The Next Adventure
It’s a bittersweet time at Jenny Jelen Equestrian as we prepare to move to Not Just the Hay Farm, also known as Jeff’s family farm, located north of Shelburne, Ont., on June 1.
There are so many thoughts and emotions during this turning point swirling about. Looking back at my time in Niagara, I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve had; for the incredible horses I’ve ridden and for the ridiculously amazing friends I’ve made. Looking forward, I’m excited to continue developing my own riding, and I am so excited Jeff and I will no longer be a two hour commute away from each other.
When I moved to Niagara five years ago, I knew three people. I was only meant to stay for that winter of 2015, but I fell in love with the early spring and the hot summer that followed. I had met some people, thanks to chance conversations at the gas station and drop in visits to muddy farms, and I realized they could change my equine experience for the better. There was an opportunity to learn about parts of the horse industry I didn’t even know existed. Obviously I couldn’t leave.
I got to work with some of Niagara’s best horse people, and the range of experiences is incredible as I reflect on it. Galloping at Fort Erie fulfilled a lifelong dream. Turning a racehorse fresh off the track into a show horse was so gratifying. Competing at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and winning ribbons on locally owned horses was a thrill, and I’ll always be thankful to their owners for trusting me with them.
We were able to buy and sell some fantastic equine athletes, and learn about the sales industry. I spent a week at the Canadian Warmblood Stallion Performance Test. We learned about organizing and running horse shows. We created programs for the most grassroots level of horse and pony lovers, and I was privileged to be trusted to guide literally hundreds of kids and adults on their own journeys with horses.
One of the most obvious highlights of my life here was the opportunity to take on Effingham Stables in August 2016. It’s been home ever since. I have met some truly incredible people here, and created memories and experiences to last a lifetime. Together we have laughed and cried, and laughed until we cried, with friends better than we could have possibly imagined. It’s hard to think that five and half years ago, I had not even met the people who have so significantly changed my life for the better.
Thanks to the community that exists around the farm, and in the local horse community as a whole, the decision to move was an extremely tough one. It’s so hard to leave some of my favourite people on Earth.
But I am eagerly anticipating what’s to come, both professionally and personally. After dating for nearly four years, I still like Jeff! So the prospect of no longer living two hours apart is rather exciting. And I’m delighted I’ll be a little bit closer to Ontario’s eventing community. The move will make it easier for me to accomplish my personal riding goals, and allow me the physical space to produce and train event horses. It’a a major undertaking, but Not Just the Hay Farm is being transformed from a cow farm to a horse farm as I write this, thanks to Jeff and Brent, and Jeff’s gracious family and hardworking team.
I know this is big news, especially during such an uncertain time in the world but I’m not abandoning you! I want to say “see you soon” to every one of you who have been part of my journey. I’d love to speak with you personally, or meet (at a safe social distance!). I am more than happy to help advise on next steps for your own horsey journey.
Not Just the Hay Farm will always have its doors open (COVID-19 permitting!) to Niagara friends and family, in much the same way Effingham Stables has, and I will continue to offer freelance coaching and training services in Niagara. Please stay in touch!
Due to COVID restrictions, and the fast-approaching move date, the lesson program at Effingham Stables will not feasibly be able to resume for the remainder of May.
We are pleased to welcome Karl Pacey of KJP Equestrian, who will take over operations at Effingham. Any inquiries about future business at Effingham can be directed to Karl at Karlpacey_2012@icloud.com or 905.327.6828.
Thank you times infinity to everyone who has been part of the ride, and thanks to everyone who has made this adventure such an amazing experience!