BR Equestrian is a full-service riding school offering hunter, jumper, eventer and dressage riding lessons, as well as horse boarding and part boarding. We help people of all ages and levels build their skills to become successful riders in a positive environment, whether you're new to horseback riding, looking to ride just for fun, or have serious competitive goals.
What do you do differently or uniquely well?
"At BR Equestrian, we focus on helping our students become skilled riders in a positive and friendly atmosphere! Both private and group lessons are available. Our barn has two large indoor arenas for year-round riding as well as plenty of outdoor space to enjoy in the warmer months. Our lesson program has a wonderful group of schoolies for every level of rider. Whether you're getting on a horse for the. Your riding level will be carefully assessed so that your lessons can be structured to help you achieve your goals, whether you're riding just for the love of it or to compete. Not only will you learn be comfortable and confident with horses, but you'll also gain an understanding of how to work in true partnership to communicate effectively.
Who are your staff and counsellors?
"Our horse barn staff is renowned for their exceptional qualifications and unwavering dedication, making them the most qualified and dedicated team in the industry. Their profound love for animals is evident in their daily interactions and care for our equine companions. With their expertise and passion, our staff ensures the highest level of professionalism and compassion in providing top-notch care for our horses."
What do families need to know about registration?
"Riding lessons based on helping riders understand their horses—the how and why explained for results that will help you achieve your goals.
These theory lesson will consist of topics ranging from tack care, horse’s health, nutrition, equipment types and uses, horse behaviour, wrapping legs, hoof care and many more! "
A love of horses is just the start, and a good (or even great) equestrian school fosters that love, making even the most menial tasks of horse care enjoyable. BR Equestrian is run by owner and Head Coach Suzanne Welsh, who had a storied competitive career, working with top-level people throughout. All lessons take place at the full-service facility that is heated where it needs it, making for a much more enjoyable experience for riders. The training at BR is head-of-the-class, with students making their biggest strides because of the individual attention and understanding of what riders need to learn best. That’s not to say riders won’t be pushed to explore their limits, but it is always done in a friendly and supportive way. All levels of abilities are welcome, from never having ridden a horse to honing the skills of the most competitive riders. Riders are taught more than just how to ride a horse—a horse’s care, health, equipment, and behaviour are all explored at BR, for a comprehensive lesson that focuses on successful riders and happy horses.
Review(s) of BR Equestrian
Read all 10 reviews
Sean Byart-Trautmann (Parent) — Awesome barn!
Awesome barn! Everyone is very friendly! Suz is a great coach and good at what she does. It is nice to see the horses well taken care of. The barn is welcoming to everyone of all experience levels and body shapes and sizes, which is great to see ... Read More
Meaghan Metcalfe (Parent) — Definitely a barn to check out
I've been in search of a good facility to ride at and I will say the can be quite picky. I've been involved with horses since I was little, competed and worked at Woodbine, so I do know the field.
This barn has great facilities, and the owner/head coach has been amazing. I have now completed 6 lessons with her, she makes sure to correct and push at exactly the pace I need.
Definitely a barn to check out and see if it is right for you ... Read More
Caitlin Dance (Camper) — The best I’ve had in my riding career!
"Amazing atmosphere, accompanied with high end training - the best I’ve had in my riding career! Suzanne has taught me more since I restarted lessons last year than I had in my previous almost 20 years with other coaches. BR Equestrian exemplifies what it means to have a barn family, and is by far the best facility I have been at in my almost 20 years of being around horses.
They also helped me in finding and owning my amazing new riding partner, a dream of mine since I was a child. In my lesson plan, Suzanne is working with my new horse and I to build our relationship and ensure success for our future showing endeavours. ... Read More
Sandy & Alyssa DelPapa (Camper) — Suzanne is amazing
"Suzanne is amazing. She insists on students having a good basis to build on (balance & form). She understands the thoughts, feelings & fears of not just the rider but the horse as well. She gives individual attention to each rider & has lots of exercises & ways to correct bad habits. She teaches skills appropriate for the rider’s level but always encourages her students to be the best they can be. Because she has competed at a high level & is qualified to judge some competitions, she has the technical knowledge for those who wish to ride competitively. However- her best quality is that she really cares about her students & their safety & always makes riding fun. She is truly an awesome coach. ... Read More
Jessica Macedo (Camper) — I've never progressed as much or as quickly as i have with Suzanne.
