Our dedicated group of students helped us with Saturday morning lead-line pony rides and added to the fun of our four Summer Camps. We started our show program with a St Patrick’s Day game day – a costume class and lead-line classes were tailored for our young students.
We brought instructors over from the mainland – Angela Allen and Leoni Bramwell - for our busy weekends of lessons. Mid-week Bryoni and Christine Morgan also gave lessons and were taught in turn by Liz Hoppes and Bonnie Hemrich on Molly, a Percheron cross who we had brought up from Missouri, and Frederick, an experienced big grey TB.
Shadow had made a full recovery from her injuries but since she had so obviously enjoyed her invalid life with no demands being made of her, I decided to retire her to the barn on Sunset Road where she could keep Dusty company.
We gained a wonderful friend this year when Joanna came to have lessons on Edgar and came under his spell, basically adopting him and ensuring his especial care from then on. He was one of our special animals in October when Shelagh came to give a blessing ceremony to our horses, dogs, cats and a hedgehog. Sassy had arrived as a boarder by then, so she was included, but Thorsson missed out as he had just been sold to a family on Vancouver Island.
For BowFest this year we joined with BIHORA for a circus theme, with Odin and Luna decorated as carousel horses.
We were able to present a colourful entry in the BowFest Parade as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with the Minis and four Fjords, Fin and Vivian joining Odin, Luna and Thorsson.
We set up the top ring with obstacles for a Bombproofing Day using our new giant colourful footballs that the horses enjoyed pushing around. Margaret organized “The Adventure Challenge” in June, this island-wide scavenger hunt was lots of fun involving many Bowen horses and riders. Also many came for the Hunter Pace Event we held on the Evergreen trails and surrounding roads.
Gracie had an operation in January in an attempt to improve her “female” issues. She and Corby went to three shows at Windsor with great success.
This was a busier year with Bryoni back on Bowen and several promising new students. In the spring we gave Pony Rides at Easter and later we had a Bandaging Clinic (Margaret), a Jumping Clinic and a Show Prep Clinic (Bryoni).
The summer’s big event was our first Mini Event which involved teams riding throughout the property over obstacles, as well as doing dressage and stadium jumping. Francesca, Jennifer and Lauren successfully completed their Rider Prep 1 examinations under Bryoni’s tuition.
During this year we added to our school horses with Comedy and Sir Grey who proved to be valuable mounts for beginners as well as being talented enough to compete successfully in shows.
We received an unexpected glorious gift when Edgar came to us as a respite from his life in Delta. As a Lipizzaner/Hanoverian, Edgar had all the grace and beautiful movement needed for a successful dressage horse, but he had other issues that required tactful handling and a stress-free life for his peace of mind. I felt he was too much for me to handle on my own, so I asked Daphne to take over most of his exercise and training.
This was a busy year with fourteen horses on the property at one time! N.I.E. was going strong with lessons and summer camps and Andrea started training Kashi, a rather nervous TB boarder. We adopted two Minis in May and I put them up in the roadside turn-outs to keep Thorsson company.
We bought our 10 acre property on Westside Road in 1989 as a clear-cut lot that was part of the Sunset Estates sub-division. As we built first a house, then a barn, then fenced pastures and a riding ring, then another riding ring, our equestrian business evolved. With my husband, Hamish, bringing in financial support from his consulting work in the U.S., Bryoni and I added to our experience with horses by studying at Langara College and Bryoni went on to train and ride for her C.E.F. coaching certification.
This was an especially busy year with big beautiful warmbloods on the property and the N.I.E. program of lessons almost full-time. I made the difficult decision to retire Sultan after his many years of working for us helping so many riders. We sent him to Turning Point Ranch in Pritchard where he had a wonderful time roaming the pastures with his adopted family of mares and their foals.
The lesson program with N.I.E. continued this year with Amigo and Sonny at the weekends and Andrea’s new purchase, Norm. Also, Thorsson returned from his winter training and Andrea worked with him to see if he could be used for beginner lessons. Lily was a great asset to this lesson program, but we decided that Violet was too unreliable.
In March and September, we had well attended weekend clinics with Paul Dufresne teaching his “Training for Courage” method using Endotapping. He brought his impressive Andulusian stallion for the evening demonstrations and Denali came back with him showing evidence of his effective training with her over the last year.
An exciting year! “Naturally Island Equestrian”, Rob and Andrea’s business, started their lesson program at the weekends, bringing over Amigo and Sonny from Caroline’s for beginner’s riding lessons.
In July Violet and Lily came here from the Sunshine Coast. Although Violet didn’t work out as a school horse, Lily quickly became an essential part of the lesson program.
