For the second consecutive year, the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association and Standardbred Canada’s ‘I Love Canadian Harness Racing’ Fan Club partnered to coordinate the Mother’s Day Open House.
Two Ontario breeding farms, High Stakes Farm in Moffat and Oak Knoll Stables in Campbellcroft, opened their farms to the general public from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 12).
Despite inclement weather that included everything from snow, hail and sleet, over 300 people ventured out to the two farms.
The horses were the stars of the event, but in addition to meeting the resident mares, foals, yearlings and stallions at the farms, the guests were able to interact with the breeders, their families and staff to learn about the province’s standardbred breeding and racing industry and a typical day in their lives.
“This is an excellent event that should be done each year,” said Joanne Colville of High Stakes. “From my personal experience yesterday, the event was a stepping stone for me to now take several interested parties to Mohawk to see live racing.”
Caroline Thornton of Oak Knoll stated that the tours were very well received. “Most of the people who came had never seen a breeding environment and were quite fascinated by the facility and the information,” she said. “We had detailed posters up at every paddock describing the mares and foals and yearlings, people seemed to like the fact they knew which horse was which and also had a volunteer there to answer any questions.”
“The SBOA is extremely pleased with the response received at the Mother’s Day Open House promotion,” said Walter Parkinson, president of the SBOA. “From talking to our hosts at the farms, the people who made the trek in less than ideal weather conditions were sincerely interested in learning more about the breeding industry. For many, it was an opportunity to see a mare and foal close up for the first time. We feel that this type of educational opportunity is important as it exposes people to the sport and helps them understand the importance of the breeding industry to the rural economy. Many of the guests said they would be making a trip to the racetrack for the first time in the next few weeks as a follow up.
“A very special thanks goes out to Joanne Colville and her staff and family at High Stakes Farm, and Caroline Thornton, Ken Morden and their staff and volunteers at Oak Knoll Stables for all of their hard work and effort in ensuring the continuance of this successful promotion.”
Colville is actively involved with the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society. Anyone interested in owning a horse of their own can contact Colville through the OSAS website.