Article & Photos By: Deanna Clark, United Counties of Leeds & Grenville Economic Development Office
CAINTOWN – Amanda Riemersma has taken her love of animals and turned it into a thriving business.
She’s the owner of Apple Ridge Farm (ARF) and Dog Boarding along with her husband John and daughters, Lillian and Tessa. The business provides an open-concept style of dog boarding throughout the year, along with horse riding lessons, horse birthday and “paint the pony” parties and kids’ riding camps in the warmer months. Soon they will be adding an indoor riding arena to expand their operation.
“Since we started two years ago, I would say we’ve tripled our business,” says Amanda, adding many of the dogs and horses they board are repeat customers. “We’re basically a resort for dogs. When their owners are on vacation, so are they.”
Below: Lillian plays with Chief, Brittany and Jack
The couple has owned the farm at 34 Caintown Road for six years. Creating a lucrative business on the farm was always a dream but one Amanda had put on hold. However, when they both lost their jobs with the closure of Brockville’s Selkirk Canada, she began working on a business plan.
“That fast forwarded my dream and now my passion is a reality,” says Amanda. She had help, by taking the Second Chances program to learn more and worked with the Thousand Islands Community Futures Development Corporation (TICDC) to build a facility and get her business up and running.
“I designed and built a one-of-a-kind boarding facility and horse barn, an oasis if you will, that would meet all their needs,” says Amanda. Dogs enjoy an indoor and outdoor exercise area, a living room area with sofas and a TV, human interaction, personal climate-controlled suites with dog cots. The large outdoor park area has play structures and premium pet toys.
Their tag lines are: “All Play Time, No Cage Time,” and “No cages, no runs, no guilt = 100% fun.” Apple Ridge has 5-star ratings for its boarding operations and riding stables.
Riding lessons and camps are made accessible for children of all ages. Amanda works with various local funding programs, including Making Play Possible, to ensure all children have an opportunity to ride and participate in camps.
Photo above: Amanda in the paddock
Learn more about Apple Ridge Farm and their services by visiting their website and their Facebook page, email or call them at 613-923-5357. Below photo: The Riemersma family.