Who Am I?
I was born and raised in Toronto but somehow agriculture and horses got into my brain. My curiosity about all things agricultural took me to the University of Guelph to earn an Honours B.Sc. in Agriculture (OAC '85), graduating with an Animal Science major sprinkled with literature electives.
The horse racing industry snatched me up after graduation. I worked as an equine midwife at Armstrong Bros. Farm in Inglewood, Ontario, known to most as Armbro, for five years. I delivered over 300 foals during my time in the Standardbred horse industry at five of the leading farms in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, managed mare and foal health, trained foals and weanlings and worked more than a dozen yearling sales in Ontario, Kentucky and Auckland, NZ. I spent another few years as Assistant Farm Manager at Windswept Farm in Ballinafad, ON raising and training their magnificent Hannoverians while continually working with horse training projects.
As a break from the horse industry I spent several years at Roof Trusses & Components Ltd, a manufacturing business in Rockwood, Ontario, rounding out my skills in administration and customer service. Once I figured out how to turn on the computer they couldn’t stop me: I looked after everything from balancing the books to designing roof truss systems. I wrote and delivered training sessions to customers, scheduled orders and deliveries, built trusses, motivated the troops, and became involved in just about every other aspect of the business that is so important to the bottom line, all while helping the company itself to grow five-fold in seven years.
My enthusiasm for working with horses continues to grow and my skills continually develop, deeply influenced by incredible people like Temple Grandin, Pat Carter and Ray Hunt. Over the years I have worked with a large cross-section of breeds and disciplines and enjoy working with young stock, with an addiction to foals and foaling. For over ten years I have worked regularly with a Standardbred breeder, giving his foals their early education. In the past year or two I have ridden in clinics and lessons under Peter Fraser, Jason Irwin, David Cowley, Jim & Andrea Anderson, Johnie Clemm, Sue Caldwell, Lindsay Partridge, Sheila Rondeau, Lantz McLaren, Joanne Milton, Karen Rohlf and Kris Simpson.
I have also trained, bred and shown our own Sweet Grass Farm herd of Paints and Welsh ponies, with our homebred Scotch Bay Time colt Sweet Scotch Man winning his division at the Ontario Paint Horse Club Futurity in 2012 and as a yearling, High Point Pinto Stallions and Geldings all ages and Reserve Overall High Point Pinto Halter horse in 2013, conceding the High Point Champion honour to his dam, SR Hot Lady of D Nite, herself holder of an ROE in Pinto halter, among other honours. Spike, now 6, earned his ROE in Pinto Halter in 2016. Our 7-year-old homebred gelding, Sweet Grass Jake, is just starting his show career with a bright future in Extreme Cowboy racing, taking 2017 OXC Green Horse Champion. We also have a three-year-old gelding named Sweet Scotch Nemo by Scotch Bay Time that looks like a keeper.
Along the way, I started submitting articles to local newspapers and in October 2002, Words For Hire was officially launched. In 2014 I merged the business names, Words for Hire and Horse Basics, to become known as what I have been all along, a Horseback Writer. My curiosity, my urban roots, my education, experience, writing and photography skills and my passion for everything I do has been able to come together in a successful business. My writing appeared once a month in the Horse Tales column in our local paper, Country Routes, for ten years, and you can find my stories in the Ontario Farmer, as well as Canadian Poultry Magazine and various agricultural specialty publications and newsletters.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, call 519-855-1127 or find me on Facebook or Twitter @HorsebackWriter.