October 7th 2019
We are just two weeks away from sending the last three yearlings to the Yearling Sale in London, Ontario. Now that t hey know how to have a bath, how to lead successfully, how to be groomed and how to walk quietly to and from the paddocks comes the final challenge. Blankets! Since the weather has turned colder we need to keep them warm so that their coats to not get "furry." They have to be slick and shiny for the Sale. Putting a blanket on for the first time is always a challenge and sometimes complete chaos. This year they were not too bad except for Sir A who trembled and shook and tried to dart away from this dangerous covering. Once they arrive at a training Centre they will wear blankets every day so they must get used to this now.
October 1st 2019
Many of our readers will know that all the foals born for us have been named with the prefix OK. Today the last foal we have raised here for OKS - OK Moxie, the daughter of OK Godiva - left the farm to go to the Training Centre under the guidance of the Steacy family. It is in truth a bittersweet moment. We have raised more than 100 foals since we started in 2005 (from 2015 they were primarily the foals belonging to our business partners Tony and Betty Infilise.) Today is really the end of an era.
September 23rd 2019
Today was a big deal for the three colts going to the Sale in October. They had to get their first set of horseshoes put on their feet. The sensation of the metal against their hooves along with the sound and the pressure of the nails being hammered in can be very frightening. So....we tranquilize them! They are sleepy and relaxed so both humans and horses are safe. Our regular blacksmith broke his foot this week ( a horse jumped onto the top of his foot) but fortunately our backup person ( (Jake Muir) was available to come this afternoon.
September 22, 2019
Amelia and Caroline going for a ride on a fabulous sunny day.
September 16 th 2019
Yet another hectic day here! Our blacksmith came at 8.30 this morning and we had all eight weanlings in a small pen. Murray had to catch each one and then we held them while Tim trimmed 32 feet. It took an hour and a half. Then we had to fetch ten of the broodmares in from the paddocks to get their feet trimmed too. I brushed out all their manes and tails and then we took them back outside. Another hour and a half! In the afternoon our vet came and vaccinated the weanlings. Another rodeo as we caught them for a second time and they got their shots. So much for “retirement “ this is proving to be hard work.
September 9th 2019
The moving dates for the horses have been adjusted. Four yearlings left on Friday to go to the Training Centre where they will learn how to be racehorses. The next two to leave will travel to PEI at the end of this week to be part of the breeding program for a farm there (Hazel and Fanciful.) The three yearlings going to the London sale will leave here on October 17th (Sauvayed, Sir A and Premier Kane.) The majority of the horses will leave here on October 21st or 22nd. (Ten broodmares and the eight foals we weaned last Friday.) so, by the end of October the only horse still here will be Akeera, my Arabian riding horse.
September 3, 2019
NEW BUSINESS MODEL
Effective November 1, 2019 Oak Knoll Stables will operate as a Horse Boarding and Riding Stable. The present breeding facility will be modified to accommodate up to 18 horses.
Boarders and their riders will enjoy first class boarding facilities with close access to the 11,000 acre Ganaraska Forest and its extensive network of groomed trails.
We are accepting applications for stall rental now - please contact Caroline at 905-797-3025 for more details and to obtain an application form.
August 26th 2019
The transfer of our horses is soon to begin. The first group to leave will be the four yearlings going to the training facility at Lansdowne. They leave after Labour Day (next Monday) Later that week we plan to wean the eight foals. We will give the mares and foals two weeks to recover and get over the stress of weaning and then ten of the mares will go to the new farm near Rockwood, Ontario. On another truck the eight foals will travel - we plan to put them in pairs to travel so they have a friend on the journey! Finally, two of the mares (Hazel and Fanciful) are moving to PEI and they will travel together to their new home.
August 19th 2019
OK Kudo raced well on Saturday night, he finished fourth and will race again this coming Saturday. I went riding today with our former vet, Leah Knox. She lived in our flat over the barn for several months and had a yearling Sporthorse of hers at the farm. His name was Jude and he was a lovely young stallion. Forward six years and Leah leads off her trailer a HUGE riding horse - Jude all grown up! His is 17 hands which is much bigger than any other horse here. We rode in the forest together and had a wonderful ride.
August 12 th 2019
It seems life here is far from quiet! Today four of the yearlings who are moving to a Training Centre in September came in from outside and will now begin the transition from “horses at play” to “ horses at work.” They have to learn manners and how to behave like a racehorse! This week we also have a Weigh Day, the blacksmith is here, the vet is here to vaccinate the foals and the vet who works for the Training Centre is coming to X-ray the yearlings. Each one has 50 images taken of their legs to ensure there are no chips or bone damage in any limb. It is a very time consuming job and by the time he is finished both horses and humans are exhausted!
August 6th 2019
Yesterday, our three year old colt OK Kudo raced in one of the OSS races. This series of 5 races over the summer awards points to the top four finishers in each race and at the end of the series the top 20 colts race in the semi-finals and the top four in the two semi-finals reach the Finals in October. More than 100 horses are entered in the series and OK Kudo won an impressive race to put him at #2 in the rankings - only one other colt has out performed him so far. Pretty impressive!
July 25 th 2019
This week has been much busier than usual. Our Yearling filly, OK Moxie had X-rays done which showed bone chips in her joints ( think knees, wrists, ankles and elbows in humans.) She had to undergo arthroscopic surgery on both back legs yesterday. She is home now but has to remain restricted in her stable for two weeks, followed by very limited daily walking and eventually she can be outside in a small paddock by herself. This whole process takes 8-10 weeks and includes medications, bandages and special leg wraps. Just to add to that workload this week is power wash the barn week - every surface - walls, floor, ceiling and stall dividers has to be cleaned. Literally every inch of the barn is scrubbed until it is spotless and the following day a huge water vacuum is used to collect all the puddles and water collected on the ground. Now the barn looks as if it had been built yesterday! Murray did the power washing and Amelia did the vacuuming. A great team.
July 15th 2019
Today was a busy day! Every horse had to come inside to be weighed. So 12 mares, 8 yearlings and 8 foals plus Akeera all needed to be caught in their paddocks, led to the barn and then returned to the paddock. In addition our blacksmith was here and he trimmed the mares’ hooves ( 48 feet to lift and reshape.) Finally all the foals need to be checked for worms - this means collecting manure from each one and putting a section under the microscope for analysis.
July 8th 2019
Judith (my riding partner of 20 years!) and I had an interesting experience this weekend. She rides her horse from a barn across the road from us. On the way back from the Ganaraska Forest we rode across trails and fields that are owned by neighbours and friends. About a km from her farm we heard the sound of kittens calling and hiding in the bushes we discovered three very small kittens that belonged at the farm we were riding to. These kittens were a LONG way from home and had been outside all night. We gathered them up and rode back to the barn carrying the trio - not easy when you need to keep one hand on the reins to guide your horse. We returned them to their home but are mystified as to how and why they travelled so far over difficult terrain.
July 1st 2019
HAPPY CANADA DAY TO ALL OUR FOLLOWERS.
This has been a great week! On Thursday we took one of our staff -Amelia Nixon and her friend Neleah to see their first ever Standardbred race. Our three year old colt, OK Kudo was racing and we were there to cheer him on. He won! He raced beautifully and it was a thrill for us and the two girls to be in the win picture with him. Yesterday we held a “Transition Party” announcing our plans to to sell the farm. 50 friends and neighbours came in perfect weather and it was a lovely celebration.
June 24th 2019
Well this weekend went a lot better than last weekend! On Saturday I rode with my riding partner - Judith. We have been riding together for 20 years and she has recently acquired an Arabian gelding named Seried. He and Akeera are great friends and ride really well together. We were joined by Amelia Nixon on Fiona and all three of us had a great ride in the forest. This Thursday (27th) OK Kudo, our three year old racehorse is racing at Woodbine/Mohawk Park near Milton. He is set to race at 8.30 pm and we are planning to go and see him in action. Any readers who are interested in seeing him race please do join us.
June 17 th 2019
Today happens to be my birthday which seems somewhat ironic because on Saturday I was knocked over by one of the yearlings and I went to the hospital with a concussion! Not ideal at this stage of life. I am fine but very grateful to our friend, Richard who drove us to the hospital and brought us home several hours later. Also to our two weekend staff members - Amelia and Neleah - who took over all the chores and all the responsibilities and also got up at 4.30am on Sunday to do the chores ar another barn before coming here at 7.30 to help me feed our 30 horses. Amazing dedication, these two are my Guardian Angels!
June 11th 2019
The news is one day late this week because our final vet visit today was to check the heartbeats of the embryos for the last three mares bred (Dancer, Day Dream and Icey Breeze.) All three foals are alive and well and growing according to expectations. Murray has taken some time off and has travelled to Mexico for a break from the farm. The property is now listed for sale so we are waiting to see what happens next!
June 3 rd 2019
Very exciting news this week, we have bred 11 mares this year and everyone of them is pregnant! It is quite exceptional to have 100% success. Most of the credit goes to our vet - Dr. Rachel Busato. She has been monitoring and managing the mares since early February. This week the final preg check was completed so now we turn our attention to care of the pregnant mares. The first foal of 2020 is due in February and the final foal is due April 19 th.
May 27th 2019
Momentous news! After 15 years in operation we are selling the farm. The workload and demands of caring for 30 horses is just more than we can keep up with. If the buyers want Murray to stay on as Farm Manager and keep Oak Knoll Stables going we will be available to advise and help him but the new owners may have another plan. We hope to stay in the area and move to a smaller location with just one (Akeera!) or two horses. We will keep up this blog until the deal closes so stay in touch and see what happens!
May 20th 2019
The dreadful wet, cold, miserable weather has delayed the move from inside horses ( living in the barn every night) to outside horses ( mares and foals turned out 24 hours a day) which means no more mucking out! Special thanks to Johanne St. Amour who has been our helper every morning from Monday to Friday to clean out the stables and sweep the barn. Now she can have a well deserved rest.
OK Kudo has a big race on Sunday, he was the favourite but after leading for most of the race he tired in the stretch and finished seventh - a very disappointing finish.
May 13th 2019
Sadly the surgery for Tammy was not possible. The surgeon completed the tracheostomy and created a hole in Tammy’s neck so that she could breathe through an insert. However the tumour was very large, very invasive and had impacted the bone structure in Tammy’s face and head. It proved to be an insurmountable problem and yesterday we euthanized her to end her pain and suffering. The surgeon we worked with, Dr. Cleary and our own vet Dr. Busato were both wonderful - compassionate, attentive and gentle with Tammy. This is a horrible loss but the only possible outcome in this case.
May 6 th 2019
now that Solo has recovered and all the foals are her we had hoped for a little respite, however a new challenge has arisen. Tammy, one of our broodmares has had a lifelong breathing problem which has suddenly become much more severe. We tried to scope her respiratory system but her nasal passages are blocked. An X-ray showed a tumour in her sinus cavity, a large mass that is seriously impeding her breathing. Today she is going to an Equine hospital for surgery. This is a risky procedure and we hope she will do well.
April 30th 2019
FINAL BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT! Our last foal has arrived, Day Dream foaled at 5.30am and delivered a filly foal we have named Mojo. She is a full sister to Royale Elite who is three this year and showing great potential. She is the smallest foal of the year and needs some time to get herself balanced. Every year for the 14 years we have run the farm we have had a big majority of colts. Not this year. We have five fillies and three colts but the three mares who left here (one moved to the States, two sold in foal) all delivered fillies! Had they stayed we would have had eight fillies and three colts. Bizarre!
April 29th 2019
One of the best things at this time of year is seeing the foals playing in the paddocks. On Saturday we had a big breeding update. Two mares had preg checks - Hazel (in foal) and Speed (also in foal but with twins.) Rachel, our vet, removed the smaller twin so now we have a single, viable pregnancy. In addition, three of the pregnant mares had a heartbeat check when we can actually see the embryo's heart beating. This confirms the foal is growing well and the pregnancy is safe. All three (Missy, Tammy and Lindy) had strong heartbeats visible so the breeding program is well underway. One foal is due on Saturday and then foaling is over for this year.
April 22 nd 2019
Our internet provider is a disaster ( our connection was dropped 72 times yesterday) so getting our news posted is a real challenge. Tony Infilise, the owner of 26 of the 30 horses here came to visit us last Thursday. He saw all his yearlings born here last spring and met six of the seven foals for this year. Day Dream is the only mare still pregnant, she is due May 4 th. Tony was de
Ighted with his new crop, two of the foals (Macho and Rambo) are by the same sire ( Shanghai Phil) and they look like twins. The mares are very different in colour and size so the two colts are replicas of their sire.
April 19th 2019
The files are ahead! Icey Breeze delivered a big filly at 1.25am today. Unlike the other foals, this one has significant markings - a big white star on her head, a small white sock on one front foot and a long white sock on one back leg. She will be easy to see out in the paddock. We have named her Echo as her barn name but her owner will choose her racing name. She took a little while to figure out the nursing process so Murray and I got to bed at 3.30am. One more foal to come.......Today we are breeding Betzy, she is the ninth of the 12 mares to be bred this year.
April 13 th 2019
Dancer delivered her second colt at 12.30am. Like his mother, he is very dark and has no white markings. She had been active and restless for about eight hours so it was a relief to see this foal on the ground. His name is Amigo. Now we are even, three fillies followed by three colts with two more yet to come. He will be weighed later today and Photos will follow.
April 8 th 2019
Solo continues to improve but still needs to be medicated every three hours from 6.00am till 10.00pm. It seems a lot like having a newborn baby in the house. When we asked our vet when this process will end her response was “Eventually!” Meanwhile the breeding work is hectic, we have bred 5 so far ( of 12) and Liza is confirmed to be in foal. Dancer is due on April 15th but is showing signs of being ready - we are watching her carefully. The snow and ice are receding - to be replaced by mud filled paddocks!
April 1st 2019
This is NOT an April fool's joke! On the weekend our vet checked one of the mares we had just bred. Tammy had ovulated (which indicates she should be pregnant) but she had succeeded with three follicles - she is carrying triplets! I have never heard of such a thing but it is known to occur in rare cases. In two weeks time she will be checked again and if there are three viable embryos, two of them will have to be removed. The mare would not survive such a pregnancy and neither would all three of the foals. Meanwhile, Solo - the filly with the eye injury - tore her catheter out overnight on Saturday which necessitated a trip to Guelph (two and a half hours one way!) to the Equine Hospital to have the whole system surgically reinstalled. She now has a cleverly crafted hood over the line and the insert to try and hold it all in place. She still needs to be medicated with three different meds six times a day - she has been really good but is now bored and restless because she is inside 24 hours a day.
March 25th 2019
Good news and bad news! Solo is back at the farm but requires treatments every four hours around the clock. She has three different types of meds for her eye and also an oral antibiotic twice a day. Murray has been fabulous with her and today he rebuilt the tube system which she had broken for the second time in two days. The first time our vet came, tranquilized Solo and reinserted the catheter that runs from the base of her neck, between her ears, across her forehead and under her eyelid. When we pump the meds into the port they literally wash over her eye so the treatment is very successful. This process will continue probably for two weeks. Fortunately the next foal is not due until April 15th - it would be nice to have Solo off all treatments before we welcome the next addition to the herd!
March 18 th 2019
This has been a tough day. Our first foal of the year (Solo) hurt her eye this week. We think she may have run into a fence and banged it. At first we thought it was a minor injury but our vet checked it yesterday and she has an abscess on the surface of her eye. She and her mother (Dreamer) left for Guelph this morning so she can be treated at the Vetinary College. They will insert a tiny tube below the eyelid and then her meds can be delivered directly into the eye. She is not a fan of us putting cream in her eye four times a day. We hope she will be back here in a couple of days. Meanwhile Cleo, Lego, Macho and Rambo are all doing well. Incidentally, Rambo weighed 146 lbs - the largest foal born on this farm!
March 14 th 2019
Just as we planned to serve dinner, Hazel went into labour and quickly delivered a big, strong colt. He is eight days late but we are so glad he is here now. he will be a good playmate for Macho. The next foal is not due for a month so the prospect of sleeping through the night is very welcome!
Presenting our latest foal:
March 10, 2019
Here are the 3 foals born to date:
March 9 th 2019
Finally we have a colt! After three fillies we welcome Macho. He was born st 11.43pm. Last year his mother Fanciful and another mare, Hazel delivered their foals on the same day. They were bred on the same day so this year they are due on the same day. Fanciful was three days late with Macho and Hazel is still in foal.
March 4 th 2019
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT Another filly! We have always had a surfeit of colts and suddenly three fillies in a row. We have never had more than three in a year so we are done - only colts from now on! Betzy delivered her large, long legged foal at 7.22 last night much to the delight of visitors who were at the farm and watched the delivery as it happened. We named the filly Gigantico because she is so tall, her barn name is Tico. She has a pretty white star and one small white sock. Hazel and Fanciful are due any minute so it could be busy here.
February 25th 2019
The news is late today because yet again our Internet provider is down. Apparently "winter weather" is to blame! We have been out for more than 12 hours and this could go on for several days (or weeks.) The two fillies are doing well, Solo and Cleo will be paddock mates very soon and will remain as paddock companions until they leave the farm in the Fall of 2020. Our weekend staff crew has generated a long list of foal names that end in O - it seems every foal this year will have that distinction. Betzy is due today but just like the other two, she intends to be late.
February 23rd 2019
Our second foal has arrived, another filly whom we have named Cleo. Now Solo has a playmate. The new filly is very strong and rugged, we thought she was a colt! She weighs 114 lbs and is a sister to Chatter who is racing as a two year old named ( for racing) as Resounding.
Our lottery to guess whether the foals will be early or late and to predict the gender of each foal is interesting. For Dreamer 9 of th the 14 participants guessed correctly on date and gender. For this foal ( the mare is Racey Miss ) only 2 people were correct on both questions. Johanne is leading so far with two perfect scores!
February 18 th 2019
Our first foal - Solo - is proving to be delightful. She is quick to learn and already has a rug on to go outside. Her mother, Dreamer, is wonderful with the foal. Despite the fact that this is her first foal she acts as if she has been a broodmare all her life! We have had a yearling visitor here for five weeks. Abby is a Warmblood/Thoughbred cross. She needed some help with manners and obedience so Murray agreed to work with her and get her settled. Her owner is thrilled with her new standards so she has now gone home.
February 11 th 2019
A great start to the day, Solo is up on her feet, full of energy and guzzling milk!
She only weighs 100 lbs so she is small but spunky. Her mother has taken to parenting brilliantly, she is very loving with the new filly. The next foal is due on Feb 20 th and another one on Feb 25 th.
There is a major snowstorm coming our way with up to 30 cms of snow expected tomorrow. The whole farm is a sheet of ice so everything we do is dangerous!
February 10 th 2019
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT Exciting news, our first foal has arrived! Dreamer ( a maiden mare) surprised us by delivering her first foal quickly and easily. Friends had just arrived for dinner when we realized that the foal was on the way. "Solo" is a very attractive filly sired by Muscle Mass. Dreamer took to her new role very well, she is attentive and very settled with her new offspring. We will weigh the filly tomorrow and update the news.
February 4th 2019
The peculiar weather continues - a low this week of minus 35C and today it is raining and six degrees above zero! Our first foal is due on Saturday but the ground is so icy and treacherous that the mare and foal will not be able to go outside in these conditions. Our Grooming team is here and the mares are shedding their winter coats because of this sudden thaw. Little do they know that more Arctic weather is on the way. We have a lottery in which participants guess whether each foal will be born early or late according to the due date and whether the foal will be a colt or a filly. Pure guesswork because each mare foals on her own private schedule!
January 28th 2019
The brutal cold, constant snow and icy conditions have continued. We are still having problems with the automated water systems that freeze overnight. Just walking from the house to the barn and back is a real challenge. Murray lives in the flat above the barn so he has a thirty second commute to work! He estimates he is spending three and a half hours very day clearing the snow and keeping the driveways, the access to the paddocks and the tractor routes open. The yearlings seem to enjoy the winter and they run and play all day. The mares hunch close to the hay feeders and can hardly wait to get inside at the end of the day.
January 21st 2019
This has not been a great week! First Ken and I both came down with the flu and spent four days in bed. We have not had a meal since last Wednesday, just fluids because of sore throats, unending coughing and now bronchitis. Murray took over the farm ( including the weekend which is his time off) and faced a serious challenge- the weather. In the 14 years we have run this business the coldest temperature I remember was minus 30c. Last night and today with the wind chill it was minus 38c. Brutal! The automated watering systems in the paddocks froze for the first time ever. All the mares have been inside for 48 hours which they hate but it is much too cold to put them outside.
January 14 th 2019
We still have just a sprinkling of snow but lots of glare ice. Murray laid sand trails in all the paddocks so the horses could walk safely to their feed dishes and their water troughs. Both Ken and I have fallen this week and the worst of the winter is yet to come! All the mares are inside at night so they avoid the frigid night time temperatures. The two new mares (Party Beach and Forever Liza) are settling in well although PB seems to think she is still a racehorse- she dashes out of the barn and tears around in her paddock. She is a high energy individual.
January 9th 2019
This posting is late again....Busy week made worse by the fact we have sheets of ice all over the farm - literally like walking on glass. Two new horses have arrived. Party Beach is a four year old racehorse and Forever Liza is a five year old racehorse who have switched careers and are here to be part of the broodmare band. They will be bred this spring and deliver their first foals in 2020. OK Godiva has been sold to a US buyer and has gone to Wisconsin. She is the first foal who was born here, raised here and raced for us before she came back as a broodmare. She has had two foals (OK Leilani and OK Moxie) but we felt it was time to move her on. All the mares are inside at night now so there is a lot more work to do in the barn!
December 31st 2018
The last news for this year.......Ken and I drove to Mohawk today to visit the horses who were freed from the fire and to thank the staff who responded so quickly and have spent 100% of their time caring for these animals. OK Kudo will be three tomorrow- he has grown substantially and looks every inch a stallion! He has a singed forelock but otherwise looks and behaves as if he is fine. Nicki, his groom, adores him and he returns her affection. Four of our yearlings were also in the barn ( actually four of Tony's yearlings but they were born and raised here.) they are on Nebulisers - a breathing tool to help clear their lungs and ensure a complete recovery. Then we drove to the Vetinary College at Guelph to visit AHI, the only horse still hospitalized. He came through the fire but the stress/trauma caused him to colic and he needed emergency surgery. He had a minor setback but is improving today. The vet allowed me to take him out of his stall for a walk- he was very appreciative for the change of scenery.
Best wishes to all our readers for the New Year.
December 24th 2018
To all our followers, friends and family - Merry Christmas! Very good news about the horses that were caught in the fire. All those being monitored are improving every day and are out of danger. Those that went to the Equine Hospital in Guelph are recovered enough to rejoin their companions at the new location. All the horses are in one barn at Mohawk Racetrack (very close to where the fire broke out.) The people caring for these animals have been extraordinary and it is a great gift that the whole team (training staff, grooms, owners, horsemen and women who came to help and other volunteers) have been able to work with all the horses in one place. A terrible tragedy was averted due to the dedication and bravery of these people.
December 21st 2018
Those readers who live in Toronto and the area will have heard about the devastating fire at a training barn near Milton. The barn was run by Mark Steacy the trainer who has all the young horses from our farm. There were 40 horses in the building and 35 of them were rescued. One that died was Mademoiselle Tammy who was born and raised here. Five others were shipped to a University Vetinary centre for treatment, One of those, AHI was also a colt from OKS. Another group of horses are under observation to make sure their respiration. is normal and treat any burns, cuts or abrasions. Five of these horses came from OKS. This is a devastating blow for everyone at the barn, especially the grooms who are so devoted to their horses. It will take months to recover but many people came to help and the staff at the barn are getting much needed support.
December 19th 2018riristm
Apologies for the late post, clearly the Christmas rush has caught up with us! Leilani has left the barn and has a great new home in Indianapolis. Her new owner, Fred Potts sends us photos and updates so we are very sure she is in good hands. Weird weather here, NO SNOW and mild temperatures. This time last year we had two feet of snow and now, nothing! We had a Weigh day on Monday, the pregnant mares are all going well and the eight weanlings are also doing really well.
December 10th 2018
Good news indeed - OK Leilani has been sold to a buyer in the States. She will leave here this week to travel to her new traing facility and will start her life as a racehorse. She is a lovely filly and we are very sure her new owner will be delighted with her. The team of students here to unload the bedding supply were amazing - huge thanks to Alastair, Charlie, Emma, Sydney, Taige and their teacher Mr. McPherson who all worked long hours and did an exceptional job.
December 3rd 2018
We have the great good fortune to live in a very generous community. One of the local schools - Trinity College School - has a tradition of community engagement and the students volunteer to help various businesses and groups in a variety of ways. This week is their "Week Without Walls" and they leave their campus to help others. Students from around the world learn about their community and contribute to others. We have a team of students arriving here tomorrow to unload 1,000 bags of bedding for our winter supply. After the work is done we will light a bonfire and toast marshmallows as a reward!
November 26 th 2018
We have already had serious snow and intense cold spells and now we have torrential rain. The paddocks are a quagmire and the horses are drenched! Every paddock has a shelter so there is a place where they can keep dry but more often they just choose to stay out in the bad weather. Royal Charm left today to travel to New Jersey where she will deliver her first foal and then be bred to the top trotting sire, Muscle Hill.
November 19 th 2018
We have had an abnormal amount of snow here and already snow clearing is part of everyday chores. We need to put out hay in all the paddocks and Murray has designed, built and installed new racks where we need them. He is an amazing carpenter and can build in a day what would take other people a month! One of the racks has an extended roof over it so the fillies can stay dry while they are eating - spoiled little girls!
November 12th 2018
Last Friday a sudden snowstorm forced us to hurriedly move 18 of the horses from their current pastures to the winter quarters. The weanlings have only been in one paddock so far so taking them to a new place was quite a challenge! Eight of them were divided up and now are in three sets. The two biggest colts are together, three smaller colts together and the three fillies in the third paddock. Naturally the fillies settled in quickly but the colts took several days to figure out their new surroundings.
November 6, 2018
For Sale - OK Leilani (Sportswriter - OK Godiva - Well Said)
This Sportswriter yearling filly did not reach her reserve price at the London sale.
She is now priced to SELL.
She was bred and raised at Oak Knoll and is from the speed family of Double Creme (Double A Mint 1:47.3).
Don't let this one be the one you could have bought but didn't!
Call Caroline or Murray at 905 797 3025.
(p.s. talk to us about shared ownership)
October 29 th 2018
The news of Akeera is better than last week - the crack in her hoof is superficial and should heal in a week or so. Meanwhile, our new kitten Maestro is adapting well to life on the farm. We weighed him and he is 3.5 lbs. Our older cat, Emmett is not impressed by this intruder - he hisses and spits at Maestro. Velcro keeps a wide berth and ignores the kitten as much as possible. However Amie ( our deaf dog) delights in playing with him and those two are best friends!
October 23rd 2018
This has not been a good week! Yesterday the local election was held and Ken finished third. The two top finishers were elected. On Sunday my brilliant riding horse, Akeera, developed a serious crack in her hoof. It will take five or six months to regrow the hoof and she cannot be ridden until it heals. Today I plan to clean her saddle and bridle and put them away until next summer. Our yearling filly did not sell at the auction so OK Leilani is back with us and we will sell her privately.
October 15 th 2018 C
Obviously I am not keeping up with my workload! It seems that campaigning is FAR more time consuming than I had ever imagined! Meanwhile we weaned the final foal, Sir A and his mother Tammy had been in the same field as all the other foals and when we took Tammy away we assumed only Sir A would worry. Wrong! The other seven behaved as if the world had ended - tearing around the paddock, calling and yelling and making it clear they wanted Tammy back.
October 1st 2018
The wet, dreary weather is not welcome! The two yearlings we are preparing for the Sales cannot get wet or cold because they grow a thicker coat which makes them less shiny! In addition, running around in mud increases the risk that they could fall and be injured just when we need them to be "perfect." The cold weather also cuts into riding time so Akeera is getting less work than usual. The weanlings are outside 24/7 so their winter coats are growing quite fast.
September 24 th 2018
Now that all the tough stuff is over for this month ( loading the yearlings, weaning the foals and Video Day for the Sales horses) life seems much easier and calmer! When we videoed OK Leilani she was not very co-operative but the careful editing put together a decent portrayal of her in action. Art, on the other hand, behaved like a superstar - he looked really athletic and impressive. We hope this translates to a high price at the sale. His two year old sister is a top racehorse which will also really help him.
September 17 th 2018
I missed last week- apologies but Ken is running for Council and has declared that I am his campaign Manager! I have enough on my plate without adding a new job. We are past two major milestones ( loading the yearlings to leave the farm and weaning the foals) and tomorrow is the next big challenge- Video Day. The two remaining yearlings are going to auctions and need a video of them in action. They need to trot in a straight line along a fence going from left to right and then again from right to left. Unfortunately they often decide to stop dead or turn around or race at high speed - anything other than what we need from them! This could take half an hour or five hours depending on how they decide to behave.
September 3rd 2018
This will be a tumultuous week for us. On Wednesday five of the yearlings are leaving to go to the Training Centre where they begin their journey to be racehorses. After 18 months of life here they leave the only place they have ever been and the people they know and love. However, they need a job and they are better off in a "grown up " world from now on! On Thursday we will wean the foals, they cry and complain for two or three days but then they settle into a new routine as a herd of eight and they soon forget their mothers. The mares who have had several foals are often relieved to be apart but the first time mares have a hard time being away from their foal and they take longer to adjust.
August 27th 2018
A new horse arrived at the farm this week and she is absolutely stunning! She is a two year old racehorse who sadly was injured on the track. Her injury means she will never race so she has to come to us as a broodmare. She will be bred next spring and deliver her first foal in 2020. Her name is Spade Seelster (she was born and raised on the Seelster farm) and we have chosen to combine the two words to call her "Speed." Given her pedigree and her superb conformation, we are expecting (certainly hoping) that all her foals will live up to her new name!
August 20 th 2018
Yearling prep continues to take up most of our time. We have five yearlings in every day and in addition to grooming, bathing and leading them we lunge them for ten minutes each every morning. This means they trot around a small paddock for five minutes and then turn around and go in the opposite direction. Sounds easy but in fact they love to stop, walk or just play rather than actually get the job done!
August 16 th 2018
Yes, the news is late....again! The unrelenting heat has made it more time consuming to get things done but having Murray here makes everything better. This week was another Weigh Day and the mares are in their second trimester so they are all looking very round. The yearlings had their final weight before they leave us. The heaviest colt is De Chairman who is just under 1,000lbs. The foals were weighed with the mares but in September they will be weaned so they have to go on the scale "solo"!
August 6th 2018
Today starts the beginning of a new era! The foals we have raised here since birth are being prepared to leave us and get ready to be racehorses. " Yearling
prep" is the effort to transition them from young, unruly and unskilled colts and fillies to well mannered, reliable and impressive yearlings. They will be groomed, bathed, led and lunged over the next month until they look like ( and behave like) movie stars. This is akin to having your teenage children leave for University!
July 30 th 2018
One of the tough days for the foals is when they get their tattoos. Each racehorse is branded with a unique identifier so horses cannot be substituted during a race.The branding is actually a freezing process and takes 20 seconds. The foals all did really well until the last one - the youngest, Sir Anthony. He chose to throw a temper tantrum and lept into the air before throwing himself onto the ground! Needless to say, the tattoo was not successful. Next year the whole process changes to a microchip so Sir Anthony will be the only foal born in 2018 who will have a microchip when he gets to the races.
July 23rd 2018
This an exciting time of year for owners of young racehorses. OK Kudo left here last September and ever since then he ( and the other yearlings who left with him) have been learning how to race. Last week he raced in his first official race and finished a strong third. He raced the fastest of all the horses in the last quarter mile - a good sign he was not tired. He is racing for the second time tonight and his trainer thinks he has " a good shot". Ahi, another of our graduates is also racing tonight, he is the brother of Makasi, a successful racehorse and one of my favourites!
July 16 th 2018
Wonderful news this week, we have a new Farm Manager. Murray Preszcator has worked with horses for his whole life and has been a Standardbred trainer. He has moved here from the Exeter area and is living in the flat on our farm. Today was his first day and since we had to weigh all the horses he met every mare, every yearling and every foal. He is fabulous with the horses and we are delighted to have him on staff.
July 9th 2018
Now that most of the hay has been delivered we turn our attention to cleaning the barn. Once a year the entire building is power washed - all the stalls and the floor are completely cleaned - it is a massive undertaking. Our two young part-time workers took on the task and in the photo they are happy and excited to get started. By the time they finished they were soaked, exhausted and working in bare feet! The following day Amelia (dressed in yellow) used a large industrial Shop vac to collect all the water and the barn dried out completely in 24 hours. Now we do not want any horses to come into the building!!
July 2nd 2018
Happy Canada Day weekend to our Canadian followers! As always, the weather hits new records when the hay season is in full swing. Today is expected to reach 42 degrees Celsius. Our hay crew will be here this afternoon and will work in the blistering heat to get the bales stored. Fortunately the team is young and strong and some of them actually like doing this work! The breeding season has ended and sadly our final mare - Lindy - did not conceive. She lost embryonic twins earlier this season and now will have a year off before being bred in the spring of 2019.
June 25th 2018
One of the most daunting tasks of the year is stacking and storing the hay we need for the horses. We use about 4,000 bales and they always get delivered in hot and humid weather! Our Mow master - Curtis Clark - is responsible for hiring a crew of young men and women who will unload the wagons, put the hay bales on an elevator and then (the tricky part!) stack it in layers so that it is solid and can be safe to walk on. On Thursday the crew worked for six hours and on Friday for four hours and we have more to come. Once all the first cut hay is in about a month later the second cut comes and we repeat all the work again.
June 18th 2018
We had a Weigh Day last week and all the mares are gaining well. Two more positive preg checks - both Tammy and Day Dream are confirmed in foal, the last mare bred (Lindy) will be checked in two weeks and then the breeding season is over! The heaviest yearling (no surprise) is De Chairman at 871lbs, followed by the filly Noir at 845lbs, The newest foal - Sir Anthony gained 99 lbs in his first month and is now at 222lbs. The biggest foal is Marvel (Fanciful's colt) who gained 104lbs in the last month and is now at 413lbs.
June 13 th 2018
Sorry, the news is late this week ( in case anyone cares, the laundry is not done either!) after nine months of preparation the yearlings that left us last September are just about to hit the track and start their racing careers. This week they leave their " practice track" and go to a " real racetrack" to test their speed in race conditions. They have to start from behind the gate so this is like a dress rehearsal for their debut. OK Kudo, the colt we have in training with Mark Steacy is expected to qualify in the next couple of weeks.
June 4, 2018
All the mares have been bred now and we are waiting for the test results for the final two.
Last weekend there was a horse club ride in the Ganaraska Forest where I took Akeera and rode her for 3 1/2 hours on fabulous trails in perfect weather. She behaved beautifully and it was a real pleasure to be out with friends celebrating the forest.
May 28 th 2018
We had a very unusual event here today. We needed to treat all the yearlings (eight of them) with a spray on product so we brought them into the barn to do the work. The first six were all settled and well behaved, the seventh was somewhat worried but the final filly -literally- went berserk. She threw herself in the air and jumped over the four foot door that held her inside the chute. She landed with her head and front end on the floor in front of the door and her back legs straddling the door It was terrifying to watch but somehow she broke free of the ties and got to her feet unscathed. By sheer blind luck no-one was injured but it was a really bizarre experience.
May 21st 2018
We have a tradition that on Monday of the May long weekend good friends of ours (John and Cheryl Trist) come to the farm and bring a feast for lunch! The weather is perfect - glorious sunshine and clear skies. The foals are all outside playing and enjoying themselves, the riding conditions are perfect and the breeding season is almost over. All the mares are bred except for Tammy (she foaled five days ago) and very soon all the horses will be living outside day and night which means no more stall to be mucked out!
The final foal of the year is here! Tammy delivered her foal at 9.30 pm two days after her due date. May 15 th her colt arrived quickly and easily. He is, like all the Sunshine Beach offspring, bay with no white markings! It will be hard to tell him apart from the other bay colts. The count for this year is five colts and three fillies so as usual we have more boys than girls. Sandy Chamberlain is the winner of the Foal Lottery and Andrea Saar is the runner-up. Andree is also the groomer for Tammy so she has a double celebration.
May 14th 2018
Happy Mother's Day to all our readers. The mare due yesterday (Tammy)failed to meet our expectations so she will foal in the coming days. She was 15 days late last year so we hope she does not replicate that timeline! Meanwhile six of the foals are outside playing together. Uno ( the eldest) is the ring leader but two of the fillies ( Feisty and Moxie) are very friendly and love visitors. Our Farm Manager had a temper tantrum last week and left the property never to return. If anyone reading this knows of a mature, capable, experience d person who wants to run a breeding operation, please ask them to contact us.
May 7 th 2018
Thrilling news - we have a new vet! Dr. Rachel Busato is an equine Reproductive specialist and she has already started work with our mares. She is the assigned vet for Tara Hills Stud Farm, one of the premier breeding farms in North America. We are honoured and delighted to have her join our team. This weekend we have an Open House at the farm from 1.00-3.00pm on Saturday, May 12 th. This is part of a Literary contest arranged by Standardbred Canada to encourage students to write stories or poems about foals. Everyone is welcome.
April 30 th 2018
This is a very difficult message to write. After five years of wonderful care, our highly respected vet, Dr. Leah Knox is leaving here to accept a position at another practice. Leah has not only been a superb provider for us she is also a friend and a key contributor to the farm. She knows our horses as well ( maybe better!) than we do. She takes delight in welcoming the new foals and watching the young horses grow into novice racehorses. We will miss her more than words can say.
April 23rd 2018
After weeks of miserable cold,wet, windy weather suddenly the sun showed up! The weekend was glorious and all eight foals went out to play. Tony and Betty Infilise came to visit with three of their grandchildren - they all enjoyed seeing the grown up yearlings and the new foals for this year. One filly is named in Betty's honour - Feisty Betty was full of beans and showing her determined personality. Riding Akeera was a real thrill after months of inactivity. The breeding work continues, six mares are confirmed pregnant, three others are pending preg checks and the final three have yet to be bred.
Our foaling season is drawing to a close. Only one foal yet to come - due on May 13th. Tonight (April 19th) Icey Breeze delivered her colt, a very nice son of Sportswriter. He stood up quickly and went to nurse without delay! He stood and walked around for so long we had to actually lie him down on the ground to get him to rest - quite unusual for a very young foal. The mare is settled and very attentive to her new baby. Her yearling filly, Chacha is by the same sire but the two siblings do not look alike. We will weigh him tomorrow but Stormy weighed 97lbs, one of the smallest foals born here.
