Three-and-a-half years ago, ground was broken on a 55-acre parcel in Halton Hills horse country. Today, the spectacular Sweetgrass Equestrian facility offers premium boarding packages and a welcoming atmosphere, catering to multiple disciplines and offering some exclusive training opportunities.
This longtime dream project of owner Jeff Peller (of the Peller Estates Winery family) saw him strive to create a friendly “country club environment.” He explains he was driven by negative experiences and too many rules at barns he had boarded at in the past. The result is a sumptuous facility where no expense has been spared on luxury and safety features and where the owners Jeff and Tiffany, along with all their staff, strive to truly make you feel welcome.
Jeff Peller’s fiancée Tiffany Nanchin is Jeff’s business partner and COO of the establishment. She has a wealth of experience in the business, a great reputation and a wonderful team of career equine industry professionals she relies on, including Stable Manager/Rider/Assistant Whitney Walsh and Rider/Assistant Geneviève Routhier. The trio make an incredible team to ensure the premium care and training offered at Sweetgrass Equestrian is unrivalled, all supporting each individuals strengths.
Besides tons of hacking on forest trails and a location convenient to the Caledon Equestrian Park and Angelstone showgrounds, Sweetgrass offers:
- Spacious stalls (26) with Stablecomfort mats
- Superior ventilation
- Individualized feeding programs
- Olympic-size indoor arena
- TravelLight fibre/sand mix footing both indoor and outdoor
- Large outdoor jumping ring
- Deluxe hunter and jumper fences by Jumps R Us
- Outdoor dressage ring
- Cross-country course designed by Jay Hambly
- Grooming stalls, wash stalls, heated tackroom, heated floors
- Beautifully crafted wooden lockers
There are several large grass group turnout paddocks and also individual paddocks which, along all the stalls, are equipped with video surveillance and remote access which allows you to check in on your horse any time of the day or night.
“We offer “ ship-in” schooling, available for people who want to come in and use the cross-country course or any of the other arenas,” says Tiffany. “We have a great pond, too, for swimming horses for people who want to work on getting them comfortable in the water.”
But it is the Sweetgrass Equestrian lounge that will be your ‘home away from home.’ With its full viewing room, kitchen, washrooms with showers, outdoor patio terrace area and big screen tv, you may not want to leave!
Says Jeff, “When you’re here, put your feet up, relax and and make yourself at home. One of the perks is that the fridge here is stocked with soft drinks, pop, Peller wine [obviously!], beer, cheese and crackers ‒ and that ‘s part of your board.”
All Disciplines Welcome
Sweetgrass Equestrian is truly a multi-discipline barn, with the focus on horsemanship, whether hunter, jumper, dressage or eventing is your sport.
“There is even an opportunity to join us for foxhunting; a lot of our boarders come out and get to try the sport with us,” notes Tiffany. “It’s truly a very special barn with a very nice blend of all disciplines.”
Both the indoor and and outdoor dressage ring are equipped with Bluetooth speakers so there are no dead zones for coaching.
“It’s rare to have a barn without a lot of drama,” says Tiffany. “But we truly don’t have drama here. Everyone’s very mature, respectful, fun and gets along. It’s a joy to be out in the barn.”
Several board membership package options are available depending on each rider’s needs and can be customized to suit with stand-alone services and add-ons (such as the laundry service and tasty barley grass strip treats!).
Silver, Gold and Platinum packages are available, but Tiffany is most proud of the new developing partnership with Jean Luc Cornille for Sweetgrass Equestrian as his Science of Motion Canadian Headquarters. Titanium SOM level board is now the crème-de-la-crème for board packages offered. This package features frequent personalized instruction by Three-Day Event rider and trainer Jean Luc Cornille (and a man that Peller describes as “a genius”) who has extensively studied equine biomechanics and developed The Science of Motion® (SOM), a new approach to training and therapy which is based on identifying and correcting the specific gait abnormalities inherent in each horse.
Jean Luc’s competitive career is as distinguished as it is diversified. Competing at national and international levels in dressage, steeplechase, stadium jumping and three-day events, he has won extensively in all specialties collecting several gold, silver and bronze medals. Notably, Jean Luc won the individual and team gold medal at the military world championship of Fontainebleau in 1975. In 1971, he won silver at the world championship of Punchestown. The following year, he was member of the winning team at Boekelo. However, Jean Luc feels that his greatest success lies in his ability to intuit the physical and mental condition of each horse the day after their victories.
A 1968 graduate of the Equestrian Military School, Le Cadre Noir de Saumur, Jean Luc received intensive training from Joseph Neckerman, Willy Schulteis and Hans Gunter Winkler. In 1972 and 1976, respectively, he worked closely with Michel Cochenet to prepare two Olympic teams for the national three-day event. Margit Otto Crepin, the French and Olympic Champion, is one of Jean Luc’s most prominent dressage students.
Moving to the U.S. as dressage trainer for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic jumping team gold medal, Melanie Smith at Windrush Farm, Jean Luc subsequently founded E. A. 21 in Orange, Virginia, from which he began an extensive program of clinics and seminars throughout the U.S. and Canada. His work has concentrated on applying the latest biomechanical research to redefine traditional approaches to equine training. It was here that Jean Luc also discovered a strong connection to the rehabilitation of lame horses. He has successfully rehabilitated such severe disabilities as navicular syndrome, contracted tendons, degenerative joint disease, and upward fixation of the patella, as well as cases of obscure and idiopathic lameness.
The Titanium SOM package includes an initial evaluation/video analysis from Jean Luc Cornille and weekly video lessons with him to keep you progressing. Twice-weekly sessions for your horse are available and can be done by staff, or with you, working on what has been set out to practice throughout each stage. Whether your goals are performance-based or for rehabilitation, the Titanium package is the most integrated approach to help you succeed with your horse.
Jean Luc Cornille will also be bringing SOM to Sweetgrass Equestrian in a series of live, in-person clinics designed “to shift the paradigm in equine education.” The First SOM Clinic at Sweetgrass Equestrian is August 13-17, 2021‒ registration for auditor passes can be attained by contacting Tiffany. Email [email protected] for any questions and stay tuned for additional dates.
“Why is the paradigm shift necessary? Because you can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that caused the problem.” – Jean Luc Cornille
With Jean Luc Cornille there is a better way and soundness equals performance.
With this experienced team, your equine family member is in safe and capable hands, which makes peace of mind an added bonus to the unsurpassed riding and training opportunities Sweetgrass Equestrian offers.
(Alison Gittins photos)