Forward Riding School is located 35 minutes north of Toronto at the Pause Awhile Equestrian Centre in Stouffville. We specialize in beginner and “rusty stirrup” riders of all ages, with an age minimum of 7. We offer a well-rounded curriculum in riding (walk, trot, canter, jump), horse care, and horse health. 

The safety of our riders is paramount at FRS. All riders under the age of 16 wear a protective safety vest provided by Tipperary Equestrian! Tipperary Equestrian also provides helmets and a purchase program to help riders needing safety gear.

All our instructors and coaches are certified by Equestrian Canada and the Ontario Equestrian and bring a wealth of experience and knowledge of horse care and riding.

We are also proud to offer P’tit Trot and Equestrian Canada’s Rider Level programs for those who choose to participate. 
Additionally, we offer in-house schooling shows both on the flat and over fences and PA Day camps.

Maxine Lewis - Owner, Head Instructor

Maxine is the owner and head coach at Forward Riding School. She is  an Instructor who is licensed and certified by NCCP, Equestrian Canada, and Ontario Equestrian. Maxine is  also a Equestrian Canada R2 Steward and an evaluator for Equestrian Canada’s “Learn to Ride” Rider Level Program.

Maxine first fell in love with horses as a child, and showed her pony, Pampoody, all over her home state of Vermont. After an illustrious 25-year career as a print and publishing executive, Maxine decided to return to horses and opened Forward Riding School (FRS) in 2015.

Maxine trains with Canadian Olympic gold-medalist, Tom Gayford and Sarah Long.
She owns and shows her own horse, Red Badge (Badger), at gold shows across southern Ontario.

Erin McConnell Instructor

Megan Mackinging Instructor

Juliya Zhurba Instructor

Kristen Muir

Erin has been riding for over 20 years and is excited to start teaching new riders! Over the years she has mainly ridden hunter and dressage and loves working with green horses to bring out their potential. Erin is also a vet technician and is always happy to try and answer any of your animal related questions!

Kristen is an equine enthusiast with over 20 years experience. Through patients and understanding she is able to bring out the best in her students. Kristen is well on her way to achieving her Equestrian Canada Instructor’s certification and coaching license. She is always willing and available to answer any equine related questions. She looks forward to seeing you in the arena.

After riding her first green 4 year old, Megan found her groove working with and developing young horses, specializing in  Off the Track Thoroughbreds (OTTB). 

Megan has a passion to share equestrian sport with new riders and her positive and confidence boosting approach welcomes riders to learn to ride, become knowledgeable horse people, and help students to reach their personal riding goals.
When not teaching Megan has been working towards First Level in Dressage, and bringing up her 3 year old colt.

Juliya has been riding with FRS for over 6 years. Riding once a week wasn’t enough so she started working in the barn on Sundays. In 2023 Juliya started as an instructor and is excited to continue introducing riders to the equestrian sport! Her passion and commitment to the sport drives her to create a fun and rewarding experience for riders when they enter the arena. With patience and diligence, she helps set her students up for success to reach their individual riding goals. Juliya is currently working towards obtaining her Equestrian Canada Instructor’s certification!

Barn & Lesson Staff


Caity joined FRS as a rider over six years ago.
Caity specializes in mounted games and competes on her  pony


Jessie has been riding with FRS for over a years. She was such a superb volunteer, we had to hire her! Jessie loves grooming and keeping the barn tidy. As an educator, don’t be surprised if Jessie teaches you a thing or two as your ready your horse for your lesson.

Thank you to our Volunteers

Elizabeth Beri

Elizabeth volunteers on Mondays. She makes sure new riders learn how to groom and tack up their horses. 

Evelyn Ah Ling

Evelyn rides and weekends and comes early to volunteer. She has completed her Equestrian Canada Rider Level 3.  Evelyn has ridden almost every school horse in the barn and is always happy to help new riders learn to groom and tack up.

Evelyn Li

Every Friday after her lesson, Evelyn sweeps the barn, cleans tack and grooms the school horses. 

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