Well, another foal has arrived. On one of the worst nights of the year Lindwood Beachgirl decided to produce her first foal. The small filly was born at 11.03 pm on April 14 th. In recognition of the dreadful weather all day ( and apparently to continue all week) we have named the new arrival "Stormy." The mare delivered her foal standing up and Ken was the "co- deliverer" as we helped this beautiful filly into the world. Stormy is Bay like her mother and has no white markings. She will be a future playmate for Moxie and Feisty Betty.
April 9th 2018
Life here can move very quickly. Since posting the sad news on April 3rd we learned that Betzy (Haze's Sure Bet is her full name) is pregnant and today we bred Heather"s Delight the mare who lost her foal. We will know in 16 days from now whether she is pregnant and can only hope that her next foal is healthy. The weather here has been brutal - very cold, snow and driving winds. Our next two mares due are Breeze (April 14th) and Lindy (April 16th) but they seem stalled - too cold to bring a foal into the world!
April 3rd 2018
The news is late this week because we had a tragedy here yesterday. Heather's Delight (Caroline"s favourite mare) delivered her foal at 2.00am on Monday morning. She has had four colts so far and we were all hoping for a filly. The foal was indeed a filly but sadly she had a seriously deformed head. She was unable to close her mouth so she could not drink and her respiratory system was compromised so her breathing was impaired. We had to euthanize her right away. After eleven moths of pregnancy this is a devastating loss and all of us here feel shattered. However, the cycle continues and yesterday we bred Hazel and Fanciful for the foals of 2019. Missy was confirmed in foal so the new crop is underway.
March 24th 2018
Well we weighed the new foal and she is the heaviest filly ever born here- 143lbs. She ties OK Iceman who also weighed 143 lbs but he is a colt! Given her size and strength we came to the conclusion that the name "Beauty" was not the best choice for her. There is a link to champagne in her life so we are calling her Mimosa. She went outside for 15 minutes today, she looks great.
ANOTHER BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT!!
This is a "twin " day - well, not literally but two foals born on the same date. We started with Marvel at 7.10am and finished with Black Beauty at 10.54pm - yes, a long day. This as Hazel's foal, a filly - full sister to Noir born here a year ago. The two sisters look very alike but Beauty has a small white sock on one back foot. Noir is black from head to toe. Both Marvel and Beauty are the foals from the sire Sunshine Beach so they are half brother and half sister. We will weigh her tomorrow and see which of the two arrivals is the heaviest!
We are on a roll! After a very quiet night, Fanciful ( due on March 16 th) chose to deliver her foal at breakfast time. The big, powerful colt was born at 7.10am today ( March 23rd) and got to his feet very quickly. Then he worked his way over to his mother and figured out how to nurse with no intervention or assistance from anyone. Given that he did such a marvellous job of coming into the world we are calling him Marvel. He weighed 141lbs, much the biggest of the foals so far.
Now that the visitors have left Diva decided to deliver her foal at 3.22 this morning (March 21st))
We name our foals alphabetically and this is the M year so the new filly is called OK Moxie. This is Diva's second foal, her sister OK Leilani is a yearling playing in our paddocks. OK is the registered prefix for all Oak Knoll Stables foals. It seems that Fanciful will not go tonight and Hazel is a day or so behind her. We could be up three nights in a row with this group!
March 19th 2018
Hard to believe......no foals this weekend! My daughter (Amelia) and her friend Brandy arrived on Thursday evening to see Diva foal, we watched her all night. Fidgety, restless but no delivery. Same deal on Friday night but now Hazel (due on Friday) and Fanciful (due on Sunday) are also showing signs of discomfort. On Saturday we were SURE one or more would foal but again no foals in sight. The visitors arranged to stay over on Sunday night because we were CERTAIN there would be one or more foals by dawn. Wrong! This morning our vet was here, she checked Diva (now three days late) and assured us she would foal tonight. We will add a Birth Announcement (or several!) as soon as one of these babies arrives.
Mach 12th 2018
Finally we have posted the photos of Uno and Speedy in the Foals section of the web site. Page down to find them, click on the head shot and you will see their body shot. We are expecting three - or maybe four foals in the next week. It actually makes life easier if they come more than one at a time! Since we are up during the night to deliver one foal we may as well get another one on the ground. We have also added photos to our staff roster so you can see what our team looks like.
March 5th 2018
Some of our readers will know I ran a company for 20 years called NADUM which stands for "Never a Dull Moment." Today was one of those days! We began our breeding season by checking three mares - just really an inquiry to see how they are cycling and when might be a possible breeding date (usually around mid-March is when we start breeding.) Two of the three are ready to breed today! This afternoon Michael and I will go to Tara Hills Stud farm to get the semen and will breed Day Dream (who had Speedy 9 days ago!) and Dream for Lindy (a three year old maiden mare.) If the mares conceive their foals will be due on February 9th 2019, the earliest ever foaling dates for this farm.
February 26th 2018
Hi Son! I'm Your Mom!
We weighed Speedy this morning - he is 114 lbs - he seemed much heavier last night when we were trying to get him on his feet! Day Dream had the good grace to foal early (7.09pm) so we were all in bed by 10.30pm. The photo shows the mare and foal greeting each other, he is about half an hour old in this picture. He was outside for twenty minutes this morning and will go back out later today as long as the sun is shining. We have a break for a couple of weeks and then have four foals due in the same week in mid-March. Time to stock up on sleep!
Well another colt has arrived. Day Dream had her foal in record time, four minutes from the moment her water broke until the colt was delivered. We have named him Speedy! He is a long legged and dark with one small white sock. We will weigh him in the morning but he is certainly much bigger than Uno. Day Dream is a very settled Mum, this is her third foal so she is experienced and very attentive to her new foal. The birthdate is February 25th 2018
After what seems like an unending wait, our first foal has arrived! Dancer delivered her colt at 1.00am this morning. It was a difficult delivery and our vet, Dr. Leah Knox came and helped us. "Uno" had a rough start but he is doing well and we will weigh him later today. This was Michael's first experience foaling here and he was a huge help and he was very calm through the chaos. We will post pictures once Uno is a little steadier on his feet. His birthday is February 21st.
February 19th 2018
After more than two weeks of foal watch with Dancer - still no foal! Day Dream was due on Saturday so she is officially overdue now. The weather is supposed to change to plus 14 Celsius tomorrow - unheard of for this time of year. Maybe the mares will decide spring is here and they can actually deliver their foals. Ken and I went out to the closest restaurant possible on Valentine's Day. We took my iPad and kept an eye on Dancer while we were eating dinner. The waitresses were highly amused!
February 12th 2018
Well despite the fact we have been watching Dancer every night since Feb 3rd, still no foal! Ironically, Day Dream who is due this Saturday is starting to bag up (her udder is full) and may in fact foal before Dancer. Ideally they could agree to foal on the same night - one night of chaos instead of two! These mares rarely co-operate with our plans so we just have to wait and see who foals when.
February 5th 2018
We have just returned from Aiken, South Carolina where we were visiting friends who live in this place of "Horse heaven". It seems that everyone there owns horses, loves horses and lives horses! There is every breed and every discipline imaginable and there are events, shows, and social functions without end. We went to a Hunt meet (the hounds found a Coyote rather than a fox!) and Caroline rode in the gorgeous Hitchcock Woods which are right in the town centre. At home, Dancer (one of the maiden mares) is looking as if she wants to foal early - she is due in three weeks but we expect her foal soon. Watch this space for the first birth announcement of 2018.
January 29 th 2018
We had a kind of worrisome day today. Our first foal is due on February 17 th.
The mare is Day Dream and she is an experienced broodmare and easy to work
with. The second mare due is Dancer a maiden mare ( no foals till now) and she is due on Feb 26 th. Today she showed several indications that she is ready to foal. Our vet came and thinks she might foal in the next 24 hours. We have never had a January foal and would much prefer that she wait till her due date.
However, she may have other ideas! Stay tuned.
January 22nd 2018
We had a great day on Saturday- we took Michael with us to Lansdowne to see the yearlings from last year at work. Phil's Sun, Ahi, Soleil, Royale Elite, Mademoiselle Tammy and OK Kudo all look wonderful and according to Mark Steacy they are all doing " as expected." They have months more of jogging and preparing for the racetrack but it is really fun to watch them in action and see them growing up.
January 15th 2018
Yet another hectic day! Weigh day plus our farrier was here to trim all the horses' feet AND Ken took photos of all the yearlings. They have changed categories from Foals ( baby pictures in the summer) to Yearlings ( January photos with wooly coats) Michael, our new Farm Manager and Miranda, our new staff member and I worked all day long just to get the horses moved into the barn from outside ( the yearlings are justifiably afraid of the slippery ice and snow) and the mares find it hard to walk out to the paddocks.
January 8th 2018
A great start to the New Year with our very enthusiastic, very capable Farm Manager, Michael Sutton. The weather has not been kind - minus 40C means hydrants freeze, taps freeze, heated water tanks freeze and so do hands and feet for the humans! Another new staff member joined us today, Miranda Black is here to work with the broodmares and yearlings and wants to learn more about the breeding world. We have a great team in place and the whole farm seems more joyful.
January 1st 2018
Happy New Year to all our family, friends and followers. What a great start to a new year - our new Farm Manager, Michael Sutton has joined us. He arrived this morning with a cake he had baked and decorated - Happy Birthday Yearlings! Today all our foals are officially one year old and they change from life as a weanling to being a yearling. Michael has worked with and trained Standardbreds since he was 15 so he is a great addition to our team. The brutal weather (minus 32c) this morning makes it hard to work outside but all the mares are in at night so they enjoy the warm, dry stalls.
December 25th 2017
To all our followers - Merry Christmas. We have a tradition that no staff work on Christmas Day but this year that proved to be a bad decision .Ken and I were out in the barn at 7.30am and he spent five hours clearing snow from the property while I spent five hours doing chores. Welcome to the life of farming! We were back out at 3.00pm to continue the work and we finished at 5.15pm. We were invited by our friends Jan and Terry Hill to join them for a spectacular Christmas dinner so the day ended well and we collapsed into bed when we got home.
December 18th 2017
Last Friday we had a Weigh Day. Every horse on the farm is weighed and in addition this week we dewormed all the horses and the weanlings (the young horses) had their booster shots for their vaccinations. For the pregnant mares we have a "Goal weight" each month of the pregnancy - we want to track their progress over 11 months to ensure they do not gain too fast nor do they gain less than a specific amount each month. For the weanlings we expect them to gain between 30 and 35 lbs each month, the average weight now is about 550-600 lbs. The tiring part of the process is catching each horse outside, leading them into the barn and then returning them to their paddock. Next time we do this - January 15th - the mares will already be in the barn overnight so the whole effort should be much easier!
December 11th 2017
We had the great good fortune this week of having a group of students from Trinity College School in Port Hope come to us for their "Week without Walls."The school sends the students into the community to help businesses, community groups, seniors or anyone who can benefit from "extra hands." Thomas, Alysia, Wakely, Kit and Paige along with their chaperone, Greg MacPhearson spent three afternoons with us. They stacked all the bedding for the year, washed and cleaned items that had been neglected, moved fallen trees from one paddock and - most importantly - groomed the broodmares! The students were delightful and helped us catch up on things that needed to be done. It was a huge benefit to the farm and we are very grateful for their help.
December 4th 2017
Yesterday something really odd happened here. One of the weanlings (Krypto) managed to catch the buckle of his halter on a bolt that holds the gate of his paddock in place. We have run this farm for 12 years without any incident like this and it seems incredible that he could get his head exactly where the bolt was positioned and then fit a small (less than an inch) buckle over the end of the bolt! He was well and truly stuck but when I found him he was calm so I was able to release him safely. These young horses have an amazing ability to find trouble and get themselves hurt at the slightest opportunity. Luckily for him he did not have even a scratch but it was a pretty scary sight.
November 27th 2016
We have an interesting dilemma at the farm and would appreciate any advice our readers can offer! One of the weanlings (eight months old and 555 lbs) has decided she cannot be caught. We have tried every trick in the book and still no success. She will follow another filly into the barn and once she is inside she is perfect but outside she is a disaster! We are calling her "The Fugitive" We have a short rope attached to her halter but she runs so fast and moves so quickly it is not helping us get hold of her. We need to catch her to get her to the blacksmith or the vet or just to handle her. Any ideas?!
November 20th 2017
A new horse arrived here on the weekend. Dream for Lindy is a two year old trotting mare. She is supposed to be racing but she did not like her job! She got very anxious and wild on the track so she was unable to race successfully. She has come here to be a broodmare and will have her first foal in 2019. She has been living inside until now so going out is a big deal for her. She has a new blanket and is turned out for a couple of hours in the middle of the day and then comes back to her (warm) stable. We are calling her "Dreamer" because we already have a Lindy on the farm.
November 6th 2017
We have been inundated with rain this week. The temperature at night has dipped below freezing and winter is clearly close at hand. We have added straw to the run ins for the young horses - nice deep beds like a mattress for them to sleep on. Tim (our blacksmith) came this week to shoe Akeera, this will be her last set of shoes for this year, we usually stop riding sometime in December. Once there is ice on the ground it is time to put the tack away!
October 29th 2017
While we were away on our mini break we visited the yearlings who left here in September. Our "Babies" are now learning to be racehorses and they are all doing very well. We watched Maddie (the only filly) jog on the track, followed by OK Kudo who is very tall and athletic and then Ahi who has always been my favourite. The staff who care for them do a wonderful job and it was very rewarding to see all of them looking so well and working so successfully.
October 23rd 2017
Well maybe we should not leave the farm! Within 24 hours of our departure one of the weanlings (Lunar) gashed his head and needed eight stitches to close the wound above his eye. The following day Chacha (another weanling) scraped her knee and bruised her leg so she too needed special care. Last night Chatter (the eldest of the weanlings) hurt his stifle (think thigh in a human) so he too is inside and getting medical attention. However, on the bright side the local riding club had their final ride of the year on Saturday. 82 riders took part including Caroline with Akeera - we rode for three hours in perfect weather and had a fabulous time.
October 16th 2017
Now that all the yearlings are gone, life seems more peaceful here! Today all the mares and foals were weighed and then moved to their "Winter" paddocks. The weanlings live outside for the next 11 months so they need shelter. The mares will be coming inside every night in January so they need to be closer to the barn. We are part of a research study at Guelph University (which includes 200 broodmares) and today was the final "Collection Day". For the past year we have collected swabs and blood samples from most of our broodmares, now all the data from all the participants will be collated to determine whether a specific virus contributes to abortion in broodmares.
October 9th 2017
Happy Thanksgiving to our Canadian readers. The weather has been glorious and I have been riding my magical mare, Akeera, as much as possible. We are planning a small break way from the farm next week and while we are gone the barn will be power washed. This is an annual event and keeps the building looking like new. It is a noisy, wet, thankless task so it is great to be able to leave and come back to find it done! Owen leaves on Friday this week and that means there will be no yearlings on the farm. Just pregnant mares and weanlings plus Akeera.
October 2nd 2017
Sorry, last week I wrote the news but apparently failed to save it to the site! This week is busy yet again - there seems to be a new challenge every week of the year. Last week the final load of hay was delivered, we have a little over 4000 bales neatly stacked for the coming year. This week, Jeff Burton, our hay supplier brought his mammoth tractor and spread fertilizer on all the fields. The new tractors have GPS tools that allow him to spread the manure precisely - no overlap along the rows and no areas left empty. As he put it "It takes longer to set up the computer than it takes to cover the fields!". Also, Mac left this week (Big Mac with cheese) so only one yearling remains at the farm because he is going to be sold at auction in October. On Saturday night we went to Mohawk racetrack with Tony Infilise to watch some of our graduates race, not very wonderful results for Lady Bubbles or Makasi but it was exciting to see them on the track.
September 18 th 2017
Another milestone this week, our second cut hay was delivered. We have just over 4000 bales stored, a key factor for the winter. The two yearlings still with us are getting lots of attention. Mac had a bath on the weekend, he behaved very well and likes the water. Owen is going to a Sale so he is not allowed out in the sunshine ( because it bleaches his black colour) He spends an hour outside from 8.30 till 9.30am and then goes back out from 4.30 till 5.30 pm. He has to wear a rug at night so that he does not grow a winter coat! All this effort is to make him look wonderful when buyers come to inspect him!
September 12th 2017
A day late this week.....but last week was strenuous! On Wednesday morning at 8.00am we loaded six of the yearlings to travel to their new training home. Five of them loaded really well but one panicked and it took a little while to get him on the enormous truck parked at the end of our driveway. Once the yearlings were gone we turned our attention to the mares and foals and weaned them all. The eight foals are all in one field together, lots of wailing and complaining for the first 48 hours but now they are settled and making friends with each other. Finally on Wednesday a video crew arrived to film Goinowen who will be sold by auction in October. Potential buyers want to see how each horse moves so the video is intended to show each yearling at "their best." This can take anything from 15 minutes to 15 hours! Owen was pretty good and our helpers (Heather, Chantelle and Delacey in addition to Peter, Ken and myself) were very effective in getting this done. One long day!
August 28th 2017
As the summer winds down and students prepare to return to school, life on the farm seems far more settled! The new Farm Manager is adjusting to their role, the Project Manager is completing projects at a fantastic pace, the Barn Manager is working like a Trojan and has the whole place looking wonderful and the Yearling Manager is superb with the young horses. The yearlings will leave soon and then we need to wean the foals. Once they are settled away from the mares we have a "quiet time" until the mares come inside in January.
August 21st 2017
Life here continues to be hectic! We have eight yearlings we are preparing to leave the farm. They are like mercurial teenagers! One day they are calm, willing and delightful. 24 hours later they are moody, irritated and aggressive - so much fun. We have just learned that one of the leading trainers in North America, Dr. Ian Moore is planning to visit the farm and see our young horses. This will be a great chance to show him what we do and learn from him what he expects of yearlings about to start training. Meanwhile, one of the foals (Leo) decided to lash out and kick Caroline - he is not on the "favourites list."
August 14 th 2017
Another late day message! I fed the horses at 7.30 this morning and left the barn at 7.30 pm tonight! One of our yearlings ( Maddie ) choked on her feed and the vet had to come this evening to tube her, put a tube into her stomach and clear the debris. Not fun for the filly, for me or for the vet. We had 400 bales of straw delivered today, to be stacked tomorrow by our amazing crew. The yearlings are learning to have a bath, a very important milestone.
August 7th 2017
Today starts a new era at Oak Knoll Stables. We have a new team in place and everyone is excited. There is a new Farm Manager, a new Barn Manager (responsible for chores and managing the day to day activities) a new Project Manager (for the big projects that require dedicated skills for a specific task) and a new Yearling Manager (responsible for leading the yearling prep effort over the next five weeks.) In addition, John Bailey, our oldest resident is leaving the farm to go to his new home. He is being adopted by a family who plan to love him and care for him as their pet. He is travelling with a mare who will be his new paddock mate so he will always have a friend with him.
Some people get summer holidays....and some people are farmers! This week the Tattoo technician came and did the tattoos for the foals. This is the lifetime identifier that is used to ensure that each racehorse is uniquely proven to be "who they say they are." The foals were pretty well behaved given that this is a scary process for them. Our hay crew returned to put away the remainder of our first cut hay - we have just over 3000 bales stored now and another thousand still to come when the second cut hay is ready.
July 24 th 2017
We had hay in this week and a SUPER team on Friday night led by Coulter Jones. Special thanks to the Nixon family ( Adam, Aiden and Amelia) and to Heather and Tom. On Saturday we had two Mow Masters, Coulter and Curtis ably supported by Jessy and Dakota along with Delaney and Nicole. Fabulous effort by all! Wecweaned two foals today, Chatter and Krypton have left their mums! Our Farm Manager is gone, if anyone reading this wants to join us please get in touch!
July 17th 2017
It has been a LONG day here..... we started by moving all the horses on the property to different paddocks (28 animals) They all came close to the barn because the mares and foals had to be trimmed by the blacksmith. The mares think this is "normal" but the foals are not happy about someone picking up their feet and filing the hooves. Some of them behave as if they are auditioning for a rodeo role, others just roll their eyes and tremble. All the horses were weighed today and also the foals and yearlings are measured. After all that effort, they were moved to different paddocks where they tear around and chase each other as if this is a new and different universe!
July10 th 2017
This weird, wet weather has seriously impacted the hay season so everyone is getting their hay late. We had 1700 bales delivered last week (of 4000 we need) and the rest will come once more hay can be cut, dry out and get baled. The final 700 bales or so are "second cut" which is a richer, sweeter hay cut later in the summer. If this rain continues there may not be any second cut! On another note, Spook - our rescue kitten - has mastered hunting. He takes great delight in presenting his "trophies" for us to admire!
July 3rd 2017
We have undergone an exodus of horses lately - Bella and her colt Ohio returned to their farm in Ohio. Freya (the yearling friend for Maddy) has gone back to her home near Ottawa. Today two of the mares and their foals (Cameo and her colt Camelot with Coco and her foal Zeus) have travelled back to Sudbury where they will live until the colts go to a racing barn next Fall. Meanwhile the four yearlings we shipped to the trainer from here last Fall all qualified on the weekend. Lady Bubbles, Jackie Newlands, Hudson Phil and Johnathan Quick are all eligible to race - it will be fun to watch our "babies" in action!
June26 th 2017
Once again, internet malfunctions make it hard to get the news posted. We have officially ended the breeding season. Two of the mares failed to conceive so this is a disappointing result. On the other hand we have ten very attractive foals playing in the paddocks! Next spring two new mares are added to the broodmare band, Dancer ( official name Dancin in the nude!) and Lindy ( Lindwood Beachgirl) it is always exciting to have " first time mares" deliver their foals. A very special thanks to Dr. Leah Knox the vet who cares for all the mares, foals and yearlings. She is a wonderful ally and we are very grateful for her help and expertise.
June 19 th 2017
This business can be tough! We have been breeding one of the broodmares, Racey Miss since February . Her body refused to "follow the plan" and when we used hormone shots to try and accelerate her cycle, she refused to respond. This morning, after three and a half months of effort we checked her for pregnancy - nothing! She will now have a year off ( because it is too late in the year to try again) very disappointing and very frustrating but we cannot control their cycles.
June 12th 2017
Apologies for the missed news last week but I was knocked over in the paddock and had a concussion - Ken took me to the hospital and all is well now but I kind of missed a couple of days! We recently adopted a dog to be a friend to Velcro who is really missing Viva. The new dog is a French Pointer and we named her Amie. She has settled in well but we now know she is deaf. Velcro has become her "ears" and tells her when she needs to go outside, come to be fed or go upstairs to bed. it is quite remarkable to see a young dog (Velcro is four) take on the role of Guardian for an older dog (Amie is six) All the foals are growing fast and we are close to the end of the breeding season. Ken has a semen run this afternoon and this should be the last insemination for 2017. Yeah!
May 29th 2017
The breeding effort continues. Lindwood Beachgirl, the newest arrival at OKS had her preg check today and she is in foal. This is an exciting match - a Somebeachsomewhere mare to Bettors Delight. She is due in mid-April of 2018. In addition, Cameo will be bred today to Sunshine Beach - a new sire for her because she has a Thinking out Loud colt this year. All the babies are turned out now, they live out 24/7 so they probably are not thrilled by all this rain!
May 22nd 2017
For our readers in Canada - Happy Victoria Day (long weekend for some!) It is a breeding day here so business as usual. One more mare was confirmed pregnant this morning - eight of the fourteen mares are now confirmed in foal. Of the remaining six, five have been bred and are awaiting their preg check and one is still to be bred. Ken is on another "semen run" today to collect semen to breed Cameo Pin this afternoon. She needs an injection six hours after she is bred which means at about 11.00pm tonight. The day starts at 7.30am with feeding, so much for a long weekend!
May 15 th 2017
Well, the foaling season is over! Ten beautiful babies and luckily two of them are fillies ( unlike last year when we had to find a friend for Maddie) the breeding work continues. 14 days after the mare has ovulated we check for a pregnancy - a small black blob on the ultrasound. Two weeks later we check for a heartbeat, a visible flicker in the growing embryo. This week Jennie' s foal has a good heartbeat and she can be moved to her new home in n Quebec. She has been on the farm for 14 years so it will be very hard to see her leave.
The final foal of the year has arrived! Coco delivered her first foal at 10.55 pm tonight. He is a week late but strong and active. So from ten foals we have eight colts and two fillies. Almost all of them have lots of white on them ( except the two fillies!) and all of them are very athletic. A special thank you to Heather, our Foal Watch Expert and to Dr. Leah Knox our vet who helps us breed the mares and cares for all the new arrivals.
After a long wait (15 days past her due date!) Tammy delivered a lovely colt this evening at 9.43pm. He has very long legs and looks a lot like his sire - Sunshine Beach. We have named him Lunar because he was born on the night of a full moon. The count so far is seven boys and two fillies with one foal still to come. His birthdate is May 10th.
May 8 th 2017
It is really hard to believe - no foals this week! Tammy is now 13 days late and although she looks exhausted shows no inclination to deliver her foal. The owners of Coco came here ( from Sudbury) on Saturday hoping to see their mare foal. This is her first foal, she has milk streaming down her legs, everything points to an imminent delivery but she refuses to co-operate! The weather has been dreadful, below freezing temperatures at night and yesterday it actually snowed here - in May! Ridiculous.
May 1st 2017
While we have no new foals this week (Tammy is 6 days late!) and Coco is due on Friday, lots of breeding news. Last Friday we checked three mares for pregnancy - Hazel, Diva and Jennie - all three are confirmed in foal. This morning we checked Fanciful and Betzy - both pregnant . Five out of five is pretty impressive!! This afternoon we will breed both Betzy and Heather's Delight. Their foals are ten days and eleven days old so this is a rapid turnaround from delivery to breeding. One more mare is joining the broodmare band - Lindwood Beachgirl has an injury that has halted her racing career so she is coming here to be bred and start a new life as a broodmare.
The trio is complete - all colts! Delight delivered her colt at 10.21 pm on April 20th. He has very long legs, we considered calling him "Giraffe"! However when we weighed him he is 139 lbs, the heaviest colt so far this year and tied with the long-legged filly Noir. His barn name is Samson because he is so strong and powerfully built. To date we have eight foals, only two of them are fillies so once again we have a bias in favour of male foals.
April 20th 2017
An update on the new colt. He is a "visitor", meaning he will stay till the mare is confirmed in foal for next year and then return to his owners in Ohio. They are delighted that he is tall, he weighs 132 lbs (the third largest foal so far this year.) He is called "Ohio" until he gets his racing name. We are hoping for another foal tonight.
Well, the second of the "trio" we had expected over Easter has delivered her foal. Arabella Hall had a tall, strong colt at 9.10pm this evening (April 19th.) He is by Muscle Mass and this trotting mare is here to be bred to Kadabra, a stallion that stands at Tara Hills in Port Perry. She is originally from Ohio and will return to her owners once she is confirmed in foal. He will be weighed in the morning and he may be the biggest foal of the year.
April 17 th 2017
Well the "trio" is far from complete. Bella is now a week late and Delight was due yesterday.( She was three days early last year.) Meanwhile the older foals are joining up as a group. Chatter is turned out with Leilani ( our smallest foal) Krypto ( our biggest colt so far) and Noir ( the biggest filly ever born at OKS.) They play until they tire each other out then they sunbathe until they can get up and start again!
The first of the "trio" has arrived! Cameo Seelster ( owned by Jim Belanger) presented us with her first foal at 12.15am. He is a big, strong, long legged colt by Thinking Out Loud - the same sire as Chatter. Like his brother and his father, he has a large white star and two white socks. Cameo is very loving and attentive, she seems to be delighted with the new arrival. His birthday is April 14 th he was due on April 9 th.
April 10th 2017
We have three foals due in the coming week (Cameo was due yesterday, Bella is due today and Tammy is due on Easter Monday) Meanwhile the breeding work goes on - Dancer is confirmed in foal, OK Godiva has to be rebred, Hazel will be bred today and so will Jennie. The three early foals (Chatter, Leilani and Krypto) have moved outside overnight. They live out 24/7 now but they have a large covered area where they can get away from wind, rain or (last week) snow.
April 5th 2017
Following a pattern this year, we are revising our last Birth Announcement! The name Trump seems unfit for humans, equines, canines or any other creatures. We have renamed the new colt Lionheart and he will be called Leo as his barn name. Although he was small at birth (100 lbs) he has a mind of his own. He kicked me today, a foal under 48 hours old is not usually that feisty so he may prove to be a handful.
Well, another foal has arrived! Betzy delivered her foal at 10.28 this evening(April 3rd ) she has had some health issues so both the colt and the mare need some special care. This is the only foal due this year who has a US bred mother and a US bred sire ( Art Major) so we thought he should have an American name. He is called.............Trump!
April 3rd 2017
The new foal, Noir is very pretty and very active. We have three others due this week - it could be a sleepless few days unless they choose to deliver together. Meanwhile, my new horse, Akeera has moved from her training facility to our farm. Yesterday she went on her first official ride - an hour long excursion onto the roads, trails and woods around us. She was amazing, really well behaved and very sensible for a young horse just learning her job.
At long last, Hazel has delivered her foal. The jet black filly was born at 7.58pm this evening (March 31st) All the other foals by Sunshine Beach have been bay so the black filly is a surprise - we are calling her Noir in honour of her bi-lingual owners. Last year we had Soleil and we like the idea of a french name each year. Hazel's last two foals have been colts (Makasi and Ahi) so we are really pleased to see a filly from this very pretty mare.
March 27th 2017
Yet another week with no new foals! Hazel was due on March 17th but is showing no sign of delivering (she was three days early last year.) Betzy could go at any time but is holding on too. Meanwhile the foals on the ground are full of beans and playing out in the paddocks every day. We bred Dancer and OK Godiva on Friday so they will have preg checks two weeks from today. The 2018 crop will be underway!
March 22nd 2017
It seems that our naming conventions are not going well this year. Before Fanciful foaled, she was so enormous we felt she would deliver the biggest foal ever born on the farm. (The largest to date weighed 143lbs and was her colt Iceman.) In fact when the foal arrived he looked big and strong so we elected to call him Giant. When we weighed him this morning he was 135lbs, so not actually the biggest foal born here. Pat has renamed him Krypto (from the planet Krypton) in the hope he will have super powers!
Finally Fanciful has delivered her colt. "Giant" was born at 7.43pm this evening (March 21st) He is a big, strong colt with a lovely white star on his face. Despite the fact he was 11 days late, Fanciful delivered him easily and he is doing well. No progress so far from Hazel or Betzy so the goal of two at once seems unlikely!
March 21st 2017
STILL no foals!! But......it is supposed to be warmer today.................
March 20th 2017
Hard to believe but no foals born this week! Fanciful is now ten days late and every day looks as if she could deliver "any minute." Hazel is three days late and does not look imminent. Betzy is on medication and will probably foal early (she is two weeks from her due date now.) We weighed Chatter and he gained 87 lbs in the first month of his life - he is a little energy box and tears around his paddock at top speed. Leilani is still small and the weather has been very unpredictable so she goes outside with a rug on - she is a little fashonista.
March 13th 2017
This morning our vet was here and checked five of the mares for possible breeding, Day Dream is ready to breed today (Ken is off on a semen run!) Jennie might be ready on Wednesday and the others are close. Meanwhile, Fanciful is four days overdue with her foal and Hazel is four days from her due date. (She foaled three days early last year.) With any luck they will manage a meeting of the minds and deliver on the same night! Better to have two in one night than two night deliveries on consecutive nights.
March 6th 2017
This is a busy week for new arrivals. Betzy is Tony's new broodmare, she is due to foal on March 30 th but is usually two weeks late. Cameo and Coco belong to Jim Belanger and they were bred here last year. That are back to deliver their foals and then be rebred before returning to Sudbury. The final mare is Arabella Hall who will foal here and then be bred to a local stallion ( Kadabra) before returning to Ohio. Fanciful is due on Friday and she is HUGE!
February 27th 2017
Well you can't be right all the time! It turns out our new foal is NOT a colt "he" is a filly!! So Leo (Ken wanted him to be called Lionheart) is now Leilani. Leilani was a famous racehorse in Australia who raced against the colts and won. We have had a request from Quebec to buy Jennie our older mare. She is retired here but they want to breed her and have one foal from her and then retire her on their farm. We are expecting our visiting mares (They just come to deliver their foals, get bred again and then return to their owners) to arrive this week along with a mare from New York who is joining Tony's broodmare band.
Well, our second colt has arrived. OK Godiva gave birth to her first foal at 6.35pm tonight - a very civilized hour to deliver her offspring. She is three days early (he was due Feb 28th) but all went well and she seems to be settled with her new son. He is by Sportswriter, one of the top sires in Ontario so we hope he will replicate his father's speed. The next foal is due March 10th so we have the luxury of a few nights rest before we are back in the barn.
February 20th 2017
Our Farm Manger took this week off so, of course, there was lots of extra work. On Wednesday one of the yearlings (Ahi) banged his knee and needed meds for a week. He doesn't want to be caught and he doesn't like the meds! On Thursday another yearling (Royale Elite) cut his leg open and needed 12 stitches to close the wound. He is inside and on meds for a week - he is very unhappy about being away from his buddies. On Friday night, Chatter arrived and we expect Diva to foal very soon.
February 17th 2017
Big thrill - the first foal of the year has arrived! Racey Miss delivered a very beautiful colt at 10.29 tonight. He has a big white star and two white socks - very dramatic! His sire is called "Thinking out loud" and the little one was born quite noisy so we are naming him "Chatter." Special thanks to Heather for her help tonight and to Andree and Tom Saar who helped with feeding and grooming today.
February 6th 2017
Our Grooming Team is in full swing! We have a group of ladies who come and groom the mares who are in foal. These people have never owned or worked with horses, they just love looking after the mares. When the foals arrive they play with the babies too so both generations benefit from this interaction. Grooming seems to make the foals more active so they often kick or move while the ladies are brushing the mares. It is nice to know they are alive and mobile at that stage of the pregnancy!
January 30 th
For our first mare due, Racey Miss, her due date is within a month. She has to have her " pre-fooling" shots. The vaccinations she had this week actually work on the foal too. The benefit of doing it this way is we avoid having to jab the new foals with several injections! It is really cold here ( forecast of a wind chill of minus 20 tonight!) so the mares appreciate living indoors at night.
January 22nd 2017
This week there was tragic news about one of the top Standardbred stallions in the world. Mach Three (who has been bred to several of our mares) is one of what is called the Hemisphere stallions. He stands at Tara Hills Stud in Port Perry in our summer and then travels to New Zealand for their summer - he breeds over 200 mares here and then repeats his duties "Down Under". On Friday he was found lying in his paddock, unable to get up, he had fractured his leg badly and had to be euthanized. This is a huge loss for the industry and a tragedy for his owners, the people who cared for him (in Canada and in New Zealand) and a great loss for all owners of broodmares.
January 16th 2017
Timing can be weird.....Viva died on Thursday of last week and on Monday I got my new horse! As a child I always dreamed of owning a grey Arabian mare (colour/breed/gender) Now I have one. She is a 5 year old who has been ridden for just one month of her life. I have named her Akeer (which means last one or final in Arabic!) She is at a friend's farm for the next three months, they have an indoor arena so I can work with her every day and their trainer is going to help me to get her going. In the spring she will move back here and then I can ride her in the Ganaraska Forest. Exciting times!
January 9th 2017
We had a very, very sad start to the new year. Viva, our beloved Vizsla was 12 years old on January 5th. She died on her birthday. She had been diagnosed with a brain tumour 18 months ago but with medication her life was "normal" and she ran, played and lived her life fully. Last Thursday she suddenly started to fail and in a short time she could not walk. I took her to the vet and quietly we put her to sleep. Ken helped me bury her in the garden where she played. Velcro is quite confused because she has never been an "only dog" but - knowing her personality- she will actually like getting 100% of the attention!
January 2nd 2017
Happy New Year to all our readers and followers. This message is late today because our internet has been down for 36 hours - welcome to rural life! Yesterday all our weanlings became yearlings so they are more like teenagers now. Owen (the colt who has been inside) lay in his stall and got totally filthy so I gave him his first bath. He sort of liked it and afterwards he looked very pretty. He is black so when he is clean he looks very elegant! Our blacksmith is coming tomorrow so all the yearlings will have their feet trimmed.
December 26th 2016
Well, the winter wallop continues. The farm looks as if it is encased in ice, all the road surfaces look like (and act as) glass! Pat Woods (our Farm Manager) is off for eleven days so Ken and I went to the local Council lot and shoveled a load of sand/salt mixture into the back of the truck. We spread it on the paths the horses use to go to and from the paddocks but it is still very slippery and dangerous. The weanling who is inside (Owen) is usually out for an hour or so each day but now he has to remain indoors because it is too icy for him to go outside. He is not happy!
December 19th 2016
This will be the last update before Christmas so we wish all our friends and followers a wonderful holiday season - peace and prosperity in the New Year.
We have been hit with some serious snow, after a subtle start to December the combination of extreme cold and significant snowfall is not exactly welcome! The horses (and the dogs) find it hard to walk on the crusted ice that sits on top of the snow, there is a lot of slipping and sliding going on. Tony has chosen all the stallions he plans to breed to next year, we have only OK Godiva to breed and we plan to send her to Sunshine Beach (Tony's stallion.)
December 15th 2016
Sorry, the news is late this week - too much happening! The major news at the farm is the sudden and dramatic shift in the weather. After a mild November and a gentle start to December we have been hit with heavy snow and bitterly cold temperatures. It is minus 23 Celsius tonight which is tough on all the horses (not to mention the humans!)This is the first winter for the weanlings and they need to learn to walk and move safely on snow and ice - they are inclined to rush across the paddocks and they fall quite often.
December 5th 2016
We awoke this morning to find the farm blanketed with snow. It is spectacular - glistening white snow shrouds the trees and the property looks like a fairy land. We have one more addition to our equine family - friends of ours bought a weanling colt on Friday and called to ask us if we could look after him. His name is Mac (actually Big Mac and Cheese!) and he, like all the others, is bay with no markings of any kind. All the colts look remarkably alike!
November 28th 2016
We have two new additions to the farm this week. Dancin in the nude is a three year old race mare who has come to us to start a new life as a broodmare. She will be bred in March and deliver her first foal in the spring of 2018. We also have a filly friend for Maddie (our lone filly foal this year) Freya is a Saddlebred, very glamorous and a bright chestnut colour - a very welcome change from all the bay horses we have on the farm!
November 21st 2016
For those of you who live in warm places, this is reality in Ontario at this time of year! On Thursday there was gorgeous sunshine and a high of 18 degrees Celcius. This morning it was minus 9. We pulled the pump from the pond ( the waterfall will resume next spring.) we cleaned up the leaves, tidied the garden and moved more firewood to the house. Clearly, winter has arrived! The horses are all living outside and they are rapidly growing their winter coats.
