Meet Our Instructors
Founder & Owner of Meadowlarke Stables
Stacey began her riding career at Meadowlarke Stables when she was 13 years old, and has never looked back. 2020 will mark Stacey’s 30 year anniversary with Meadowlarke Stables. Stacey has competed from the Schooling to ‘A’ Circuit level in the hunters, but now focuses on helping others achieve their competition goals. Stacey’s favourite moments of coaching are watching a riders hard work and determination pay off – the smile that comes after that is worth it’s weight in gold.
Horses are part of Jessica’s DNA, Jessica has been hopping on horses since she was just 4 years old.
Paula’s horse obsession started with her first lessons at the age of 4 in Cheshire, England. As she got older she rode at a multi discipline barn and had lots of lessons and hacking on the field hunters, race horses and jumpers until moving to Canada at age 14. As new Canadians life got in the way for a while but Paula got back in the saddle with the University of Waterloo Equestrian Club for a couple of years.
After graduating and getting her career and family started her next venture began when she put her then 7 year old daughter in camp and lessons at Meadowlarke. Not to be left out Paula started taking lessons again and talked to Anthea about buying a horse and doing “a bit of showing”. Bam, next thing she knew she had bought Calvin (a.k.a. Cavalcade) a beautiful chestnut hunter and leapt into Trillium shows and then the “A” Circuit culminating in competing at the Royal in 2005 finally fulfilling a dream she had since she was 15 years old. Unfortunately Paula lost Calvin during colic surgery in 2009 but would do it all again in a heartbeat.
Paula says “These experiences drive my passion for teaching riders of all ages from 4-74, you’re never too young or too old to start. Riding is a pure sport allowing people and horses to become friends and partners. As an instructor there is nothing more satisfying than helping horse and rider achieve something for the first time or perfect a skill they’ve been struggling with! The best decision I ever made was leaving the frenzy of the boardroom for the peace of the barn.”
Sunday AM Instructor
Stefania (or Stef) has always had a love for animals, but it wasn’t until she was around 9 that she started horseback riding. Stef’s mom rode horses and competed when she was younger so she was very supportive when Stef first mentioned wanting to try riding – they actually started riding at Meadowlarke together! As Stef got older her love for the sport continued to grow, and she began taking every opportunity possible to learn more about horses and riding. Through teaching Stef is able to become a better horse person and apply what she has learned into her own riding. Stef also love being able to pass down her knowledge onto other riders and share their successes. “There is truly nothing more rewarding than being able to witness riders grow and progress!”
Agnes started collecting horse experience at the age of 15 through a co-op at Sunnybrook stables and spending summers riding in Poland. After a year of formal lessons, she began to gather saddle time and experience by riding other peoples horses and eventually training horses for a riding school. Wanting to perfect her equitation and knowledge of the sport, she spent a year as working student at a eventing facility, where she became the well-rounded rider she is today. Agnes started teaching at Meadowlarke in June 2017 and finds herself looking forward to teaching just as much as she does to her own riding.
Gillian started riding at a young age, trail riding, then English Riding lessons. She spent many years as a ‘barn rat’ learning how to work with, look after and ride these wonderful creatures. As a youth Gillian was competitive at local Cadora, Saddle Club Shows and competed in Hunter classes on the A Circuit with her mare “Regal Heir” aka Dulynne.
Later Gillian attended Humber College where she met Pat Carter and developed her skills as a western rider. During the summers, she groomed and exercised Polo Ponies at the Toronto Polo Club. She has had many opportunities over the years such as, grooming for National Show Jumping Team Member Jim Elder, grooming for both Thoroughbred and Standardbred race horses, conditioning and driving Standardbred sulky and driving a two horse carriage team and single horse buggy.
After graduation, Gillian began coaching in a riding school, working as part of a team to develop well rounded rider development programs including all aspects of horse care along with the riding utilizing the National Western and English Rider Level Programs, she was able to help build successful programs for both Western and English riders. Gillian has since, developed an in depth coaching/instructor preparation program, and mentored many candidates successfully through the National Coaching/Instructor Certification process.
Gillian has a strong working knowledge of both the Western and English programs as she was the Coaching Coordinator at the Ontario Equestrian Federation for 3 years during that time she was actively involved in the development of the Competition Specialist Certification program earning her an award in Coaching Program Administration Excellence from Equine Canada in 2012.
Gillian is currently working towards being a Learning Facilitator for the Coaching Association of Canada and Equine Canada as well as an Evaluator for the Western and English Instructor and Coach Certification Program.
Gillan is quoted as saying “The best job ever, I love horses, being around them gives me great joy. What better way to pay the bills than to be able to share what I have learned with others who also love horses and want to be better for their equine friends. Beyond the physical benefits of riding horses, just working around them over the years has done so much for me and so many it has taught many transferable life skills like a strong work ethic, persistence, patience, empathy, integrity and humility among many others. We all are always learning and if we listen carefully the horse will be our best teacher, my ‘job’ is to help translate where needed.”
