The meeting story of Linda and George starts with a loose rat, a lost dog, an ad in the personals, and the name Duncan; it’s a beginning that more than 30 years ago no one could have known would evolve into something so great.

September 25th 2017 marked 30 years of the existence of Old Orchard Farm. Then it was little more than a bank barn and a house, far from being the equestrian heaven that unfurls as you drive down what must be considered one of the most picturesque (or at least most photographed) driveways in Ontario. The barn once housed cattle and pigs, there was a coop and no tack room, and riding rings? Forget it. Yet little by little, with much labour, sandblasting, cement breaking, and land clearing, the place we all know and love came to be and continues to evolve and improve.

From left to right: 1. Where is the parking? 2. Where is the arena? 3. Where are the stalls? 4. Outside the barn. 5. Pony rides! All photos from the Linda & George archives

Sweat and hard work have been central to the more corporeal parts of what OOF is ­ rings a plenty, grooming stalls, fields, and jumps ­ but what really makes OOF stand apart from everywhere else is the heart and soul. It’s the community of riders fostered by Linda and George that makes it truly special ­ the place where you can spend your own weekends expending your own sweat helping clean up, the place you can spend 5 hours chatting before you’ve realized it, the place where you’re willing to spend your holiday Mondays helping out at horseshows, the place where young girls started their riding careers 20 years ago and now can’t wait to share with their own kids. It’s that same heart and soul that sparked when Linda read that personal ad and George Duncan Daunt showed up at her door and they began their life together; we are one lucky group of riders, spectators, parents, and hangers on to share in that heart and soul. Cheers to 30 wonderful years and here’s to many more!

Contributed by Brianne Service