November 15th 2016
The barn is spotless - power washed from top to bottom, even the floor looks brand new. The farm seems quiet, the yearlings are gone, the weanlings were all weighed today. They have gained between 30-40 lbs in the last month. Our new cat, Spook, has settled in really well. He allows us to pick him up and he seems happy in his new home. He is living in the lab until he gets used to us. He has not met Emmett (our existing barn cat) or the dogs yet, that is a challenge he still has to face!
November 7th 2016
We have a new barn cat! Fluffy, our 16 year old resident cat disappeared six weeks ago. The local animal shelter has a program to collect feral cats from farms (I have no idea how they catch them!) They spay or neuter the cats, give them Rabies shots and then offer them to farms as barn cats. These animals have never been touched or handled in any way so they are quite wild. Our guy is dark grey and the vet estimates he is 18 months old. He came to us just after Halloween so we have named him "Spook." He is settling in well and allows us to stroke him now!
October 31st 2016
It may be Halloween but the work goes on here! This is the biggest "clean-up" week of the year. Now that all the horses are out of the barn, the entire structure will be power washed. The ceilings, all the walls (that is four walls for each of the 17 stalls) and finally the whole floor. Once the whole area is clean it takes three of four days to dry out and then we have a spotless facility - it seems a shame to bring the horses inside to make more mess!
October 24th 2016
The breeding business is an odd blend of great joy (when a mare is confirmed in foal, when a new foal arrives, when one of our graduates wins a race...) and huge loss. We learned today that one of the mares, Day Dream, has lost her foal. She was six months into her eleven month pregnancy but it is hard to know when she actually aborted the foal. She has not been sick or shown any signs of abnormality other than her weight gain was less than we had expected. An ultrasound this morning confirmed that she is not in foal so we will have to rebreed her in the spring.
Two horses are leaving us this week. Matter of Style, the 19 year old matriarch of the Broodmare band is retired and moving to her "Forever home' She has been adopted by a woman with a lot of equine experience so we know she is in good hands. Hayley, the yearling filly who had leg surgery, is going to the Forest City Yearling Sale in London, Ontario on Friday. This is an auction and her buyer will send her to a training centre where she will be prepared for her racing career.
October 10th 2016
Happy Thanksgiving to all our Canadian followers.This year has been tough on the grass and we have been feeding hay all through July, August and September. That means our "winter" supply of hay is depleted so this week we were putting away extra "second cut" hay which is cut later in the year. It is a richer, sweeter hay with more calories and the horses love it! Special thanks to Christine, Cheryl and Johanne who came to help at the last minute. Moving hundreds of bales of hay is not exactly fun but is is absolutely necessary.
P.S. Haley did well on her video, she looked very stylish.
October 3rd 2016
There is one day of the year all breeders dread - Video Day! The yearlings who go to a sale have to have a video to show prospective buyers - so that they can "show off" their action, their conformation and their future talent. We know what they need to do - trot in a straight line for about 45 seconds. We know what they prefer to do - stop dead, race at high speed, turn the wrong way, decide to eat the grass........anything but trot in a straight line. We only have one yearling to film this year and Hammerin Haley could be excellent or dreadful! Wednesday is Video Day so we shall see.
September 26 th 2016
Yesterday one of the broodmares, Racey Date was sold. A driver from PEI called to say he was on his way to pick her up. Usually the owner would call to let us know the transaction had been completed and then the buyer would contact us to arrange the shipping. So, I called Tony and no payment had been made! I called the buyer and because it was Sunday he couldn't get to his Bank. He asked the driver to write a cheque when he got here and then he would repay him in PEI!
Sorry, the news is late this week! We had a Weigh day last week so we had to bring in all the weanlings to weigh them. This is the first time they have come to the barn without their Mums so it was a bit traumatic. Once we had them in the stables we put a halter on each one and then - big deal! - a photo shoot. Each of them was taken out into the sun and Ken took a head shot and a body shot. The new photos are in the Foals section, along with the new racing names.
September 12th 2016
When each foal is born they are given a "Baby name" so we can call them and identify them. Now that they are weaned and away from the mares they graduate to their "Racing name" which will be the official name for the rest of their lives. So, Premier is now Phil's Sun (Sunny) Regal is Royale Elite (Royale) Ray is Goinowen (Owen) Surprise is Ahi (Ahee) and the filly is not Finale but Mademoiselle Tammy (Maddie) Soleil is keeping his name and OK Kudo is ours so he got his real name at birth. They will learn their new names pretty quickly, Soleil and Kudo of course have no change to adjust to!
September 5th 2016
This has been a busy week for me (Caroline) Pat has been off for eleven days so I have had 100% of the work to do! The two fillies (Bubbles and Jackie) loaded beautifully and left quietly to go to their new life as racehorses. Tomorrow the big challenge is weaning the foals, they will be separated from the mares and usually this means a lot of crying and complaining. Tony Infilise came to visit his young horses and he is very pleased with the fine offspring from his stallion Sunshine Beach.
August 31st 2016
Sorry this is late this week, we have serious internet disruptions and cannot access this site (or any other) much of the time. I am back from Ireland (great trip!!) and all is well at the farm. Our two yearling colts left us last week. Johnny and Hudson have moved to Mark Steacy's stable where they will learn to be racehorses. Loading a young horse onto a trailer for the first time is always tricky. They can go on in 5 minutes or 5 hours. Both Hudson and Johnny elected to cooperate and they each walked on calmly and behaved nicely. A big relief!
August 22 2016
Another missive from Ireland. We ( Christine and I) have left the west coast and the riding holiday to spend three days in Dublin. The weather forecast and the actual weather never seem to come close in Ireland! Today was supposed to be cloudy with showers but in fact it has been warm and sunny all day. We are back on Wednesday evening and on Thursday the two yearling colts ( Hudson and Johnny) will leave us to go to their new home - Mark Steacy's training barn.
August 15 th 2016
News from Ireland! We are riding in stunning scenery, glorious weather and I have a HUGE grey horse, he is 17.1 and called Serpico. There are nine riders in the group, three from the States, two from France, two from Germany and Christine and me from Canada. The ride today was ( literally!) up a mountain and back down. The climb up was difficult but the way down was terrifying! A steep descent over rocky terrain with a chasm on one side. Not for the faint of heart.
August 8th 2016
Yesterday we had a very happy day at the farm. Friends of ours whom we have known for over 30 years came to visit - three generations of them! There were ten guests for the day ranging in age from 5 years old to people over 65. They played with the horses, the dogs, the cat and - big fascination for the children - the tadpoles in the pond. John Bailey (our farm pet who is now 24 years old) took the two children for a cart ride and they really enjoyed the experience. The adults raced model boats on the pond and one of the children (Imogen) accidentally went for a swim off the dock! They brought a feast with them and we ate lunch in the garden, it was a truly fabulous day.
August 1st 2016
We are safely home and happy to be back. This week one of the yearlings (Hammerin Haley) is scheduled for surgery. She needs bone chips removed from both her hocks (think elbows on the back legs!) She will travel to the surgery on Wednesday, the procedure is on Thursday and she comes back here on Friday. Today we practiced bandaging her legs so she doesn't panic when they do it after the surgery. She was amazingly good, we can only hope she is this well behaved when she is in a strange environment.
Le 25 juillietI
The date is in French because we sure in Paris! Incroyable. Pat is in charge of the farm and friends are staying at the house to care for Viva and Velcro. This morning we ate breakfast at an open air cafe at the centre de la Republique. It seemed very lovely until soldiers armed with machine guns strolled past us. France has a six month " state of emergency" in effect and everyone seems a little edgy.
July 19 th 2016
Oops, a day late this week! We are travelling to a beach wedding in Malaga, Spain. Pat is in charge of the farm and friends are staying at the house to look after Viva and Velcro. This week has been busy because the Yearlings had to be X-rayed. Every year a vet comes to check that the horses destined to race next summer are " problem free" and can start training safely. He takes 30-40 images per horse. This year four of the five passed with flying colours but the fifth ( Hammering Haley) needs surgery to remove bone chips from her joints.
July 4th 2016
We took a rare break from the farm and flew to Nova Scotia for a wonderful wedding on the weekend. Adria (whom I have known since she was 5!) and Lionel were married in an ocean-side resort south of Halifax. It was a gorgeous setting, a perfect day and a moving ceremony. Adria was radiant, Lionel was proud and I was in tears! We came back to discover that the foals had grown while we were gone! Grace took care of Viva and Velcro and fed the horses - apparently the weekend was uneventful.
June 27th 2016
It is exciting to see the babies we raised at the farm arrive at the racetrack and start their racing career. The first group of yearlings that came from Quebec are now three year olds and starting to show their speed. SASS is in an important race tonight, he has won his last two starts and is the favourite in his group. OK Iceman is also racing well, he is a big, strong colt and shows more promise this year than he did last year.
The next set of babies are now two and Both Mon and Jasmine have qualified well. Makasi and Western Phil (whom we called Felipe) have also qualified and are ready to race. Meanwhile the yearlings on the farm are growing very fast and will soon be ready to leave and begin work at the training facilities.
June 21st 2016
This week is Hay week - another really demanding effort! Luckily there are several teenagers in the community who actually like to unload the hay wagons and stack the bales ten high in the old hay barn. They put away 1200 bales yesterday with more to come.
This morning our resident Mallard showed up with her nine babies in tow! The ducklings are very active and love playing in the pond but we need to keep the dogs (and the cat) away from them because the mother duck panics when any predators show up.
June 13 th 2016
There is always a huge amount of maintenance on a farm. This week Pat is working on a massive undertaking - replacing fence lines. Posts that have rotted at the base need to be removed, new holes created and new posts installed. Then all the boards have to be replaced, perfectly straight! While all this is happening the horses have to be elsewhere so there is a lot of juggling going on. It has been eleven years since all the fences were built so they have lasted well.
June 6th 2016
This is an exciting time of year in the racing side of the industry. The "babies" we sent to the Training Centers last Fall have been jogging for hundreds of miles in preparation for their racing debut. In the next few weeks they will run in a Qualifier which means they race from behind a Starting gate over a one mile distance which they must complete in under two minutes. When they accomplish this "test" they are ready to race! In addition the three year olds who have been resting over the winter months are now back on the track. OK Iceman had his first victory of the year this week. His 2 year old sister is OK Jasmine so it will be fun to see her race very soon. (Both these horses are owned by our partner, Tony Infilise.)
May 30th 2016
This week we had a dilemma with Ray, the foal of Racey Date. He was kicked by one of the other mares and developed a huge swelling on his left stifle (Just below his hip) We ruled out a fracture or a bruise and eventually discovered he had a massive abscess. Our vet tried to drain it but it was so large he needed two incisions cut into the area. The puss poured out, more than a litre of debris was expelled. It was quite gross! He has been on a heavy dose of antibiotics and the wounds have been flushed several times but today he is full of beans and playing outside, he seems none the worse for all the trauma.
May 23rd 2016
This summer my riding partner ( Christine Penney) and I are planning to ride on the Atlantic Coast ride in Ireland. In order to do this we need to be able to ride for 5-6 hours a day for a week. We are preparing by riding three days a week in the Ganaraska Forest ( an 11,000 acre paradise for riders! ) The weather lately has been perfect and riding through groves of Triliums is an extraordinary experience. We ride Aiden ( a Welsh pony cross with a Thorougbred) and Chiquita, a former Polo pony now now learning to be a trail horse.
May 16th 2016
Well we are almost finished the breeding season, Tammy will be bred this afternoon and she is the last one so if she is pregnant the mares are all ready for next year. It is also a Weigh Day today, the biggest foal is Soleil and he gained over 100 lbs in the last month - he is huge! The yearlings are also gaining and growing fast, they are adding about an inch every month and look more and more like "grown-ups" and less like young colts and fillies. The weather has been very weird - it actually snowed here on the weekend, not what we want or expect in May!
May 9th 2016
Once all the foals are born it would be logical to think that life at the farm gets quieter. Not true! We are heavily involved in breeding all the mares and making sure they are pregnant for next spring. They are often bred 9-10 days after they foal and the gestation period is eleven months. Our vet is here on Monday, Wednesday and Friday every week because those are the days semen is collected from the stallions. We have checks to see "Can this mare be bred today?" After breeding we check 48 hours later to ask "Has she ovulated?" 14 days later we do a preg check "Does she have an embryo?" and finally 16 days later we look to see whether the foal has a visible heartbeat. This morning one of the mares (Delight) is ready to breed so this afternoon we will go and collect the semen from the Stallion farm and then she will be bred about 5.00pm today.
May 2nd 2016
Yesterday we had a wonderful day at the farm. Tony and Betty Infilise held a "Family Day" for a large contingent of their relatives. Many of the attendees were children who had never been close to a horse before. Their faces were a delight to see! A common comment from the little ones when they touched a foal was "He is so soft!" They met all seven of the new arrivals and both mares and foals seemed to enjoy all the attention. This week all the horses will be moving outside so they will live out for the balance of the year.
Our last foal of the year arrived at 2.30am. Tammy delivered her first foal and after a string of six colts we now have a filly. The very feminine baby has been named Finale and unfortunately she will not have any playmates when we separate the colts and fillies. We will need to find her a buddy to join her next December. So the first four foals ( Premier, OK Kudo, Regal and Surprise ) are living outside
now and the next three ( Soleil, Ray and Finale) will join them over the next two weeks.
April 17th 2016
Typically, Racey Date has foaled 7-9 days early. This year she chose to go 12 days late! She delivered her foal this evening at 9.45pm. He is yet another colt, black with no markings. We have named him Ray as his baby name. He is a son of Sunshine Beach so an option is to name him Ray of Sunshine when he races!Only one foal still to come, after six boys in a row we need another boy - a filly foal on her own is not a good idea.Tammy is due in 48 hours so we really hope she keeps to the timeline.
April 11th 2016
Racey Date is now six days overdue and Tammy is due in one week, maybe they could combine and deliver on the same day. Meanwhile, the breeding effort is well underway. Both Racey Miss and OK Godiva have been confirmed in foal and three others have been bred and are waiting for the preg check date. We will breed Hazel this afternoon (Mother of Surprise) The new foal is called Soleil (His sire is Sunshine Beach.)
April 10th 2016
Well it seems that this is the year of the colt - five in a row! Heather's Delight had a big, strong, leggy colt at seven minutes past midnight. He is a half brother to No Worries Mon who is training in Quebec and will start his racing career this summer. This colt, like the others is bay and has no white markings anywhere on his body. It is going to be hard to tell these boys apart when they are turned out as a group!
April 2nd 2016
Hard to believe but this morning Hazel delivered a beautiful colt at 10.15 am - out in the paddock. She had an easy delivery and we brought the colt inside within two minutes. It was a gorgeous, sunny day so both mare and foal coped very well. We have had three foals in the last four days - exciting times! We have named the new foal Surprise because of his unusual arrival, he is the baby brother to Hudson Phil (yearling) and Makasi (2 year old.)
March 31st 2016
Two in a row!! Jennie has started a trend, this evening Day Dream delivered her colt at 8.40pm. His father is called Royalty for Life so we have named the new foal Regal until he gets his racing name. He too is a bay boy with a tiny white star on his face and a few white spots on one front foot. He has very long legs so he is quite wobbly when he gets to his feet! We have had pouring rain here all day so no photos yet of Kudo or Regal but we will post them as soon as we get decent pictures.
March 30th 2016
At long, long, long, long last Jennie has delivered her foal! 27 days late, he arrived at 2.15am. He is a big, strong, tall baby and (like Premier) he has no markings. He belongs to us so he will be named using the prefix OK and this is the "K" year so he is called OK Kudo. He has the same sire as Premier so the two "brothers" will grow up and play together.
March 28th 2016
It is hard to write these words but....we have no new foals. Jennie is now 25 days late, she is huge and looks as if she could deliver "any minute" but she just keeps going. Style is three days late but usually goes ten days or more past her due date so this is normal for her. Day Dream is due today, Hazel and Racey Date are due on April 5th. Both of them look close so at this rate the April foals may arrive ahead of the March babies. We could have three or four all in one night! At the moment, any foal would be welcome.
March 21st 2016
It is hard to believe but Jennie has not foaled yet! In the past she has been as much as 14 days overdue but now she is 18 days late. Everything about her looks ready, it is as if she has a brain block and has decided not to deliver this foal. Meanwhile Racey Miss (the mother of Premier) has been bred, she will be checked to see if she is pregnant on April 4th. Her colt is gaining weight at an impressive rate - he was born on March 10th at 105 lbs and today he is 147. (42 lbs in eleven days!)
March 14th 2016
Jennie is now 11 days late. She is enormous and when she walks she moves like a tortoise! At the opposite end of the scale is the new foal, Premier. He tears around the paddock and is full of beans. He refuses to follow his mother, he certainly has a mind of his own at just four days old. His picture is in the Foal section of our web site and we hope to be able to add Jennie's foal VERY soon.
Here is Premier playing in the paddock 12 hours old.
March 10th 2016
Our first foal of the year is here - Racey Miss delivered a colt at 1.30am. He is long legged and very active. His baby name is Premier because he is the first foal for this mare, the first foal by the sire Sunshine Beach born at our farm and the first foal of the year. He is dark bay and has no white markings. Photos will follow tomorrow.
March 7th 2016
Unfortunately, there are no birth announcements yet! Jennie is five days late (she is always late) and Missy is due tomorrow. The weather is supposed to get much warmer this week (possibly 16 degrees Celsius) which should accelerate the chances of a delivery. Caroline has set up her fold away bed in the office and Heather will start Foal Watch as soon as the mares look imminent. A birth announcement will be posted for each foal on this page, pictures will follow under the Foal tab at the top of the page. There are eight foals due in the next five weeks.
February 29th 2016
It seems that spring is here! Yesterday was 12C, a record for this date. The mares and yearlings are all rolling in the mud, usually they would be rolling in the snow but we don't have any. We are about a week away from our first foal of the year and all of us are anxious to meet the new babies. The first three mares due are all bred to Sunshine Beach (owned by Tony Infilise) and since this is his first crop of babies we are curious to know how they will look. There are some super photos of him on the web site where he stands www.seelsterfarms.com
February 22nd 2016
We had a tragic loss this week, Fanciful aborted her foal six weeks before her due date. This mare has had six successful pregnancies in six years and there was no sign of any problem this time. It is rare for a mare to lose a foal so late in the pregnancy but we think perhaps there was an infection in the placenta which caused her to abort. The foal's lungs were not fully developed and so she could not survive. Fanciful is recovering well and she will be bred in a month's time to have another foal next year.
February 15th 2016
Today was busy, a weigh day for all the horses and the blacksmith came to trim all of them too. The mares are really huge so we try to get their feet done about a month before they foal. One of the colts - Johnny- had got his halter off so we could not lead him inside, we assumed he would follow his buddy Hudson and then once he was in the barn we could put on a new halter. He had other ideas! He dashed all over the farm, looking very much a racehorse. We finally drove him into the barn, put him in a stall and got his halter on.
February 8th 2016
So last week we visited the young horses and this week we visited the stallions. We went to Tara Hills to see "He's Watching" a new sire this year. We were considering breeding our young mare, OK Godiva, to him however when we met him he was surprisingly small and we have chosen to breed her to a bigger sire. Next we saw Royalty to Life, a trotting stallion who has been bred to Day Dream. Her foal is due at the end of March and we wanted to see what the Dad looked like. The answer is "Impressive"! In addition we saw the first foal born this year at Tara Hills - a filly foal by Royalty for Life. She is very beautiful and we hope Day Dream will have a foal just like her.
February 1st 2016
Global warming is alive and well! Normally we would have three or four feet of snow and brutally cold temperatures. Instead, it was 6C today and we can actually see grass! Our visit to see the young racehorses was great fun. Shanghai Lady (the filly) has grown the most and she looks very strong and athletic. Makasi (Caroline's favourite) is not very big but he is training well and seems to like his job. Western Phil (called Felipe here) was a bit of a challenge early on but has settled into the new routine and is making good progress. We also saw several of the young horses Tony had bought at the Fall Sales. One of them, Tuxedo Bay, is truly impressive - we are looking forward to seeing him race in the summer.
January 25th 2016
While our lives are a little quieter (before the foaling starts) we have the chance to take the time to visit other facilities. This week we plan to go to see Mark Steacy, the man who trains all the Hudson horses. The yearlings we sent to him on October (Western Phil, Makasi and Shanghai Lady) are now two year olds and are learning how to be racehorses. They are jogging on the track for several miles a week and gradually they increase their speed until they are able to qualify and actually start racing in August.
January 18 th 2016
The bitter cold means all the mares are inside every night. That allows our grooming team to return. Andree and Diana are back for the third year, Jenny is here for her second year and Johanne has joined us recently. Every person has two mares to care for, each horse is groomed in their stable so that the mares get used to us being close to them. We are 6-7 weeks away from the first foal date so there is lots of time to get ready.
January 11th 2016
Well, winter has certainly arrived, we had lows of minus 18C this week. The mares (and John Bailey) came in at night. They have not been inside since last June and oddly enough they seem disoriented and uncomfortable the first couple of times they are in. We had put John Bailey and OK Godiva in different parts of the barn and they called and fussed and crashed around their boxes as if the Universe was ending. The second night we moved John Bailey across the aisle from Godiva and they were both completely quiet. Love!
January 7th 2016
The news is late this week, we have been overwhelmed by the loss of 43 horses at Classy Lane Training Centre. The trainer who lost all his horses, Ben Wallace is a friend and has trained our horses in the past. He has dedicated his life to racing and as he said in a radio interview "I have nothing." It is hard to imagine the loss and trauma for the grooms who cared for and loved these horses every single day. The Standardbred community is rallying to help all those who were affected but it will take months and years for them to put their lives back together.
This is the last week of the year we will have weanlings on the farm. On January 1st all racehorses celebrate their birthdays! Thoroughbreds, Standardbreds and Quarterhorses all are registered according to the year of their birth. So, on Friday Hudson, Johnny, Haley, Bubbles and Jackie will all be one - referred to as yearlings. Meanwhile the weather has changed dramatically. Christmas Eve was a record 15 degrees, today it is minus 10 with snow on the ground and freezing rain coming down in sheets!
December 21st 2015
This will be the last posting before Christmas so we wish all our readers a wonderful holiday season and every happiness in the year to come. Later this week, Tony and Betty Infilise are coming to visit, they have not seen the foals since May so they will find them seriously bigger. In addition, the mares are now in their final trimester so they are really round and the foals are kicking and active, we can feel them moving inside the womb. The warm weather is a great relief, no slogging through snow and slipping on ice!
December 16th 2015
This week we are holding our Annual "Thank you luncheon" for our staff and suppliers. This is our chance to thank the vets, farriers, feed supplier, hay provider and especially the staff who work so hard. We are very fortunate to have very loyal partners and many of our suppliers have been with us for a decade. We also want to thank all the friends and visitors who come to the farm and celebrate the wonderful life we lead. Finally, none of this would be possible without our business partners, Tony and Betty Infilise. Without them, our farm would not exist!
December 7th 2015
No news lat week, sorry!! Pat undertook the worst job of the whole year power washing the entire barn. The ceiling, the walls, all the stalls and the floor. Friends came to visit yesterday and their comment was "You could eat off the floor in here!" Not exactly what we practice but an interesting observation. This mild weather is a great relief and the horses are still grazing out in the paddocks - this time last year we were buried in snow.
October 24th 2015
Usually when we bring in a young horse for "Remedial help" it takes 24-48 hours before they are calm and ready to work with us. For Johnny it took six days!! He was so panicked he would not allow us to touch him. Eventually he lay down and rested which is always a good sign. By Sunday (Day 7) we could catch him, stroke him, lead him and feed him from our hands. Now he is back outside with his buddy, Hudson, but he comes back in for his meals.
November 16th 2015
Today is a Weigh day and now that we have no yearlings left here it seems much calmer! All the weanlings came in quietly and were weighed (Hudson is the biggest at 666lbs) except Johnny (Johnathan Quick.) He likes to argue and he prefers not to do what he is asked to do. He is staying inside for the week so we can work with him every day. By the time he goes back outside he will have learned to stand quietly, lead quietly and walk in and out of his stable quietly!
November 9th 2015
Our last two yearlings were scheduled to leave yesterday but were "re scheduled" for tomorrow. However, we learned tonight that No Worries Mon and OK Jasmine will actually leave on Thursday, or maybe Sunday! They will travel to a training facility two hours north of Montreal so it will be a long trip. Once they are ready to race they will be moved to the States because they both have American sires so there are more lucrative opportunities for them outside Canada. The farm will seem quiet without any yearlings to attend to.
November 2nd 2015
We spent a very different weekend....at a Hallowe'en wedding! The ceremony was "normal" but at the reception people were encouraged to wear costumes. The bride added angel wings to her wedding dress! We left the farm in the capable hands of Grace Demill and Sara Brady. Both these young women have shown great maturity and competence in their roles here and we returned to find happy dogs (thank you Grace) a spotless barn and all the horses grazing quietly in the paddocks.
October 25th 2015
My apologies (again!) to our faithful followers. I have taken on a new project (outside the farm) which is taking a huge amount of my time and energy. However, last Saturday we went to Woodbine to meet our partners, Tony and Betty Infilise. We shared a wonderful meal with them while we watched the Breeders Crown race card. This is THE premier night of racing in North America - over $6,000,000 in prizes. The best of the best raced in various categories and the Champions are the equivalent of the Olympic Gold medalists. It was an inspiration to see these equine athletes at their best, hopefully some of the foals we deliver in the spring will join their ranks!
October 19th 2015
Apologies, last week's news was missing! Today our blacksmith is here to trim the Broodmares (11 of them) the yearlings (four still with us) and the weanlings (the five born here last spring.) The young ones tend to get a little panicky so strong hands are important! On Friday Shadow Phil and Vee Breeze are leaving here to go to the Forest City yearling Sale (in London.) They will be auctioned and go from the sale to a training barn where they will learn to be racehorses.
October 5th 2015
We are in the process of selling our three year old racehorses. OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah will all be sold this month. The trainers do a big turnover at this time of year because the Sales start now and they all rush out and buy "babies" - actually yearlings who will be trained all winter and ready to race next summer. The three year olds get moved on and the new purchases take their place. These three have given us a lot of pleasure over the past two years, it will be hard to see them go.
September 28th 2015
Two of the yearlings here are destined to go to a sale at the end of October. That means that before they leave they have to learn to behave nicely! They need to be groomed, have their feet picked out, stand in cross-ties, have a bath and even allow us to vacuum them. Shadow and Breeze are doing well but today is their first bath - always an interesting experience!
September 21st 2015
Friday night at the races was a big disappointment. We had hoped that all three fillies would be in the Final of the OSS Grassroots. OK Heavenly left the gate in seventh position and finished the race eigth! OK Hallelujah just made it into the top five so she will be in the Final. OK Heartbeat raced beautifully for three quarters of the mile and then faded badly in the final section. The Final is on Saturday (September 26th) and we will watch it from home.
Today is a weigh day at the farm and the first time the foals have been weighed without their mothers - quite a challenge! The babies are gaining an average of about 55 lbs a month and weigh between 442 lbs (Prima) and 573lbs (Hudson) Our thanks to Heather who came and helped us. Pudong Phil (a 2 year old we had here as a yearling) ran a superb race last night and had his first victory. Our big race is the OSS Grassroots semi-finals on Friday night, OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah will be trying to make the Finals.
September 7th 2015
Well, a hectic day here today! We weaned the five foals this morning - lots of wailing and complaining but tonight all is quiet. We went to Mohawk tonight to watch our three fillies race. OK Heartbeat ran very well and was just squeezed out of second place to be a very close third. OK Heavenly ran well too, she finished third in her race. The big surprise was OK Hallelujah who was racing against the toughest competition and raced beautifully to pull off an upset victory. She roared across the finish line and did not even look tired.This posting is going up at 11.55pm just as we got home.
August 31st 2015
The weather has suddenly changed here and we are expecting very hot and humid conditions (with a high of 38 degrees forecast!) We had planned to wean the five foals this week but will postpone that until the weather is cooler. The stress of separation from the mares in conjunction with high temperatures is really not a good scenario for them. Shanghai Lady has returned from her leg surgery and is on stall rest for two weeks - she is not a fan of having her bandages changed!
August 18th 2015
This is a day late this week, BC time! We have had wonderful experiences on Vancouver Island ( including tea at the Empress Hotel!) and a visit with the Gilley family to see their breeding operation. Paul was named Breeder of the year in BC this year. Also to Bowen Island where we stayed with our friends Gail and Colin in their magnificent beachfront property. Now in Langley with Fred ( who also breeds and owns Standardbreds) and his wife Lorraine,
We are leaving today for a rare trip away from the farm. We are travelling to BC - a combination of visits to see friends, travel around Vancouver Island and a chance to see Jewel, a mare we sold last year. Since then she has had her colt so we will meet Jules Verne! Pat is managing the farm for us and Zolt and Eva are taking care of the dogs. Our fillies are racing at Mohawk on Friday so we will watch them on line.
August 3rd 2015
To all our Canadian folllowers, Happy long weekend! Finally, some good news. On Saturday our three year old fillies raced in the OSS series. Neither Hallelujah nor Heartbeat did very well but Heavenly won her race. At the end of the series (end of August) the top 20 fillies in the series race for the semi-finals and then the top ten go to the finals. So far, both Heartbeat and Heavenly are in the top 20 so we hope they continue to race well and are at their peak for the two big races in September.
July 27th 2015
Another brutal week - how can this be? Our four year old mare. Godiva - in foal with her first pregnancy -bred to one of the top stallions in North America has lost the foal. An ultrasound this morning showed that the foal has died. Now we have to help her dispel the fetus and make sure she does not develop an infection or any complications. She is the daughter of Double Creme, our first broodmare so this was to be our "grandbaby". Not a good experience for the mare or the people on the farm.
July 20th 2015
Sometimes this business can be brutal. On Friday morning we went to feed the horses and found Jackpot in his paddock on three legs. He had tripped or fallen during the night and hurt himself badly. We called our vet and he came and took X-rays. Terrible news, this young colt (15 months old) had shattered his shoulder. It could not be repaired and so we had to put him down at once. This was Ken's favourite horse and all of us were devastated by the sudden loss of an animal we had raised since birth. A very special thank you to our friend and neighbour, Greg Rolph, who came with his backhoe and helped us bury Jackpot on the farm.
July 13th 2015
There is one day of the year that all breeders dread - "Tattoo Day"! This is when the Standardbred Canada official comes to the farm and freeze brands the foals. The tattoo, applied to the right side of the neck, is their permanent ID number and it will be checked before every race they run. The foals have to come inside (with the mares of course) and then have halters on - a new experience. They have to be perfectly still for the ten seconds it takes for the brand to work, ten seconds seems like an eternity to a young animal who just wants to escape! This year all the foals were amazingly good, they were far more settled and easier to manage than any other group. The Tattoo man was impressed - and very grateful.
July 6th 2015
We had an exciting race on Sunday afternoon. Both OK Heavenly amd OK Heartbeat raced in the Kin Pace in Clinton, Ontario. They both raced well and we were happy to see Heavenly finish second and Heartbeat finish fourth. It is also hay season, delayed by the constant rain but this weekend our hay crew put in over 2000 bales (including Mackenzie who said he would never do this again!) Thank you to all those strong, young people who toiled in the sun to get the hay stacked.
June 29th 2015
Our trio of three year olds raced at Clinton this week in the eliminations for the Kin Pace race next week. Two of the three raced very well, OK Heartbeat finished second in her division and OK Heavenly was a very close second in her race. The draw for the finals favours OK Heavenly (Post position 3) but OK Heavenly has the dreaded Post position 8. This is the time of year the two year olds qualify and begin their racing careers. SASS qualified last week and OK Iceman is expected to quailify this week.
June 22nd 2015
In January 2014 we sold virtually all our horses - including the "I babies" Ishtar, Imagine, Icon and Iceman. Last Thursday OK Icon qualified - he is now a raecehorse! He is in New York but we can watch his races on the internet. We expect OK Iceman to qualify in the next couple of weeks so at least two of that group will be earning a living. We had an Open House at the farm this week - about 50 people came from a local Probus Club, they had boxed lunches and ate a picnic in the garden. They loved the foals - and also the dogs!
June 15th 2015
We had a good evening at the races on Saturday - Hallelujah did not race well and finished 8th. Heavenly ran very well, she finished 3rd but the first three horses were all within half a length (that is half the length of a horse's body!) Heartbeat shone! She won her race so Suzie and Zarum joined us in the Winners Circle for a "Win picture." Today was a Weigh Day here, every horse was weighed. The rain has made the paddocks lush and they are all gaining fast. The foals each gained between 80 and 90 lbs in the last month!
June 8th 2015
Good news, Tammy has one foal rather than the two we were concerned about. All the mares look really well and it is exciting to know that we can expect eleven foals next spring. The heavy rain here this week has been very welcome, the paddocks needed the moisture and the grass is growing quickly. On Saturday (June 13th) we are going to Georgian Downs to watch our fillies race. OH Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah will all be at the track that night. Our friends, Suzie and Zarum are joing us for the evening so we are hoping for good results!
June 1st 2015
Big news on both fronts this week! Our breeding season is complete (we hope) Eleven of the eleven mares we have bred have been confirmed pregnant. There is a possibility that Tammy (the last mare bred) might be carrying twins but we shall have to wait a few days to find out. If that is true, we will need to remove one of them. Meanwhile, the three year olds - OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah all come out in great form this week. Hallelujah finished first in her race, Heavenly was second and Heartbeat was fourth. The Hudson horses are coming back to the track too and we are looking forward to seeing the two year olds race. Shanghai Warrior, Pudong Phil, OK Iceman and SASS all lived with us last year and we are anxious to see them in their new role - racehorses.
May 25th 2015
This morning we had another preg check - Heather's Delight is in foal. Also, we had a "Heartbeat check" for Day Dream. 30 days after the mares are bred, we can actually see the embryo's heartbeat on the ultrasound - this is the final proof that we have a viable pregnancy. So now ten of the eleven mares are confirmed pregnant, only Tammy is to come and her preg test is on Friday this week.
May 18th 2015
My sincere apologies for missing the news last week - just too much going on! We are "finished" our breeding season. We had eleven mares to breed and they are all done. Nine of them have been confirmed in foal and two of them have preg checks later this month (Delight, May 22nd and Tammy, May 29th) This will be our largest crop of foals so next spring will be a very thrilling season. Meanwhile, we weighed our foals and they are certainly thriving, Hudson weighed 129lbs when he was born (March 24th) and he is now 277lbs!
May 4th 2015
We had a wonderful, joy-filled weekend at the farm! On Saturday, Tony and Betty Infilise (Owners of Hudson Standardbreds) and our partners in the new breeding operation brought their family members to visit. The group covered three generations and each and every one of them was enthralled by the foals. In addition, we hitched John Bailey to the cart and he took our guests on a "tour" of the farm. On Sunday, we held an Open House for Landmark Stables, a group of owners working with Mark Steacy and Howard Pearce. They all own and watch racehorses but they have never seen a broodmare, a foal or a yearling so the Oak Knoll world was all new to them. All our visitors asked to come back - apparently playing with new foals is an addictive activity!
April 27th 2015
Today's news should have been another Birth Announcement but Delight has chosen to ignore her due date (April 25th) and is till pregnant. However, the five foals we have to date are loving the change in the weather - they race around in the sunshine, bucking and leaping and full of energy. Our race horses are back in action and the four year olds (The G babies) are performing well OK Gemma had a big win this week, OK Gorgeous is racing well and OK Gladiator and OK Galahad have all done well.
Tonight (Sunday, April 19th) Racey Date produced a lovely filly. We had been told she always foals a week early but at this farm she chose to go a week late! She was restless and fidgety all day and at 11.16pm she delivered a long-legged filly. We are naming the new addition "Pippa" because she is the daughter of Shanghai Phil. She looks very like her sister, Shanghai Lady so there is clearly a strong influence from the parents.
DOUBLE BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT!!
For the first time ever at our farm, we had two foals arrive on the same day. Even more remarkable was that one of them arrived on his due date - only the third foal to do so of the over 60 we have delivered here. Fanciful had her Mach Three colt at 12.33am. Twenty minutes later, Armbro Equinox ("Equo") had her filly foal by Muscle Mass. Both mares and both foals are doing well and all of them have been outside this morning. Pat has named the duo, he recently won the NCCA Basketball pool and the winning team was Duke so the colt is called Duke ( who weighs 135lbs) and the filly is Duchess.(She is 104lbs) These are "baby names" till they get their racing names later in the year. Now Racey Date could foal at any minute......
16 days after her due date, Matter of Style delivered her filly foal at 5.30am today (April 10th) We have given the foal a barn name of "Prima" becuase she is the first filly foal born here this year. She is a pretty girl with no white markings. Style is an experienced Mum and is very attentive to her new offspring. Now we have three other mares due "any minute" so we are hoping Style has started a trend.
April 6th 2015
Happy Easter to all our readers. We had expected one,two or maybe three foals this weekend but so far - no new arrivals. Style is 12 days late, Equo is due today, Racey Date is due on the 11th but usually foals a week early and Fanciful is due on the 13th but often foals before her due date. Meanwhile on Friday we bred three mares - Missy, Tammy and Day Dream are all expected to foal in early March of 2016.Since they were all bred on the same day it would be great fun if they all foaled on the same day too!
March 30, 2015
So, Hudson goes outside with his mum every morning and every afternoon. She rolls in the mud and gets filthy and he plays and bucks and looks adorable! We are breeding Jennie to Sunshine Beach today and will probably breed two more (Tammy and Missy) this week and possibly Day Dream as well. Style is five days overdue and there are three other mares close to their delivery dates. We could have an onslaught of foals next week.
March 24th 2015
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT Our first foal of the year has arrived! Hazel delivered a healthy colt at 5.00am this morning. He is named Hudson in honour of our Business partner - Hudson Standardbred Stables Inc. He has very long legs and no white markings other than a few white hairs on his face. Hazel is very attentive and loving with her son, she is a great Mum.
March 23rd 2015
Hazel has still not foaled....but the open mares (those that are not in foal now) are ready to breed. We have special lights on their boxes that extend the "daylight" hours so the mares think it is spring. OK Godiva will be bred today, Day Dream later this week and probably three more next week. As soon as they are confirmed in foal (sixteen days after they are bred) they can go and live outside and just play until next spring when they will deliver the new babies. Ken is on his way to Tara Hills Stud farm on a "semen run" to bring the stallion semen here so we can breed OK Godiva.
