Welcome to Lonesome Acres, the little stable that just grew. In 1991 Pat Gottlieb decided to build a small riding arena, something she had always wanted to have for herself. It is a modest size (60' X 80' with 14' sidewalls) but big enough for a good-sized thoroughbred to get into a comfortable canter or to take a couple of jumps. The arena is very bright both day and night with large fibreglass lights on the sidewalls and plenty of artificial illumination.
Pat always had some requests to teach riding, but once the arena was up, the number of her students doubled and then tripled. Our horses continued to live in an old shed. However, we had to add more lesson horses to accomodate the number of students, and soon we ended up with eight horses, each with a box stall but almost no space to store hay. Finally, in 1994 Pat and her husband Vic decided to build a new barn on the front of the arena.
The new barn was designed and built by Bradleigh Construction, a company with considerable experience in equine buildings. As you can see from the photo, it is a modern horse barn with open grill work and wide sliding doors on the stalls. The barn is 30' X 64' and contains eleven 10' X 10' box stalls plus one slightly larger foaling stall. Another feature of the barn is an insulated and heated tack and feed room as a refuge from the icy temperatures in the winter months. In the winter there is an urn of hot water and a selection of tea, instant coffee and hot chocolate. The tack room also has a window onto the arena for the benefit of parents who want to stay while their child has a lesson.
Sara Riley needs no introduction for those who have been around Lonesome Acres any time in the past several years. First she began taking lessons with her two daughters Heather and Kristen. Then she got her own horse Jasmin to board here. Before long she was helping out Pat as an assistant coach when required plus scooping a lot of poop.
Pat decided to sell the business to Sara at the beginning of 2013. The stable continues to operate at the same location on the 9th Line of Oro, and Pat and Vic continue to live in the house there. The only difference you will notice is that Pat and Sara have exchanged roles as head coach and assistant coach.
Over the years Sara has become invaluable to Pat and Vic. When either one needed to go to the hospital, Sara was always there to feed the horses. When they took a week's vacation in either summer or winter, Sara was always there to house sit, horse sit and dog sit.
For both Pat and Vic selling the stable to Sara feels pretty much like handing the family business on to a daughter who has been involved in the operation for years.
Program and Rates
We only rent out stalls in the new barn. We can accommodate six boarders, and several of our own horses live in the old shed.
We are primarily a trail riding stable. Pat and Vic were both active in the Ontario Competitive Trail Ride Association for many years, and Sara loves trail-riding and has gone on many horse-camping trips with Pat and her friends.
In the lessons there is naturally a bit of dressage and jumping, but the primary aim of the lessons is to help people to go down a trail safely and enjoyably with the horse fully under control at all speeds.Board
At present our rates are $350.00 a month. That includes the stall (which is cleaned daily 365 days a year) and whatever amount of hay and concentrates are needed to keep your horse fit and healthy. On supplements such as biotin or vitamins our policy is that the client will provide any desired supplement, and we will add it to the horse's feed as instructed. As mentioned above, ours is a small property, and there is no pasture. The horses will find a nibble or two of grass in their paddocks, but it is not a staple of their diet. The norm is daily turnout in a good-sized paddock with two or three other horses. The arena is available to boarders anytime between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm, except during the lessons.
The lessons are $30.00 for an hour and a half, which includes the time spent grooming and tacking the horse. We have a structured program set up for the students to advance through several levels of increasing mastery. There is often one adult class going, but the majority of students are kids and teens. For beginners who are not yet ready to go into a group lesson, the rate is also $30.00 for a one-hour one-on-one lesson. Advance payment is requested for each block of lessons, normally 4 weeks.
The lessons are usually scheduled in the arena, or in good weather the outdoor ring gives a bit more space.
Click here to page through our student handbook which describes the program in full detail.
We also offer a part-board program for people who can ride on their own but do not presently have a horse. Rates are $80.00 a month for using the horse once a week (a ride of a couple of hours), $140.00 a month for twice a week. Special packages are also available for people who want to combine Part Board and Riding Lessons. We are quite flexible about timing, but any change in your regular schedule has to be cleared in advance, as the horse may be in use for lessons or part-boarded by someone else. Sometimes one of our boarders wants to part board her horse; in that case rates and conditions will be a matter for private agreement with the horse's owner.
For a few years we did our own riding camp, but for the past several years we have hosted the Horse Camp for the YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka. We usually offer three weeks each summer through the YMCA, with the kids being bused from the Barrie facility. For further information on registration and costs, please call the YMCA early in the year at (705) 726-6421 or check their website at www.ymcaofsimcoemuskoka.ca. Please register early. All the camps are usually filled by the end of April.
We are offering three camps.
- July 8 - 12
- July 22 - 26
- Aug 12 - 16
Camp 97 - Costume Class
Is Barney thrilled about that hat, or what?
No Public Trail Rides
As many people have inquired about this, we will specifically mention that we do not offer trail rides to the general public (i.e., public livery). Like many other stables we find the insurance rates prohibitively expensive for this, and our insurance policy specifically states "no general public."
Farrier and Veterinarian
There is no obligation for boarders to use the same equine professionals that we do. This is just to let potential clients know that we have associations with some fine professionals.
Ron Blacklock has been our farrier for several years now, and many of our boarders have arranged for his services.
Dr. Drew Hunnisett is our veterinarian. He has had many years of experience with large animals, but by his own admission the horses are his favourite patients. If you ask Drew any questions, you will soon realize that he keeps abreast of all the latest research in his field. Add to that, he has the best stallside manner we've ever seen both with nervous equines and their anxious humans.
Helmets are mandatory
- for anyone mounted on one of our horses (students and part-boarders)
- for boarders under the age of 18 mounted on their own horses
If you have any questions that have not been answered here, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are located midway between Barrie and Orillia about a mile off Highway 11. If you live in this area, we hope that you will consider us if you are interested in riding lessons. If you live a long way off, we hope that you have enjoyed your electronic visit over the internet, and feel free to look us up if you ever pass through this scenic region of Canada.