Chatham girl finally gets chance to display horse riding skills in Toronto


After two years of waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic, a Chatham girl is looking forward to displaying her horse riding skills for the next three weeks in Toronto.

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After two years of waiting out the COVID-19 pandemic, a Chatham girl is looking forward to displaying her horse riding skills for the next three weeks in Toronto.

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Pippa James, 10, leaves Friday to join her teammates with Tilbury-based Off Kilter Equine Entertainment as part of their HorsePower Live show called Horsecapades, being held at the Exhibition Centre.

She is the youngest member of the team, playing the role of Pixie, who has a lot of interaction with the narrator of the show. She will be dressed as a fairy with wings for the show and the two horses she will be riding – Zephyr and Chinook – will be dressed as a unicorn.

Pippa said it is a five-week run for the show, but it was decided “for the first time I should do three (weeks) and then next year, I’ll probably do five weeks.”

Pippa James, age 10, warms up Zypher with the Off Kilter team for a performance at the Woodslee 2022 Canada Day festival.
Pippa James, age 10, warms up Zypher with the Off Kilter team for a performance at the Woodslee 2022 Canada Day festival. jpg, CD

She was supposed to have her debut at the HorsePower Live show in 2020, but the pandemic halted those plans.

When asked how excited she is now the show is a go, Pippa said, “From one to 10, I’m probably a 10, but sometimes I’m kind of like an eight, because I get nervous.”

Pippa’s mom Emily James said her daughter would always get excited beginning at age two when seeing horses as they drove by in their vehicle.

The following winter, when Pippa was three-years-old, James said she saw a social media post that Megan Rayment was offering horse lessons at her family farm in Kent Bridge.

“We went from giving it a try to this is Pip’s eighth year with Megan,” James said.

“There’s like a magnetic force between her and a horse,” James added.

“I couldn’t love something more than horses,” Pippa said.

There’s a lot of work required to be part of the Off Kilter team when it is on the road. Pippa will be getting up at 6 a.m. daily to shovel the stalls and other “horse chores.”

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Pippa has “grown into quite a horse girl,” according her biography on the Off Kilter website. “She loves speed and has dabbled with a few tricks on her favourite trick riding horse Aramis.”

The free show, which runs daily until Aug. 18, leading up to the Canadian National Exhibition, includes drill riding, trick riding and trick roping and whips.

Off Kilter will be doing two performances daily at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Pippa loves to ride in shows.

“What I like about being in a show is the crowd is like just cheering for you and giving you the love that you enjoy,” she said. “It says to me that I’m doing a good job.”



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