March 16th 2015
Given that all the mares are bred using artificial insemination, we can be very precise about when they were bred and when they are due. After 11 months of waiting it would be really nice if they met the dates as expected! Hazel was due yesterday but apparently that does not matter to her. In the ten years we have been breeding, the earliest foal born was 19 days too soon, the longest pregnancy went 30 days past the due date. Obviously we are hoping that they are all close so watch this space for birth announcements - - soon!
March 9th 2015
Our business partner,Tony Infilise, is standing one of his horses as a stallion this year. Sunshine Beach is a son of Somebeachsomewhere - arguably the greatest pacer of all time. Tony is breeding five of his mares to Sunshine Beach and we are breeding one of ours (Jennie) so next spring we expect to have six of his progeny at the farm. Everyone hopes that this young stallion will pass on the speed genes that have made his family famous!
March 2nd 2015
This is the time of year when the racehorses get back to the track after a winter rest. Several of our "Graduates" have been racing really well. In the F group, OK Fame and OK Ferrari have had recent victories. In the G group (now 4 years old) OK Gorgeous, OK Gladiator, and OK Galahad have all stood in the winner's circle recently. In the next couple of weeks the H group will be racing - OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat, OK Hallelujah and OK Hercules. Later this summer the I babies will start to race as two year olds - OK Imagine, OK Icon, OK Ishtar and OK Iceman.
Februray 23rd 2015
Today two of the mares (Hazel and Style) had their pre-foaling shots. This is an exciting milestone because it means they are one month from foaling. The gestation period is eleven months, so we are almost there! The vaccinations are given now so that the effects are passed through the placenta and umbilical cord to the foal. The babies are born with built in immunity so they do not need to have any immunization until they are six months old.
February 16th 2015
For those of you not living in Southern Ontario - good decision! The weather here is brutal, record cold and temperatures as low as minus 40 celcius. Yes, we are Canadians and "enjoy" the winter but this is really tough on humans and horses. Yesterday all the mares remained indoors for the entire day. When we put them out this morning they were delirious with joy- racing, bucking, playing and rolling in the snow.Pat commented that the embryos will arrive with "shaken baby syndrome" if the mares keep tearing around like this!
February 9th 2015
To continue the grooming news.....we have three ladies who come to the barn and help groom the mares. Two of them (Andree and Diana) were here last year and Jenny has joined the team this year. They are each allocated two mares and they love caring for the Mums. When the foals are born they take great delight in meeting the new babies and treat the offspring as their own! None of these people have ever owned a horse or cared for a broodmare before but they enjoy the process of brushing and caring for the mares while the foals are growing.
February 2nd 2015
Some of our readers will know from past years that this is when we start grooming the pregnant mares in preparation for their delivery. Until now, all the mares have belonged to us and we have had them here for several years so we know how they react, what each one likes best and what needs to be avoided. This year we have eight new mares (the Hudson horses) and it is great fun learning which are the quietest, which ones are nervous or tense, which ones are appreciative and which ones are disinterested. We still have Jennie (been wih us for 12 years) and Fanciful (been here six years) and also OK Godiva who was born and raised here but has been away as a racehorse for the last two years.
January 26th 2015
One of the yearling colts, Shadow, cut his foot two weeks ago. He stayed inside for two weeks but now he is back outside. Before he goes out to join his buddies (they all eat breakfast inside the barn) we change his bandage and check his wound. When we put him out he calls and whinnies for his friends as if he has been separated for hours (as opposed to ten minutes.) He is the smallest of the colts but he has a very heavy winter coat so he looks like a small, dark, teddy bear. He is very affectionate and adorable so visitors to the farm are all drawn to him - he is a magnet to children!
January 19th 2015
One of the hardest things about this business is the necessity to sell a horse you have owned and loved for many years. We made that tough choice this week and sold Mary Artman (known as Merry.) She has been with us for six years and has given us a series of wonderful colts. She is the oldest of our mares and now that OK Godiva is here (our four year old mare) it is time for Merry to move on. She is going to a wonderful home in Ohio so we are happy to learn that she will be loved and pampered there just as she has been here.
January 12th 2015
The mares are enjoying coming inside every night - probably because dinner awaits! In addition, two of the yearlings are now on stall rest. Shadow cut his foot and needs to have it bandaged every day. He is staying in so that the bandage does not get wet (or frozen) in the snow. OK Jackpot has injured his stifle and he too needs to rest until we can make a decision about whether or not he requires surgery.
January 5th 2015
This brutal weather is causing more work on the farm. Last night all the mares came inside (12 of them) and they will remain in at night until after they foal or after they are confirmed pregnant for the ones that are not in foal now. The only horse upset by the new routine is John Bailey, our 22 year old farm pet. His best friend and field mate is Jennie and she is now inside becuase she will be bred in April. Meanwhile, Bailey stays out at night and joins the yearling colts so he has friends and playmates. Apparently, these boys are not a worthy replacement for Jennie so Bailey calls for her and fusses until he gets back with her the next morning. He will get used to the new system eventually but for now he is pining for his lady!
December 29th 2014
This will be the last news item of 2014-and what a year it has been! In January, we decided to close Oak Knoll Stables. In February we sold most of our horses. In March we tried to rent the farm and failed. In April we discussed selling the farm and moving (no idea where!) Then a huge change (see below) The Hudson yearlings arrived in June and in the first week one of the colts fell and broke his shoulder. In August the broodmares and foals arrived and brought with them a devastating disease. Six horses were in intensive care for three weeks with only Ken and I here to care for them. Our Farm Manager had broken his hand and was off for a month. The farm was quarantined for two months. We were living a nightmare.
However, despite all this stress and distress two remarkable things happened this year. We met Tony and Betty Infilise, Standardbred owners from Montreal. The farm where they kept their horses was sold and they needed to move their yearlings, broodmares and foals and they asked us to partner with them to manage their breeding operation. (Their business is Hudson Standardbred Stables Inc.) Oak Knoll Stables is now in full swing with 22 horses on site and seven foals due in the spring. Tony and Betty are wonderful to work with and have a true love of the animals. It has been an absolute joy to meet them and build this new enterprise. The second milestone of the year was our wedding - September 1st 2014. Ken and I asked 40 close friends and family members to come to the farm for a "Celebration" of our new business. Then we announced it was a wedding! It was a perfect day and after ten years together we are now legally Man and Wife.
December 22nd 2014
Our herd is complete! This week the final two Hudson horses arrived at the farm so now they are all here. Missy (a daughter of Racey Date) and Tammy have left the racing world to join the Broodmare band. They will both be bred this spring and will have their first foals in 2016. So, we have seven pregnant mares, five "open" mares and nine weanlings and also John Bailey (the farm pet!) 22 horses here now and seven foals due in March and April.
December 15th 2014
Today is a Weigh Day at the farm.Every horse on the property comes into the barn and walks onto our scale. The weights are recorded once a month and we also measure the height of the young horses (foals, weanlings and yearlings.) Today was great - the two smallest weanlings (Shadow and Breeze) have gained the most and also grown an inch in the last 30 days. The two largest weanlings (Shanghai Lady and OK Jackpot) gained a moderate amount and grew half an inch . The broodmares are in their last trimester and you can often see the foals moving and kicking, all the mares are very round!
December 8th 2014
We are expecting two new mares here shortly but before they get here we need to complete one of the big cleaning tasks of the year. The whole barn is power washed - the ceiling followed by all the walls and then the floors. It is a mammoth effort but the best tinme to do it is when no horses are inside. We received a video of Tony D this week, he is working well in his new home and they love him as much as we did
December 1st 2014
How did December get here so fast?! This week we had one more departure. Bree, the three year old Morgan mare I havebeen riding this summer has returned to her owner and will be preparing for a year in the Show ring before she becomes an Endurance competitor. Meanwhile the nine weanlings have only two more days as a herd. On Wednesday our blacksmith will be here to trim their feet and then we will separate the boys from the girls. They live outside all winter but we bring them inside for meals so we can handle them every day.
November 24th 2014
More changes at the farm this week. Tonydon'tsellme (known as Tony D) has been here since early June. Sadly, he broke his shoulder and has been in our care for the past five months. Now he is well enough and strong enough to start his real job. He has moved to a trainer in Quebec (Daniel Martin) where he can work in an indoor arena so the footing is good for him and he can rebuild his srength. He is very much a favourite here so it was hard to see him leave.
November 17th 2014
Humble apologies....I managed to miss the news last week. Howver, this week we had an exciting trip. We took our friends Steve and Patti Downey (from Quispamsis in New Brunswick) to visit Mark Steacy's Training facility. We met three sets of horses: Our H fillies - OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah who are now turned out and playing for a few weeks. We also saw the four Hudson colts that have been with us since June - OK Iceman, Shanghai Warrior, Pudong Phil and SASS. They are now jogging and learning how to be racehorses, it was great fun to see them in action. Finally we met the new horses Tony Infilise has acquired and one day some of them may come to us as Broodmares. Dancin in the nude is a lovely filly (future mother of Salsa in the nude? Tango in the nude? Chacha in the nude?!) and all his purchases are expected to be top performers.
November 3rd 2014
One more addition to the farm this week. We are very excited to welcome home OK Godiva. She was born and raised here but has spent the last two years as a racehorse. We have decided to bring her home to be a broodmare, she is the first foal born here to return as a broodmare so we are starting a new generation of Oak Knoll horses. In the time she has been gone, she looks incredibly like her mother! Double Creme was a great racehorse and a great broodmare for us and we hope her daughter will have wonderful foals too. She will be bred in the spring of 2015 and her first foal will be here in the spring of 2016.
October 27th 2014
Our band of horses will grow again this week. The final two weanlings from Quebec are due to arrive tomorrow. Shadow Phil (a son of Shadow Play) and Vee Breeze (a daughter of Shangahi Phil) will bring to nine the total number of weanlings at the farm. These two will be isolated for the first three weeks and after that we split the boys and the girls. For the winter months, the colts all live in a group and stay out side except for meals. The fillies are in another paddock and they too spend the winter outside except for meals. They are hardy creatures!
October 20th 2014
Now that five of the yearling colts have left, the farm seems very quiet. I Good went to the Sale on Saturday, he walked down our driveway and loaded onto the truck as if he had done this all his life. Ironically, he was purchased by a buyer from Quebec so he has gone back to where he came from - maybe he will revert to being a Francophone! Only Tonydontsellme is still with us as he continues to recover from his shoulder injury. He is loving his time outside and seems to be improving steadily.
October 13th 2014
To all our Canadian friends and followers, Happy Thanksgiving. Today was a big day here! Tony D (full name Tonydon'tsellme) broke his shoulder on June 11th. Sice then he has spent 16 weeks in his stable. Over the past four weeks we have been walking him in short sessions inside the barn but today, for the first time in four months, he went outside and stayed in a paddock. He had a mild sedative just to try and keep him calm, after all this time we do not want him to go crazy outside! He was perfect so he will go outside every day now and gradually rebuild the muscle and nerves that were damaged when he was hurt.
October 6th 2014
Another big week for us. On Friday, four of the yearlings at the farm will leave to travel to their Training barn. This is equivalent to your kids leaving for University! These young horses (16-20 months old) have only ever had a life of play but now they have to go to work. They will learn how to get tack on them, how to pull a sulky (the little racing cart) and then jog hundreds of miles over the winter months before they qualify next summer. OK Iceman, SASS, Shanghai Warrior and Pudong Phil are lucky to be going to Mark Steacy's barn - they are a super team and the grooms truly love and respect these young horses.
September 29th 2014
Sadly our two fillies were not able to get to the front - they finished 6th and 7th in the OSS Grassroots Final on Saturday. Our friends, Bob and Erica Gammage joined us for the evening and they enjoyed themselves despite the lack of success. This week we are working with the yearlings who are getting ready to leave us and go to Mark Steacy's barn. The big challenge this week is...the bath! Each horse has to learn to be bathed and has to stand quietly while he is soaked, shampooed and rinsed. No easy task!
September 22nd 2014
Good news indeed, two of our fillies have made it to the Final of the OSS Grassroots series. OK Heavenly just squeaked in with a fifth place finish in her semi-final and OK Hallelujah finished an impressive second in her race. Unfortunately, OK Heartbeat has a virus and could not race this week but we are delighted to have two of the top ten two year old fillies racing next Saturday. The four weanlings have settled into their new routine and seem quite happy (and much quieter!) than they were a week ago.
September 16th 2014
Today is the day all Breeders dread, weaning day! The foals are taken away from the mares and the noise is deafening. The babies make a huge racket and the mums respond so it is very loud all day long. In racing news, two of our fillies have made it to the semi-finals of the OSS Grassroots Series. OK Heavenly and OK Hallelujah will be racing on Friday night. If they do well they will be in the Final the following Saturday. OK Godiva had a nice win this week,very well driven by Sylvain Fillion.
September 8th 2014
Last Tuesday, three of our fillies raced at the same track. OK Heartbeat finished second in her race, OK Hallalujah finished second in her race and then OK Heavenly finished second in her race! Quite the accomplishment for three young horses. They are racing this week on Thursday at Mohawk Racetrack and we plan to go and cheer them on. Life as a married couple is proving to be quite wonderful!
Yesterday's news was not quite complete. The Celebration of our new business partnership was also......a wedding! Caroline and Ken were married with 40 (somewhat surprised!) friends and family members looking on. After ten years of life as a couple, now it is official - man and wife!
Septemebr 1st 2014
Today marks exactly ten years since Caroline moved to the farm. Since then it seems we have run a roller coaster of triumphs, disasters and many, many hours of joy. We are holding a Celebration for friends and family today to honour our new business partnership with the Infilise family and their Hudson Standardbred breeding operation. Pat Woods has returned to work today but in his absence two young neighbours have proven to be exceptional and wonderful support staff for us. Liz and Katherine Patterson will both start back to school (and University) tomorrow and we want to acknowledge their great efforts with our horses over the last month.
August 25th 2014
We have a lot of work on the farm just now, including taking two of the yearlings outside. Both OK Iceman and Shanghai Warrior have been in their stalls for 5 weeks following leg surgery. Now they are allowed outside for an hour at a time (sedated!) Caroline tripped and sprained her ankle so a friend and fellow rider, Nancy Schjott is helping out for the week. Our racehorses were not as fast as we would like this week, they are due to race again on Thursday.
August 18th 2014
Unfortunately, our Farm Manager, Pat Woods has broken his hand. He will be off for the rest of the month. However,by sheer good luck, a former employee, Marissa Tinney is available to return to us and she will start on Monday August 25th. Great news for us! This week OK Hercules will make his debut as a racehorse at Georgian Downs, near Barrie. Now all the "H" babies are at the track.
August 12th - Victory!
OK Heavenly won her race last night! Our freind David Pamenter joined us for his first ever visit to a Standardbred track and he stood in the Win picture. Later a storm blew in and there was a deluge of rain. The track became a quagmire and both OK Heavenly and OK Hallelujah could not cope with the horrible conditions. Hallelujah was a brave third but Heartbeat faded in her race. We got home after 1.00am, Ken drove back in the pelting rain for two hours.
August 11th 2014
We are off to Mohawk tonight to see OK Heavenly, Ok Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah race in their OSS contests. In addition, Delerium, a three year old filly of Tony's is racing too - a fun-filled night! He has already had two big wins this week, Sunshine Beach on Saturday and Southwind Masimo yesterday. The news will be updated with results of tonight's races when we get home!
August 4th 2014
On Saturday, OK Hercules qualified so now all our two year olds are at the races! OK Heavenly and OK Hallelujah are racing tonight at Mohawk. Our web site photos have been updated and new pictures will be added later this week when four more mares (Matter of Style, Hazel, Day Dream and Racey Date) and their foals arrive here. For any head picture, click on that photo to see a body shot of the horse.
July 28th 2014
We had the pleasure of meeting with Tony Infilise (our new partner) this week. He spent five hours at the farm: visiting his horses, discussing breeding options, arranging yearling prep and ensuring that our agreement is working well for all concerned. He met his Art Major colt (No Worries Mon) for the first time and also saw how much OK Jasmine has grown and changed. Tonight two of our fillies are racing at Mohawk, Ok Hallelujah and OK Heavenly have their second lifetime start.
July 21st 2014
Well, our three babies had a good day. Each of the twoyear old fillies (OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah) finished third in their respective races. They all ran well and we are pleaesed that they are making money! Today three of the yearling colts (OK Iceman, Shanghai Warrior and I Good) are leaving for the "Horsepital" to have surgery to remove bone chips in their legs. This is largely a preventative effort so that when they are racing the chips do not interfere with their speed. They will have the operation tomorrow and probably come home on Thursday.
July 14th 2014
Another good week for racing. Both OK Gemma and OK Godiva won their races this week. The three two year olds have moved to Mohawk to be closer to the track and reduce travel from their home in Lansdowne. OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah are ready to race. We completed our breeding season today when Whitesand Jewel had her "heartbeat check" to make sure her tiny embryo has a strong heartbeat -and it does. Many thanks to our vet, Dr. Leah Knox for her expertise in breeding the mares and taking care of the foals.
July 7th 2014
A big week for Oak Knoll Stables! Mark Steacy took our three two year old fillies to Rideau Carlton Racetrack to qualify. OK Heartbeat won her race, OK Hallelujah was a very close second in hers and OK Heavenly was fourth but actually had the fastest time of the three. This means that they are officially racehorses and now they can earn their keep! At the farm, the final preg check showed that Whitesand Jewel is pregnant so all our mares are in foal for next year.
July 1st 2014
Happy Canada Day to everyone. We had a thrill this week, OK Godiva won her race in Ottawa. She did not win as a two year old last year so it was exciting to see her race "wire to wire" with Clarke Steacy driving her. With triumphs come disasters....one of the Hudson colts injured his shoulder and X-rays show it is fractured. Tony D (short form of "Tonydon'tsellme"!) will have to stay in his stall for two months and then start a long recuperation process. He is doing well so far but it is hard on a young animal to be so restricted.
June 23rd 2014
The filly foal born on June 17th weighed 70 lbs - the smallest foal ever born here. She is very beautiful and full of beans! We have named her "Bella" until she gets her real name. Tomorrow three more of the Hudson horses arrive. Two broodmares (both of them are in foal for next spring's crop) and a foal born this year. They are called Armbro Equinox and Heather's Delight. Heather Shepherd, our Foal Watch Expert is delighted that we have a horse named after her.
June 17, 2014
We have a beautiful polo pony filly born this morning at 9:00 AM. Lobuna is owned by our friends Ian and Daphne Angus and was sent here for foaling out. She is a first time mother and had one of the easiest births we have seen - almost didn't make it in from the field! Luckily Pat noticed she was foaling in the field and had the presence of mind to immediately bring her in - foaled within 5 minutes.
OK Godiva raced well this week and finished second in Ottawa. She is in again on Thursday
June 9th 2014
This week, for the first time ever at the farm, a pair of ducks on our pond suddenly showed up with nine tiny ducklings! They were adorable. Sadly, two days later all the babies had vanished (a fox? coyotes? turtles? racoons?) Meanwhile we have bred our visiting mare (Echo) and on Wednesday plan to breed Whitesand Jewel, the last mare to be bred this year.
June 2nd 2014
Big excitement here this week, the first group of Hudson Standardbreds arrived to join our horses. Five yearling colts unloaded from a massive truck (their first journey ever!) and were turned out to play in the paddocks. SASS, I Good (known now as Goody), Shanghai Warrior (called Warrior because his mother, Miss Shanghai will join us later) Pudong Phil (Phil) and Tonydon'tsell me (Tony D) have all settled in well and it is lovely to have them out playing and racing around.
May 26 th 2014
NEW BEGINNINGS. This is a major announcement! We have established a new partnership with Hudson Standardbreds of Quebec. Tony and Betty Infilise are moving their Broodmares, foals and yearlings to Oak Knoll Stables and we will be operating at full strength once more by the end of the summer. Good news already, two of the mares who foaled in April have been confirmed pregnant. Mary Artman and Fanciful have both conceived early and we look forward to new arrivals in 2015. Effective today, our Monday blog is revived - stay tuned!
Finally, Jewel has chosen to deliver her foal, 13 days late. her last two were born 12 days late so she was close to her record! The new filly, OK Jewel is a full sister to OK Heartbeat but the two girls do not look alike. The new baby has long, giraffe like legs and she is much finer boned than her sister. She weighed 122lbs so she is smaller than the first two foals of the year. She joins OK Jackpot and OK Jasmine as her future playmates.
April 30 th 2014
Another foal has arrived. OK Jasmine was born at 3.50 am, she is by Rocknroll Heaven out of Fanciful. She is very feminine, very pretty and very determined! She is the first filly foal by this mare, after four big colts she is a welcome change. Congratulations to her owners, Betty and Tony Infilise.
April 23rd 2014
We welcome, OK Jackpot the first foal of 2014. He is the son of Mary Artman and Rocknroll Hanover. Two of his brothers, OK Fame and OK Gorgeous raced this week and both of them won their races. He joins a family of champions. Photos will follow. He weighed 132 lbs. thanks to Heather for watching the mare and to Pat for helping Jackpot get started.
Life here is quiet and, in some senses, calm. We are waiting for our three foals (two due in three weeks, one due in early May.) In addition, we recently visited Mark Steacy and his team to watch OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah jogging. It was wonderful to see our "babies" learning their new job. The grooms, the drivers and the entire staff are first class- it was really great to see our fillies in such good hands. OK Godiva ( now 3) is also with Mark and she too looks well and happy.
We are making progress. We listed 5 mares and 4 yearlings for sale in Jabuary and they are all sold except one. She is due in late April so we will foal her out and then she may go to a buyer in British Columbia. The farm seems very quiet. We are looking for a tenant to rent the facilities and run their own stable or breeding business at our location. If any of our readers are interested or know of someone who may wish to take on the barn, the buildings and the paddocks please ask them to contact us directly. We intend to update the website on the first of each month.
January 13th 2014
This will be the final news item posted on this site. For the past nine years we have worked hard and spent an enormous amount of money creating our business. Now the Liberal Government has, in effect, eliminated the racing industry in Ontario and we cannot continue. We are heart-broken and distressed but today all our horses are for sale. If anyone who reads this has an interest in establishing an equine operation using our facility, please let us know. To our families, friends, fans and especially owners who bought our horses - thank you.
January 6th 2014
The weather continues to be a serious challenge. We built this facility in 2005 and the temperatures in the last week are the coldest we have ever experienced. At minus 38 celcius it is brutal outside! John Bailey (our 21 year old gelding) had frozen eye lashes one morning - something I have not seen before. We have fluctuations of a thirty degree change in 24 hours so it is hard for the animals to know what to expect. The icy conditions make everything more difficult - Australia seems like a good idea about now!
December 30th 2013
As the year winds to a close the key question asked throughout the holidays was "Do you have power?" A massive ice storm disrupted power to hundreds of thousands of people - including Oak Knoll Stables. Naturally, we have a generator for the barn but not one for the house! The horses were fine but the ground was very treacherous and the icy conditions made it hard to walk at all (both humans and horses!) Amelia gave me special add ons for my boots that allow you to grip on the ice and once I attached them I had no more falls and crashes. Power has been restored and we are almost back to normal.
December 25th 2013
It is Christmas Day and we would like to wish our family, our friends, our followers and our fans a very special Christmas and a wonderful New Year. Special thanks to the people who have trained and bought our horses in the last year. Bob Young trained OK Godiva, Pete Larush trained OK Guinness (and now has OK Hero) and Mark Steacy bought and is training OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah. Jim Belanger has OK Hercules in Sudbury so all our young horses are in good hands. Also, to Pat Woods our Farm Manager who came to work today - the first time ever an employee has been at Oak Knoll Stables on Christmas Day! Thanks Pat.
December 16th 2013
For the first time since we have owned the farm, there is no news!! Caroline has not been out to the barn for a week (she has laryngitis and bronchitis) so there is no news of the horses. The dogs (Viva and Velcro) have been ignored and so they are going crazy in the house. Yesterday Amelia (Caroline's daughter) came and took them for a two hour walk in a snow filled forest. They went from rambunctious and unruly to comatose! Job well done Amelia!
December 9th 2013
We went to see OK Hero jog this week. He is as beautiful as ever and seems happy in his new home. When he goes out on the track he plays and jumps around for the first lap and then he settles down and he looks very good. We also have two new boarders here this week. One is a jet black Andalusian (Magnifico) and the other is a pure white Andalusian (Perfecto) Their owners are travelling and have left the horses here for a month. it is a nice change from all our bay Standardbreds!
December 2nd 2013
Once again, our population is changing. Aiden, one of our boarders has left to go to a place with an indoor riding arena. Given the brutal cold we have had, it makes perfect sense to go indoors! (it was minus 20 celcius one night this week.) Aiden was known here as "Mr. Wonderful" because he was such a great pet and a super riding horse. If any of our readers know of people looking for a place to keep their horse, please put them in touch with us - we have room for more guests.
Boarding at Oak Knoll Stables
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November 25th 2013
There have been some small changes in our equine population this week. OK Heartbeat left us to join OK Heavenly and OK Hallelujah at Mark Steacy's Training Centre. Now all three fillies are on their journey to become racehorses! We have a new addition - Cloudy is a two year old Newfoundland pony. She has come here as a playmate and companion to OK Ishtar (because Ishtar was the only filly in the spring she has no female friends!) The exciting part is that Cloudy is grey so we finally have a horse on the property that can easily be distinguished from all the others.
November 18th 2013
Now that the racing season is virtually finished, we turn our attention to the broodmares. They are in the second trimester of the pregnancy and the foals are kicking and visible. At this stage the foals are roughly a foot long and will grow to be three feet long before they are born. The mares gain an average of about 200 lbs during the pregnancy (the gestation period is eleven months) and will weigh about 1400 lbs when they deliver.
November 11th 2013
To all veterans and families of those who died in any war, we salute you. Now that our horses have virtually finished racing for the year, there is really no important racing news. Our cat, Emmett got into a fight this week and for the first time in his life he had to go to the vet. One of his wounds had abcessed and he needed to get it drained and have antibiotics. He is a barn cat and a superb mouser so he is really an "outdoor" cat. he behaved very well and is now home with a shaved head and a sheepish look on his face!
November 4th 2013
After the news last week, it is sad to report that OK Eros was killed in a crash as they were returning from the races at Rideau Carlton. Jim escaped from the overturned truck with a small scratch but his wife, Sylvie, suffered a broken back. She is in Sudbury Hospital recovering and is expected to be fine in a few weeks. OK Eros had raced well for them and they were enjoying the experience of racing him. Now they will bring on OK Hercules to take his place.
October 28th 2013
One of the things that gives us great joy is to hear news of the yearlings that have left us. They have lived with us for 18 months or so and when they go, it is a big change for them and for us. We have heard good news from Jim Belanger in Sudbury who has OK Hercules. The "Big Boy" is line driving and doing well. Apparently Jim's wife, Sylvie goes out and hugs Hercules every night! Mark Steacy is enjoying OK Heavenly and OK Hallelujah, they are ready to go in the cart and so far, have done everything asked of them.
October 21st 2013
This is a milestone day - OK Hero, the last of this year's crop is leaving today. Pete Larush, who trains OK Guinness for us, is collecting him this afternoon. That means all our "babies" have new homes and are ready to train as racehorses. OK Heartbeat remains at the farm for another week or so because she was sick and we want her to be 100% well before she joins the other fillies at Mark Steacy's barn. It will seem odd to have no more "H babies" here but the "I weanlings" are growing fast and demanding more of our time and attention.
October 14th 2013
One by one our yearlings are going to new homes. OK Hercules left this week to go to Sudbury at the barn of Jim Belanger. Jim already owns OK Eros so now he has two "Gods" from Oak Knoll Stables! The weather has been stunningly beautiful and our friends from Barrie came back to ride here with their Andalusian horses. We rode across country on Saturday, Sunday and Monday and on all the rides the trees were breath taking, the horses were perfect and the views were magnificent. We are grateful to live in such a spectacular setting. Happy Thanksgiving to all our readers.
October 7th 2013
Tomorrow is a big day - two of the fillies are leaving to go to Mark Steacy's training facility. OK Heavenly and OK Hallelujah have never left here so it is a bittersweet moment. People often ask "Is it hard to see the young horses leave?" The answer is "Yes and No." Yes, because we have worked with them every day since they were born but on the other hand, they need a job! They are ready to start work and will do better in a place where they are kept busy. OK Eros (whom we sold six weeks ago) won again on the weekend - he is racing really well for his new owners in Sudbury.
Setember 30th 2013
We had an unbelievably beautiful day at the farm yesterday. We had invited ten of our friends to join us for lunch and we gave them an "Activity" to keep them amused. Each person was asked to "evaluate" our yearlings on the basis of Appearance, Movement and Personality. Most of them have hardly ever seen a horse much less understood conformation, motion or any attributes associated with an equine athlete! The winner of the contest was awarded a 1% ownership in the filly of their choice so as of today, David Pamenter is the proud owner of 1% of OK Heavenly.
Sept. 23rd 2013
This has been a traumatic week at the farm, the time to wean the foals. The babies are separated from the mares and chaos ensues for about 48 hours. The mares settle and get used to being alone, the weanlings learn to eat away from the mares and gradually quiet resumes! Of all the race horses, OK Eros is doing best. As a baby he had some injuries and we sold him this spring but he is racing well in Sudbury and just won another race in the "Late Bloomers" series!
September 16th 2013
Finally, a week filled with good news! One of our two year olds - OK Gladiator won his OSS race this week. He stood in the winner's circle and in the same week OK Guinness finished a strong second at Mohawk. In addition, our syndicated young hrses are selling. Mark Steacy - a highly respected trainer - has bought OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah. All three fillies will move to his training facility in mid-October. He has a great reputation for getting young horses to the races so we are thrilled that our yearlings will be in his barn. We have retained a 25% interest in each of the fillies so they are still (partly) ours.
September 9th 2013
A lot of our horses were racing this week. Ironically, the horse who finished best has the poorest pedigree! OK Guinness (Lis Mara - Jennies Girl) finished an impressive second tonight at Mohawk. Jennie's first foal, OK Amelia (by Aces N Sevens) has won over $250,000 so Jennie is a great producer. We have notified 60 buyers and trainers of our plan to syndicate the five 2013 yearlings. Ten shares are available in the syndicate (for OK Hero, OK Hercules, Ok Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah.) For further information, please contact Ken or Caroline.
September 2nd 2013
For the first time ever at Oak Knoll Stables we had equine visitors along with human visitors this weekend! Friends from Barrie brought their two exquisite Andalusian horses here to ride on the weekend. One of them (Magnifico) is black and very powerful, the other (Perfecto) is white and very graceful. Our horses were fascinated to see such magnificent animals on the farm! We have four horses racing today and on Wednesday OK Godiva is racing with her "own" driver - Scott Young. Scott's Dad is her trainer and Scott looks after Godiva so they have a special bond. We hope this will pay off at the track.
August 27th 2013
Yet again we are late with the news - the time spent on the yearlings really eats into the days (and nights!) Last Saturday we took a group of ten friends to watch the races at Kawartha Downs. Sadly, this was the closing date for the track so there will be no more racing at this location. OK Guinness and OK Gladiator were racing and we had hoped for a win picture but the truth is, they finished third in one race (OK Guinness) and fourth in the other (OK Gladiator) We are planning to sell our yearlings as a syndicate - more next week!
August 20th 2013
The news is a day late this week becuase we waited to see how OK Fantastic would do in his Gold OSS race. The race went very fast and he finished a strong and commendable second. This week marks another milestone, Velcro (our 5 month old Vizsla puppy) graduated from her beginner training class. She had to do six things, five of them were perfect and the sixth one she simply refused to do!
August 12th 2013
Lots of racing activity this week. OK Godiva raced in her first start and even though she finished sixth (an inch behind the fifth horse!) she had the fastest last quarter so we were very pleased with her effort. OK Fabulous finished second tonight, he raced strongly and was beaten by a tiny margin. The yearlings are learning to accept a new life - daily grooming and daily exercise, it seems to be harder on the humans than the horses!
August 5th 2013
Today marks a major milestone in the lives of our yearlings. Until now they have lived outside - playing and eating all day long. This morning they came inside and will spend the next eight weeks getting ready for their new life as racehorses. They will learn to be groomed, bathed, lunged, lead quietly, stand quietly, pick up their feet quietly and generally be "perfect" for buyers who come to inspect them.
July 29th 2013
This week we had several horses racing, the best finish was OK Ferrari who was second in an OSS Grass Roots race. Tonight we have OK Gemma, OK Gladiator and OK Granite racing and on Wednesday OK Godiva is expected to qualify. If she succeeds, seven of the nine yearlings we raised last year will be at the races. Only OK Geronimo and OK Gallant have not appeared yet.
July 22nd 2013
We have had many of our horses at the track this week but unfortunately none of them stood in the winner's circle! However, Velcro is a winner at her puppy classes. She has learned to sit, heel and lie down, stay not so much. Her class is from 8.00pm till 9.00pm and we have discovered that this is past her bed time, she falls asleep every week!
July 15th 2013
We had an interesting "first" here this week. Three of our graduates raced against each other. OK Fabulous, OK Ferrari and OK Eros were all drawn into the same event. We hoped for the top three places but in fact OK Fabulous led the whole race and won, OK Ferrari finished third and OK Eros came in fifth. It was certainly fun to see them all at the same time. Today is a weigh day at the farm, every animal is weighed and the foals and yearlings are also measured. Our biggest yearling (OK Hercules) is now 914lbs and the biggest foal (OK Imagine) is 492lbs.
July 8th 2013
Another encouraging week with our racehorses! OK Fantastic raced on Thursday and put in a super performance, he went wire to wire in 1.50.3. (for the uninitiated wire to wire means he led at the start and was never passed) On the same day, OK Gemma raced in her first "real" race and finished a strong second even though she was the smallest horse in the race! OK Ebury is now four and he is back on the track and finished second on July 7th.OK Guinness got badly bumped by another horse, he finished sixth but raced very well given the circumstances.
July 1st 2013
Happy Canada Day to all our friends, owners and trainers. We had lots of racing activity this week. OK Guinness ran in his first "real" race on Saturday. We took our friends Heather and Tom to see him and he ran a commendable race, finishing fourth racing against older horses. A promising start. OK Fabulous raced late tonight and finished a strong second in a fast race - 1.51.3 OK Commander continues to race well in the top tier of horses, he was second at Mohawk this week. And OK Eros continues to race impressively, he finished second by a nose after coming from the back of the pack.
June 24th 2013
I delayed writing the news today till OK Fantastic had raced (in case he won) but it was not to be. Our best finish this week was OK Guinness who raced in a qualifier at Kawartha Downs. We were at the finish line and thought it was a dead heat but apparently the judges saw him as second!! (by a whisker) One more of our "babies" qualified this week - OK Granite is ready to race. 5 of our 9 yearlings have qualified so far.
June 17th 2013
And so the fun begins....our "babies" - the 2 year olds in training are coming to the races. Three of the nine horses born here in 2011 have qualified (OK Gemma, OK Galahad and OK Guinness) Three others are expected to make their debut shortly (OK Geronimo, OK Granite and OK Gladiator) The final three will be delayed but are expected to qualify this summer. OK Gorgeous had a virus and has been laid up for some of his training work. OK Gallant is very big and his trainer (wisely) has chosen to bring him on slowly and carefully. OK Godiva had surgery last Fall and started training later than the others.
June 10 th 2013
More good news! We checked Mary Artman this week and she is in foal to Rocknroll Hanover! This is the stallion that died and we were offered a chance to breed her to him using frozen semen. This is a more complex procedure than usual so we are very grateful to the Tara Hills experts who made this possible. In addition, Fanciful is pregnant so the only mare not in foal is Whitesand Jewel. The racing is getting exciting, our first two year old qualified this week - OK Gemma is now a racehorse!
June 3rd 2013
At long last, we had a great racing week. On May 30th OK Fabulous had his first race as a three year old and he won! Then on May 31st OK Feisty raced in her first OSS Gold series race. She came a strong second and finished very well. The following day OK Commander raced at Mohawk and for the second week in a row he won his race - against tough competition. Breeding news is a little less thrilling, Whitesand Jewel is not in foal. The others will be checked later. OK Fantastic is racing tonight so we are hoping for more good news.
May 27th 2013
This has been a very exciting week! Mary Artman was bred to Rocknroll Hanover using frozen semen. We have never done this before but the stallion died very suddenly and a few breedings were available using his previously stored semen. Matt Harrison and his team at Tara Hills inseminated her and on June 4th we will discover whether she is pregnant or not. On Saturday Mike Saftic drove OK Commander at Mohawk racetrack and had a really good win with him. Commander is six years old and still racing strongly.
May 20th 2013
Preg checks this week show that Double Creme is progressing well with her Art Major foal. CC Stacy is in foal to Western Terror and Fanciful failed to catch. She will be rebred this week. Our lives are upside down because our new puppy - Velcro - is a "mile a minute" tornado! She races around the property, full of beans, barking and playing at full tilt. Then she crashes and sleeps as if she is in a coma. Viva was initially VERY unimpressed but is now able to look at the puppy and sometimes even plays with her!
May 13th 2013
Our Open House was marred by appalling weather! Snow, freezing rain, hail in May, bizarre. We had 100 guests and they seemed to enjoy the day. The mares and foals were shown on CHEX TV tonight, it seemed odd to watch them from our living room! This is a big breeding week. We have two preg checks on Friday, Jewel will go to New York to be trailer bred tomorrow and Merry will be bred by the end of this week. If they all catch, we are done for this year.
May 6th 2013
Now that all the foals are here we are turning our attention to breeding the mares. So far, we have bred three of them. Double Creme is pregnant and the other two - Fanciful and Stacy - we are waiting to see. (It takes 16 days from the insemination date before you can check for the embryo) Mary Artman will be bred using frozen semen so she is going to another farm (Tara Hills) for that procedure which leaves only Jewel still to go. We hope the readers of this news (along with friends, neighbours and family members) will attend our Open House next Sunday from 2-4pm. May 12th.
We are done! Our last foal of the year arrived at 11.55pm tonight. (May 3rd )Jewel delivered her foal 13 days late but he is a strong healthy colt, OK Irish. His father is McCardle, the first foal here by that sire. She spent several hours in constant motion and chose to lie down within six inches of the wall but we managed to get him out safely. So that leaves OK Ishtar as the only filly and four colts to play together. Heather's job is done for this year - back to a normal sleep pattern while we concentrate on getting the mares pregnant.
April 29th 2013
Today was not a good day! I had a dental appointment at 8.00am (going to the dentist is my least favourite activity on earth!) When I got back to the farm I learned that the preg check for Stacy was negative so we have to start again with her. In addition, Fanciful can be bred tomorrow in New York but that necessitates a huge load of paperwork and we had to race around getting all the documents signed today. Our friends the Trists came for lunch so there was an interlude of joy with them but what we really need is Jewel's foal (now 9 days late) and pregnant mares!