Saturday Morning Instructor
Marissa Sputore has been riding horses since she was as young as four years old. At the age of nine she was introduced to formal lessons centred around equitation and hunter disciplines. This soon lead her to compete in the hunter ring on many ponies. Marissa is now a graduating student from York University where she competed on the university circuit catch-riding, equitation on the OCEA. She was able to qualify into finals each year and placed reserve champion overall in the 2016/2017 year. During her second year on the circuit, she lead her York University team as captain. She currently is focussing on developing her young thoroughbred to compete with this summer in the jumper ring and is beyond excited to see how far they can go together. Marissa has a passion for the Equestrian sport, and is eager to share her knowledge with new developing riders at Meadowlarke Stables.
Meet Our Barn Workers
Tuesday Evening Barn Worker
Hannah started riding when she was 6 at a summer camp. Hannah immediately fell in love with horses and started riding in a lesson program when she turned 8. Initially taking Western lessons, Hannah soon switched to English and began riding at Meadowlarke in 2017. Hannah hopes to further her abilities as a rider and learn as much as possible about horses. She likes working at the barn because it combines her passion for animals and helping people. Hannah loves being able to share the knowledge that she have about horses with others.
Wednesday Evening Barn Worker & Thursday Evening Volunteer
Ever since Audrey was little she had a love and unique passion for animals! Audrey first started at Meadowlarke as a Co-Op student, she is motivated to learn as much as she can and share her knowledge with other people. Audrey can’t wait to improve her riding abilities and knowledge of all things animal related so she can help as many as possible. Audrey says the following about her future “I don’t know what the future has in store for me, but I know I’ll be following the path with with the most hoof, paw, and other animal prints!”
Friday Evening Barn Worker
Emma has been working at Meadowlarke Stables since the summer of 2018. Emma began riding at age 9, starting with dressage and continuing to hunters/ jumpers! A riding goal she has is to gain and sustain confidence in her riding. A large life goal is to become an animator or concept artist! While working in the barn Emma enjoys helping students with their horses to help grow their knowledge of horsemanship! Emma hopes to see you around the farm, make sure to stop and say HI!
Saturday Morning Barn Worker
Kimmy began riding in 2011, starting at the March Break Camp, and very quickly falling in love with the animals and barn atmosphere. Kimmy then began weekly lessons, and has been doing them ever since! Eventually she started competing off property starting with The Challenge Series and then the Meadowlarke North Series. Kimmy began Barn Working in 2017, and enjoys being around all the animals and spending time at the barn! Kimmy says “Meadowlarke has easily become my second home, and I have formed many great friendships, and created many great memories and hope to have many more!”
Saturday Afternoon Barn Worker
Our Saturday P.M. barn worker, Rachel, has been riding at Meadowlarke Stables for almost five years! She started working at Meadowlarke in the summer of 2018 and absolutely loves it. Her favorite thing about working at the barn, besides the animals, is helping the lesson kids learn about horse and animal care. Rachel hopes her experience at Meadowlarke will aid her in achieving her dream of becoming a veterinarian. As for future riding goals, Rachel would like to qualify for the year end awards in the schooling division!
Sunday Morning Barn Worker & Saturday Afternoon Instructor
Rachel started her riding journey in 2017 at Meadowlarke Stables. Rachel thought she was just taking lessons to ride but soon after becoming more involved with her community Rachel found her second family.
Rachel loves the engery the kids and horses bring to Meadowlarke. Meadowlarke is one of the most important things in her life and she doesn’t know where she would be without it. Future goals for Rachel include competing off property at Meadowlarke North.
Sunday Morning Barn Worker
Olivia has loved horses all her life and have been riding since she was about 7 years old. Olivia has come a long way in riding, but would still like to improve with some habits that she has when she rides. Meadowlarke has helped a lot with her riding and she loves continuing to ride here! Some of Olivia’s personal goals are to build more confidence and go more outside of her comfort zone. Olivia loves working at Meadowlarke for many reasons, a couple being the animals – since she is a huge animal lover, the people who she gets to work with as they have also helped Olivia with some goals she has set for herself.
Bruna started taking riding lessons at Meadowlarke Stables about 2 years ago, she had just moved to Canada and didn’t know a lot of English, but her goal was to get back on the saddle as soon as possible and wouldn’t let anything stop her.
Bruna fell in love with all the rescued animals and knew she was in the right place to do what she loved. Bruna began volunteering at Meadowlarke Stables in an effort to get to know the animals better and learn more about them . When Bruna couldn’t afford to take lessons anymore she panicked and her goal became to find a job and pay for her own lessons. As soon as she started working at Meadowlarke Stables it became a second home. Bruna made some very good friends, she loves to work March Break Camp and Summer Camp with them.
Bruna loves Meadowlarke so much that sometimes she ends up going there everyday just to spend time with friends and horses. Bruna says “Meadowlarke Stables is not just a place, but a family-my second family.”
Saturday Morning Volunteer
Olivia started riding at the age of nine, she had always wanted to ride horses and when coming across Meadowlarke it was like a Dream Come True!! Starting off with the summer camp Olivia just couldn’t get enough and signed up for lessons – there has been no stopping her since then.
One of Olivia’s biggest riding goals is to eventually qualify and compete at The Royal Winter Fair or go to Florida to compete at the Winter Equestrian Festival. Horses ownership is a definite box to check on Oilvia’s list. Olivia loves being a barn worker because she knows it will give her a huge advantage in the future with horses and other farm animals on how to take care of them and their needs. Olivia just loves being around all the animals and helping the students in the barn learn more and more about the animals. It feels good to Olivia knowing that she is helping the students for a better future in riding!