"Suzanne is one of the best coaches I've had. She knows when to push you, or when to take a step back if needed. Has a million different ways to explain something and won't stop until its something you can understand. I've never progressed as much or as quickly as i have with Suzanne. She really teaches the real art of riding not just the easy stuff and even if your in it just for fun she trains you like a pro and gives it 100%." ... Read More
Sarah Wight (Camper) — I couldn't ask for better!
"I can't say enough about Suzanne and the BR Equestrian team. Since the day we met, Suz has taught me so much. She takes the time to understand every rider's goals and pushes you towards those at a pace that makes sense for you and your horse. I look forward to every lesson and continuing to learn from her.
Plus, the atmosphere at this barn is truly one-of-a-kind. It is SO positive and encouraging. Everyone is friendly, welcoming, and supportive. I couldn't ask for better! ... Read More
Julia D (Camper) — Beyond impressed with our coach Miss Amy
"Hi Suzanne, wanted to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for allowing us to join your amazing riding school. We were beyond impressed with our coach Miss Amy. She has the patience of an angel and has exceeded all our expectations. Excellent! ... Read More
Kristina Necek (Camper) — You rock BR Equestrian!
An amazing riding stable for first timers! I’ve been riding here for three years and love it so much! The lesson horses and the coach’s are amazing! They allow you on hot summer days if your horse is sweaty to bath the horse and it’s so fun! I recommend for your young kid or just if your switching barns to come here!
You rock BR Equestrian ... Read More
Alex Byart-Trautmann (Camper) — I would highly recommend BR!!
I would highly recommend BR!! Suz is absolutely amazing and is such a wonderful coach, and barn owner! I have learned so much from Suz in such a short amount of time, she’s a coach that actually enjoys what she does and is very good at what she does. Suz has always taken the time to answer my many questions and been incredibly kind and welcoming to me. The environment of BR is lovely, all the barn staff are excellent! Everyone treats the horses with respect, and kindness, they are all very spoiled and taken care of! The facility is beautiful and there’s lots of room; for a barn with lessons it doesn’t feel busy and still has a small community feel which is a super rare find! I would definitely recommend BR for both lessons and boarding!! Huge thank you to Suz and her team for having us and being so welcoming us, we are truly grateful to be a part of such a lovely barn community :)
... Read More
Kate Rantanen (Camper) — A fantastic place!!
BR Equestrian is a wonderful place to develop great horsemanship and riding skills, regardless of whether you are just being introduced to riding, or are a more experienced rider looking to advance your skills. Suzanne is a fantastic coach - she carefully assesses your riding level and goals, so that she can tailor lessons accordingly to help you achieve them. She places a strong emphasis on having a solid basis to build from, so that both horse and rider feel comfortable, confident, and effective as a partnership. Additionally, her lessons are enjoyable and rewarding, with a perfect combination of humor and seriousness when teaching new skills. The facility is very well equipped (with multiple indoor arenas) and professionally run. Suzanne, Taylor and the entire staff are extremely kind and helpful, as are the rest of the barn family. A fantastic place! ... Read More
Almost 40 years in the horse industry began with a simple visit, as a 5 year old, to meet a horse owned by my parent's best friend. I began lessons in a local riding school within a month. Shortly there after my competitive career began - in barn schooling shows, Trillium, A and FEI.
By the time I was competing A, I had Trillium students competing. In my early 20s, I had the great fortune of working with one of the best eventing coaches in Ontario and with a member of the Canadian dressage team. I also had the luck of working with a top level jumper coach and course designer. They taught me how to train and work my horse from youngsters to Grand Prix competitors.