Mary Artman has delivered her fourth colt in a row! She had OK Fame followed by OK Gorgeous then OK Hero and now....OK Icon. He is a beautiful dark colt with two white socks behind. He was born at 9.10pm, a very civilized time to arrive. He was up on his feet quickly and is very active. Tha mare is settled and seems to be enjoying the new addition. She was actually due on April 28th so this foal is four days early (unlike all the others that have been late.)
at Oak Knoll Stables
Sunday May 12/ 2-4 PM
April 22nd 2013
We weighed OK Iceman and he has proven to be the biggest foal born on the farm! His brother weighed 139 lbs but this one came in at 143 lbs (the average for the breed is 120 lbs!) His mother managed to step on him during his first night and he has a serious gash on his leg. The little guy is bandaged and looks wounded. His pictures are on display in the Foals section of this web site. Click on any head shot to see the body photo. We think (hope) Mary Artman will foal tonight - watch for a Birth Announcement in the early hours of the morning.
Good news indeed. Fanciful has a history of having very big foals and complicated deliveries but tonight she had her foal in less that ten minutes. His name is OK Iceman, he has a star on his face and looks exactly like his mother. He is a full brother to OK Fantastic, both of them are by Mach Three. He was born on April 20th at 12.30am four days ahead of his due date. Both Mary Artman and Whitesand Jewel are due within a week.
April 15th 2013
Despite last week's posting, Fanciful has not yet foaled. However, she has milk streaming down her legs and looks as if she could foal "any minute". Of course, we have been wrong before! Great racing news - OK Fame, now racing as a three year old, had a great win on Saturday night. He has been sick with a virus but it seems he is on the road to recovery. It was great fun to see him in the winner's circle (on TV. He races in the States.)
April 8th 2013
Broodmares!! Stacy carried her foal an extra month and now the next mare due looks as if she plans to go early. Fanciful is indicating that she is close to foaling but her due date is April 23rd. Heather and I were anticipating some good sleep nights but that may be cut short. OK Ishtar had a little bit of a rough start but she is doing well now and when she is turned out in the paddock she paces like a little racehorse. OK Imagine is very robust and looks much older than his actual age.
Given that today is April 1st, I need to make clear this is NOT a joke! Kelli Gilson (our vet) came this morning and induced Stacy. The foal was born ten minutes into the process, a huge long-legged filly. We have named her OK Ishtar (which means Easter.) She is having some trouble swallowing so we have to hand feed her with a syringe until she can learn to drink on her own. We are grateful and relieved that the longest pregnancy in the history of Oak Knoll Stables has finally come to an end!
March 25th 2013
For those of you wondering whether we have a foal yet.....no! Stacy is still pregnant! We tried putting her on a trailer and taking her for a drive - no success. Today our vet massaged the cervix to try and get her started, we will know tonight. If that fails we will try one more last resort and then consider inducing her. This has been exhausting! Meanwhile, tomorrow we are taking Double Creme to New York State to breed her. We will have the semen delivered close to the border,inseminate her in the trailer and drive her home. We will learn 16 days later whether she is pregnant or else we will have to try again.
At long, long, long last we have a foal!! Jennie has a beautiful dark colt named OK Imagine. He was born at 11.59pm on March 18th and is doing well. The photo is him at 7 hours old just after being weighed. Heather and Caroline delivered the foal and Pat helped him to get nursing. Now if Stacy could just get on with the program.........
March 18th 2013
It is difficult to believe I am writing these words.....we still have no foals!
Stacy is now 22 days late and Jennie is 20 days late. We have no idea and no explanation for why this is happening but it is VERY frustrating. We had hoped one of them would foal yesterday and if so the foal would have been OK Irish (St Patrick's Day for the uninitiated!) On Saturday we plan to go and see OK Godiva in training, we have not seen her since last December so it will be interesting to see how she has grown and matured.
March 11th 2013
Yet another week has gone by with no foals!! Hard to believe. Both overdue mares are enormous and look as if they could deliver "any minute." Our next effort will be to have our Equine Massage therapist come and treat them to try and encourage them to get these babies on the ground. Our big news is that we are getting another puppy! Viva's sister had a litter of six (three boys and three girls.) We will get the new puppy in May, her name is Velcro.
March 4th 2013
Another week of waiting! Neither of the mares has delivered yet but they are both "close!" Meanwhile, we had hoped to start the breeding activity with Double Creme today. Instead of having one follicle ready to go, she has seven. This makes the chances of conception very remote so we will wait for another cycle and try again. OK Firefly is scheduled to race on Wednesday evening, we are hoping for her first victory.
February 25th 2013
As usual, our mares are ignoring their due dates. Stacy was due yesterday but looks as if she will wait another week. Jenny is due tomorrow and may foal at the same time as Stacy - or before her! Meanwhile we went to see our two year old in training - OK Guinness. He looks super, he has grown a lot and is a very powerful colt. He seems to like his job and so far is doing very well. His trainer, Pete Larush, thinks highly of him and we hope to see him race well this summer.
February 18th 2013
After 11 months of pregnancy, we are within a week of our first due date! Today we will get out the "Foaling Kit" and make sure all our supplies and tools are ready to go. In addition, we print out Foaling reports for each new baby, Insurance forms and Breeding charts for all the mares. This is the most exciting and rewarding time of year for breeders - also the most exhausting! Heather Shepherd will resume her duties as "Expert Foal Watch"
from 11.00 pm until 5.30 am when the mares are close.
February 11th 2013
We now have one race horse in action. OK Firefly, racing as a three year old has qualified and will race this week on Wednesday evening. She is perceived to be a strong contender, her betting line is 3-1. OK Fame is training and expected to race in April, OK Feisty is training and expected to race in late April or early May. The "G babies" are now two year olds and will come to the track in June - it seems like a very long wait.
February 4th 2013
Now that the mares are in their final month of pregnancy we are back to grooming them every week. The grooming is both for their benefit (it improves their circulation) and for our benefit (we can track the changes in their shape and size more easily.) In addition this gives them the experience of our being in the box with them every day so when they foal they are accustomed to having us close to them. Often the foals will move or kick while we are grooming, it is exciting to know the little foal is active.
January 28 th
The strange weather has been hard on the horses. With a wind chill of minus 27c we want the yearlings to move inside their shelters but invariably they stand outside in the brutal wind. Now the forecast is for mild weather (zero!) and rain. The really bad situation is when the rain freezes and the ground is like an ice rink. For our family and friends in Australia, your summer sunshine seems very appealing!
January 21st 2013
We have selected the stallions we plan to breed to - all of them are in the States. The State of New York has its own special rules and the mares have to be physically in the State in order to breed them. We plan to drive each mare over the border, park the trailer, pick up the semen, inseminate the mare, turn around and drive home! This is referred to as "trailer breeding". Of course, each mare will come into season at a different time so there is no chance we can
take more than one on any given day.
January 14th 2013
At this time of year we are trying to choose which stallions to select to breed to which mares for the foals to be born in 2014. The best analogy I can think of is that it is like trying to pick the winner of American Idol without hearing anyone sing! We try and match the pedigrees and find the winning combination but at the end of the day no-one knows which genes from the stallion will pair with which genes from the mare and what the foal will actually look like.We are considering two "repeats." When we bred Double Creme to Art Major, she had OK Commander who has won over $400,000. We bred Mary Artman to Rocknroll Hanover and she had OK Gorgeous. He has not raced yet but he is such a beautiful colt we'd like another just like him.
January 6th 2013
Away from the farm, we have five horses in training. OK Fame is in the States with trainer Mark Ford. He is expected to race as a three year old in early April.OK Feisty is having a break and will return to Dave Menary's barn later this month. OK Firefly has moved to Bob Young's barn where she joins OK Godiva. OK Guinness is jogging with Pete Larush. The "babies" are expected to qualify and race in early June.
December 31st 2012
To all our readers, friends and fans - a Very Happy New Year. Given the chaos in the racing industry in Ontario, next year has to be better than the one we just survived! This week all our mares came inside to be pampered at night. Until now they have been out in the paddock 24 hours a day but now the snow is here and the temperature is falling so they come in to eat at night and go out after "breakfast" in the morning. The first foals are due in early March.
December 24th 2012
Rather than have a "news" item this week, Ken and Caroline would like to wish all our followers a peaceful, joyous Christmas Season. For the New Year we wish you good health, good fortune and good luck at the races!
We would like to thank all the people who help us at Oak Knoll Stables, especially our Farm Manager - Pat Woods.
We have contacted all the buyers of our young horses (the "G babies") and so far they have all started well so we wish them great success in the coming year.
December 17th 2012
Given that the racehorses are having a break and the broodmares are just getting bigger, this week was the "Big Clean." Pat Woods, our very strong Farm Manager power washed the entire building! Ceilings, walls, all the boxes and the floors. The whole structure looks as it did when we built it in 2005. Now we don't want any horses to come in because it is so spotless it will be hard to see a mess anywhere!
Monday, December 10th 2012
The farm seems very quiet, we moved two more horses this week and are now down to our lowest band since we started breeding. OK Godiva has healed fully from her surgery and is in training with Bob Young. Bob has trained several of our fillies so we look forward to the summer when OK Godiva will be racing. In addition, Song Writer has returned to Roy Austin's farm where she lived before she came here. Her filly foal, OK Hallelujah is with us and plays with OK Heartbeat and OK Heavenly.
December 3rd 2012
Great news indeed! On Thursday night, OK Feisty (one of our two year old fillies) raced in the final of the Autumn Series. This is one of the last stakes races of the year and she ran beautifully. She took the lead just before the half mile post and then just stayed there! On the run up the stretch she pulled away from the competition and as the Standardbred website reported "Feisty Filly cruises to victory." What a great way to end her two year old season. Congratulations to Dave Menary, her trainer, for getting her fit and ready for the race.
November 26th 2012
On Sunday we went to visit OK Guinness who has been in training with Pete Larush for the past two months. He is a colt from Jennies Girl and we have kept all her foals (except one, OK Ebury who has proven to be a very fine racehorse.) In the eight weeks he has been gone he has grown substantially and he looks very well. He jogged nicely (for the non-horse people, this is the step before serious training and lasts several months!)We have decided to geld him soon and then his training will resume with the intention that he will qualify (start his racing life) in June 2013.
November 19th 2012
Life at the farrm is quiet just now. Our yearlings are gone except for OK Godiva who is recovered from her surgery and is turned out in a paddock to play. The racehorses have finished their season and are taking a break before they start up again in the new year. OK Feisty will race this week and next and then be halted until 2013. The broodmares are getting bigger and rounder, the first foals are due early in March.
November 11th 2012
Yet again, OK Fantastic is proving to be well named! On Saturday night he raced in the OSS Super Finals. This race is the conclusion of a series in which horses race for points and on the final night the top ten horses in their age group race for a purse of $300,000. He led a very fast first quarter, slipped to third and then battled to the front. As he raced to the finish line, another horse challenged him and in the final stride "Frankie" as he is known was beaten by one inch. Ken and I were there to cheeer him on with our friends Bob and Robert. Even though he finished second,he raced brilliantly and we delighted to be there to see him do so well.
November 6 th 2012
For those of you who have looked at the sales results in Harrisburg, you will know by now that this has been a complete disaster for us. Our horses are selling for a fraction of the prices we had anticipated. It is hard to believe that horses can sell for these abysmal prices. We will drive home all day Thursday and then have to look at what lies ahead.
On Monday anews crew came to visit us and watch the yearlings in action. You can see the clip at chextv.com in the Local Sports section
Octoberr 29th 2012
We have had a great racing week! OK Feisty won her first race!! She stood in the Winner's circle. We are down to the final week of yearling prep, the weather is making this really difficult. The horses are inside 24 hours a day and they get really bored and very silly! It will be a great relief when the sale is over.
October 22nd 2012
We are down to the final two weeks before we leave for the sale! The yearlings seem to know that "something is up" and they are very full of themselves. They are all learning to walk well, stand well and behave well in preparation for the invasive prodding and poking that lies ahead. OK Guinness has left and is now in training with Pete LaRush. Apparently the colt started well and is doing what he is asked - always a good sign.
October 15th 2012
At long last we can celebrate a really good racing week. We went to Georgian Downs on Saturday night (in pouring rain and miserable racing conditions) to see OK Feisty and OK Fantastic race. OK Feisty raced the best race of her life to date and finished a strong second. OK Fantastic lived up to his name! He was racing on a Gold Final - one of the very top races for two year olds in Ontario. He started well back but finished like a rocket and reached the line in a photo finish for the win. He lost by a whisker but the performance puts him into the Super Final (the top ten horses of his age in Ontario) on November 10th. He is certainly our "Horse of the week".
October 8th 2012
This weekend a sale was held in Lexington, Kentucky. The prices at this sale are often seen as a guideline for the Harrisburg sale where we are selling our yearlings in November. Our most valuable yearling is OK Godiva so we checked the prices of the horses sold by the same sire (Well Said) The avearge price of the first five Well Said yearlings was $90,000. On the same day, X-rays indicated that OK Godiva has a bone chip in her hock (a common problem with yearlings) and so she has be withdrawn from the Harrisburg sale. She is scheduled for surgery on Thursday. This is a horrible blow for our business.
October 1st 2012
Since the racing news this week is dismal (we had three horses racing on Saturday night and all three ended up in sixth place!) we will return to farm news. We have completed our weaning this week and now OK Hercules, OK Hero (the boys) and OK Heavenly, OK Heartbeat and OK Hallelujah are all turned out together. In a month or so we will separate the genders but for now they are a happy little tribe.
September 25th 2012
The news is late this week because today was the dreaded "Video Day" Every yearling has a video made of them in action. In theory each horse needs to go from point A to point B then turn and go back in the opposite direction. Easy, right? Not really! They choose to stop, start, turn, race or buck rather than do what is asked. The actual video is about 30 seconds and some of them take 20 minutes to complete! The finished product will be loaded on our web site (and sent to the Sale site) next week.
Thank you to all the people who have called or contacted me about my accident. I am making slow progress but I was very lucky - it could have been much worse! This week we took two of our weanlings, OK Heartbeat and OK Heavenly to the Port Hope Fall Fair. They were there to draw attention to the new community radio station "Small town radio." The slogan for the station is "The Heartbeat of the community" so Heartbeat is their mascot. The little fillies behaved very well and were the talkof the town!
September 10th 2012
The news this week is a little different.....................Some of you will know I am a rider. (Caroline is writing this!) I have ridden since I was 5 years old and for the past 20 years try to ride 2-3 times a week. On Sunday I had my first serious accident. I came off my horse and landed on my head. Yes, I always wear a helmet! The local fire crew came from the next village and they were amazing. Soon after, the ambulance arrived from Port Hope and then the big guns - an air ambulance showed up! You can imagine that the news (most of it inaccurate) spread like wildfire. Our Farm Manager was playing in a baseball tournament and was informed I had been air lifted to a Trauma centre. In fact, I had gone by ambulance to the local hospital where they took great care of me and after X-rays and a CT scan were sure there was no fracture. Meanwhile I had been in a neck brace the whole time and was strapped to a back board in order to keep me immobile. I am safely home with severe whiplash and torn ligaments but I am VERY lucky, it could have been much worse.
September 3rd 2012
Given that none of our racehorses did anything spectacular this week we will focus on the weanlings! Three of the foals born in the spring were weaned on Friday. OK Hercules, OK Heartbeat and OK Heavenly have all been removed from the mares and are now "going solo." They seem fine and are eating well. The three mares are a little sad but Double Creme, Fanciful and Whitesand Jewel are probably relieved not to have the young ones with them any longer.
August 27th 2012
The news was delayed till 10.16pm tonight so we could include the results from OK Ebury. Good decision! He raced like a demon, led his race wire to wire (that means he was in front the entire race) and he takes his winnings to date to over $80,000! What a star! Congratulations to the Loyer family who bought him for $13,000. They have loved him and cared for him to make him what he is today. For the second time OK Ebury is our "Horse of the week."
August 20th 2012
We had a disatrous day at the races this week! We went to see OK Feisty race, she had a bad post position (#8 on the outside of the track.) She raced three wide for three quarters of the mile and then faded to the back. OK Firefly was driven into the helmet of the driver ahead of her and she broke. We saw OK Fleet race (now called Ruthless Hill) and she finished a strong second. Our Horse of the Week this week is OK Fame who is racing in the States. He finished second in a Qualifier in preparation for the big races ahead of him in September and October.
August 13th 2012
Another busy week of racing- we have OK Elektra in the Maritimes now and all the other OK horses are in Ontario except for OK Fame who races in the States. This week's "Horse of the week" is OK Commander who raced beautifully on Saturday and won his race convincingly. He is close to $500,000 in race earnings! We are off to Flamborough on Wednesday where three of our two year olds are entered - OK Feisty, OK Firefly and OK Fleet (now named Ruthless Hill.)
August 6th 2012
We had to wait until late in the day today to declare our "Horse of the week". We have had ten OK 2 and 3 year old horses racing this week but the best of the lot was OK Ebury who raced at 9.19pm this evening and he won his race in a photo finish! He is the first colt from Jennies Girl and he has proven to be a big success for the Loyer family who bought him at the Canadian Yearling Sale two years ago. He has won over $50,000 to date and is looking very strong in every start.
July 30th 2012
We are enjoying all the racing activity although we have sold one of our racehorses this week. OK Elegant is with Mitch Downey in New Brunswick. We have moved OK Elektra to Sudbury with trainer Paul MacLean. Our "Horse of the week" this week is OK Ferrari, he ran a super race at Flamborough and fought off the challengers as he reached the wire. Congratulations to the Corbeil family who own him.
July 23rd 2012
We had another very busy race week - we are tracking the 7 two year olds who have qualified as well as OK Elektra (now moved to Sudbury) and OK Elegant (sold today in New Brunswick). We have decided that every week we will name an Oak Knoll "Horse of the week" The horse who does best based on what they are entered in. The first ever "Horse of the week" is....OK Firefly. She finished third (one fifth of a second away from being second!) in her first real start. A special thank you to Sally Shearer who looked after her when she was on stall rest for three months. She is trained by Dave Menary who also has OK Feisty.
July 16th 2012
Another great win for us this week! OK Fame won his elimination to go to the Finals of the Sheppard Stakes next Saturday. He beat some very fine horses so we are looking forward to his next start. It is a busy day at the farm, we weighed all the horses and measured the yearlings and foals. The mare who gained the most was Song Writer (55 lbs in one month) The yearling who gained the most was OK Gemma (also up 55lbs in a month) and the foal that gained the most was OK Hercules who gained 97 lbs and grew two inches.
July 9th 2012
More exciting racing news! Two of our "babies" had their first start this week. OK Fabulous won his first time out at Rideau Carlton and really lived up to his name! On the same day OK Ferarri raced at Hanover and he too won his first time out. In addition, OK Fantastic raced in a Gold Final and finished a strong second in a very fast time. It is thrilling to see our young horses do so well.
July 2nd 2012
To our Canadian followers - Happy Canada Day and to our American friends, Happy Independance Day. We had mixed results with our young racehorses this week, from brilliant to very poor! The best of the group was OK Fame who won his first race pulling away from the other horses. OK Feisty raced really well but broke at the finish line, she was placed third. OK Fantastic also finished third, in a photo finish (we thought he was second!) OK Fleet (known as Ruthless Hill) had a very tough race, got trapped against the rails and finished seventh. The most disappointing was OK Firefly who got distracted at the start and never got going. She finished eighth in a slow time. Lots more racing in the week ahead!
June 25th 2012
Another great week! OK Firefly won her qualifier and is now ready to race, OK Fantastic also won his qualifier and in the same race, OK Fabulous was third. Now six of our two year olds will start in the OSS (Ontario Sired Stakes) series and OK Fame will race in the States. This is our best crop of babies by far and we are excited about the coming racing season. Meanwhile, the "lame trio" are all recovering. Ken is back on his feet (literally) after foot surgery, Viva is recovering after leg surgery and OK Gallant is being hand walked after bone chips were removed from his hock.
June 18th 2012
More good news! Two other 2 year olds qualified this week, OK Fantastic (known as Frankie in the barn) and OK Ferrari have both made it to the racehorse ranks. On Saturday OK Firefly is entered to qualify so if she is successful 7 of our 8 yearlings from 2011 will be qualified. We did two "heartbeat checks" today. Thirty days into the pregnancy an ultrasound will show the motion of the foal's heartbeat - both Jewel and Fanciful have very healthy babies growing for next spring.
June 11th 2012
Another week of great good news! Our final mare to test - Mary Artman - is confirmed in foal to The Panderosa. Five mares bred, five new foals - yeah! In addition, four of our two year olds have qualified and three others are very close. OK Fame, OK Feisty, OK Fabulous and OK Fleet (now named Ruthless Hill) all qualified this week. OK Firefly, OK Fantastic and OK Ferrari are all on track and will qualify in June. The other great news is the wedding we held at the farm this weeknd (for 140 people) was a great success and John Bailey with his cart was a huge hit when the bride and groom drove him away from the ceremony!
June 4th 2012
This is a great news week! We had two preg checks this morning and both Whitesand Jewel (to McCardle) and Fanciful(to MachThree) are in foal. Even more exciting, two of our "babies" - the two year olds in training are expected to qualify this week. OK Fame will be at Pocono Downs in the States on Thursday and OK Feisty will be at Flamborough Downs on Saturday. They have been learning how to race since last October so now their racing careers are set to start!
Most of our readers will know we have been waiting far too long for Song Writer to foal -finally she delivered! Her filly foal was born at 6.42pm this evening (May 25th) and we have named her OK Hallelujah. She is strong and active and we hope to post pictures tomorrow. A very special thank you to Elizabeth Sleight, a Bowen massage expert who treated Song and helped her prepare to deliver her foal.Now no more foal watch - the next one is due in the spring of 2013!
May 21st 2012
Song Writer, our final mare to foal is now three weeks overdue. She fusses and kicks all night long but refuses to deliver this baby.
Today, Tim Hallowell, our blacksmith is here. He is trimming the feet of all the broodmares and also "fixing" one hoof for OK Hercules. While he worked on Mary Artman, her new foal (four days old) tried to climb on his back. OK Hero is full of energy and is very inquisitive.
After the stress and distress of the past week it is a huge joy to announce the arrival of our newest foal - OK Hero. He was born at 5.35am today (May 17th) and all went well. His mother, Mary Artman has had three boys in a row! The new colt has very long legs and two white socks on his back feet. He is a playmate for OK Hercules. Meanwhile, Cameo is making a good recovery and is getting stronger every day. We will not breed her this year so she will have a full year to rest and relax.
May 15th 2012
Mother's Day and no foals! Three of our mares are "imminent" but so far have refused to deliver. Song Writer is over two weeks late, Mary Artman is overdue and Camaronni N Cheese who is due on Friday looks as if she will deliver first! They are all "ready" with every indication that the foal is on the way but they have failed to actually get these babies on the ground.
The news above was posted at 6.00am this morning. An hour later Cameo went into labour. Tragically, the foal was stuck in the birth canal and we could not save her. Kelli Gilson, our vet, came to help us and we have done everything possible to save the mare. There is a possibility that she has internal damage so for the next 24 hours we will watch over her and make sure she is comfortable. If she lives till tomorrow she has a good chance of making it. We had planned to breed her in the coming month but she will have a year off to recuperate.
May 9, 2012
CHEX TV in Peterborough visited the farm last week and interviewed both Caroline and Ken. The reason for the interview was to obtain the views of a breeding farm about the decision by the Ontario government to stop all financial support for the industry effective March 2013.This will be devastating on the breeders since we look at a time horizon of 3 years from breeding to selling a yearling.
Click on the link below to see the interview.
May 1st 2012
Obviously, the big news is that we now have three foals on the ground (OK Hercules, OK Heartbeat and OK Heavenly) Today a CHEX TV crew came to the farm and filmed our mares and foals and did a "blurb" about the farm. I was out riding so Ken did the first part and then when I came back we finished the session.
Unlike the other mares, Double Creme elected to foal early. Her filly foal by Sportswriter was born at 3.40am on Saturday morning (April 28th) The new foal has been named OK Heavenly. She is long legged and very dark. This is Creme's fifth filly in a row! Now we should get a few nights of sleep before the next three foals arrrive.
We had an unexpected delivery today. We were up last night watching Double Creme who failed to foal. This afternoon, Jewel was in the barn quietly at 4.15pm. She lay down at about 4.25pm and delivered her filly foal at 4.35pm! There was no-one with her, she just decided the time was right (12 days late.) Her foal is called OK Heartbeat and she has a lovely "star" on her face. It took the filly three hours to learn to drink but now she is going full blast! Pictures will follow shortly. We are sure (??!) Creme will foal tonight - Wednesday, April 25th.
April 23rd 2012
Well, as usual, our mares are not adhering to the calendar. Jewel (due on April 13th) is ten days late and does not look as if she will foal this week. Double Creme (due May 6th) will probably foal in the next 48 hours! OK Hercules is doing well, he now has his picture on our web site (under Foals) OK Elektra was second in her race this week, she ran bravely and finished well. OK Eros is back to the track and we watched OK Firefly train at Mike Wade's stable. All eight of our two year olds (the "F babies") are expected to qualify in June.
April 19th 2012
At long,long,long last the first foal of the year has arrived! Fanciful delivered a long legged strong colt at 8.40pm this evening. She had been restless and fidgety all day and we had hoped she would foal outside in the sunshine but she waited until after her evening meal. The new foal is called OK Hercules - after the God of strength!! He is a dark bay with one long white sock on his back left foot.
April 9th 2012
This has been a weird week, both good news and bad news. It started badly - the colt who was injured in his qualifier (OK Excel) was so badly hurt he had to be euthanized. Then, OK Eros who was expected to race on Friday injured himself and will not race for a month or more. Our "slowest" racehorse, OK Elektra ran in her first race as a three year old and...won! Totally unexpected and she will run again this Saturday. Finally, OK Commander is back on the track and raced at Woodbine on Saturday night. He ran a great race against stiff competition and pulled into the lead in the last 100 yards to win in 1.50.3 No foals here yet but we are close!
April 2nd 2012
Well the three qualifiers were good, fair and bad!! The good was OK Eros, he won his race. The fair was OK Elektra, she qualified but we are selling her because she is not fast enough. The bad is OK Excel who injured himself at the start and did not qualify. Meanwhile three of the mares at the farm are looking more ready to foal - Fanciful should be first - she is enormous and can hardly walk. Jewel is supposed to be three days after Fanciful but in fact Double Creme - due in five weeks - looks more ready than Jewel. As always, these mares have no comprehension of the term "Due date"!
March 26th 2012
This could be a big week for us! On Friday, three of our young horses are scheduled to qualify at Flamborough racetrack. OK Eros (trained by Ben Wallace) was injured last year and did not race so this will be his debut. OK Excel and OK Electra (trained by Dave Menary) raced lightly as two year olds and we are expecting much more of them this year. We have sold OK Diablo to Mark Lee so the new focus will be on the "F crop" coming to the track this June.
March 19th 2012
Many readers of our news will know that the Ontario Government has elected to end the "Slots at racetracks" program which funds the prize money for races. This has a huge impact on the racing industry and on our business. It is hard to know just now how all this will evolve (no good news in sight) so we are trying to adjust to a new reality. We will change our breeding plans to book some of our mares to US sires - the racing in the States is less impacted than the racing in Ontario. Please contact your local MPP and do everything possible to have them see the light!
March 12th 2012
The breeding business sometimes seems like one big guessing game! Two of our mares (Stacy and Jennie) came into season two weeks ago. We had planned to wait for their next cycle (21 days) and then breed them so they would be pregnant and ready to foal early next year. So...they both came into season a week early and since we had not ordered any semen we were unable to breed them. There is never a clear reason as to why their cycles go off course - too warm? too wet? but we now have to reschedule their breeding program and hope they will be more cooperative in the coming weeks.
March 5th 2012
We have started our grooming program for the broodmares. Each mare is groomed once a week until two weeks before their due date. At that time we increase the grooming to twice a week. We usually do this after the mares have finished their evening meal and for some reason the foals seem especially active after the mums have eaten. It is a real thrill to feel the little guys kicking and moving, we are about five weeks away from the first due date.
February 27th 2012
We are back! Some of you will know that we have been travelling in Patagonia (South America.) We travelled over 3,000km by road from the southern tip of Chile north to the mid-point of Chile and Argentina. As a child, Caroline read stories of the gauchos herding wild horses on the Pampas. On this trip she actually rode with a gaucho and galloped across the vast spaces with mountains as the backdrop. There were herds of wild horses roaming and also herds of guanacas (the local llama-like wildlife) and it was honestly a childhood dream come true! Many thanks to Pat, Marissa, Anne, John and Heather who took care of the farm while we were away.
January 30th 2012
For those of you who read this and are not resident in Ontario, the news here is the weather! The winter is very weird, we have had some brutal days (minus 28 degrees) and some balmy days. The constant swings mean the ground starts to thaw during the day - sloppy snow and ice - and then freezes overnight. It is like walking onglass! When the snow comes (two big dumps this week) it sits on top of the ice and just makes the slippery surface more dangerous. We have had to keep all the horses inside for several days - not something they enjoy. The broodmares tend to stock up (their legs swell becuse they retain fluid) and they get very bored very fast standing inside all day. The farm looks beautiful blanketed in snow but managing the animals is a big challenge.
January 23rd 2012
The farm is covered in ice and the horses are not enjoying it! This week Ken and Caroline attended the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association's AGM.Caroline was elected to the Board as a Director and will participate in Industry events to promote the role of breeders. This is an opportunity to make a difference in how breeders are perceived and she is looking forward to working with the members of the Board over the next three years.
January 16th 2012
Typically our horses are all coming inside for the night in mid-December. This year, due to the mild weather they have stayed out an extra month but the recent bitter cold (minus 24 celcius here on Saturday night) has brought them all in. We went to see OK Eros train, his trainer - Ben Wallace is very pleased with him and describes him as "aggresive" - a good word for a racehorse! We also visited OK Feisty at her Training Centre with Dave Menary. She loooks good on the track and he is pleased with her progress and her attitude so far. The young horses will qualify in June so we are still a long way from racing days.
January 9th 2012
This week we are on a training run. We plan to see three of our trainers - Mike Wade who has OK Diablo (third last week) and OK Firefly (two year old filly sister to OK Amelia and OK Carolion. Then we will see Ben Wallace who trains OK Canada (now five years old) and OK Eros. OK Eros was injured last year but is fully recovered and we expect great things of him as a three year old. Finally we will go and visit Dave Menary who has another two year old - OK Feisty. OK Feisty is the first foal out of Camaronni N Cheese (called Cameo at the farm!) so we are curious to see how she is doing.
January 1st 2012
Happy New Year to all our readers. Good news this week - OK Diablo continues to amaze us. After 20 mediocre races he has suddenly come to life. In his last three starts he has been first, second and first again. He seems to understand he is supposed to be at the front of the field! Sadly we also learned this week that one of our mares has lost her foal - CC Stacy was pregnant with a Sportswriter foal but when we checked her this week there is no foal evident. She probably lost it months ago but only now does she show little sign of pregnancy.
December 26th 2011
This will be the final posting for the year 2011. We would like to thank all our friends, family, staff and suppliers for all your support throughout the year. We wish you much success and joy in the coming year and look forward to sharing news of great Oak Knoll Stables racehorses! We are adding a broodmare to our band this week, her name is Song Writer and she is in foal to Sports Writer - an odd naming coincidence. The new crop of foals will be the "H babies" so we will have to think of an H song - maybe Hallelujah.
December 19th 2011
Good news indeed. We have been patiently waiting for OK Diablo to earn his first victory. As a two year old he was immature and very big so we turned him out to let him play for a few months. As a three year old he started to race this summer and has raced 20 times. Of his 20 starts he has won money in 17 of them. Unfortunately he is nearly always 4th or 5th so he brings in very small cheques! Mike Wade (his trainer) promised us he would win a race before Dec 31st - and he did! He won at Georgian Downs in 1.55.2 - his best time by two seconds. We can finally add his win picture to our gallery of winners.
December 12th 2011
It feels as if we are setting up a "holiday camp" for our race horses! First OK Elektra came home for a break. After 14 days in isolation (to ensure no virus is present) she is now turned out with the young fillies - OK Gemma and OK Godiva. Tomorrow OK Excel is coming back for a break and he will eventually join some of the colts. They left here over a year ago to start training and it is fun to have them back - they will be three year olds on January 1st 2012 and will return to training in February.
December 5th 2011
We are beginning the complex process of selecting the stallions for the next crop of foals (to be born in 2013) We can choose to breed to Ontario sires (in which case the offspring race in Ontario and we get special breeders awards) or to US sires (the horses race in the States and are eligible for some very prestigious races)We can breed to proven sires (with winning progeny) or new sires coming to the market (more current bloodlines but more risk) We can breed to replicate an existing offspring - a full brother or sister to a foal we have raised or breed to a new cross to see if another sire adds more speed. Thus the long conversations...........Then we breed the mare in the Spring of 2012, have the foal in the Spring of 2013, sell the yearling in the Fall of 2014 and hope to see this animal racing in the summer of 2015!
November 29th 2011
A day late this week (oops!!) We went this morning, in the pouring rain, to see Mike Wade and the four horses he has in training for us. The good news is that the youngest of them (OK Firefly) is jogging very well. She looks settled and confident on the track and is showing great promise. The rest..........not so much. OK Diablo (3) wins money every week but prefers fourth or fifth place over any other finish. OK Excel (2) has not yet performed adequately and OK Elektra (2)is coming home to the farm for a rest and a break from racing. All in all they are not nearly as effective as we would like!
November 21st 2011
This is an odd time of year for us, the farm is quiet! OK Boromir raced on Saturday at Woodbine and he won his race - he has now passed the $500,000 mark in earnings. He is the most succcessful of all our foals to date. This week is "Power wash week" and the entire barn is going to be washed from top to bottom. Pat Woods, our Farm Manager is a perfectionist and he intends to have every stall gleaming!
November 14th 2011
The trip to Harrisburg proved to be somewhat frustrating! On Friday we had planned to bid on seven or eight pregnant mares. The first one we selected we had hoped to get for $15-$20,000 and she sold for $80,000. The next one we liked went for $180,000 so we knew we were unlikely to get what we wanted. The same thing happened on Saturday with the race horses - lots of well healed buyers and very high prices. We still have some other avenues to buy horses so all is not lost.
November 7th 2011
We have decided to travel to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania this week to look for new broodmares to add to our band. We will consider getting a broodmare in foal and/or a young racehorse we can breed next spring. This is the largest sale of Standardbred horses in the world and it is an exhausting process to check out all the choices that are available. Watch this space next week to see how we do!
October 31st 2011
Happy Halloween! We have heard from two of the buyers of our yearlings. The owner of OK Fabulous tells us he believes the horse came from a "very good home"!! The trainer who is working with OK Fleet claims that she is jogging beautifully and works "like an old horse." Apparently, she didn't start out that way - she leapt into the air one day on the track and was so high off the ground, the handler on her left could see the handler on her right underneath her body!
October 24th 2011
The farm seems to be dramatically quieter since the eight yearlings left! We have also sold two of our broodmares so we had 29 horses here a week ago and now we have 19. Tomorrow OK Fame will be shipped to the States where he will begin his life as a racehorse. He is traning with Mike Ford, one of the top trainers in North America. We still own 50% of him so we are looking forward to seeing him race next summer.
October 17th 2011
Elation and exhaustion! We are over the moon with our results but so exhausted we can barely walk. At the end of the sale, the top consignor at the sale was Stonebridge Farms (good friends of ours) They averaged $35,941 per horse sold. We stood second!! Our average price ws $35,667. However, we sold one of our yearlings privately just before the sale so if we add in his price we are actually ahead of Stonebridge. What a thrill -our first time ever as consignors and we finish in the top three. We are incredibly grateful to the fabulous staff who worked with us - Jessica Schell our Yearling Manager, Marissa Tinney our Head Groom and Brandon Duchaine our Stable Groom. We had the best team on the floor and it paid off. Our horses have all been sold to great homes with great trainers so we look forward to great racing days ahead.
October 10th 2011
Happy Thanksgiving Day to our Canadian readers. It is official - three out of three of our two year olds in training have now qualified! OK Excel and OK Electra both qualified at Kawartha Downs this week. Our focus now is entirely on the yearlings going to the Forest City Sale next weekend. The six horses leave here on Thursday, they have an "Inspection" day on Friday and then sell on Saturday (Hip #s 69, 79 and 104) and on Sunday (Hip #s 163,174, 178) In case you want to watch the results in real time the web site is www.forestcityyearlingsale.com The sale starts at noon each day.
October 3rd 2011
Well, one out of three is a start! OK Elegant qualified in her race at Exhibition Park. Congratulations to Steve Downey and Stevie Mason who got her ready to race. The other two contenders, OK Excel and OK Elektra have both got colds and so are delayed in their debut. OK Ebury had a super race this week and finished a strong second, beaten by a nose! The yearlings have only ten days left here, they are really changing fast. They have blankets on to keep them warm -a surprisingly big deal for a young horse! Jess and Marissa continue to do amazing work with this crop - the Sale shoud be fun.
September 26th 2011
A year after our yearlings entered the racing world it is finally time for three of them to come to the track! OK Elegant is training in New Brunswick with Steve Downey and will qualify later this week. In addition, both OK Excel and OK Elektra (trained by Mike Wade) are ready to qualify. This could be a fun time at the races!
September 19th 2011
Another great week for us! We have hired our new Farm Manager. Patrick Woods comes to us from Tara Hills Stud Farm (one of the premier breeding operations in North America) Pat has experience with stallions, broodmares, foals, weanlings and yearlings. He is also very adept at facilities management and equipment maintenance and repair. In addition to all these skills he is a licensed farrier! Three sets of talent all in one individual - fantastic!
Our yearling videos are now available on our web site (you need Flash software to run them) or you can go to the Forest City Sales site and view them from the catalogue listing.
September 12th 2011
Great news here this week - we have hired a superb, very experienced, talented and enthusiastic Yearling Manager for the farm. This is a huge step up for us and we are very excited about the coming Sale in October. In addition, we have weaned six of our foals this week - a few noisy days but gradually they are learning to live away from their Mums. Tomorrow OK Excalibur will race at Georgian Downs and today we are going to watch OK Excel and OK Elektra in their first "baby races" at Kawartha Downs.
