getting into horseback riding is a breeze. SIONNAN CARDILLO: You don’t need
to know a single thing to be able to start riding lessons. It’s an accessible
sport for anyone, no matter what your
abilities may be. SHELBY TRAVERS:
That’s good, because I have zero experience when
it comes to riding a horse. SIONNAN CARDILLO: So
we’re walking forward, nice and straight. SHELBY TRAVERS: There’s
so much to think about. SIONNAN CARDILLO: Oh, yes. SHELBY TRAVERS:
So I’m wondering, how will it be adapted for me? SIONNAN CARDILLO: We’re not
going to adapt it too much. We’re going to just keep
you on the lunge line so I will have some
control of the horse. You won’t need to
be looking where you’re going in terms of
judging the space in the arena. And then other than
that, it’s going to be the same lesson
as everyone else. SHELBY TRAVERS:
Working at Brookson is a dream come true for Ashley. ASHLEY BENCKE: I remember as a
kid I just always loved horses and I just always wanted
to be around them. And then I was lucky enough
to start riding when I was 15, and I just haven’t
been able stop. It’s a passion, but
it’s also an obsession. SHELBY TRAVERS:
According to Sionnan, even first-time riders
have the same opportunity to develop a passion for riding. SIONNAN CARDILLO: I think
that the initial attraction to horses is that it’s
something different. It’s something that
a lot of people don’t necessarily
get to experience. And then I think once they
get that first lesson down, they want more. They want to continue. SHELBY TRAVERS: There’s also a
therapeutic element to riding. Ashley explains. ASHLEY BENCKE: The
thing that really puts horses and
horseback riding aside is the therapeutic
element that you get. And then the horses, you build
a really good relationship with them. They sense you,
they respond to you. So it’s a nice balance between
your own personal therapy and then the horses as well. SHELBY TRAVERS: It’s
quite fun actually. SIONNAN CARDILLO: Yeah. VICTORIA NOLAN: Well that
story definitely gives me countryside envy. Instead of hearing
the birds chirping, we have to hear the hustle
and bustle of the city. ANTHONY MCLACHLAN: And
it gets better too. Shelby told us
there’s a horse there about to give birth
at any moment, that’s actually blind and has
its own guide pony. VICTORIA NOLAN: Oh my gosh. That’s amazing. If you’d like more information
about the farm and lessons, check out their
website at Brookson.ca.

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