I also bought a young Fjord – one of Freyr’s babies. Since his name was Magnus, I rechristened him Thorsson (his sire was called Thor) and somehow, he eventually became “Sir Magnus Thorsson”
Our attention was turning from conventional riding to a more intuitive, psychological approach. After attending two courses in Equine Facilitated Therapy, Bryoni started applying these techniques and we had a couple of sessions with the volunteers who were helping us with barn work.
Andrea on Norm and Trinity on Lily joined Daphne and me on the Fjords for the end of year Beating the Bounds ceremony, the usual party followed with Sebastian as our youngest guest.
The new vet on the island, Alistair Westcott, gave an Equine First Aid clinic using Moz as his demonstation horse..
A very quiet year.
We held a Mini-Event in August and a couple of shows.
Ritchie came as a boarder and Althea ,his owner helped out with our BowFest entry “ The Knights of the Kitchen Table and Lady Ginger Beer! It was a hoot with Caro wowing the crowds as a tipsy Lady Ginger Beer on Corby. First prize again!
In July I bought Shirley, (renamed Valentine), a bay QH mare with little training but a sweet lovable nature and I asked Daphne to come and help me with her. This initial contact with Daphne resulted in Summerly, her daughter, bringing Lacey, her spirited warmblood mare, to board with us.
After tragically losing Halina to colic, Kat and Alison bought her half-sister, Tinkabell and she was brought here from the interior in August.
We ended the year with ten horses here.
For the first half of this year we worked hard on out Drill Team program that we performed in July for the weekend of the People, Plants and Places event. It was great to have four Fjords in this as we borrowed Freyr from the Rapley’s and Vivian joined in with Finn. (We later discovered that Fin was Odin’s son, but we didn’t know this at this time.) Corby and Sultan were matching greys and Laura Reid joined in on King who she now owned.
We took Laura and Kathryn to a show at Southgate in the spring, and we had another Kur clinic in March with Bryoni.
Most of our attention was off-island as Bryoni was working towards her level Two coach’s certification, competing and successfully entering Cora on Snoopy at Southlands for a student’s Level Two grades.
One of my biggest mistakes was to decide to sell Odin and Luna and I sent them to Kay Veinotte’s on the mainland. Odin got colic while he was there and after his recovery I brought them both back to Bowen and promised Odin they would never leave again.
At our Open House in July we showed off our lovely horses with their various talents and we had fun with a horse-dog team jumping competition.
Thorsson went off to Marion Weisshopff for training over the winter and Denali went to Paul Dufresne’s.
The year ended with Elsa as the fox leading us all in a Mock Hunt, with stirrup cup as we gathered at “The Meet”, and a Christmas party afterwards.
After Hamish's sudden death, this was a year of change, recovery and renewal for the Miller family at Evergreen Acres. We decided to launch our new business venture with a mix of guest trail rides and riding lessons.
After much research the ideal horse for these activities was judged to be the Norwegian Fjord – good natured, strong, medium sized and versatile. Our initial purchase of two geldings, Odin and Magnus, and two young mares, Luna and Freyr, proved to be hugely significant. Twenty years later we still value and ride Odin and Luna, and these horses have contributed to every aspect of our business over the years – trail rides, lessons, showing, drill team, parades, birthday parties, pony rides. therapy sessions and goodwill public appearances.
In the summer Margo brought her horses over and Lauren bought My. We were sorry to say goodbye to Kahlua when Alison took her home this year, but we gained another boarder when Corby, a very talented and cute pony, was brought here by Caro for her son, James.
There were many trips off-island with Bryoni at three Dogwood Dressage shows. I attended a Chris Irwin Clinic, and a Jumping Equitation Judges Clinic. Several of us went to see “Dressage in Motion” with Leslie Reid.
This was BIHORA’s 20th year anniversary and together with them we hosted a Driving Clinic with Kay Veinotte and also a First Aid Clinic with Dr Gilray. There was a big anniversary party at the CNIB at the end of the year. Many of our friends from the early days of BIHORA attended.
Our BowFest entry this year for “Island Paradise” involved several of Andrea’s students wearing leis, being led on Lily and the Fjords.
We held another Mini-Event in September and the Faraghers brought Prince and Shadow for it, and for Caro to give them some coaching beforehand.
Two significant additions to Evergreen this year were Louise Bentall with her dressage horse, Pharmer, and Margaret’s young draft dynamo, Denali. Also, Caro and I jointly purchased Gracie, a pretty grey mare with some talent but a sour temperament. We hoped we could give her a happy home here with our students.
This was a very busy year with a full lesson program using instructors from the mainland and our own Bryoni and Christine Morgan. We had five shows for our students and other riders from the island, one judged by our long-time mentor, Wendy Elliott. We also held a jumping clinic with Sarah Davies.
We bought more school horses – Bevan, Beau, Misty and Moon, who were used for lessons and leased to students. Moz and Kahlua began their long lives on Bowen when they were bought by Jennifer and Alex respectively.