I've worked with some greats in the industry and I have worked for some of the greats - learning many styles and techniques that I can now pass along.
The one thing that has never changed is the simple love of horses. I've backed, trained, vetted, showed and loved from afar, all ages and breeds - from Arabs and Thoroughbreds to Morgans and Canadians to Clydes to backyard accidents.
I've also ridden and completed AQHA - reining and pleasure. Some fantastic memories and great stories of learning how to rein!
My greatest goal as a coach is to have my riders "ride over me."
When I was six, the pony I was on took off and jumped a small jump in the sand ring. I hadn’t jumped yet. I fell off and, for the first time ever, I had the wind knocked out of me.
I have no idea what I did to cause said pony to run off. I do remember being pretty terrified, not understanding that having the wind knocked out of you is more of an annoyance and will pass very quickly.
My instructor at the time was laughing uproariously at my 6-year-old self on the ground, in the wet sand.
Oddly, 42 years later, I still remember him bent over me, laughing his head off as I struggled to breathe, telling me I have no talent and I should stop wasting my parent’s money.
It’s funny thinking back on that, knowing all the things I’ve accomplished on and off horseback. How easily he could have prevented me from having this career with his words that afternoon.
What it did do is spur me onto work harder, learn faster, and read more.
My motto has always been, “don’t tell me I can’t do something.”
Maybe it’s the redhead, maybe it’s just the sheer love and want to be around horses.
I read an article a few years back about how effort trumps talent. To be honest, I don’t really think I have any riding talent – what I have always had is drive. I showed up every day I could, I worked in the barn, and taught to get more rides and more opportunities to show. I rode any horse handed to me, even ones I was scared to ride. I groomed at shows for other people to learn how the show world works.
And it’s not just me. I’ve had students who have worked their hinny’s off to be able to ride more, show more, just be at the barn more – those are the people who succeed in the horse world, on horseback and off.
I know that not everyone is competitive. But for those who want it – I mean really want it – I’m not only proof it can be done, but I have and will continue to go out of my way to help that person make their dreams come true in whatever capacity I can.
When did we as humans decide that we had to do things faster? Jump higher, ride more tricks now!
When did that equate to better?
I have come across so many riders who think that if they don’t learn and perfect a new concept immediately, they are lacking as riders. They claim that as A-type personalities, they MUST be better faster – but this puts unrealistic pressure on yourself.
This is akin to expecting a grade 3 student to not only read The Great Gatsby, but to comprehend it too. Let’s face it: there is that child out there somewhere who can, but the average human, even with a high IQ, needs the time to learn.
Expecting yourself to be that child only sets you up for failure. Human bodies need time to fit up, to understand feel and balance. As a rider, you may be able to jump a 4-foot fence but still need time to successfully navigate a 2’9 course. Or, you might be able to ride a flying change, but not understand the requirements of a walk/trot dressage test. And it’s perfectly normal!
I have a lovely, wise dressage student who explains it like this:
“First you learn to walk, trot and canter. Then, you learn to *walk*, then *trot, then *canter*, then you learn to walk...”
As one understands the basics of each gait, they then can learn the nuances of independence, self carriage, through-ness, feel, and so on. As you progress through each stage, the next level is presented.
There is a method to the madness. It takes time, repetition, and patience – not an A-type personality. Since most of us can only ride a few days a week if we’re lucky, that means the time it takes to be able to sit the trot, execute an effective half halt, or jump a 2’9 course takes longer.
This is not a negative. With a good mental attitude and persistence, riders can accomplish anything they set their mind to. If you’ve ever found yourself saying “This is so frustrating. I can’t do this,” take a step back. Anyone with knowledge of psychology knows that once someone believes this statement, they have defeated themselves and will no longer be able to accomplish that which they seek so desperately.
If you truly believe you can – you will. It *will* take time, practice, failure, perseverance, and some good old-fashioned sweat and aching muscles!
