“I will always have horses to look after, I can do this till I’m old,” laughs Renata McGillivray owner of Shady Maple Stables. “And there are so many advantages of having your job right at home. You can raise your kids and still work; you can work your schedule around your kid’s schedule. Although the work is never done, never done in the barn and never done in the home.”
“There will always be horse people,” she explains and people that will get involved with horses. While I don’t volunteer any longer with the pony club, so I am involved less with activities, more horses that are boarded here are owned by the same people. I and other owners would rather hire some help then give up the lifestyle of having horses. It is rather nice for my clients to board their horses at the vet’s house,” she shares. James Crawford, Renata’s husband is on hand if necessary, “but with my years of horse experience, I am pretty good at keeping the horses healthy and spotting any difficulties early on.”
Renata came to the Cambridge area from Holland in 1988 when her Mother bought a farm with horses. She began teaching Western and English at Blacks Equestrian Centre and training horses before starting her own stable. Today she boards about forty horses for people that take lessons from her, looks after brood mares and provides a layover for race horses from Fort Erie. The horses are fed four times a day, exercised every day and have their stalls cleaned out daily also. Their 50 acres is divided up into 10 acres of bush, 10 acres of hay and lots of pasture. Thouroughbreds have their feet trimmed every four to six weeks and riding horses every six to 7 weeks.
Why does Renata do this? “I am best at taking care of horses; making them better and watching them grow and grow up. I like to watch people grow also and building relationships with people is also very pleasurable,” she says.
While she does not show herself, she can often be found with one or two trailers full of horses at the Ancaster Saddle Club shows or the Hunt Club in Caledonia. There you will find her coaching her students in the shows, “mostly in the Hunter classes.”
“Clientele varies,” she explains, “young people from the age of twelve till they go off to university come for lessons, Moms that have a bit of time because their kids are in school or men over forty that have some time and want to get back to having a horse.” Her race track owners are mostly men, while many of the trainers are female.
Her daughter Stephanie is following along in her footsteps. “One day she may be my competition,” she says “Stephanie has worked as a student in Florida, and is working on getting her coaching license and will probably take some online courses. Right now she helps out with the horses here on the farm.”
When Renata isn’t out in the barn she can be found taking care of her family, going for walks with her kids or watching them play hockey. Looking for her? You will find her on the farm with her horses till she is ‘old’.