There was a large group of us when we went on trail rides to Cape Roger Curtis and up Bob’s Knob. We took many horses and riders to the BIHORA events at Crippen Meadow.
Comedy and Sir Grey went to shows at Southlands and Southgate and Britt and Angela took Bevan and Fred to a Percentage day at Southlands. (Photo on the right.)
This was a quiet year as we had just five horses here – Odin, Luna, Denali, Shadow and our boarder, Sassy, until June when we bought Red, a quiet, experienced QH gelding.
With Louise Bentall leasing Red there were just enough riders to justify bringing Burgi Rommel, a Level Two instructor, over for lessons. Weather permitting, she came about once a week through the summer and into the fall, with Bryoni helping us as well a couple of times.
Other main events were “The Amazing Race” game we held in May, and we had our third Mini-event in August.
Bryoni competed on both Snoopy and Woodstock this year as Virginia had given Snoopy to Bryoni and brought him over to Bowen for her. The irony here was that Snoopy’s official name was “Woodstock” so Bryoni had to compete at different levels in the same show on Woodstock (FEI horse) and Woodstock II (lower level). Confusing for the judges!
Shortly after buying Odin and Magnus, we competed with them On BC Ride Day in BIHORA’s Team Challenge Event for the Hamish Miller Memorial Trophy. Photo above (it was fancy dress and Bryoni was a mouse)
Bryoni started teaching to a very keen group of students, Britt, Sarah and Alex, who had been impatiently waiting for the lesson program to get started! Every week a Ladies Group, Beverley, Lois and Alsa enjoyed a trail ride on the Fjords and we ended the year with a celebratory Christmas lunch.
The Ladies Group continued their trail rides but without Luna for a few months as she gave birth to a foal, Embla, in May. By August she was able to join Odin and Magnus in our first “Fjord” entry in the BowFest parade.
There was a change of emphasis this year with fewer beginner lessons and more clinics as our students were more advanced and several had their own horses.
Comedy went with Britt to Windsor for a show but later he and Magnus were sold and we bought new school horses – Midnight, Montana and Cheyenne.
Jennifer, Francesca and Lauren started their Rider Prep Level 1 course under Bryoni’s instruction. In August she took her beautiful dressage horse, Woodstock, to Hazelmere to work with Liz Hopps. As well as our usual summer camps we had fun this year with clinics from Jonathan Field (Parelli) see photo on right, and Myles Herman (Ttouch). A a group of us went to see Monty Roberts in August.
We welcomed Shadow to Evergreen (for the first time) when Lauren Courtenay bought her. However she was sold to the Faragher’s later in the year and moved to their property. Toby came for a short stay while Lilian was moving off the island.
Margo’s horses were here for the summer again and Ashley was back having stall rest as she recovered from an injury sustained while she was on trial at Windsor Stables.
This year brought many changes, some good, some not! Our friends Andrea and Rob moved their business, Naturally Island Equestrian, and their horses to another barn. After so many years with young riders around we now became an adult-only barn. The emphasis was on dressage as Daphne was teaching and training horses.
The weather was great through the summer and although Sassy was having lameness issues we rode the rest of the horses almost every day. With Shadow’s owners leaving the island I brought her back to Evergreen where she had started her life on Bowen many years before. She kept me on my toes with her grumpy moods, but we still had many good rides, usually together with Daphne riding Edgar.
Our efforts to create a calm, peaceful and trusting environment with our horses and clients was somewhat challenged by the arrival of a new boarder, Heartsie, a highly-strung elderly chestnut Arabian mare. Ellen ,her new owner, wanted her to enjoy her remaining years with us and we were happy to benefit from having Ellen's expertise and support at the barn.
This was a family year with the business almost dormant except for a short stay from Lynda’s rescue horse, Mia.
My sisters came form England for a visit and when Bryoni and Wayne were married in September, my husband’s family came up from California (where they had all settled after moving from South Africa).
We did have a bombproofing course set up in the top ring (before the wedding party that was held there!).
For the safari theme of BowFest we transformed Odin into a zebra – this disguise stayed with him for many months before the dye wore off!
Our BowFest entry for the space age theme was spectacular with Odin and Luna dyed green and converted into space creatures – we won first prize!
We had a Fall series of shows and we tried out a little pony, Snowflake, briefly as a lesson pony. I worked to build up the health of Destinada, a virtual rescue case bequeathed to me from my friend, Jules.
To accommodate the growing number of horses on the property we built a second small three-stall barn.
This was a fun year with very varied activities going on. The Hayloft became the venue for events organized by Margaret. These included a workshop on building Fairie Houses and a weekend of Eco Printing with Arlee Barr from Alberta. At Easter we had a full day with an Easter Egg Hunt and Pony Rides. I was planning a Jane Austen weekend, but this never happened as after one birthday party sleepover for Lenya, Summerly and Jesse moved into The Hayloft as tenants.
