After talking to Crystal, Marilyn, and Kim, it is clear the Fillies enjoy their Wednesday trail rides. But the group has found more ways to bond and enjoy one another. Twice a year they go on a retreat, four days of vacation and horses.
The Fillies at Hobby Horse Farm, back left to right; Krista Josey, Heather Laffin, Carla Mullins, Janice Casey, Catherine Manning, Ava Corkum, Kelly Lawrence, Peggy Taylor, Marilyn Cote, Lynda Tabbiner, Donna McCully, Mary Kidston, Liz Johnson and front left to right; Melanie Roy, Rosie McDonald, Wendy Sabean, Crystal Manning, Mother Joyce Cousins, Kim Foote
They convene at rural Hobby Horse Farm, Coldbrook, Nova Scotia (CAN), a pristine wilderness with 700 miles of trails. Meals are catered so no one has to cook. Usually they have a masseuse come in to soothe aching muscles. After a full day of riding, the Fillies’ evenings are all about fun with a craft night or a “moo-moo and mud” facials night. One popular contest is to disassemble tack and see who can put it back together again the fastest.
First timers can expect traditional camp indoctrination. Rookies must pour the wine on the first night. Someone’s bed will be short-sheeted. The classic ‘out of order’ signs on six of the seven bathrooms may be played. They’ve been known to sneak into a rookie’s bedroom and completely re-arrange the furniture.
Halloween in Falmouth N.S., left to right; Peggy Taylor, Mary Kidston on Willie (Doc’s Smokin Breeze), Sue Siscoe, Elaine Mahaney, Debbie Hennigar with Blue on her right, Sheila Brown, Margo Cadegan, Marilyn Cote and Pedro (Livin’ My Dream) Marie Lawrence with Mae, Karen Jenner with Bailey, Nancy Cameron with DD (DD Bunny Bear) Crystal Manning, Doreen Cooke and Marilyn Pellerine
The Fillies are a guild of like-minded women who enjoy good company, fun, and horses. Crystal is the force. She provides the Fillies with quiet guidance–a gentle push that builds confidence. She does not exert pressure but encourages a love of the outdoors, nature, laughing with friends, and a shot of Fireball every now and then.
Crystal says her Fillies got her through a lot. “My life is wrapped around my Fillies. I know everyone’s partners, their kids, grandparents and pets. We are so strong together. If someone is down, we can count on one another. If you’re in the hospital, we’ll bring your family casseroles. When someone’s kids get married 300 people show up. I introduced my now second husband, Ron, to the Fillies at one of our Christmas parties. I was scared to death. Little did I know that every one of them took Ron aside and said ‘we stand behind Crystal. You’re not only getting her, we all come with her’.”
Snow does not deter the Fillies from their regular Wednesday ride, left to right; Wendy Sabean on KAS Double on Rocks, Nancy Cameron on Our Evangelines Amazed Me on Luna, Janice Casey on Souix, Melanie Roy on Plane Jane Jet Set, Marilyn Cote on Pedro and Ava Corkum on Simply Bar
The Fillies mark time as BC (before Crystal). The designation marks how the group has changed their lives and a reminder of the life long friendships formed. We should all be so lucky to find a group of horse loving friends for a weekly ride and “Circle Up”.
If you find yourself in Nova Scotia on a Wednesday, Crystal said to be sure to call her up and come ride out with the Fillies. Everyone is welcome.
Photography Courtesy: Kim Foote and Crystal Manning
Special thank you, Marilyn Cote for introducing “The Fillies” to #WARHorses