Tiara Equine is getting parents and boyfriends out of the stands and into the saddle.
Meagan Maloney and Christine Curtin of Tiara Equine don’t just want you to bring your boyfriend to the barn – they want to teach him to ride, too.
“The name of the farm, Tiara Equine, is a little ironic, I suppose,” joked Meagan, owner and head trainer of Tiara Equine in Stouffville, Ontario. “We have a lot of guys ride at the farm!”
What began as a Christmas gift for Meagan’s students quickly morphed into an ongoing service that has given the boyfriends and parents of her riders a new understanding and appreciation for the sport.
“We have a lot of teenaged riders with these great, supportive parents who have done so much, so a couple of Christmases ago I sent an email out to the riders for discounted lessons [for their parents],” said Meagan. “It was half the price of normal lessons so that they could afford to give them as Christmas presents.”
The gifts were a hit, and some of the parents decided they wanted more than just one lesson.
“The girls were taking pictures on the sidelines and cheering their parents on, and it was so fun! We’ll have to keep doing it, because the parents occasionally want to come back for a lesson, and now we’ve even got the boyfriends riding as well,” said Meagan.
She stresses the focus of safety in each of her lessons, but activities like mounted games and relays keep things interesting and a bit competitive.
“At Christmas we do mounted games and after the regular riders rode, we did a relay that involved taking three boyfriends who were there watching. Without touching them, the girls had to instruct the boyfriends how to get on [the horses] and walk to the end of the arena.”
Christine, Meagan’s assistant trainer, teaches many of these beginner lessons and says that it’s rewarding for all involved.
“It’s a great way for the parents to understand why their kids are so crazy about it, and the boyfriends learn how difficult it actually is,” Christine said. “A lot of guys think the horse does all the work and us girls are just sitting pretty up there and they don’t realize how much physical fitness is involved.”
While rewarding, the experience can be a bit…humbling.
“They think that they know how to ride because they’ve seen their girlfriend have a lesson, or they’ve been on a trail ride in the Dominican Republic and they galloped down the beach,” Christine laughed. “A huge amount of respect comes from the first time they do anything with the horse. They’re like ‘Woah, this is a completely different ball game than any sport I’ve ever played!’”