August 29th 2011
Some of the readers of this news will know that Caroline used to run a company called NADUM - an acronym for Never A Dull Moment. It seems the farm is that way inclined..........we had a visit from a TV production company this week and they are considering Oak Knoll Stables as a site for an episode of a TV series! Nothing has been decided yet but it would be entertaining to have our horses as the backdrop to a television program. We sold OK Dynasty this week, she went through an auction and will move to Clinton,Ontario.
August 22nd 2011
OK Commander ran at Tioga Downs in New York this week and scored another impressive victory. At the farm, we are working on grooming the yearlings in preparation for the October Sale in London, Ontario. The eight yearlings are groomed in the morning, turned out to play and run around the paddocks and then come inside for their evening meal. They stay inside overnight so that they will not grow a winter coat and get "shaggy" before the sale. Once they are quiet and well behaved for the grooming activities they move on to taking a bath!
August 15th 2011
Exciting racing news for us this week. OK Commander is the fastest horse we have raised to date. Last year he raced in a blistering 1.47.4 and then came up lame. He has been off for a year but raced his first race as a four year old this week. He was in the 10 hole (way on the outside!) and began the race ninth of the ten horses in the race. He moved up gradually to sixth place and then in the final quarter he sprinted past the leaders and was the winner! What fun to see him back in action and racing so impressively. Congratulations to trainer Gregg Mcnair and to his son, Doug, who drove OK Commander beautifully.
August 8th 2011
Usually we wean our foals at five months but we have had to accelerate the timeline for OK Geronimo. His mother, CC Stacy after six weeks inside with him has had enough! She is not eating well and is losing weight so she needs fresh air, fresh grass and a place to play. Rick built a "window" of plexiglass between adjacent stalls for the weekend. Geronimo could see his mother but could not touch her. He was on Valium for two days and this morning we turned the mare out. She is ecstatic! Sun, food, fresh air and complete freedom to move - perfect! He is doing really well, he is quiet and calm and seems quite content in his new space by himself.
August 1st 2011
This week we moved all the mares and foals into one field. Eight Mums and babies are out together and the foals are so much fun to watch as they play and race around the field. Stacy and OK Geronimo are still inside but all the others are loving the summer sunshine. On the racing side, OK Ebury raced in his fifth race today. He has had five starts, three wins, one second and one third - truly an impressive start to his racing career.
July 25th 2011
Mostly racing news this week. OK Ebury continues to be a star! He has had four races and won three of them (he was second in the other race) OK Diablo missed one week but will be back at Kawartha Downs on Saturday. Ok Dynasty raced well this week at Georgian Downs and finished second. OK Excalibur is moving from NY (trained by Mark Ford) to train in Ontario with Bob Young.
July 18th 2011
Wow! What a thrill, OK Ebury raced today and won his race with ease. In his first race he was listed at 53-1. Today he was 1-4!! We sold OK Destiny two weeks ago and she ran for her new owners and won - yeah! Even though we have sold these horses they are still (in our hearts) ours and we watch them race with great joy and affection. Speaking of which, we are delighted to congratulate our vet, Kelli Gilson on her marriage this weekend. Kelli has been a big contributor to our business and we are delighted that she and Darrell are starting a new life together. We admire and respect both of them and wish them a life filled with love and laughter.
July 11th 2011
Now that the foaling season is over and the breeding season is complete we turn our attention to our yearlings (The 8 "F babies.") We have decide to consign our own horses at the Sales this year. In the past we have hired an agent to take care of them and present them to prospective buyers but this year we are going to do all the work ourselves! In the next week or so all the young horses will come into the barn during the heat of the day - this is to protect their coats from the sun. Later in the process we reverse this activity and they stay outside during the day and come in at night to protect their coats from the cold. At the time of Sale they need to be sleek, polished and perfect!
July 4th 2011
Happy Holidays to our American friends and partners! This week is more good news than bad, a welcome trend. We learned this morning that our final mare to be checked is pregnant. We bred a total of seven mares this year and all of them are in foal-yeah!! OK Ebury, one of our "babies in training" raced in his first race this week and WON! Amazing, he had the fastest time of any two year old at the track and in his very first start he made $12,000. Congratulations to the Loyer family who own him and train him. OK Excalibur was not so impressive - he broke at the gate and was left far behind the field. Maybe he can learn something from OK Ebury!
June 27th 2011
The theme of "Good news, bad news" continues this week. On the Good news front, Mary Artman is confirmed to be in foal. She is the fifth mare to be declared pregnant and she is one of our most beautiful mothers. In addition, OK Ebury qualified this week so we have two 2 year olds ready to race. OK Diablo raced well at Kawartha Downs and finished a strong third. The Bad news............one of our foals, OK Geronimo has been lame and an X-ray this week shows he has a fractured coffin bone. He (and his mother) will have to be on stall rest for a minimum of four weeks, probably longer.
June 20th 2011
This is a "Good news, Bad news" week. The Good news is that OK Excalibur qualified today, he is the first of our two year olds to make it to the track and we are delighted that Mark Ford (his trainer and co-owner) perservered with him and has him ready to race. On the Bad news front, Ben Wallace called this morning to tell us that the "star of his barn" (OK Eros) has cracked his coffin bone. This means the colt is off work for a minimum of three months and will, in all probability, not race as a two year old. We had seen him train recently and all of us had very high hopes for him. This is a big loss for us.
June 13th 2011
This week we have good news on the racing front. Two of our "babies" are very close to qualifying - OK Excalibur ran a "Baby race" in the States and won his first outing. The race has no prize money but it is a nice effort that he led the field from start to finish. We went to visit OK Eros at Ben Wallace's barn on Saturday. OK Eros has grown and looks fabulous, he is expected to qualify in the next two or three weeks. OK Diablo is improving and has had four starts at Kawartha Downs, he finished fourth this week, inches away from the second and third placed horses!
June 6th 2011
This has not been a great week! We checked three mares for pregnancy (Double Creme, Mary Artman and Erin Kay) and none of them are in foal. Typically we are finished all the breeeding work by June 1st but the late foals this year and the weird spring weather have conspired to delay everything. In addition, Caroline was badly kicked by one of the mares so now we have a lame owner on the property! On the good news front, OK Dynasty won her race in Buffalo on Sunday, ably driven by Scott Young.
May 30th 2011
So we are busy breeding our mares but with mixed results. All the mares have been inseminated but we have to wait 16 days to know whether they are pregnant. So far we have checked four of them. Two are pregnant : Fanciful is in foal to Jeremes Jet and Whitesand Jewel is in foal to Mach Three. The others we will try again. Jennie is not being bred becuase she will retire this year and live a life of peace and quiet!
May 23rd 2011
We are heavily into breeding activity here, seven of the mares are bred and now we are starting the preg checks to find out whether they are actually in foal! Seven of the current foals have moved outside overnight - a big reduction in barn work. The Mums and babies are out 24 hours a day which means we don't have to clean their boxes any more. OK Diablo raced in his second start and did well, he finished strongly and we are looking forward to a future victory.
May 17th 2011
Once again the news is late..........However, yesterday was an especially hectic day at the farm. It was a weigh day for all our mares and foals. The biggest foal (OK Guiness) now weighs 265lbs! In addition we had a "Wedding destination" shoot with six models, six photographers, make-up artists, hair stylists, set decorators, florists and a horde of folk who were creating a blog for a major wedding site. The models were stunning and they loved the farm setting, the paddocks and the 150 year old barn where many of the sets were arranged. One model drove John Bailey in the cart wearing a wedding gown that filled the whole bench - it was truly amazing. Despite all the activity we still found time to inseminate CC Stacy so we have now bred 5 of the 7 mares we want to have pregnant.
May 10th 2011
Now that there are no more birth announcements the news is late this week - sorry! One of the foals - OK Geronimo had to have minor surgery this week, he went to Caledon Equine "Horspital" and after 48 hours came home for two weeks of stall rest. It is hard on the mare and the baby to have to stay inside 24 hours a day but his incision needs to heal before he goes outside. We had a thrill at the track this week. OK Dynasty was a 15-1 outsider in her elimination race for the Princess series and even though it looked as if she was boxed in and had no room to move, Scott Young drove her to a thrilling victory. On Friday night (May 13th) she will race in the Finals for $80,000 prize money.
We are done! Nine mares, nine deliveries and nine new foals! Bailey Bug (known as BB) delivered her colt at 11.10pm on May 1st - exactly one month after our first foal arrived. He is a brother to OK Eros and OK Ferrari - we have named him OK Galahad. So, we have seven colts and two fillies, a very uneven band. On paper we had expected five foals in March (none arrived) two foals in April (they arrived in reverse order) and two foals in May (the one due last delivered her foal in April and tonight's final foal is actually born in the correct month.) So much for calendars.
After a whole series of late foals, Erin Kay chose to deliver her foal 12 days early! April 27th at 4.02am she produced a beautiful Mach Three colt we have named OK Gladiator. He is the fifth foal we have by that sire and every one of them is a boy. Her three year old filly, OK Dynasty won her race last Saturday so Erin Kay has had a stellar week!
April 25th 2011
In addition to our influx of foals we have had a busy racing week. We haven't actually been to a track other than the local track for many months. On Saturday we went to Georgian Downs to see OK Dynasty and OK Destiny race. OK Dynasty ws beautifully driven by Scott Young and she finished the race in front! It was great fun to actually be at the track and be in a win picture with one of our own. OK Destiny finished fourth. Today OK Diablo ran another "practice race" and he may be ready to qualify next week.
Another colt! At 2.12am CC Stacy delivered her Western Terror baby. (April 23rd) He arrived easily and was on his feet within an hour. This foal is eight days late but is healthy, active and attractive. He has a white star on his face (like his mum) and a long white sock on his right hind leg. He is called OK Geronimo (Thanks to Heather's Montreal group for contributing to his naming.)
April 18th 2011
The weekend was brutally cold and all our new Mums and babies had to stay inside - they were not happy! We had hoped that CC Stacy would foal last night (her due date was April 15th) but apparently she, like most of the others, is planning a late arrival. We are going to Kawartha Downs today to see OK Diablo (3 year old) in a baby race. This is his first visit to the track and he will see the starting gate, the paddocks and the race world in a "practice" race before he has to go in a real race.
At last, OK Gemma has a playmate! Double Creme delivered her filly foal by Well Said at 3.28am this morning - April 16th. The filly is very attractive and has no markings at all -another bay baby. This is her sixth foal and fourth filly. We have named the new arrival OK Godiva. She weighed 120lbs which is a perfect size. We hope she will prove to be as talented a racehorse as her two brothers - OK Boromir and OK Commander.
April 11th - The last of the "March babies" has finally arrived! OK Granite was born at 12.40 am, a strong colt with a small white star on his face and two long white socks - one in front and one behind. Despite the fact he is 12 days late, he is an active healthy colt. OK Gallant continues to improve and is now out of "Intensive Care". He can stand on his own (after many hours of bottle feeding) and nurse on his own and walk on his own - all major achievements. So we now have four colts (boys) and one filly (girl) -OK Gemma is the darling of the barn and has been nicknamed "Diva!"
April 5th, 6th, 7th......
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT. We are on a roll! After all the delays, we have had three foals in three days! Mary Artman delivered her colt at two minutes past midnight. She had a very easy time and the little guy is Gorgeous (by name and in looks.) He has a white mark on his face and a long white sock on his left hind leg. He was active and alert right away and will no doubt be tearing around the paddock in no time. OK Gorgeous joins OK Gemini and OK Gallant in the colts list. So far, OK Gemma is the only filly. Now for Cameo to foal.........
The trend continues! Within a few hours of OK Gemini's arrival, Fanciful went into labour. Unfortunately her foal was upside down and we had to call on our talented vet - Dr. Kelli Gilson, to come and help us get him out. It was a herculean effort but he is here now - OK Gallant. He arrived at 3.30am and will need extra care and attention for the next 24 hours. Like OK Gemma he has no markings but he is a huge colt and the mare did well to carry him an extra two weeks. Now we only have two overdue mares!
We have a trend! Jewel has shown the way and this evening (April 5th) Jennie delivered a big strong colt. We have named him OK Gemini. He has a small white star on his face and two small white socks on his back feet. He is the biggest foal she has delivered and she chose to remain standing while she delivered her boy. Ken took pictures which will be posted tomorrow. Heather was with us to assist in the effort - we needed strong hands.
April 4th 2011
OK Gemma has been outside playing in the sunshine. Sadly, she has no playmates at the moment! Three of the mares (Fanciful, Mary Artman and Jennie) are HUGE and show every sign that they could foal at "any minute." Our vet was here this morning and cannot understand why they have not delivered - believe me we are more than baffled. Ben Wallace phoned today to say that OK Eros is training very well, we plan to go and see him train as soon as this batch of foals are here. At this rate, the April foals will come before the "March" babies.
April 1st 2011
This is NOT an April Fool's joke! At long, long, long, long last Jewel has delivered her foal. OK Gemma (a filly foal by Bettors Delight) was born at 9.28pm. She is not very big but she is truly beautiful. She, like her mother, has no white markings. Jewel is calm and well behaved with the filly, it is a lovely sight to see the new foal and the new Mum together. Thanks to Heather and Susann for their help!
Just in case...
For those of you who are wondering, we have no foals! Monday night, Tuesday night, Wednesday night - no success. It looks as if the five "March babies" are looking for an April birthday.
March 28th 2011
These words are hard to write - we STILL have no foals! By this time last year, five of the mares had delivered and according to our calendar we should now have five foals on the ground. Whitesand Jewel is three weeks late, both Fanciful and Jennie are six days late, Mary Artman is two days late and Cameo is due today. Of the group, Fanciful looks "closest" but any or all of them could go at any time. There is no logical explanation for the delay and we are anxious to see one (or many) of these little creatures.
March 21st 2011
It is hard to believe but we still have no foals on the ground! Our first foal of 2008 (OK Darling) was born on Feb 29th, the following year OK Eros was born on Feb 13th. Last year our first foal (OK Feisty) arrived on March 5th so this year is bizarre. We have four mares under camera and in theory we should have five foals in the next seven days! Unfortunately, none of the mares seem anxious to deliver and clearly they are operating on a schedule that has nothing to do with our expectations.
March 14th 2011
This has been a very frustrating week! Despite Heather's careful Foal Watch, Whiteside Jewel has still not foaled. She seems "ready" but refuses to deliver her baby. Maybe tonight....... Meanwhile, OK Elegant has left our farm and is at Mike Wade's training facility to start her work as a racehorse. She was with us for six months to recover from a shoulder injury - she is fully healed and we look forward to seeing her on the track this Fall.
March 7th 2011
This week OK Destiny raced at Kawartha Downs. We took Rick Kehoe, one of our staff to see her race. He had never been to the races and we were hoping for a win picture but she finished fourth. On the same day, OK Dynasty finished fifth at Woodbine. In her race the first five horses were all within a length of each other. We have five broodmares bagging up (getting milk) but no foals in sight yet!
February 28th 2011
We had great fun on Saturday, watching OK Destiny qualify at Kawartha Downs. She will now resume her life as a racehorse and we look forward to many victories. Meanwhile, the broodmares..............we have five foals due in March: Whitesand Jewel (March 6th) Jennie (March 20th) Mary Artman (March 25th) Fanciful (March 26th) and Camaronni N Cheese (March 27th.)In fact, at the moment the one who looks most "ready" is Camaronni N Cheese followed by Fanciful, Mary Artman, Jewel and Jennie. So much for the calendar! We plan to post each foal's arrival on this page so please keep an eye on the news.
February 21st 2011
Today we met with Mike Wade to review the progress of the four horses he has in training for us - two three year olds (OK Diablo and OK Destiny) and two two year olds (OK Excel and OK Electra) OK Destiny is expected to qualify next week and then will race 2-3 times in Ontario before moving to the States to race in the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes. OK Diablo has been a long project but today Mike described him as a "Diamond in the rough" and we are hoping he will qualify May 1st. OK Excel has had an injury but will resume jogging next week. OK Elektra is a bit of a monkey but her spark and spooky behaviour may bode well for her as a racehorse. All being well, she will qualify in early July.
February 14th 2011
Happy Valentine's Day to all our readers! We are tracking some of our graduates - OK Amelia raced in the States this week (at Dover) as did OK Braveheart (at the Meadowlands) and in Canada we watched OK Boromir (at Woodbine) and OK Carolion at Kawartha Downs. This was her final race for us because she was claimed by Brett Reilly. She has won money in 16 of her last 18 starts so we hope she continues to perform for her new owner/trainer. Today we weighed all the horses on the farm, the heaviest is Fanciful (1440lbs) She is due at the end of March with a Western Ideal foal.
February 7th 2011
We are one month away from our first due date so we have started the grooming program for the mares. Each mare due in March is groomed twice a week, the others are groomed once a week. This enables us to spend more time with each "Mum" so they get used to having someone in their stall with them. In addition, we can monitor and observe any changes in the mare as they get closer to the delivery date. The foals are very active and some of them seem to like the sensation of the brushing action on their mother's body!
January 31st 2011
On the weekend the O'Brien Awards were held - this is the equivalent of the Academy Awards for the Standardbred industry. Most of the awards go to horses (as in the "Champion" horse in each age group) but two awards are particularly special in my mind. One of them is the Cam Fella award, given for meritorious service to the industry. Typically, this award goes to someone who has made a significant contribtution to racing in Canada. This year the award went to a horse! His name is Admirals Express, he was a grey gelding who won over 2 million dollars. He was known as the "Grey Gladiator" because he raced week after week, year after year and became a huge crowd favourite and much loved representative of the sport. He died this year and the award was in recognition of his special place in the history of the sport. For us, the most important award of the night is the "Breeders Award." This was won by Bob McIntosh, a truly wonderful individual who has been breeding and raising standardbreds for over 20 years. One of our mares (Camaronni N Cheese) was raised by him and had her first foal here last spring (OK Feisty) It is wonderful to see Bob's work recognized, he is a very much admired contributor to both breeding and racing and we send him our heartfelt congratulations.
January 24th 2011
We had a good racing week this week. On Thursday, our three year old filly, OK Dynasty qualified at Mohawk. She has been off for a few weeks and will run one more qualifier this week before returning to racing activity. On the same day, we went to Kawartha Downs to watch OK Carolion race in bitterly cold conditions. She started poorly but made up a lot of ground and finished a strong second. She wins money in 80% of her races so she is growing up to be like her sister - OK Amelia.
January 17th 2011
For those of you who do not live in Ontario - it is brutally cold here - minus 28 Celcius last night. We had over a foot of snow on Saturday so this is truly a winter wonderland. We have sent in our breeding for five of the broodmares, four of them are going to Tara Hills stallions. Double Creme will be bred to Sportswriter (first crop of foals.) Both Mary Artman and Fanciful are going to Jeremes Jet and Whitesand Jewel will be bred to Mach Three. In addition, Camaronni N Cheese (whom we call Cameo!) will be bred to Badlands Hanover.
January 10th 2011
Once again we are wrestling with breeding choices for the next batch of foals. We are going to breed all our mares to Ontario sires this year so that makes the choices a little easier. We are also planning to sell three of the broodmares and retire Jennies Girl. That will reduce our broodmare band from nine down to five. We have eight racehorses in training so we are shifting our focus to winning races! Good news from Bob Young, OK Dynasty (now a three year old) is training well and is expected to qualify at the end of this month.
January 3rd 2011
On New Year's Eve, OK Carolion raced at Georgian Downs. Despite the pouring rain and a quagmire on the ground she ran very well and finished second. Our big news for 2011 is that Kelli Gilson is returning as our vet. Kelli was our mentor and advisor for the first five years of our business. She helped us design the lab (left-handed!) and has been a key partner in our adventure. We are delighted she is back with us and look forward to an action packed breeding season.
December 27th 2010
This will be the final news item of 2010. It has not been quite the year we had hoped for - our racehorses were in many cases a disappointment and our Sales results were very discouraging. To add to the distress, one of our weanlings (OK Firefly) fractured her coffin bone (in her foot) and has to be on stall rest for a minimum of three months. Fortunately one of our staff, Sally Shearer, has a lovely barn where the filly can be alone and undisturbed during her confinement. It is really hard to see such a young animal cooped up but there is every chance she will recover if she is kept quiet until the fracture heals. Sally has classical music playing all the time so the filly will learn to love (?!) Vivaldi! We wish each reader a very Happy New Year.
December 20th 2010
Today we held our Annual Christmas lunch for all the people who support us and help us at the farm. Rick Webb has been with us since February 2006 and is our superb Farm Manager. Sally Shearer joined us this year and has proven to be an amazing addition to our team. Anne Sheppard does the evening feeds and loves our horses as her own. Heather Shepherd is our Foal Watch Expert and allows Caroline to sleep during the foaling season. Elisha Dickinson is our vet and has been very helpful all year. Mike Wade is one of our trainers and currently has four of our horses in his barn (to be named OK Stables??!!) Doug Cathcart is our hay provider and has been part of our business since 2005. Roy Austin is a friend and neighbour and a Standardbred breeder who moves our horses whenever they need to travel. If you are reading this news, you are also part of our team. We wish you and all those connected to us a wonderful Christmas, a peaceful holiday and a prosperous New Year.
December 13th 2010
OK Carolion had another good race on Friday, she finished second within a head of the winner. OK Destiny had a bad finish, she caught her foot and pulled off a shoe which led her to break. At the farm, all the broodmares are coming in and staying in overnight. It is wonderful to watch the foals kicking inside the mares. Our first foal (Whitesand Jewel is the mother) is due March 6th 2011.
December 6th 2010
Victory! Our three year old filly, OK Carolion raced brilliantly on Friday night and won her race. She started from the 7 hole and rushed to get into the first three. Steve Byron moved her up quickly on the back stretch and she held on to win by inches. The photo finish showed the first three horses almost in a dead heat but OK Carolion's nose was just in front! OK Destiny also raced that night but she bumped into the wheel of the cart ahead of her and broke. We plan to go and see her race next Monday at Woodbine racetrack.
November 29th 2010
This is our "calm" time of year! The yearlings are gone and the first foal is not due until March 6th 2011. We invited Claude Brault to meet with us, he is an Equine Advisor and is willing to work with us on selecting sires and selling broodmares over the next year or two. We plan to sell some of our mares and replenish the band with younger horses. Claude met our nine mares and inspected the eight weanlings - the first time he has seen our farm and our horses. OK Carolion raced at Georgian Downs and finished fourth, she keeps bringing in a cheque!
November 22nd 2010
Two of our horses were racing this week, OK Carolion at Georgian Downs and OK Destiny at the same track. OK Carolion (three years old) raced well and finished fourth. She started from the eight hole so the draw was not in her favour but her driver was pleased with her performance. OK Destiny (two years old) raced very well and finished third, inches away from second!
November 15th 2010
The Harrisburg Sale did not go as we would have wished! We sold OK Elite for the reserve price and she will train in Ontario (with a new name, her owners run Lyons stable and name their horses with that marker) OK Excalibur did not make his reserve so we have kept him and he is going to train with Mark Ford - an individual we admire and the trainer of Excalibur's mother, Whitesand Jewel. Today we split up the eight weanlings, the five colts are in one paddock and the three filles are in another. There was lots of calling and fussing for a while but slowly they are adapting to their new playgrounds.
November 8th 2010
This is a very BIG DAY for us! OK Elite will be sold at auction in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. This is the largest Standardbred Sale in the world and over 1,000 yearlings will be sold this week. OK Excalibur will sell on Thursday and then we will undertake the long (at least eight hours) drive home. We have left our dog, Viva, with our friends Dick and Susann Chamberlain while we are gone. She will be a "condo dog" for a week and will probably disrupt their lives considerably! OK Carolion raced very well at Georgian Downs this week, she led the entire race and finished a very close second.
November 1st 2010
We do not have any horses racing this week but we went to Mike Wade's barn on the weekend and watched three of our young horses at work. OK Diablo is back in harness after a summer break - he has grown quite a bit and looks much more confident than he used to. The two yearlings - OK Elektra and OK Excel are doing well and seem to like their new job. We have a major milestone coming up this week, on Friday our final two yearlings - OK Elite and OK Excalibur will be loaded onto a trailer and will leave here for Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where they will be sold at Auction. We have videos of these two in the Yearling section of this web site if you want to see them in action!
October 27th 2010
For those of you who read this blog regularly, apologies for the lack of news recently. Caroline was away in Morocco (attending a traditional Moroccan wedding!) but she is home now and the weekly news will resume on Monday, November 1st.
October 11th 2010
We have had a spectacular Thanksgiving weekend at the farm - glorious sunshine and the trees in perfect, magnificent colour every day. We had visitors from Florida (Craig and Shannon Chamberlain) and they had a cart ride with John Bailey to see the fall colours all around the farm. OK Destiny qualified this week at Mohawk, she finished second in her race and had the fastest last quarter. She will race for real money next week! Three of our young horses have started work in the jog cart - OK Eros (with Ben Wallace) OK Excel and OK Elektra (with Mike Wade) have all learned to accept the harness and go to work.
October 4th 2010
We had expected to watch OK Destiny qualify tomorrow but she is now going to go on Friday at Mohawk. We will watch OK Carolion race at Kawartha Downs tomorrow night and all our other horses are either training in preparation for racing (OK Eros, OK Excel and OK Elektra) or on a break (OK Dynasty) We have sold OK Chivas, he is now racing in Charlottetown, PEI where he is doing very well for his new owners.
September 27th 2010
Good news - OK Elegant is home! She has a soft tissue injury and needs four weeks of stall rest and some TLC before she can go back to training. We have a guest at the farm this week - Shane Burry who runs a superlative B&B (Serenity Ranch) near Ancaster. He has taken a couple of days off the business he runs to see how we run a breeding operation. He is in full swing at feeding all the mares and weanlings with the companionship of his Goldendoodle, Shelby. Yesterday we rode together in the Ganaraska Forest - my favourite activity!
September 20th 2010
Having horses seems to be an unending series of triumphs and tragedies! On the "not so good" note this week, two of our yearlings decided to jump out of their paddocks! They had been cooped up in the Sale barn for four days and then trucked to a new place so the combination of exhaustion, disorientation and new people led them to try an escape. OK Elegant banged her knee (not seriously) and OK Excel just scratched his legs. Oddly enough, OK Electra is usually more skittish than either of those two but she stayed in the correct place.
September 13th 2010
The sale this weekend was both a blessing and a curse.! The good news is that OK Ebury has gone to a very good home and OK Eros is with Ben Wallace - a trainer we respect and whom we believe will take this talented colt to a great racing career. The other three yearlings came home with us - OK Elegant, OK Excel and OK Elektra did not reach the reserve prices we set and so they are now part of the Oak Knoll Stables racing group.
September 6, 2010
We have uploaded the videos for the 5 yearlings that are selling in the Standardbred Canada Yearling Sale on September 11th and 12th. They can be seen if you access the on-line catalogue from the SC website. In addition they are also on our website however you will need Adobe Flash to see them. If you want to download this programme just go to
August 30th 2010
We are getting several important visitors to our farm to inspect our yearlings. Among them, Mark Steacy came with Howard Pearce (of Landmark Stables) and Bob Young came on his way to Kawartha Downs. We took a very quick trip to New Brunswick to visit Steve and Patty Downey. We had a great tour of their mares, foals and yearlings but the highlight of the trip was a day at the races with them in St John. Caroline jogged their three year old - Dainty Down- with the aid of Steve Mason their trainer. What a thrill to be on the track with a stunning filly we have admired since she was a new foal!
August 23, 2010
The most recent issue of our newsletter has been posted to our website. The newletter contains information about our 5 yearlings going to the Standardbred Canada Yearling Sale which will take place on September 11 and 12.
Also included in the newsletter are some astonishing statistics about our graduates including the fact that they average $5,000 per race in winnings!
To access the newsletter click on the word "newsletter" just to the left of this news item.
August 16th 2010
We have recently updated the photos of the yearlings on our web site. The five horses going to the Standardbred Sale on September 11th and 12th have new pictures. Click on the head shot of each one to see a body shot. We will be making videos this week and they will be added to the web site once they are complete. This morning we watched OK Destiny in her first schooling race - she behaved very well and looked quite calm and collected in her first experience behind a gate.
August 9th 2010
Another victory! OK Dynasty broke her maiden (won her first race) on Friday night at Saratoga. She raced in a NYSS race and finished strongly. We were delighted to have our first "D baby" winner. Today OK Destiny travelled to Kawartha Downs for two training trips with Rick Webb driving her. She settled into her new role and worked well is a new environment. We hope she will qualify in about a month.
August 2nd 2010
It is a Civic holiday here in Ontario but the truth is holidays make no difference at the farm - we are here seven days a week and the horses need the same care 365 days a year! Tim Hallowell, our blacksmith, was here to trim the Yearlings and shoe the riding horses. Friends of ours from Toronto - John and Cheryl Trist - arrived with a feast for lunch so we took a break and celebrated the sun and the summer on our back deck. OK Destiny is expected to qualify in early September and this week she will go to Kawartha Downs for schooling races which are like practice runs for the young horses. She has to learn to travel to the track, stay in a strange place, go behind the starting gate and generally live the life of a racehorse.
A potpourri of information this week:
July 19th 2010
We had a chance this week to visit Mike Wade and watch OK Destiny (2 year old) and OK Carolion (3 year old) train. OK Destiny is growing well and moving beautifully on the track. She looks a lot like her mother - Color Me Beachy so we sincerely hope she will prove to be as fast and courageous as her mother was when she raced. OK Carolion has a big race coming up on Saturday - an OSS race(Ontario Sires Stakes at Kawartha Downs) and OK Dynasty has a big race on Friday (New York Sires Stakes in Buffalo) We plan to stay close to home and cheer on OK Carolion!
July 12, 2010
WOW - 1:47.4 - OK Commander burned the track up at The Meadowlands on Saturday in his Meadlowlands Pace Elimination race in near world record time. He now joins the ranks of the five (5) fastest 3YO pacers on a mile track, beating Sportswriter in the process. He led wire to wire and now gets to choose his post position in the $1 million final next Saturday.
His mother, Double Creme, immediately sent her son congratulations from his family still on the farm - 2 sisters OK Elite (Dragon Again) to be sold at Harrisburg and OK Fleet (No Pan Intended) a full sister to OK Boromir.
July 5th 2010
This has been a milestone week for us - the first of our "D babies" has made it to the track! OK Dynasty qualified at Mohawk on Saturday (driven by Scott Young) We were there to see her perform and were delighted by her race. She is going to New York today to race in a series of NY Sires Stake races. Our 2005 foals are still racing and OK Amelia won her first start of the year. Our 2006 crop is led by OK Boromir who has won $415,000 to date. His brother, OK Commander is the best of the 2007 group with winnings of $270,000. Now the 2008 foals have to prove their ability.
June 28th 2010
It was an exciting week watching the Pepsi North American Cup (won by Sportswriter) OK Commander raced in the Consolation race and led the entire race other than the last ten yards! He finished a very strong second in 1.48 We were part of the Northumberland Garden Tour this weekend in aid of Big Brothers and Big Sisters. This is the first time a farm has been associated with a garden on the tour and we had well over 500 people on the property yesterday! Our foals were much admired and the visitors asked hundreds and hundreds of questions.
June 21st 2010
A great week at Oak Knoll Stables! First, all our mares are pregnant! Nine of nine in foal - yeah!! We seemed to have many setbacks along the way but now we are done. In addition our three year old, OK Carolion raced at Kawartha Downs on Saturday and broke her maiden. She led the field wire to wire and we have our first win picture with her. It is such a thrill to see a foal you have raised on the track and her last three starts she has been third, second and first so we are really proud of her.
June 14th 2010
We had an improved racing week this week. OK Cognac won his race at Yonkers - his second consecutive victory. OK Commander finished fifth in his race and while that may not seem impressive he had the fastest closing quarter of all the horses in his race. He beat some of the most significant three year olds in North America. OK Carolion finished second in her race, beaten by a horse driven by Rick Webb! We cheered her into the finish and she was very close to the win picture.
June 7, 2010
Breeding is nearly finished with 2 mares still to verify that they are in foal. The BIG news is that Double Creme is in foal to the newest and greatest stallion - Well Said! Double Creme has an amazing record of producing stakes winning racehorses and her Well Said foal will be one of the premier yearlings in 2012.
On the racing front OK Dynasty continues to progress exactly on schedule. She is now down to 2:04 without any problems showing and will qualify by the end of June and then down to New York to race in the NYSS races.
May 31st 2010
For those of you who read this news regularly, this has not been a great week! A mare we did a pregnancy check for (Bailey Bug) proved to be empty which means we have to start again with her and it is very late in the season. Another mare (Erin Kay) was given a drug called Estromate to induce her cycle so that we could breed her today. When we checked her she is "not ready" so we have to wait till Wednesday. In addition, OK Eros banged his hock playing in the field and he may need arthroscopic surgery to repair the damage!
May 24th 2010
Long weekends are always interesting at the farm - the staff get the day off and the owners get the chores! it is a frustrating time of year, now that all our "F babies" are on the ground we are concentrating on getting the mares pregnant with the "G babies." Unfortunately, this is not going well. Double Creme has been bred several times and is due to be checked for pregnancy in two weeks. Bailey Bug was checked today and is not in foal so we have to start over again with her. CC Stacy will be checked on Wednesday and Erin Kay has yet to be bred.
May 17th 2010
Sometimes our horses take strange paths to their role as racehorses! One of our "C babies" - OK Chivas, was sold to Ben Wallace as a yearling. Ben had trained his mother, Bailey Bug annd had high hopes for her offspring. OK Chivas did not race as a two year old and it seemed he wasn't very interested in racing. However to our great delight he has actually qualified and on Sunday he came second and has now won money!! OK Carolion will race this weekend and we are planning to go and watch OK Destiny train with Mike Wade.
May 11th 2010
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT #8
Our final foal of the year has arrived! While Caroline was away collecting Whitesand Jewel from Blue Chip Farms, Erin Kay elected to deliver her foal (nine days early!) Fortunately Rick had agreed to be on site and he was with her to deliver the foal. The Lis Mara colt (a full brother to OK Excel) weighed 127lbs so he is a big, strong colt. This means that Heather's foal watch duties are complete for 2010 - lots more next year!
May 10th 2010
Over the weekend three of our four year old racehorses were on the track. OK Braveheart (in the States) OK Boromir (at Woodbine) and OK Bravo (in Ottawa) and each of them stood in the winner's circle. We only had four foals in 2006 so it is pretty amazing that three of them would win on one weekend! In addition, we have learned that three more of our mares are confirmed pregnant. Whitesand Jewel is coming home from Blue Chip Farms where she was bred to Bettors Delight. Mary Artman is in foal to Rocknroll Hanover and Fanciful is in foal to Western Ideal. We have two more to check in the coming week so it is busy in the lab these days.
May 3rd 2010
This is a great day - Jennie is pregnant! We have five preg checks this week but she is our first confirmed 2111 foal. Yeah!! On Saturday we went to Kawartha Downs to see OK Carolion in her first start as a three year old. Driven by Freddie Brethour she raced really well and finished fourth. On the same night OK Boromir raced the fastest time of his life - 1.49.3. He looked truly impressive and of course this bodes well for his full sister, OK Fleet, who is only three weeks old.
April 26th 2010
This is a beautiful time of year - all our mares and foals (seven of them) are turned out all day and the little ones play and run for hours on end. Good news from the racing side - OK Carolion qualified on Saturday and will run in her first race as a three year old next Saturday at Kawartha Downs. In addition, Caroline's new riding horse (a Thoroughbred named Cheval) is proving to be a brilliant trail horse and this glorious weather leads to many hours of joy rinding in the Ganaraska Forest.
April 19, 2010
This is the most exciting time of the year! We now have 7 of 8 foals on the ground, breeding of the broodmares for the 2011 foals in full swing, 3 horses in training with one, OK Carolion, due to qualify this Saturday. Bob Young, OK Dynasty’s trainer and part owner, reports that she is now training in 2:24 and is on schedule to qualify in June and race in New York State in July. We have just made plans to prep the yearlings starting July 15 in readiness for the Standardbred Canada Yearling Sale on September 11/12 and Harrisburg on November 8. Whew! Caroline and Rick are really busy!
April 12th 2010
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT #7
Given that we try and post new news every Monday, it was good of Bailey Bug to deliver her foal at 2.00am this morning. She has a big, strong Mach Three colt we have named OK Ferrari. This is the fourth foal we have had by this sire and every one of them has been a boy! This colt has a big white star and lots of white on his feet - he will stand out in the paddock and on the racetrack. We have only one mare still due, Erin Kay will foal in mid-May so we can actually get some sleep for the next four weeks.
April 5th 2010
We had thought there might be another birth announcement today but Bailey Bug is hanging on. She is due on April 19th but has been as early as 19 days before her due date in the past. She is HUGE and looks as if she could go at any minute! meanwhile we have started breeding for the next crop of foals - Whitesand Jewel was bred to Bettors Delight on Friday (at Blue Chip Farms in N.Y.) Mary Artman was bred to Rocknroll Hanover on Saturday and Camaronni N Cheese was bred to Mister Big today. We also had a chance to see our young racehorses this week - OK Carolion will qualify in April, OK Dynasty will qualify in June and OK Destiny is just starting out with Mike Wade. She took him on an interesting trip around the track - sometimes on course and sometimes in a direction she chose on her own!
March 29th 2010
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT #6
Our premier broodmare, Double Creme has never carried her foal until her due date. True to form she delivered her new filly at 4.20 this morning, six days early. The latest foal - OK Fleet - is a full sister to OK Boromir who has won over $300,000. We hope the new addition will live up to her name and to the family reputation for speed! Most of the foals born here this year have white markings on their face or feet but OK Fleet is completely bay - no markings at all. She is a tall, strong filly amd looks like a racehorse.
March 26th 2010
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT #5
At last, CC Stacy has delivered her foal. Just as she did last year, she was six days late. This is one of the few times we had a preference for the gender of the foal. Last year Stacy had a filly (OK Elegant) and 60% of the foals by Jereme's Jet (the sire of this foal) were females so we had hoped for a colt. And yes, this is a boy! He has a pretty star on his face and a small white stripe below it - quite dramatic. We have named the new arrival OK Fabulous.
March 24th 2010
We have delayed posting our news this week on the premise that CC Stacy would allow us to post Birth Announcement # 5. Apparently, she is not interested! She is now five days late and has not shown any real desire to get this foal on the ground. This week Whitesand Jewel moved to Blue Chip Farms where she will be bred to Bettors Delight. It is a nine hour drive one way to get her to the farm so we hope this goes well. Thanks to Anne Vavra for undertaking the driving role, she made the trip easy for both horse and human.
March 17th 2010
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT #3
In honour of St Patrick's Day, Jennie decided to deliver her foal (12 days late!) Her filly was born at 1.07am and is named OK Firefly. As always, Jennie delivered her foal very easily and very quickly. Mother and baby are both doing well. pictures will be posted in the Foals section of our web site within 24 hours. Special thanks to Heather for watching her through many long nights.
