Best Places in Canada to learn Equestrian Archery
So you've decided that you want to learn Equestrian Archery.
Well, let's assume that you've already learned how to shoot a horsebow - either by being self-taught or by getting archery lessons from a local archery instructor who teaches horsebow style.
Next you should learn how to ride a horse properly. You can't learn how to ride a horse just by buying a book or by subscribing to Canadian Thoroughbred Magazine or any other magazine. It just won't work. You need to learn how to ride in person, on an actual horse. (Those bucking rodeo horses you see in Western-themed pubs don't count.)
Within the city of Toronto there are 2 locations which offer horse riding lessons:
The Horse Palace / Riding Academy located at Old Fort York (horsepalace.ca) - However this location only teaches English style horse riding, so you might be learning the wrong style for Equestrian Archery. Also the adult 8 week introductory course will cost between $616 to $854 to $1,088 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. The riding lessons are 50 minutes long and come with a 30 minute lesson on horsegrooming / maintenance.
Sunnybrook Stables located at Sunnybrook Park (sunnybrookstables.ca) - Conveniently close to the Toronto Archery Range, this location also teaches English style horse riding - which makes you realize there is no ideal location inside the city for learning the style of riding best suited for Equestrian Archery. The adult 8 week introductory course will cost between $799 to $1,128 to $1,356 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. The riding lessons are 50 minutes long and come with a 30 minute lesson on horsegrooming / maintenance.
So if you want to learn Equestrian Archery, and the style of horse riding necessary, you really need to travel further outside of the city and into the GTA and beyond. Thankfully there are also several other locations to choose from:
Claireville Ranch located in Brampton (clairevilleranch.com) - This location teaches Western horse riding lessons, so now we're talking! 8 lessons will cost between $400 to $440 to $520 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. So the price is pretty reasonable too. The riding lessons are 30 minutes long, so they are shorter, and they don't come with horsegrooming lessons. Technically they offer 4 lesson packages, but for comparison purposes we have doubled it to 8.
Note - Claireville Ranch also offers weekday ($35) and weekend ($40) trail rides, and breakfast rides ($85) which are perfectly suitable for people who just want to try riding a horse and are not ready to commit to lessons. After all, you don't want to commit to a lot of lessons if you think there is a chance you might change your mind.
Quarter Valley Riding School located west of Kleinburg (quartervalley.com) - This location teaches both Western and English style riding lessons, which means that you could theoretically learn both if you wanted to. 8 lessons will cost between $400 to $600 to $800 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. The riding lessons are 45 minutes long with a 30 minute lesson on horsegrooming / maintenance. QVRS does NOT offer trail rides.
Pathways on Pleasure Valley located north of Pickering (pleasurevalley.com) - This location teaches Western style riding lessons and the prices are fairly affordable, but not as cheap as Claireville... but you get 10 lesons instead of 8. 10 lessons will cost between $399 to $511 to $611 depending on whether you want group lessons, semi-private lessons or private lessons. Not sure what the length of the lessons are. They also offer trail rides ($64) and a variety of other package rates.
Note - Pathways offers 10 lessons as opposed to 8 lessons like various other locations offer. They also offer 6 lesson packages too.
Okay, so let's assume that you've learned how to shoot a horsebow... You've learned how to ride a horse...
Now it is time to learn how to do both simultaneously.
It is time to check out the following sites:
The Canadian Federation of Mounted Archery
Mount Currie B.C. Horse Archery Club
Horses of the Sun (near Ottawa)
These are the three best locations that we've found so far that teach Equestrian Archery. There are certainly more locations if you want to explore different options. Eg. There is also the Georgian Bay Mounted Archery Club, Saddlewood Equestrian Centre, Seawinds Horse Archers in Nova Scotia, and others. Some of them are more clubs than locations where you can learn, and some locations are more geared towards learning how to ride a horse, but offer archery as an extra thing to do. Note - We haven't actually tried these locations so we don't know the quality of their services, but at least you have a place to start.
Our recommendation is that individuals first learn how to shoot, then learn to ride, then learn Equestrian Archery. Some people might try archery and decide that maybe archery isn't for them. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world to learn how to ride a horse first, but it is generally more expensive and you would need to travel further to do it.
Happy Riding and Shooting!