Believe me, I speak from experience. I was once told I should stop wasting my parent’s money since I had zero talent in horse riding. Instead, I decided to make him eat his words. I don’t think I have any talent to be honest, but I have a love of the horse and an understanding of bio-mechanics that was hard learned, and a red-headed determination that beat everything else. 😊
Be kind and patient with yourself – and enjoy the journey along the way.
When I started teaching, I was too young to really know, or understand, a lot of the concepts I currently work with – never mind how to really work with someone’s body to help them ride.
Teaching kids or young adults through the basics of horse riding is a fun and fairly easy thing to do. You ask – they may ask a few questions about technique, how to do it, and so on – but they try and practice. Often, they’ll bounce and bop around up there until it works!
Ask an adult – especially an adult woman – to do something and that is a totally different entity, which is probably why I love it so much.
Many of us overthink *everything*. And I do mean everything – we can overthink a glass of water given the opportunity. I honestly believe nature has hardwired us this way. It was how females made sure the family survived before the modern age.
Today, with mortgages, families, bills, we think more and more about things we have zero control over and stress ourselves out about it. Now, add in a risky sport. *snerk*
Teaching gown ups involves a level of concentration and a knowledge base I never knew I possessed.
For example: I have ladies who have physical restrictions – some from car accidents, injuries and/or simple degenerating joints. All these ladies (and it really is more ladies than gents – I coach many men too!) have a drive to learn like you wouldn’t believe and it’s *my job* to make sure they can reach those goals.
Learning how to help these riders find a way to ride any horse (right from the upper level jumper to the upper level dressage horse) is one of the greatest challenges I have ever experienced. Finding the techniques and tweaks to help them use their bodies beyond the restrictions, beyond the mental panic and the uncertainty is incredibly challenging and fun. They keep me on my toes with how to explain, how to find new ways to apply aids, how to teach them to shift their bodies, how to relax their bodies.
The greatest irony: calling across the arena to tell a rider to “Relax!” It’s a running joke among many of my riders now. Half the time I can’t say it without laughing.
I’ve learned to develop stretches while the riders are mounted to try and put their bodies (legs/back/arms) into a balanced position. I’ve learned that correct in the technical sense, is not correct for 90% of adult riders.
We have always found a way to get these riders doing half-passes, tempis, and jumping courses.
This also means understanding that there are days when it simply doesn’t happen – between weather, outside stresses, sleeping wrong! Some days are about finding how to get their bodies to simply sit in the saddle and post the trot. Those days can be some of the most rewarding days. The rider learning how to move a hip in a certain way gives me another tool in my toolbox to help the next rider when they are sore, frustrated, or being hard on themselves.
One of my ladies has to canter before she trots, or her back will not loosen and function in any capacity. That discovery changed her lessons – and how much she can do in an hour every time!
One of my other ladies rode at another barn recently (she has a special needs daughter who rides at a fabulous, specialized barn). She hopped on a horse there and came to me the next week beyond upset, convinced she couldn’t ride worth a damn and should quit. She sat on Lake stretching while we chatted through this – she has degenerative hip and knee restrictions. This in the most basic terms means she is not able to apply any strong pressure on the horse’s sides. I’ve been working with her on how to use her seat, apply aids with hips, seat bones and her calves without a lot of pressure. She’s been wildly successful on a few of my horses using these tools. I mean wildly successful – on the days when weather and such don’t affect her movement, she can walk, trot, canter, leg yield and half pass at all three gaits while the horse is fully on the bit. What I discovered as she berated herself is that that horse likes to veer into the middle and needs a lot of leg to get back out, which many riders could struggle with.
These ladies are not bad riders, these are not bad horses; one just has to match up the rider with the specific skills of the horse and also help the rider understand why things are or are not happening. This is another tool in the toolbox!
Teaching adult ladies with specific injuries/restrictions is becoming one of my niches. It makes me think, makes me listen, makes me watch the partnership on a level I hadn’t considered before to help them reach their goals.
As a coach who loves challenges, this is a great skill set to be developing. Not to mention seeing these ladies smile as things work, or the dawning understanding as to why the horse isn’t responding that day and ways to function around that, that works in practise and not just in theory!
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