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT #4
It never rains but it pours! We turned out the mares at 8.00 am today and luckily Rick was keeping an eye on them in the field. Fanciful started to lie down and then her water broke. We got her inside and she delivered a colt - her first foal - by Mach Three. He is big and strong and we are relieved to have OK Fantastic here. This is the first time ever that we have had two foals born on the same day - luck of the Irish.
March 15th 2010
This is the "No birth announcement" week! Jennie is now ten days late and despite the fact she practices her "delivery dance" every night she has failed to actually produce a foal. Meanwhile Stacy is due on Friday and Fanciful is due on Sunday so this could be a very busy week. The first foal born, OK Feisty, is a very unusual colour - 90% of standardbreds are brown or bay but we think we may have to create a new colour just for her. We want to register her as "pewter." She is a lovely, dark, smokey grey and if she keeps this colour will be a very striking racehorse.
March 5th 2010
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT # 2
It never rains but it pours. One day after we welcomed OK Feisty to our world Mary Artman delivers a lovely colt by The Panderosa. She went from "resting" to "delivering" in a very short timeframe. She was asleep at 8.30pm, her water broke at 8.45pm and OK Fame arrived at 8.55pm. There was an audience to see him arrive - Heather (Foal watch expert) Amelia (Offical farm photographer) Ken (who actually helped deliver this one) and Caroline who looked after the mare and foal. Rick Webb drove from his home to welcome the new arrival, give him his shots and make sure he was drinking well. This is actually the due date for Jennnies Girl so we hope to announce another addition very soon.
March 4th 2010
Yeah, finally after 11 nights of foal watch we have our first delivery of the year. Camaronni N Cheese (Cameo) went into labour out in the field. We brought her inside and she produced a beautiful filly foal. The foal is big and very alert with extra long ears! She was born at 11.00am, a very unusual time for a mare to foal. We think we may call her OK Fame but are waiting to see who else arrives in the next 24 hours before we make a final choice. Two other mares are very close so watch this space..........
March 1st 2010
Hard to believe but there are no foals here yet! We have spent the last seven nights watching Camaronni N Cheese (due last Friday) and Mary Artman (due today). Cameo and Merry as we call them have every indicator in place to show they are ready, they elect not to go into labour. Cameo is enormous and has trouble walking. Merry has milk dripping down her legs but they refuse to deliver their foals. There was a full moon last night - often considered a prime time for mares to deliver - but obviously these two don't know that particular omen.
February 22nd 2010
We are in waiting and watching mode. This unseasonably mild weather seems to have confused the mares - they are all bagging up early. Technically, Camaronni N Cheese is the first mare due (on Friday) but it looks as if Mary Artman may go ahead of her. Heather Shepherd has resumed her role as "EFW" (Expert Foal Watch) monitor and she is glued to the television all night long! We will be posting the foals on this site as they arrive so please stay tuned for birth announcements.
February 15, 2010
Oak Knoll Stables continues to receive great recognition in the industry! The January/10 issue of the Canadian Sportsman showed 2009 stakes earnings by jurisdiction - OK Braveheart was 2nd in earnings in New York state and OK Boromir was 4th in earnings in Ontario. In addition the February edition of Hoof Beats had the annual 3YO forecast by Stan Bergstein where he lists all the 3YO's who he believes will be outstanding performers in 2010. OK Commander is ranked number 23 (out of 3,000+ horses) primarily due to his astonishing mark of 1:51.4 as a 2YO in 2009 and his win in the American National. Stan's comment was " puts him on the national radar".
February 8th 2010
This week the last of our "D babies" left the farm.Ok Destiny (The Panderosa-Color Me Beachy-Jennas Beach Boy) had surgery on her knee to remove a bone chip. She took a little longer to heal than we had expected so last week we had her X-rayed and she is ready to start work. She joins OK Diablo at Mike Wade's track and she will be in harness this week. We expect great things of this filly (her sister is Beachy Girl and her brothers are OK Braveheart and OK Canada) so keep your eyes open for her later in the summer.
February 1st 2010
We spent the weekend at the O'Brien awards and were delighted when Fancy Filly won the two year old Pacer filly award. She was also named the top two year old pacing filly in the States. We have her half sister - Fanciful - who is due in early March with a Mach Three foal. We plan to breed her to Western Ideal after she foals and hopefully one of these babies will be as prolific as Fancy Filly who won over $800,000 this year!
January 25th 2010
Currently we have no horses racing and the first foal is due in five weeks. So, the big news at the farm this week is.............the cat is getting fixed! Emmett joined us in July and was a free kitten from another barn. Little did we know that this free addition to our business would cost $150 to neuter. It seems vets don't differentiate between a Barn cat and a treasured family pet. However, Emmett is a superb mouser and he keeps the barn rodent free so we are willing to splurge on his procedure!
January 18th 2010
You may find this interesting based on some research we have been doing:
*This was the only one retained out of 8 foals – all the others were sold at auction!
On the surface it would appear that these horses came out of anywhere but a closer look shows the following:
50% of the horses were retained by the breeder or sold privately
75% of the horses which sold at auction were sold for over $50,000.
63% of the horses have heavy black type in their pedigree. Alternatively, 37% came out of nowhere!
January 11th 2010
This week we welcomed a new staff member to our roster - Sally Shearer is working for us on the weekends and will take on Jessie's role when Jessie leaves to have her baby. Sally has experience with broodmares, yearlings and standardbred racers so we are delighted to have her with us. Meanwhile our mares are growing large and we can see active foals kicking and playing inside their mothers!
January 4th 2010
It is with great pride and satisfaction that we announce all our breeding plans for 2010 are complete. Four years from now we will know if we have made the right choices! Of our nine mares, four will be bred to Ontario sires and five to US sires. We have chosen two new sires (Well Said and Mister Big) and seven established sires. In alphabetical order the choices are:
Bailey Bug - Badlands Hanover Camaronn N Cheese - Mister Big
CC Stacy - Western Terror Double Creme - Well Said
Erin Kay - Mach Three Fanciful - Western Ideal
Jennies Girl - Lis Mara Mary Artman - Rocknroll Hanover
Whitesand Jewel - Bettors Delight
December 28th 2009
This is the final news bulletin for the year. We would like to thank our staff, family and friends for all your support and encouragement during the year. Some highlights for us - having a horse we raised race in the North America Cup ($1,000,000 race) and another 2 year old race in the Metro Pace. Delivering seven foals from seven pregnancies - six healthy, one problem but he has fully recovered and is fine today.Visiting Twinbrook Farms to see "Star" with her little colt Twin B OK. Visiting Ben Wallace, Gregg McNair and Mike Wade to watch our horses train. Celebrating Christmas at the farm with friends from Chile, Spain, Morocco, Pakistan and (family) from Canada!
December 21, 2009
We continue to debate the choices for breeding our mares in 2010. Big news today, we are able to book Mary Artman to RockNroll Hanover. Thanks to Claude Brault for his assistance with this application. For the other mares we are trying to balance US sires and Ontario sires, proven sires and new sires (we want to go to Mr. Big for sure!) and repeat breedings versus new combinations. It is a complex process and we need to find the best possible matches in order to get the finest foals in the year 2011. More news on this next week.
December 14th 2009
We went to Mike Wade's this week to watch our young horses train. It was bitterly cold - tough weather to be out on the track. OK Carolion is training beautifully and is expected to qualify in April. OK Diablo, the baby of the group, is working well and seems happy in his new role. OK Chaos continues to keep everyone challenged. He is making progress but he seems to take longer than we would like to get his act together!
December 8, 2009
We are just back from Qatar in the Middle East and had the opportunity to see how they trained their racing camels. Two interesting features of camel racing - 1) since the track is up to 5K in length you watch the race by driving your vehicle (usually a Land Cruiser) alongside the track when the race is running and 2) the camels have a robot jockey which the owner controls from his Land Cruiser as he drives alongside. He can activate a small whip and also a loud speaker to urge the camel on. (Mike Saftic watch out - you may be replaced!). BIG event over there with prices for female camels reaching $300,000! Who knows, maybe Oak Knoll Stables can operate internationally!
November 30th 2009
We have just achieved a major milestone! In 2007, our first crop of racehorses went to the track - OK Acrobat, OK Amazing and OK Amelia. The following year all our "B babies" won races - OK Brilliant, OK Bravo, OK Braveheart and OK Boromir. This year, OK Commander and OK Canada have joined them in the winner's circle. To date, these nine horses have earned over one million dollars. In addition, our racehorses finish 1st, 2nd or 3rd 53% of the time. This is exciting news for such a small breeding operation. We feel confident that quality of our horses is improving every year so the best is yet to come.
November 23, 2009
It doesn't happen very often!
November 16th 2009
This has been a wonderful week! First we went to see Mike Wade and watched three of our young horses train. OK Chaos (2 year old colt) is showing promise, OK Carolion (2 year old filly) is training well and OK Diablo (Yearling colt) is starting out beautifully. Then we got a call from Ben Wallace, trainer of OK Chivas with the news that this colt will move back to the main barn in December to resume training. We attended the OSS Gold Super Finals at Woodbine on Saturday night to watch OK Boromir. he looked well but finished 8th in his race. The really big victory came with OK Commander winning a huge race in Chicago on Saturday night - his first win boosted his earnings this year to $146,000.
November 9th 2009
This is, at last, a calm time of year for us. Our yearlings are sold, our foals are weaned and our broodmares are large! The exciting news this week is that Jessie Henry, our longest term employee is pregnant. She and her partner, Dan, are expecting their first child in the spring. Jessie came to Oak Knoll Stables in the fall of 2005 and she has been a key member of our staff since then. We are delighted for them both and wish them great happiness as they start their family.
November 2, 2009
We have now syndicated the 2 yearlings which were for sale - OK Dynasty and OK Diablo with OK Destiny remaining at the farm until next spring when she will go into training.
We will have 5 in training next year so optimism is at its peak right now.
October 26th 2009
We attended the Breeders Crown races at Woodbine on Saturday night. It was a fabulous night of racing with the chance to see Muscle Hill race (and win convincingly) in his final race. Our two year old colt, OK Commander (Art Major-Double Creme- Albert Albert) was the rank outsider in his race but he went to the front from the eight hole. He battled with the leader for the first half of the race and for a few strides he actually led! He tired quickly and finished out of the money but he certainly was fun to watch. The 2 year old filly pace Crown was won by Fancy Filly, a half sister to Fanciful one of the broodmares we have bred to MachThree. It is wonderful to have a sibling of our mares win over $800,000 as a 2 year old.
October 11, 2009
The news this week is all racing.
We also saw OK Diablo in action. Very impressive after only 3 weeks in training. We have syndicated this colt - 3 owners plus Oak Knoll.
A lot of excitement coming up this Saturday. OK Commander, Double Creme's colt, is running in the Breeders Crown for 2YO pacing colts! The purse is $720,000! The competition is incredible with Sportswriter ( 7 races, 7 firsts) the one for everyone to beat.
OK Canada is in the Grassroots semi-finals on Friday going for a purse of $30,000. The top 4 finishers will go into the Finals with a purse of $100,000.
October 12, 2009
Click on the icons on the left to see videos of our yearlings.
We are off to see our racehorses tomorrow at Mike Wade's training centre. OK Chaos is back on the training track on an accelerated 6 week evaluation programme - so tomorrow we see the results of a 4 month layoff for this horse - who has grown to be a LARGE animal!
Also we will see our Modern Art colt - OK Diablo who, according to Mike, has indicated he just may be a racehorse! He has taken to training like a duck to water. We have syndicated him with 3 other partners.
The last yearling for sale is our Art Major filly - OK Dynasty who has attracted some interest but has not benn confirmed as sold. Our asking price is $50,000 which is comparable to the prices received by Art Major fillies in Lexington. We want to retain a financial interest in this outstanding filly. We are still open to offers if you are interested.
October 5th 2009
Oh the joys of racehorses! Four weeks ago we sold our first home-bred racehorse - OK Amelia. She went to the US and started racing at Yonkers. In her first three races she was 3rd, 3rd and 1st. Last Friday she ran a brilliant race - she came from an outside position to grab the lead at the start and she led wire to wire. She finished in 1.52.1 - a superb time and a great race for her. She has now won just over $96,000 and was claimed for $43,000. This from a mare (Jennies Girl) who made a grand total of $2,700 lifetime and had a best time of 1.59.1. You just never know.........
September 28, 2009
Click on the icons on the left to see videos of our 2 yearlings for sale.
We have entered 2 broodmares - Stolen Magic and Erin Kay - in the SC Fall Mixed Sale on October October 24th as well as one of our racehorses - OK Bravo. Our policy is to sell 2 broodmares a year and acquire 2 younger ones. While OK Bravo has LTE of $63,150 she will be sold since we also have to keep our racing stock within reasonable limits.
September 21st 2009
Visitors are coming to the farm to see our yearling filly - OK Dynasty (Art Major-Erin Kay-Jate Lobell) One of our visitors is Mike Saftic who has promised to give up smoking before Jan 1st 2010!! We have decided to send OK Diablo (Modern Art-Island Escape-Island Fantasy) to Mike Wade so that he can be harnessed and begin his jogging. Interested buyers can see him on the track. In addition, we have a new horse at the farm, a thoroughbred! She is a riding horse for Caroline, a 4 year old mare off the track whom we have named Cheval.
September 14th 2009
On Saturday we went to the Canadian Yearling Sale at Flamboro Downs. We had a chance to catch up with some of our favourite people - Pierre Guillemette, Jack McNiven, Tammy and Rob McNiven (and Jenna) and David Reid of Preferred Equine. Meanwhile, OK Braveheart continues to race impressively in the NYSS. He won his sixth consecutive race on Saturday and always leads wire to wire.
September 10, 2009
The September newsletter is now available for viewing. Click the link on the left.
September 8, 2009
OK horses continue to do well at the track:
On average, Oak Knoll Stables horses are in the top 3 finishers of all their races 50% of the time!
August 31st 2009
We had lots of racing action this week but the most exciting prospect for us was OK Commander (half brother to OK Boromir) who raced in the eliminations for the Metro Pace - the premier event for 2 year old pacing colts. He raced well in his division and finished a strong fourth in a race that went in 1.52.1 and his time was 1.53.1 The next elimination went in 1.53.2 so in fact he was faster than the winner of the following race! Nevertheless, he is not in the top three finishers of an elimination race and is currently listed as an AE (Alternative Entry) So, we have to hope that one of the current contenders is sick on the day of the race!
August 24, 2009
More racing news:
• OK Commander ran his 4th race, competing in the Nassagaweya Stakes on Saturday and came 4th. The race went in an amazingingly fast 1:50.4 and Commander was timed in 1:52.3, a full 2 seconds faster than his last race! He is averaging $7,200 per race in winnings.
• OK Amelia went wire to wire last night and won her race at Flamboro Downs adding $5,500 to her earnings. Her total lifetime earnings (LTE) are now $68,000!
• OK Bravo was back at the track on Thursday and ran a personal best 1:53.3, good for 4th place. She will now go to Ottawa next Sunday to compete in the Trillium series for Ontario bred Mares.
August 17th 2009
Over the past week we have been watching three years of our inventory racing! OK Amelia is now four and raced very well at Georgian Downs. OK Bravo (3 years old) raced sucessfully at Mohawk and OK Commander (2 years old) raced in his second start - he has one second place finish and was third this week. But the star of the show continues to be OK Boromir, he raced in an OSS Gold Final on Monday night and went like the wind. He led almost the entire race and was beaten in the final three strides of the mile. The race went in 1.49.0 - a new Canadian record for three year old colts in the OSS Gold series. OK Boromir finished in 1.49.1 - one fifth of a second behind the winner!
August 10th 2009
We are starting our Yearling preparation. This entails transforming our somewhat scruffy young horses into sleek, elegant, well-mannered individuals. They need to learn how to have a bath (for some, a tough lesson) how to stand quietly while being groomed and vacuumed (for some, a fidgety process) and how to pick up their feet quietly for cleaning (for some, an opportunity to argue) In September and October potential buyers will come and inspect the yearlings - we need each one to be gorgeous and well behaved in order to impress their future owners.
August 3rd 2009
This week we have experienced a terrible tragedy at the farm. One of our yearlings (OK Darling, the half sister of OK Boromir by Camluck) fell while having her feet trimmed. This is not uncommon and 99.9% of the time the horse is fine. Sadly, in her case she was injured. She suffered a trauma to her neck and despite excellent care, her condition deteriorated. On Thursday we took her to Guelph to the Ontario Veterinary College and within minutes the experts had concluded she could not be saved. She was euthanized at once. On our journey home we collected OK Destiny from Caledon Equine Hospital where she had had a bone chip removed from her knee. All in all not a good week.
July 27th 2009
As you can see from the picture, visitors from around the world flock to Oak Knoll Stables to look at our horses! This individual is from Quatar.
OK Destiny underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove a bone chip from her right knee. She is expected to make a full recovery and will, we hope, race as well as her sister (Beachy Girl, $384,486) and her brother OK Canada. OK Canada won his first start this week and is now entered in the Battle of Waterloo eliminations.
July 20, 2009
More exciting racing news:
OK Amelia was brilliant in winning her race on Saturday at Georgian Downs, pushing her earnings close to $60,000 LTE.
OK Braveheart won his NYSS race last week to push his LTE to $102,000.
OK Boromir got nipped at the wire in a photo finish for one of the Breeders Crown elims. He now goes into the final next Saturday for a purse of $176,000. Boromir now has LTE of $289,000!
OK Canada won his OSS Grassroots race on Saturday – his very first race!
Also, if you are interested in our quarterly newsletter, just click on the link to the left and you will see a PDF version of our June newsletter.
July 6th 2009
Well, our breeding season is officially over. We have nine of ten mares pregnant and that is a great result. We also had six OK horses at the track over the weekend - some we still own but all of them are of great interest to us. Their little brothers and sisters are playing in our paddocks. OK Amelia (our 4 year old) raced at Kawartha Downs, OK Brilliant raced in Charlottetown, OK Bravo (our 3 year old) raced at Mohawk, OK Braveheart raced at Pocono Downs, OK Boromir raced at Mohawk and OK Carolion (Great Owners 2 year old) made her racing debut at Kawartha Downs. We are off on a quick holiday so the next news update will be July 20th.
June 29, 2009
It was both a rewarding and a disappointing weekend of racing. On a positive note, OK Carolion qualified at Kawartha Downs on Saturday with a sparkling 2:00 win. We are now looking for a race for her before the 2YO OSS racing starts.
Also on Saturday, OK Boromir started in the #1 post in the $1,500,000 Pepsi North America Cup race at Mohawk. The facility was filled to capacity with hardly a spare seat and the show put on by the track was outstanding with great TV coverage of the event. Boromir went off as a 15 to 1 long shot and managed to keep up with 9 of the best 3YO pacers in North America - until the final stretch, finishing 8th. Boromir ended up with a personal best of 1:50.3 but was no match for the outstanding time of the winner – Well Said who tripped the timer at 1:48.1 – a Canadian record for 3YO’s.
On the other hand, what a great story for Oak Knoll Stables. From only our 2nd crop we had a horse in the richest race in North America with the 10 top 3YO pacers in North America! We can hardly wait until the racing world sees our 3rd, 4th and 5th crops.
June 22nd 2009
What a weekend! One of our colts - OK Boromir was in the elimination races for the North America Cup. 40 horses raced for the ten spots in the final and he made it!! This is the biggest horse race in North America - bigger than the Queen's Plate, bigger than the Kentucky Derby, bigger than anything! The purse is 1.5million dollars. We could never have imagined that one of our horses would be racing in this calibre of event. Next Saturday we are going to Kawartha Downs in the morning to see OK Carolion qualify and then we are going to Mohawk that night to see OK Boromir undertake the biggest race of his life (and ours!)
June 15, 2009
In the last week our graduates have had some success in racing.
OK Boromir was the most impressive winning his division of the Burlington Stakes at Mohawk and adding $50,000 to his pocketbook for a total LTE of $197,550. It looks like he may be in the North American Cup in2 weeks going for a purse totalling $1,500,000!
No to be outdone, OK Braveheart came 2nd in his NYSS race, winning $9,110 for a total LTE of $52,681.
OK Bravo continued on her successful 2009 campaign coming 2nd in her Mohawk race and winning $4,750 for a LTE of $39,140.
Rounding out the week was OK Amelia who came 3rd at Georgian winning $1,080 and bring her LTE up to $52,681.
OK Carolion was impressive in her 2nd schooling race today and will qualify on June 27th to start her racing career.
June 8th 2009
One of the thrills of being a breeder is to see your "babies" at the track. This morning we went to Kawartha Downs to watch OK Carolion (Island Fantasy-Jennies Girl- Village Jiffy) in her first Schooling race. She had never seen a starting gate and for the first time, was racing with a group of 2 year olds and experiencing a "day at the track." Rick Webb drove her and she behaved beautifully, she made no mistakes and finished a nose behind the winner. We were delighted by her performance and look forward to her qualifying race in a couple of weeks.
June 1, 2009
We had a frustrating AND a rewarding weekend of racing. OK Bravo finished 4th in her OSS Grassroots race at Hanover despite being the favourite. OK Amelia finished 6th at Georgian Downs as did Great Diva (the Great Owners Stable mare).
The one bright light was OK Boromir who won his OSS Gold elimination at Rideau Carlton on Sunday. He is now in the Gold final next week racing for $130,000. While we sold him to Frank Baker as a yearling, we are the breeders of record and earn breeders awards every time he wins money in OSS competition. In addition we still own his dam and also have 2 half sisters at the farm. Go Boromir!
We are still smarting from the fiasco last week where the scheduled driver of Boromir was taken off the horse for a rules infraction immediately prior to the Upper Canada Cup race. With a purse of $500,000 and every other horse being driven by an “A” driver, changing drivers at the last instant was a real handicap. The driver was apparently fined $100 - WOW– the owner/trainer lost a chance to win $250,000 and Oak Knoll Stables lost a chance to substantially increase the value of the dam and the 2 offspring. We are going to appeal his fine to the ORC and anyone else we can contact who is in a position of authority. What a travesty of justice!
May 25th 2009
We were bitterly disappointed by the outcome of the Canada Cup race. OK Boromir's driver was replaced at the last minute so he was driven by a new driver and finished 6th. There is more to this story but the details have not been made public yet. Meanwhile, at the farm we are hoping that this is our final breeding week. Seven of our ten mares are confirmed pregnant, the other three will all be bred before Friday.
May 18, 2008
BIG racing news!
OK Amelia is back to her winning ways with a convincing 1st place finish at Georgian Downs on Saturday which brought her life time earnings to over $50,000.
On the same evening at Georgian, Double Crème’s first foal, OK Boromir won his elimination race for the Upper Canada Cup, also in a convincing fashion and is now into the $500,000 final next Saturday.
OK Bravo finished 2nd in her race at Mohawk on Thursday and has now won $30,000 in just 9 races, never worse than 3rd this year. She is in again this Thursday.
May 11th 2009
We went to Mohawk on Thursday evening to see our three year old, OK Bravo race. She ran beautifully and in a photo finish, pulled off her first victory. Our friend Peter Berry joined us in the win picture and so did Mr. Saftic - Mike's dad. It turned out he and Ken had gone to High School together in Copper Cliff! This week has also been a surgical series. Erin Kay's colt (OK Excel) developed a scrotal hernia and needed emergency surgery. Dr. Lindsay Colwell operated at Millbrook and he is home and doing well. Stolen Magic's filly (OK Elektra) got kicked out in the field and needed 14 stitches to close the wound. The joys of babies!
May 4, 2008
Racing is gradually moving into full action with our 2006 crop of OK Bravo, OK Braveheart and OK Boromir racing regularly. So far in 2009, OK Bravo has two 2nds and two 3rds in four races and $12,900, OK Boromir a 2nd and $5,900 in his first race and OK Braveheart two 1sts, three 2nds,three 3rds and $38,790 with a third place finish in the R J Suslow stakes at the Meadowlands.
The 2007 crop is training well with OK Canada (trainer Ben Wallace) down to 2:18, OK Carolion (Mike Wade) down to 2:22, OK Cognac down to 2:18 and OK Commander (Greg McNair) down to 2:18. All the horses appear sound and should be in great shape for the stakes season. OK Chaos and OK Chivas have been laid up to give them time to mature.
April 27th 2009
Double birth announcement!!
What a weekend , what a relief. All our foals are here. On Friday night Stolen Magic delivered a filly foal. Every year this mare has been a month overdue and suddenly she decided to go "on time" We were attending a family function, got home at 10.05pm her water broke at 10.10pm and the foal was here 15 minutes later. She is called OK Elektra (our first Jeremes Jet foal) On Sunday afternoon we had guests for lunch - they left at 3.45pm and Whitesand Jewel delivered her first foal at 4.20pm. The colt is strong and active and named OK Excalibur. Jewel actually delivered on her due date, the only mare of our seven "mums" to match her PFD (Predicted Foaling Date) Jewel's colt is by Western Terror - for those of you who follow breeding lines a 3 by 3 cross. Now, no more foal watch and all seven foals are on the ground. Yeah!!
April 20th 2009
BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT - We have another new "E baby." Erin Kay delivered a colt by Lis Mara just as we sat down to dinner on Moday, April 13th. The colt had a little bit of a rough start but he is doing well now - he is called OK Excel. In addition, we were at Georgian Downs on Saturday night to see Great Diva in her racing debut and OK Amelia continue her season. OK Braveheart raced at the Meadowlands and finished third. Our final two mares to foal (Stolen Magic and Whitesand Jewel) have moved into the foaling boxes so we are looking forward to our last two foals of the season.
April 13th 2009
Some broodmares have no sense of calendars.............Erin Kay has been behaving as if she will deliver any minute for the last seven nights, she is still carrying her foal! She is actually due on April 25th but obviously that means nothing to her. Meanwhile two of our three year olds raced well this week. OK Bravo, driven by Mike Saftic finished in a thrilling dash to the wire with five horses side by side. A whisker separated first from second and second from third but she got her nose in and placed second. At the Meadowlands, OK Braveheart (whom we sold at Harrisburg) raced to an impressive second place finish, he is in the money in almost every race he has run. It is great fun to cheer on these animals we raised, we remember them as "babies" but now they are serious racehorses.
Addendum: We just learned that two more of our mares are confirmed pregnant - Mary Artman to The Panderosa and Jennies Girl to Royal Mattjesty.
April 6, 2009
Double Crème had her long awaited Dragon Again foal early Monday morning. As usual Crème did it with a minimum of fuss and effort – contractions at 1:30AM, foal at 1:45 and placenta passed at 2:12. We now have OK Elite - a large (116 pounds), well put together filly. Creme’s foals have always been extremely healthy and hopefully OK Elite will follow her half brother OK Boromir (2YO earnings of $100,000+) with another illustrious career
March 30th 2009
Yesterday we attended the Winbak Open House and listened to experts talk about Hay Analysis, Managing mares weight during pregnancy and Improving pregnancy rates in Broodmare bands. By coincidence, Ken had to drive back to Winbak today to collect semen (Royal Mattjesty) for Jennies Girl. In the last week (while Rick was away on holiday!) we bred Camaronni N Cheese (to Modern Art) Fanciful (to Mach Three) Mary Artman (to The Panderosa) and Jennies Girl. In two weeks or so we will learn how many of them are actually pregnant!
March 23, 2009
All racing news – OK Braveheart ran on Sunday as the favourite at the Meadowlands and came from the back to win in 1:54. OK Bravo ran her schooling race in 1:59 last Friday at Mohawk and is due to qualify this Friday. OK Amelia is back – racing at Kawartha on Tuesday afternoon so we plan to be there to cheer her on. At the farm, OK Eros continues to show great foal speed – today he ran around the paddock in 6 seconds flat! This is one great looking foal.
March 16th 2009
It seems as if we are in "waiting mode".....Our racehorses are not quite at the track. OK Amelia has had a cold and is resting for a while. OK Bravo is due to qualify on April 4th and the "C two year-olds" are jogging and gaining strength for their debut in June or July. Rick went to see OK Chivas and OK Canada this week, he thinks OK Chivas has grown a foot since he left here! Meanwhile we had a weigh day at the farm today and OK Eros has gained over 100lbs in the last month - he is a very big, strong, confident colt but if he keeps growing at this rate he will be enormous. We cannot change his diet because his only nutrition is his mother's milk, we may have to wean him early.
March 9, 2008
This is Ken reporting this week. I have been appointed to the Board of the Standardbred Horse Owners Panel (SHOP) and am attending my first Board meeting on Wednesday. I agreed to sit on the Board because I believe that owners need to become more active and involved in how and where this industry needs to go if it is to return to its previously prestigious position as a leading sport in North America. We need to rebuild our fan base and join the ranks of other professional sports such as the NBA, NFL, NHL and MLB. I welcome any and all thoughts you may have about what you think is wrong with what we are doing in this industry and more importantly please give me your thoughts about what we should be doing to fill our racetracks with fans and bettors.
March 2nd 2009
A great week for us! Our two "delayed" foals are here and they are gorgeous. CC Stacy delivered her first foal at 1.15am on Friday morning. She is a very feminine filly by Dragon Again. We have named her OK Elegant and she truly reflects her name. On Saturday morning Jennies Girl decided to deliver her colt after we had left the barn. We had watched her all night and then she delivered in three minutes! The foal is completely black, not one white hair on his body. He is by Modern Art and has been named after a family member (a tradition for Jennie and her foals) he is OK Ebury - please go the foals section of the website to see the pictures of the foals taken by Amelia (www.flirtphotography.ca)
Some of the OK Eros pictures will appear on our home page - he looks like a small bucking bronco!
February 23rd 2009
It has been another week of triumph and disappointment! We were thrilled to watch OK Braveheart (the colt we sold at Harrisburg in November 2007) make his debut at The Meadowlands in New Jersey. He did not race as a two year old but came out with speed and style in his very first race as a three year old. He won in a time of 1.53.0 - a very impressive start to what we hope will be an illustrious career. Meanwhile, the two mares due on the weekend (Jennie was due Feb 20th and CC Stacey on Feb 21st) have both elected to wait a bit longer to deliver their foals, they seem to be in no hurry and so far there is no sign of an imminent delivery.
February 16, 2009
We have a “character”!
On Friday morning at 12:30AM Bailey Bug had the first Oak Knoll foal of 2009. OK Eros is a Mach Three colt, named because he was born only one day short of Valentine’s Day. OK Eros is a “character” with an inquisitive nature, a mind for exploration and independence and more friendly than nearly all our other foals. Not only that, he is blessed with long legs and a jagged white blaze on his head. In a sign of good things to come, OK Eros in his first trip outside paced around the paddock at full speed.
In the next 2 weeks we have 2 more mares foaling – CC Stacy and Jennies Girl.
February 9th 2009
Bailey Bug is due on February 17th but it looks as if she is ready now - the foal watch begins! We are thrilled that OK Braveheart has qualified at the Meadowlands. he did not race as a two year old so he is the last of our "B babies" to make it to the races. OK Amelia starts a new series of races on Friday, she will be racing in the eliminations for the Ontario Girls at Woodbine.
February 2, 2009
OK Amelia had her first race of 2009 last Thursday and despite finishing 9th after starting from the 10th hole we were satisfied with her first time effort after a 3 month layoff. She should go again this week with hopefully better results. Amelia is eligible for the Ontario Girls and the Damsel stakes in February and March so it should be a fun time.
We also visited our other horses in training. Firstly at Ben Wallace’s – 2YO OK Chivas – who has the same breeding as Zooka! Too early to tell how he will do. We were also at Mohawk to see how Bob Young was doing with our 3YO OK Bravo. She looks great and is down to 2:23 on a schedule to be racing at the end of March. Bob continues to be high on her.
Monday, January 26th 2009
We have just returned from a superb holiday in Costa Rica (thus no news posted last week) and we are back at the races! Our four year old home - bred mare, OK Amelia qualified last Friday and will be entered to race at Woodbine on Friday, January 30th. This will be great fun for us as we will be at dinner at the track with the Directors of Standardbred Canada and we can cheer on our horse among friends. On Saturday we are attending the O'Brien awards where, along with horse racing fans around the world, we will celebrate the (presumed) choice of Somebeachsomewhere as Horse of the Year in Canada.
January 12, 2009
Well, we have finally done it – agreed on which stallions to breed to which mare. It has taken us 3 weeks to reach consensus (Rick, Caroline and Ken) and the results are (drumroll please):
We spread the risk by breeding to 8 known stallions who have offspring at the races versus 2 newer stallions. Because of the lucrative Ontario Sires Stakes we concentrated on Ontario-breds this year with 9 Ontario and only 1 US.
We avoided any of the brand new stallions since we could not see enough promise in their pedigree to convince us to gamble.
Now the fun starts – foaling and breeding!
January 5th 2009
Happy New Year to all our readers! On Saturday we went to visit Mike Wade and watched three of our horses in action. OK Amelia (now 4) is expected to qualify later this month, she looks well and is back to her racing speed. Her sister, OK Carolion (Island Fantasy- Jennies Girl - Village Jiffy) looks fabulous - she moves beautifully, is settled on the track and does everything asked of her. The other 2 yr old, OK Chaos, is a different story. The gelded son of Western Hanover is immature and has not made much progress in the last two months. We have decided to give him a break, he will come back to the farm for a lay-up and we will see how he looks in the spring.
December 29, 2008
Our new mares are adjusting well to life at Oak Knoll Stables – they love the snow! That’s Mary Artman on the right in both pictures.
December 22, 2008
We have started our research and deliberations about which stallions to match with our broodmares. As a result of the poor experience we had in selling our yearlings this year our strategy has changed to breeding and racing rather than breeding to sell. We also want to concentrate on the Ontario market since there will be additional breeder awards money available to successful breeders. Considering the current economic forecast we also are of the belief that the Ontario purse market will stay strong since it is closely related to the slots revenue. As a result we will breed 75% Ontario sires and 25% US sires to our 10 broodmares. We also will have a mix of the tried and true (e.g Camluck) with brand new sires such as Santanna Blue Chip. One interesting situation is with Jennies Girl who has the poorest pedigree of all our mares but who throws great looking and great performing horses. We will be breeding her to one of the better Ontario sires in the hopes of another great racehorse – who knows, great families have to start someplace!
December 15th 2008
We are still trying to get our Florida mare here, the paperwork and bureacracy is mind-boggling! Meanwhile, we have purchased another mare (based in Ontario) to join our Broodmare band. The Artsplace mare is 5yr old Mary Artman - we plan to call her Merry because she is coming at Christmas time. The Jenna's Beach Boy mare is also 5, her name is Fanciful so she is called Fancy. Rick is building special Isolation stalls with extra heaters because Merry is going to experience about a 50 degree drop in temperature when she gets here. This means we will have ten mares at the farm - a full house.
December 8, 2008
At this time every year we search for young racehorses that fit our profile of a desirable broodmare. This year we found a 5YO Artsplace mare who has won over $100,000 and is now racing in Florida. We contacted the trainer and owner and successfully negotiated a price. The mare’s name is Mary Artman. Obtaining an Artsplace mare has been a long term goal of ours so we are thrilled.
She is scheduled to leave Florida on Wednesday and arrive at the farm on Saturday of this week.
December 1st 2008
We have now seen 5 of our 7 yearlings in their training facilities. OK Carolion is moving well and looks a lot like her sister (OK Amelia) The gelding, OK Chaos has started to go well on the track, he looks graceful when he jogs! Ok Canada and OK Chivas are with Ben Wallace and he is pleased with both of them. OK Chivas has had a chance to practise being a free-legged pacer - another Zooka in the making. OK Commander was totally disinterested in our visit, he was the only one who paid no attention and just kept eating.
November 24, 2008
This is a slow time of the year for farm activity. Most of our time is now spent doing planning for the next 15 months.
The first thing we are doing is identifying young racehorses who meet our criteria for broodmares. We then contact the trainers and owners and see whether they are interested in selling them. While this approach means that we have to wait a year until there is a foal it is much preferable than trying to buy pregnant broodmares at auction – we end up with younger mares, we are not buying someone else’s problems, and we have complete control over who we breed to.
If there are any 3 or 4YO racing mares that you know of that could be strong broodmares, just have the trainer or owner contact us.
November 17th 2008
We now know where all our "C babies" have ended up and we are thrilled. The new owner of OK Champagne phoned to say she is in the hands of an excellent trainer who will treat her with care and he has promised to stay in touch with us as she prepares to race. Tomorrow we are going to Mike Wade's to watch OK Carolion and OK Chaos. In these early days, Mike believes OK Carolion is more talented than her sister (OK Amelia) who is our best home grown race horse to date. The following day we are going to Classy Lane to meet Ben Wallace and watch both OK Chivas and OK Canada jog. It is very satisfying to learn that all seven of our yearlings are already on the track.
November 10, 2008
All the sales are over and Oak Knoll Stables results were somewhere between Poor and Fair! The 3 yearlings sold in Harrisburg last week with OK Commander selling for a nice $72,000 US – the highest price we received for any one of our yearlings. On average we sold our yearlings for $30,000 this year compared to $47,000 last year. The biggest surprise was the price that Color Me Beachy sold for - $35,000 US. For such a quality mare we had expected $60,000+.
November 3rd 2008
Even though OK Chivas did not achieve the reserve at the Forest City Select Sale last month, we have sold him privately to trainer Ben Wallace. We are delighted he has ended up in such good hands and ironically he will be stabled with and train with OK Canada. Meanwhile the final three of our yearlings are at Harrisburg and will sell later today and tomorrow. The farm seems very quiet now that all the young horses are gone!
October 27th 2008
We had the pleasure this past week of watching our "babies" jogging! Both OK Carolion and OK Chaos are behaving very nicely on the track. Mike Wade is delighted with the two young horses, they are calm and sensible and seem to like their new job.Meanwhile at the farm, the final three yearlings are only four days away from their journey to Harrisburg and the transition to a new home. We are also selling two of our broodmares - Color Me Beachy and Wiggle Your Class so life at Oak Knoll Stables will be much simpler once all these animals leave.
October 20, 2008
One sale down — one more to go!
We entered OK Chivas and OK Canada in the Forest City Sale which was held on Sunday October 19th. Prices made little sense with the trotters going for astronomical prices, Western Terror yearlings going for an average of $45,000 and Astreos yearlings for an average of $10,441 (stud fee $8,000!). We sold Canada for $35,000 and took back Chivas since he did not reach his reserve of $19,000. Chivas will now enter our 2008 racing stable under Mike Wade’s tutelage.
It is very discouraging to see the low prices of yearlings in Ontario and it makes one wonder whether it is worthwhile to sell our yearlings at auction or keep them and race them.