We had a difficuly start to this year with the snow and ice remaining almost up to March, making riding impossible. Just when we could get started, the tragic loss of one of our clients and a concussion suffered by another made it hard to plan with pleasure for the year ahead.
Myles was still coming to give us lessons and also gave a Ttouch clinic. Brenda brought Aspen down from Jandana Ranch and at the end of the summer she moved her to Langley to continue her lessons with Myles. Bryoni came over on a few weekends to give lessons and also a two-day Dressage Clinic. In the summer Gail Jewell gave a course on fire rescue to us and the islands’ firemen. During the year we made three trips to Windsor Stables for shows with Lauren and Francesca.
The business was split in two for most of this year as Bryoni was operating her own barn, Bar T’at, in Langley where she was training Woodstock, Ashley, Moz, Tango and later K.C., a young Palomino that Lois had bought.
Our summer visitors, Styria, Oberon and Mouse came again, and Margo brought Anne P. Turner over to give them massages and an Equine Physiology workshop. Brie and Baby, both long-term Bowen horses, were here for a few months in the summer. Brie while she recovered from heaves and Baby before she moved out to retirement in Langley after many years at Laura Lynn in North Vancouver.
Bryoni came back with the horses she had been training at the end of the year and with so many horses here we built an additional outside shelter that we christened The Hobbit Hole.
Alison and I continued to enjoy our weekly trail rides on Luna and Odin, with Margaret on Red joining us occasionally. The three of us had fun in our Western gear as part of the BIHORA entry in the BowFest parade. Luna was kept busy being her best, quiet, patient self for several “Hang Out with Horses” clients who enjoyed learning how to handle and groom her as well as taking two adults for trail rides given as presents by their families.
EQUESTRIAN RETREAT CENTRE
Shadow had been going well since having acupuncture treatments from a visiting physiotherapist in the spring but in October she injured both front legs (scrambling up the bank from the bottom ring where she had been turned loose!). She had stable rest for the rest of the year as once the snow arrived at the beginning of December the footing was too treacherous to turn her out. She seemed to enjoy all the bandaging and special attention she received at this time although everyone else was fed up with the difficulties of getting around through the deep snow and ice. We couldn’t even get the horses out for our annual “Beating the Bounds” ceremony for the new year.
In the summer we had four camps for new students and on Friday nights we put together a selection of instructional and entertaining films for our regular students.
In the fall Bryoni spent several months in Pennsylvania as a working student for Robert O. Mayer and while there she learnt she had obtained her CEF Level 1 coaching certification.
Wendy and Natasha judged shows for us here and we went to Windsor Stables with some of our regular students. Several of these students after leasing our horses for a while now brought their own – Francesca bought Sonny, a chestnut Morgan, Alex brought Carpe Diem here for most of the year before moving to the N.S.E.C., and later Lauren who had been leasing Ashley, bought Tango. With Natasha’s help we found Cassandra, a young Belgian cross, for Britt.
In the spring we hosted an Edwardian Tea as a fund raiser for the library. Bryoni and Woodstock gave a dressage demonstration to the elegantly attired guests.
Our students were a great help to us with the summer camps. Margo Van Allan brought her three horses from Southlands for the first of their summer holidays here. Margo was a great sport and joined us on trail rides and trips to the BIHORA meadow on Styria her Lipizzaner mare.
Although Bryoni was off-island again for most of this year, training Woodstock and riding Snoopy at Virginia Allen’s, we had several clinics, most notably a two-day Kur Clinic in July.
In September I was pleased to bring King back to Bowen as a school horse. That month we had our second Mini-Event, with individual entries this time.
This year we changed to self-board for our group of adult boarders. There were no lessons or clinics, but Caro coached Annie and Bayley on Corby and Gracie for shows at Windsor Stables.
Their horses Prince and Shadow spent the summer here and stayed on after that when I bought Prince and the Heath’s and McCullum’s bought Shadow.
We enjoyed summer Saturday evenings with drinks and snacks on the deck
Our three lovely grey ponies, Corby, Gracie and Sultan were entered as circus liberty horses in the BowFest parade.
The end of the summer brought the end of our mutually convenient working relationship with Daphne and Summerly as they decided to move Lacey and Jacardo out to Langley and it seemed best to move Edgar there too.
There were still three of us with horses for the “Beating the Bounds” ride and several friends joined us for the usual party afterwards – this time held in the newly vacated Hayloft.
Probably our quietest year as I visited England for several weeks and Bryoni and Wayne went there in October for a few months.
By the end of the year it was time for our boarders to move on and only our own horses, Odin, Luna, Sultan and Denali remained..
With no students or boarders things were a little more relaxed around the property!