Our next auction is in Harrisburg on November 3 - 7 where we have 3 yearlings and 2 broodmares going under the hammer.
October 13th 2008
On Saturday we went to Kawartha Downs to watch OK Boromir race in the 2 yr old Gold Final. The little colt we sold has grown very quickly in the past few months and now he is a big, strong animal. He raced really well and finished second, one fifth of a second behind the winner. He has won ovwer $100,000 this year - great news when we send his brother to Harrisburg in November. Meanwhile OK Chivas and OK Canada have "four more sleeps" here and then they are off to London for the Select Sale next Sunday.
Note: You can see the videos of the 5 yearling going to auction by going to the Yearling section. Last Monday OK Amelia got nipped at the wire to finish 3rd in her race at Mohawk. She raced well and we were not totally disappointed considering that the race went in 1:53. She has a great chance on Tuesday racing at Kawartha with Rick in the cart. Finishing 1st or 2nd will get her in the semi- final on October 16 at Flamboro. Who knows, she may well make it into the final!
September 29th 2008
This is a bittersweet moment. After 18 months of being born and growing up at Oak Knoll Stables, our yearlings are leaving. Yesterday OK Carolion and OK Chaos moved to Mike Wade's facility in Little Britain to begin their lives as racehorses. They loaded well, travelled quietly and disembarked without a problem - a great relief! Tonight, OK Amelia is racing at Mohawk, driven by Mike Saftic, in the number one position..................
September 22, 2008
Last week was a disappointing racing week – OK Amelia finished 5th in her Grassroots race and OK Bravo finished 7th in her 3rd lifetime start. However, OK Bravo has shown us that she can be a good racehorse for us - so much so that we have decided to lay her up for 2 months to let her rest and mature. She has a lot of talent and the plan is to have her back racing in mid March of 2009. OK Amelia needs a few adjustments but will be back racing this week or next. On the other hand we are starting a new year of racing – on Sunday 2 of our yearlings go to Mike Wade to start their training. OK Chaos and OK Carolion are owned by Great Owners Stable 2008 and Mike will be picking them up on Sunday after our Open House. Anyone interested in viewing our yearlings should come to the farm between 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM.
As this news is recorded, we have a power outage because a tree has come down across the road and taken down the hydro lines. Fortunately, we installed a backup generator earlier this year so the barn is still functioning. We passed a major milestone this week, all our foals are weaned. This is hard on the mares, hard on the foals and hard on the people! Tonight OK Bravo (our 2 yr old filly by Astreos out of Bailey Bug) is racing at Mohawk - just her third lifetime start so anything can happen.
September 8, 2008
Let’s talk about racing this week. OK Amelia raced in Sudbury in a Grassroots series on Saturday August 30 with our Farm Manager Rick Webb in the bike. She finished 3rd in a tough race which, while disappointing, wasn’t as a bad as it seems. She raced hard and came home in 29.0 – fast for a ½ mile track and now has $37,315 on her card. The excitement is around OK Bravo who was in her very first race of her life and finished 2nd at Mohawk on September 1/08 in a great time of 1:55.1! She added $4,000 to her card for this first time race. Both horses race this week at Mohawk - Bravo on Monday and Amelia on Thursday. We’ll keep you posted.
September 1st 2008
We held the first ever AGM for Great Owners Stable on August 30th. This is the syndicate we started with a group of new owners, we bought two yearlings last year and had hoped to have them racing now. One of them has been sold (Great Luck has gone to PEI) and the filly (Great Diva)has had surgery and will resume her training later this month. We are launching a new syndicate (Great Owners Stable 2008) which will hold shares in two of our yearlings , Ok Chaos and OK Carolion. If you know of anyone who would like a 5% or 10% share in the syndicate please ask them to contact us at the farm.
August 25, 2008
We spent most of the weekend preparing for and going to the Standardbred Canada Mixed Sale on Sunday. We entered 3 broodmares for sale and were agent for Great Owners Stable who were selling one of their 2YO racehorses. The racehorse, Great Luck, sold for $10,000 which was our minimum price and one of our broodmares, Island Escape, sold for – get this - $450! The minimums were not reached for the other 2 mares so we brought Classy and Magic back to the farm. They will be entered into another sale, hopefully with better results. We bid on one racehorse – a full sister to Mach Three with a poor race record - to join our broodmare band. Our budget was $20,000 but another breeding farm got her for $40,000. Our rating system indicates that she is only worth $20,000. It will be interesting to see how the new owners make money on her.
August 19th 2008
Once again OK Amelia is the highlight of our week. She was driven by Mike Saftic at Mohawk last night and very nearly won her race, she was just pipped at the post but ran a very commendable second in 1.54.3 Meanwhile, at the farm we weaned OK Diablo, he took it very well and seems quite happy out with the other mares and foals. He and OK Darling are now best friends!
August 12th 2008
Close but no brass ring! OK Amelia ran at Mohawk on Monday and finished 4th with a dazzling 4th Q of 28.4, the fastest in the race. It was a great effort for a first time at the A track level. Other Oak Knoll graduates finished well in the last 7 days – OK Brilliant had a 1st in PEI, OK Amazing a 2nd in Clinton, OK Acrobat and OK Boromir each had 3rd’s. OK Boromir now advances to the Gold Finals next week at Flamboro. Go Boromir!
August 5th 2008
Once again, the highlight of the week is OK Amelia! She has moved up to participate in the OSS Grass Roots series and on Saturday she travelled to Woodstock for her first effort at this level. She raced beautifully and finished a strong second. At the farm, we are starting to work with our yearlings - they all need to learn how to have a bath, how to stand quietly in cross ties and eventually how to be groomed with a vacuum cleaner.
July 28, 2008
Our trainer, Mike Wade is so impressed with OK Amelia’s performance that he has recommended we put her in the Ontario sires Stakes Grass Roots series. We agreed, gave her a week off from racing and entered her in next Grassroots race at Woodstock on Saturday going for $20,000. While it is a long journey to Woodstock she deserves her chance for a shot at winning a stakes race. Rick Webb will drive her. Look for results next Monday!
July 22nd 2008
We are having fun! Our three year old pacing filly OK Amelia continues her winning ways. She raced at Kawartha Downs on Saturday and under the guidance of Rick Webb ran a thrilling race and finished first (again!) On Saturday we were at Mohawk to see OK Boromir run in the Gold Final - he raced beautifully and finished a strong second behind another No Pan Intended colt. On the same night Somebeachsomewhere was narrowly beaten by an Art Major colt - Art Official. We have OK Boromir's brother by Art Major going to Harrisburg in November (OK Commander) ...should be interesting.
July 14, 2008
Great racing news on the weekend! OK Amelia resumed her winning ways by scoring a solid 1:54:3 win at Kawartha to raise her lifetime earnings to $19,500 and a fourth win out of 10 races. Rick Webb, our driver (and our farm manager), guided her to a perfect trip, fighting off some challengers in the stretch for a one length win. On Sunday Double Crème’s 2YO offspring, OK Boromir, ran a spectacular race to win his OSS Gold Elimination in 1:55.3 at Mohawk, leading all the way around the track. This is only the second race for the colt and he now moves on to the $120,000 final next Sunday at Mohawk. Caroline and I have only 2 crops go to the races and this is the first Oak Knoll Stables offspring that is in the OSS Gold final. Go Boromir!
July 7th 2008
As Breeders, it is a huge thrill for us to see how our "Graduates" do and this year we have both "A babies" (OK Amelia, OK Acrobat and OK Amaziing) and the "B babies" (OK Brilliant and OK Boromir so far) at the track. On Saturday night OK Boromir ran the first race of his carrer and he won! Not only did he win, he raced in a very impressive 1.54.4 He is expected to move to Mohawk next week to race in the Gold Eliminations. This could be quite a summer!
June 30, 2008
The Oak Knoll graduates are starting to show up. Last week OK Brilliant qualified in Charlottetown with a 1st in 2:02. OK Amazing raced at Clinton and had a 2nd in 2:03. However, the one to watch is OK Boromir. At Sarnia last Saturday Boromir qualified in 1:57.2 with a last quarter in 27.4. This is truly impressive for a 2YO and hopefully is an indicator of the success he will have on the Ontario circuit.
June 23rd 2008
Well, our breeding season is over and ten of the eleven mares we bred are pregnant! Thanks to Dr. Kelli Gilson and also Rick Webb for all their efforts and to Mike Hook who is our semen delivery runner. In addition, Pat Webb picked up semen for us one night so we could inseminate a mare at midnight. Now that the mares are taken care of, our attention turns to the Yearlings . They will have their feet trimmed this week and very soon the whole Yearling Prep process will begin.
June 16, 2008
OK Amelia moved up in class at Kawartha Downs last Saturday and the odds caught up to her. The race went 2 seconds faster than she has ever run and she finished 7th. Unfortunately she didn’t get a good start and got caught in traffic but still ended up with a respectable last quarter. Mike Wade, her trainer will be changing some of her equipment to help her along so we are optimistic about next Saturday’s race!
June 9th 2008
Our breeding season is over! We have nine mares checked and in foal (the latest addition is Whitesand Jewel in foal to Western Terror) and two others still to be checked. Both Island Escape(bred to Modern Art) and Color Me Beachy(bred to Western Ideal) have been bred and are pending pregnancy checks next week.
June 2, 2008
OK Amelia did it again! Trainer Mike Wade had her racing at Kawartha downs on Tuesday, mainly against the boys in race #3. Driven by our own Rick Webb the betters had her down to 1/1 odds. Amelia took the lead on the first turn and led wire to wire winning in a slow 1:59. She is capable of and has gone much faster but in a race you only need to be in front at the end, regardless of the time. Amelia’s earnings are now at $15,615 with a phenomenal 6 firsts and seconds in 7 races!
May 19th 2008
We bred Stolen Magic today to Jereme's Jet and if all goes well we will breed another mare tomorrow, one on Wednesday and another on Saturday.Brian Webster came this week to evaluate the yearlings for the October Sale in London. OK Canada and OK Chivas are both going to the Selected Sale on October 19th. In our racing world, OK Amelia finished second at Georgian Downs in Barrie, driven by Tony Kerwood.
May 12, 2008
Good news and poor news this week. We received confirmation that Camaronni N Cheese is in foal to Artiscape and will be coming back to the farm from New York tomorrow. We have an active breeding week - at least 3 mares to be bred. The poor news is OK Amelia in that she didn’t have a 4th Q kick and finished 5th in her race at Kawartha Downs on Saturday. On the other hand, she has now picked up a cheque every time she has raced!
May 5th, 2008
We are roughly midway through our breeding efforts, 4 mares confirmed pregnant, 4 pending pregnenacy checks (bred but not confirmed in foal) and the three mares who delivered in April due to be bred next week. We travelled to Georgian Downs on Saturday and watched OK Amelia lead the field until the last 50 yds where she was narrowly beaten into second place. She ran well and Robert Sheppard drove her beautifully for the second time.
April 28, 2008
Amazing Amelia is back! On Saturday our 3YO, OK Amelia (Aces N Sevens – Jennies Girl) ran her 3rd race of her career and came in a decisive 1st in 1:57.1 at Georgian Downs. Amelia is now 2-1-0. Mike Wade, her trainer had the filly sharp for this race backed up by his team of Duncan and her warm up groom and biggest fan, Billy. Amelia will be running again next Saturday.
Lots of good news this week - on the foaling side we are done! Erin Kay delivered a beautiful filly foal on April 16th, we have named the Art Major daughter OK Dynasty. This is the third Art Major foal for us and none of them bear any resemblance to each other. In racing news, OK Amelia qualified at Kawartha Downs and OK Acrobat ran his first race as a three year old at Northlands in Albert. He won by half a length - his owners must be delighted. We have confirmed another mare pregnant for next year - Wiggle Your Class is carrying a Real Artist foal.
WOW – what a weekend! We can monitor 2 broodmares at a time by a video system which is shown on the office TV’s and on the house TV’s. On Saturday morning at 4:00 AM Caroline noticed that Erin Kay and Color Me Beachy were very restless so she went to the stable to check on them. Lo and behold, neither was in labour BUT Island Escape had a foal on the ground, one week early! A beautiful, long legged but well proportioned Modern Art colt who we have named OK Diablo.
April 7th 2008
It seems as if everything is on hold......we have three mares "ready to go" in the next ten days. In addition, all our young horses are close to qualifying. This week, OK Acrobat qualified as a three year old in Alberta. We expect OK Amelia to do the same in Ontario by the end of April. In May the two year olds should be running strong training miles and then they too will hit the race tracks. Good news - CC Stacy is in foal to Dragon Again.
March 31st 2008
This time of year, the term "preg checks" becomes very significant. This morning two of our mares were confirmed pregnant for the spring of 2009. Bailey Bug is carrying a Mach Three foal and Jennies Girl is carrying a Modern Art foal. Two down, nine to go!On Wednesday we are going to Mike Wade's training centre to meet Mike Saftic (one of the top ten drivers in Ontario) He has generously agreed to drive our two year olds and give us some feeedback on what kind of prospects we have. We hope that OK Bravo, Great Luck and Great Diva will impress him!
March 24, 2008
For those of you who read our news on a regular basis, in the past 2 weeks you will have noticed some strange things happening and some items missing from our website. We have changed service providers and some material was lost in the process, such as all the February news items and some horse pictures. All is well now but ain't technology wonderful!
Monday, March 17th 2008
Today we went to visit one of the stallions we plan to breed to this year - Lis Mara. We have also bought a share in him and were delighted to see him "in person." He is a big horse (16 hands) and one of the fastest racehorses on record. Dr. Pat Meyers who looks after him describes him as "wonderful to work with" and "an easy horse in the breeding shed." On the way home we collected semen from Seelster Farms and got back to breed Jennie's Girl to Modern Art. Tomorrow we will breed CC Stacey to Dragon Again - exciting times!
March 10, 2008
It was a traumatic weekend! Stolen Magic, in foal to Village Jolt, was increasingly uncomfortable and well past her due date. Kelli Gilson our vet recommended that we induce her since the foal appeared to be very large and it was risky for both mare and foal to continue. Magic delivered a large, long legged and beautiful colt. Unfortunately, as is the case with many internally underdeveloped foals, the colt never had the strength to stand, developed pneumonia and had to be euthanized. On a more positive note we are starting our breeding season with 4 mares to be bred in the next 2 weeks and 7 more to follow - it is going to be busy!
January 28, 2008
As a continuous improvement to our equine management system (EMS), we have purchased a high powered microscope to support our de-worming programme. Rick Webb, our farm manager, has the unenviable task of collecting samples and determining worm egg count. This then enables us to treat each horse individually. Furthermore, over time we can track each horse’s response to a specific product and continue to adjust their treatment accordingly.
January 21, 2008
This week Rick Webb had a chance to go and visit two of his favourite fillies at Mike Wade's training centre. OK Amelia has grown considerably since last August when Rick drove her to victory at Kawartha Downs. According to him, she is not just taller but longer too! She is full of energy and enthusiasm, we can hardly wait to see her race again. OK Bravo was the little foal that had to be carried as a newborn. Now she is pacing beautifully and Rick is very impressed with her action and her attitude. Mike and his team are doing a great job with these horses and we are all looking forward to an exciting racing season.
January 14, 2007
We had 2 visitors from Morocco last week – Dounia Amrani and Driss Temsamani – who were fascinated with our operation and especially the yearlings. Driss had never seen snow before and while we tried to tell him that snow is not a great thing he loved it! Since he now lives in Miami he can afford the luxury of loving it and leaving it! By the way, Dounia’s father owns one of the best restaurants in downtown Toronto – Matignon. If you have a chance to visit this exquisite international restaurant let Mustaffa know that you heard about it from Oak Knoll Stables.
January 7, 2008
On Saturday we took some of the owners from our syndicate, Great Owners Stable, to see their 2YO's in training. Mike Wade, our trainer, showed off the young horses and explained how they will develop over the next few months. Great Diva won the hearts of all the partners! In addition OK Bravo is jogging beautifully and OK Amelia is training in under 3 minutes. We are looking forward to seeing all these young horses on the track in May and June.
December 31, 2007
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! Kelli Gilson, our vet, checked our new mares today – Whitesand Jewel and Camaronni N Cheese – and both are confirmed breedable. Today we finalized our stallion choices with Western Terror to Jewel and Artiscape to Camaronni N Cheese. If everything works out 100%, in 2009 we will have 5 Ontario bred foals and 6 US bred foals. With this many horses on the property we are now planning to rent additional land for paddocks which will allow us to rotate pastures and horses without as many constraints as we now have.
December 24, 2007
To all the people who read this site – Merry Christmas and best wishes for the New Year. Big excitement for us, we have added two new mares to our broodmare band. Cameronni N Cheese is a 4yr old Camluck mare who has won $219,000 and Whitesand Jewel is a 6 yr old Artiscape mare who has won $328,733 and raced in 1.50.4 Both these horses were trained by Mark Ford and he is arranging to move them from the Meadowlands to Ontario. We are not quite sure when they will arrive but they will go under lights immediately and then we have the pleasure of deciding who to breed them to. This brings our total number of mares to 11 but we expect to sell two of them in 2008. The other great news is that the pregnant mares have very active foals, Double Crème is carrying a Camluck foal, from the activity we see this one should be a great racehorse!
December 17, 2007
Since we were unsuccessful in buying broodmares at the Harrisburg sale, we are in the hunt for racehorses that fit our criteria for broodmares for our broodmare band - less than 6 years old and over $100,000 in earnings. We have identified 9 mares that are presently racing and have approached the trainers and owners of these horses. Everyone is interested in selling the horses but at what price? This week we will finalize our deals – look on our news next week to find out how we did and what we bought!
December 10, 2006
This is a quiet time for us, settling in to wait for the spring foals. Meanwhile our soon-to-be-yearlings passed a major milestone last week. OK Bravo and her companions learned to work with hopples. Bravo has been pacing beautifully free-legged so she found the transition pretty easy. Mike Wade is very patient with the young horses and he takes his time with new equipment so they seem to accept his demands quite well. Now we have weeks and weeks and weeks of jogging before they can start to train seriously!
December 3, 2007
Since we need information for breeding and broodmare purchases, we have been collecting data about all the stallions in the industry in a fair degree of detail. The information ranges from performance of offspring over time, size of the stallion, to the success of each stallions mares as broodmares. What we also need is "anecdotal" information about all the stallions. We need to hear "offspring tend to be hot" or "throws crooked foals" - information which is from observations. While it may be someones opinion, we would like to be aware of it and then make up our own minds. If anyone wants to send us such info we could consider sharing it, maybe in the form of blog site.
November 26, 2007
We have been working on sire matches for our broodmares for some weeks now. Finally the lineup is complete - we are breeding to Modern Art, Lis Mara, Mach Three and Jeremes Jet from Ontario and Real Artist, Dragon Again and Western Ideal from the US. It is always a compromise depending upon whether we are breeding to sell or want the best match possible for the mare. Hopefully we have achieved both and are especially looking forward to the crop from first time sires - Lis Mara and Jeremes Jet. All we have to do now is get the mares in foal - no small feat!
November 19, 2007
Now that all our yearlings are gone the farm seems really quiet! This gives us a chance to research the sires we want to breed to in 2008 for the 2009 foals. We expect to breed nine mares. Currently we are looking at breeding four of them to American sires (Dragon Again is the only one we have booked so far) four of them to Canadian sires (we have booked Mach Three and are considering Lis Mara and Jeremes Jet) and the other mare could be bred to either side of the border. One shift for us this year is that we will not breed to a New York sire because we have to move the mare to another farm and we think it is hard on the animals to travel long distances and be away from here for several weeks.
November 12, 2007
We just got back from Harrisburg with empty hands. While we got a great price for OK Braveheart the high price was also reflected in the price of good broodmares – way beyond our budget! We are now searching for good racehorses who are still racing and who fit our criteria for our broodmare band – earnings over $100,000 and less than 5YO plus some other criteria. If you know of any racehorses in this category, please contact us – we may be interested.
November 5, 2007
Well, this is a major milestone for us!! We sold our first ever $100,000 yearling. OK Braveheart sold at Harrisburg for $115,000. He traveled to the sale on Saturday and had lots of people inspecting him on Sunday and Monday. A lot of the credit for his price goes to Rick Webb who washed him, groomed him, polished him and managed him so that he was in superb shape for the sale date. It is both sad to see him leave us and a relief to know that all our yearlings are now part of the racing world as they prepare for their debut next summer. We have posted their “Graduation pictures” in the barn, a reminder of the B Babies – OK Brilliant, OK Bravo, OK Braveheart and OK Boromir.
October 29, 2007
Who are the most successful broodmare sires? With the fall sales upon us many of us are looking to buy broodmares with the hope that they will produce the next million dollar winner! To assist us in developing a purchase strategy, we researched which broodmare sires have been most successful in producing high dollar winning foals. Not surprisingly, Artsplace mares are the most desirable but the up and coming broodmare sires are Cams Card Shark and Jennas Beach Boy mares. The full results are in the Research section of this website.
October 22, 2007
We are having glorious weather here and our weanlings are having great fun in the sunshine. There is something very beautiful in watching a group of young animals play and chase each other around the paddock! Next month we will divide them into two groups. The four colts (OK Commander, OK Chivas, OK Cognac and OK Canada) will remain where they are and the two fillies (OK Carolion and OK Champagne) will join the gelding (OK Chaos) in another paddock where there is a protected indoor area for the winter months. Nominations close today for the names of our two new syndicate horses, each will be renamed “Great” and another word for the Great Owners Stables. We will announce the name selection very soon.
October 15, 2007
Quite a weekend! We went to the Forest City Yearling Sale where 2 of our yearlings were to be auctioned and we also were looking to buy 2 yearlings for our syndicate – Great Owners Stable. The Oak Knoll Stables yearlings sold for a little less than what we expected but on the other hand the person who bought OK Boromir out of our mare Double Crème got a bargain. If he does great as a 2YO this will be one of those Cinderella stories that happen every year. OK Brilliant brought more than we thought so somebody believes that they have a winner. Two of our new owners in Great Owners Stable were with us and we bought 2 yearlings. Tymal Diva is a Modern Art filly out of a Cams Card Shark mare whose half brother has won $165,000 and her 2nd dam is loaded with black type. The second yearling, Direct Business, is an E Dees Cam colt out of a Direct Scooter mare who has won over $200,000. Both yearlings are now with Mike Wade for breaking and training.
October 8, 2007
We have a victory! CC Stacey, our four year old pacer, ran at Woodbine and won wire to wire. We are delighted that she raced so well but unfortunately we were not there in person. Ironically we had spent the Thursday evening at Woodbine with our Northern Lights Syndicate members. We had tried to arrange for them to be with us when we had a horse racing but the dates did not work out. Then, the next night our horse wins by a nose in a thrilling finish, four horses crowding the wire and she just hung onto the lead. Many thanks to Susie Kerrwood her trainer and Mike Saftic the driver.
October 1, 2007
We have added the videos for our three colts – please checkout the yearling you want to buy! We all found the process of making the videos very stressful. We have trained our young horses to come to us in the field, to walk quietly beside us and to trust us when we are close to them. Suddenly, on “Video Day” we are driving them away, yelling and shaking things and they were truly panicked. We will not be making videos again! When OK Brilliant and OK Boromir leave for the Forest City Yearling Sale, Mike Wade will collect OK Bravo to begin her life in training. Three of our four yearlings will have graduated from the farm.
September 24, 2007
Great Owners Stable, our syndicate operation, now has 7 partners who have invested in the ownership of 2 yearlings. We elected not to bid at the Standardbred Canada Canadian Open sale since there were a limited number of potential acquisitions. We have now identified about 20 yearlings at the Forest City Sale on October 13/14 which we are interested in. Bob Young, our trainer, is now in the process of visiting the farms where the selected yearling were bred and raised and will give us his evaluation next week. Then the fun starts – bidding at auction!
September 17, 2007
We are fully engrossed in Yearling Preparation for the Sales. Our young colts are being polished and taught how to behave like adults! The good news is that they are all accepting the vacuum cleaner. It took a little while but now they stand quietly while we vacuum their coats. CC Stacey will have a week off this week but will race again next Friday at Mohawk. She finished second in her first race for us so we are encouraged by her progress.
September 10, 2007
Our 4YO mare (soon to be broodmare), CC Stacy ran again last Thursday and ended up 6th BUT 1/5 of a second off the 2nd place horse! Her last quarter was a blistering 28.0 but traffic on the turn prevented her from getting free. Always next week. Today we are videotaping our yearlings – this will be fun!
September 3, 2007
We have had a week of great visitors. Following the Hall of Fame inductions (special congratulations to Jack McNiven, an ally of ours!) Mike Kimmelman, President of Blue Chip Farms and Jean Brown, Vice-President of Blue Chip Farms came to see our operation. They were wonderfully informative and shared many helpful hints in preparing our yearlings for the upcoming Sales. In particuler, they were intrigued by OK Braveheart because they stand his sire, Bettors Delight and because he is an exceptional colt. We also had the honour of a visit from David and Peter Heffering of Tara Hills Stud. We have two of the Astreos offspring here, a filly yearling (OK Bravo) and a weanling (OK Chivas) They were very complimentary about our facilities and they enjoyed meeting the foals, the broodmares and the yearlings.
August 27, 2007
Exciting news - last Friday we launched our new horse syndicate operation – Northern Lights Standardbreds Inc. If you know someone who is interested in owning a partnership share in a yearling to race in 2008 at minimal cost in association with our professionals, please direct them to www.greatowners.com. Another good piece of news - our 4YO mare - CC Stacy - qualified at Mohawk last week. We are off to the races this week.
August 20, 2007
The racing world is an unending series of triumphs and disasters! Just as OK Amelia begins to perform and win, she gets hurt. She has a crack in her pastern, she will have to remain on stall rest for six weeks and will not race again until the new year – her two year old campaign is over and we will wait to see what she can do as a three year old. Meanwhile we are weaning our foals, two of them are no longer with their mothers (OK Chaos and OK Carolion) and gradually we will wean the others. We had a fantastic trip to New Brunswick where we had a chance to visit Steve Downey and see his “Downeast Stables” – wonderful hospitality and beyond belief lobster!
Caroline’s pet – 2YO OK Amelia – swept the field last Thursday with an exciting win at Kawartha Downs. OK Amelia, with Rick Webb in the bike, took charge rounding the bend and never looked back going down the stretch for her first career win in 1:59.3. The plan is to keep racing her at Kawartha to give her experience and then make a decision about moving her to a higher purse races at other tracks.
August 6, 2007
A thrilling event for us! Our first “homebred” filly raced for us at Kawartha downs. OK Amelia, trained by Mike Wade, driven by Rick Webb, groomed by Duncan Brock and warmed up by Bill put in a fabulous performance. She ran four wide at the last turn and still finished a close second. We were delighted by her performance and look forward to an exciting season with her.
July 30, 2007
Our first Oak Knoll Stables bred and owned horse has made it to the races! OK Amelia, the daughter of Aces N Sevens and Jennies Girl qualified in a fast 1:58 at Kawartha Downs on July 26th. This Thursday, August 2nd, will be exciting when she runs her maiden race at Kawartha for a purse of $5,800 against a group of 3 and 4 year olds. Rick Webb, our farm manager, is driving OK Amelia as he did for her training and qualifying races. We’ll keep you posted!
July 23, 2007
We had the great pleasure of a visit from Jack McNiven of Killean Acres – he came to the farm to help us with our Yearling preparation. He is acknowledged in the industry as a master in the art of bringing young horses to the sales. He generously offered to share his wisdom, his experience and his expertise. He actually demonstrated some of the grooming techniques on OK Boromir (No Pan Intended- Double Crème) The colt loved the experience and his coat is still glowing! Jack’s guidance will be invaluable to us as we work with the horses that are destined for the Harrisburg Sale and the Forest City Yearling Sale.
July 16, 2007
Our 2YO mare OK Amelia (Aces N Sevens/Jennies Girl/Village Jiffy) had her first schooling race last week at Kawartha Downs. Rick Webb, our farm manager, drove her and she handled the track like a pro. No hesitation, responded when asked and didn’t shy away from the gate. The time was 2:07 without any urging. We are looking forward to a fun summer of racing Amelia after she qualifies in 2 weeks.
July 9, 2007
We now have our final broodmare/sire pregnancy lineup for the 2008 foaling season – 6 foals from Cams Card Shark, The Panderosa, Village Jolt, Camluck, Art Major and Modern Art (4 US and 2 Cdn.). Three of our mares will be barren and in fact we have put CC Stacy back in training to race for the balance of this year. We always hope for more breeding success but coming off 100% success - 7 mares with 7 foals - in 2007 perhaps the odds are catching up with us.
July 2, 2007
One of our foals – OK Commander had to have surgery to repair damage to his back leg caused by a kick. (We think his mother, Double Crème may have lashed out at another mare and inadvertently caught her own foal in the line of fire.) We are fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Dr Marc Desjardins of the Milton Equine Hospital – he is a renowned Equine surgeon and he and Kelli Gilson have managed this case together. The little colt has been remarkably co-operative and his wound is healing well. He stays indoors during the day to avoid the flies and is turned out at night – he plays and bucks in the paddock so we think he is feeling better now.
June 25, 2007
We are now in the final stretch of breeding – in fact we may be at the finish line! Kelli Gilson, our vet, has confirmed that out of 9 mares we have 5 mares in foal, 1 probable and 1 to be checked on Friday. It will be a great 2008 if everything goes according to plan since we would have foals from some very exciting sires - Modern Art, Camluck, Art Major, Village Jolt, The Panderosa, Mach Three and Cams Card Shark – 3 Canadian and 4 US breds.
June 18, 2007
At last we have all our foals at home – Erin Kay travelled back from New York on Friday and we watched with delight as her 8 week old colt, OK Cognac, set foot on his home turf for the first time. He is a lovely, long legged little guy and bears no resemblance to his half brother, OK Braveheart (both of them are sons of Bettor’s Delight) Today we weighed all our foals, yearlings and broodmares (a monthly ritual at Oak Knoll Stables) and were entertained to discover that one of the yearlings - OK Brilliant - has increased his weight to 1000lbs and actually weighs more than one of our broodmares! He is a huge colt and looks more like a two year old than a yearling.
June 11, 2007
We sold our last non-Oak Knoll Stables bred horse on Sunday. Santana Seelster, who we purchased at the Forest City Sale as a yearling in 2004, was sold in the Standardbred Canada Spring Fling mixed sale on Sunday. Santana won $35,000 for us but we felt that she was worth more as a racehorse than a broodmare. However, she brought the low end of our range - $15,000 – but a bargain for her new owner. We now only have Oak Knoll bred horses with the first crop (all the “A” babies) at the track this summer.
June 4, 2007
Exciting news for us – new pregnancies to announce! Erin Kay is in foal to Art Major and will be traveling home in mid-June. In addition, Color Me Beachy is in foal to The Panderosa and our new mare Island Escape is now in foal to Modern Art. In the ”very exciting category” Caroline had a chance to drive our 2YO racehorse, OK Amelia, this week – the first of our home bred foals we have kept for ourselves. She is training well and we anticipate that she will qualify at the end of July. What a coincidence - for a few minutes we shared the track with one of the premier Canadian racehorses - Invitro is at the same training stable as Amelia!!
May 28, 2007
The Two’s In Training sale is now history and OK Acrobat and OK Amazing have a new owner. Steve Mitchell from Alberta is establishing a new racing stable in the East and he purchased both geldings. While we hoped that the sales prices ($14,000 and $15,000) would be greater it is satisfying to know that they are going to a good owner and will continue to be together as an OK team. We will keep you posted on their successes during the summer.
May 21, 2007
Big excitement at the farm this week - for the first time in our business we took two year olds we had raised and sent them out to qualify. Both OK Amazing (the Presidential Ball colt) and OK Acrobat (the Mach Three colt) behaved very well and finished their mile successfully. Tim Gillespie, the trainer and Rick Webb, the driver were delighted to have both these young horses perform so well. Next week they go to the Two\'s In Training sale. Meanwhile we have moved our six mares and foals into one extended paddock, they look truly beautiful out basking in the sun. The four colts and two fillies are learning to play together and we hope OK Cognac will return from New York soon to join them. We are waiting to hear that Erin Kay is in foal to Art Major before she returns to us from Blue Chip Farms.
May 14, 2007
Our 2YO colts – OK Amazing and OK Acrobat – were in a schooling race on Saturday at Kawartha Downs. Both colts were very impressive! They were the only 2YO’s in the schoolers and they ran as though they were experienced racehorses – no holding back from the gate, no hesitation when asked to move out and no problem accelerating on the stretch. These colts should be standouts when they go into the 2YO sale on May 27th!
May 7, 2007
You know our lives are hectic when the update is late! This is a big training week for us. We went to see OK Amelia train with Mike Wade. She looks terrific, she has grown quite extensively in the past month and has added bulk – she looks like a real race horse. Our geldings went to Kawartha Downs today – their first trip away from their home track. Both OK Acrobat and OK Amazing behaved like pros, they were settled and attentive and performed very impressively on the track. Thanks to Tim Gillespie for getting them ready for the sale on May 27th and to Rick Webb for driving OK Acrobat in the schooling work today. We are going to Woodbine on Thursday to watch Santana Seelster race – her last performance before moving to Mohawk.
May 1, 2007
Last week we traveled to Blue Chip Farm in Walkill NY to see our Art Major colt out of Erin Kay and to visit with the Blue Chip people. Blue Chip is the home of Art Major and Bettors Delight and is located about 80 miles west of New York City on 600 acres of rolling land. We were treated wonderfully by the management of the farm and got to see exactly how a 1st class facility is managed. We named the colt OK Cognac and he is one great looking foal! We also had a chance to see Art Major (Erin Kay will be bred to him) and he is a magnificent looking stallion. No wonder OK Commander is also so good looking and with great presence.
April 23, 2007
Twins – sort of! Despite the fact these two mares were due ten days apart, they managed to deliver on the same day. Erin Kay had a Bettor’s Delight colt, born at Blue Chip Farms, at 1.40am on April 17th. The call came into the barn as we were working with Wiggle Your Class to deliver her Art Major filly. It was an extremely difficult delivery and sincere gratitude goes out to Kelli Gilson (our vet) and Rick Webb for – literally – dragging this foal into the world. The filly is called OK Champagne, she is making remarkable progress and is turned out in the paddock every day. We have named the colt OK Cognac and will travel to Blue Chip today to see him.
April 16, 2007
One more foal – 3 to go! Last Thursday Bailey Bug had a great looking Astreos colt. This one is a handful – big, strong and active. The remaining foals to arrive are sired by Art Major (Wiggle Your Class), Bettors Delight (Erin Kay) and Royal Mattjesty (Color Me Beachy). We are still projecting that these 3 will arrive by the end of April.
April 9, 2007
We are anticipating three foals this week, Erin Kay is five days late and both Bailey Bug and Wiggle Your class could deliver “at any minute.” We have undertaken a big step in our feeding program. We are working with Robert Van Camp and Vernon Avery of Brooks’ feed in Port Perry. We have bought a new scale and started a monthly measuring program to track the growth of our yearlings and foals. Each animal will have an individual profile matched against the norm for an animal of that age. We can rapidly identify growth spurts, weight change or an indication for a ration adjustment. Both Robert and Vernon have great expertise in feeding and managing young horses so we are very excited about our new partnership. All our horses are fed exclusively with Kentucky Equine Research products.
April 2, 2007
Sanatana Seelster continues to show good form. She had her second straight victory last Monday and is the favourite in the 5th race at Woodbine tonight. Compared to her 2YO season the Camluck filly has lengthened her stride and is responding well to her driver who has yet to touch her in the stretch. Foal watch starts again this week with foals due each week of April. Then we are finished for the year!
March 26, 2007
We are back at the track! Last Monday our three year old filly, Santana Seelster raced at Woodbine. Paul MacDonnell drove her beautifully and she won by two and a half lengths! We also visited our two year old filly – OK Amelia who is jogging with Mike Wade. She looks very fluid on the track and Mike is pleased with her progress. She has settled into his barn and is (so far!) behaving beautifully. Meanwhile we are having fun with our three foals, they are out playing every day and growing rapidly.
March 19, 2007
We have added a new feature to our website. You can now view the pedigree for any horse in our stable by highlighting the horse and then clicking on the link displayed in the picture of the horse. This will bring up a Standardbred Canada breeding and sale pedigree report showing complete details of the dam and 2nd and 3rd dams with offspring earnings. The data reflects the most current information on all the offspring, including race winnings of the previous night.
March 12, 2007
Now that all our “early” foals are on the ground we are preparing for the four foals due in April. Erin Kay has moved to Blue Chip Farms where she will deliver her Bettor’s Delight foal. After she recovers, she will be bred to Art Major and then return to Oak Knoll Stables later in the summer. We are hoping to travel to Blue Chip to see the mare foal but given our record with due dates it is a bit of a trick to predict when these foals hit the ground! Meanwhile OK Chaos is making remarkable progress and he will be turned out in a paddock today. Stolen Magic will be relieved to get outside, she has been in the stall with him since Feb 21st.
March 5, 2007
Quite a week! OK Chaos returned home and has shown an amazing recovery – a large colt who is bucking, kicking and running around his stall! On Thursday Double Crème had a beautiful fine boned Art Major colt (OK Commander) who is now running around his stall. Last night - Sunday night - Jennies Girl only took 5 minutes to deliver a gorgeous Island Fantasy filly (OK Carolion) who is now (6 hours later) following her mother around the barn when being relocated to another stall. All foals are in great shape and look like WINNERS! See the Foal section for the latest pictures.
February 27, 2006
An intriguing week for us – one we would never have predicted. Stolen Magic delivered a stunning colt on Wednesday evening and it seemed all was well with him. However, a few hours later he developed a hernia which rapidly grew to be a life threatening situation. We planned to send him to Guelph but the storm conditions (major snowfall and very icy roads) suggested he might not survive the journey. Our vet and her colleagues at Millbrook Equine Clinic agreed to take him as an emergency procedure so at the tender age of 15 hours he underwent major surgery. The three young women vets took turns nursing him over the next four days and he is now home with us. We have named him OK Chaos! Very special thanks to Kelli, Lindsay and Kristin who pulled him through this ordeal.
February 20, 2007
Our 2YO’s – OK Amazing (Presidential Ball) and OK Acrobat (Mach Three) -continue to come along nicely. When they started in November/06, Amazing took to the bike and track like a duck to water but Acrobat was a handful! Last week, our trainer Tim Gillespie reported that they were both doing 2:50 and Acrobat was on course to overtake Amazing. Both 2YO’s are being trained to qualify at the time of the 2YO In Training sale in late May.
February 12, 2007
We are still waiting for Stolen Magic to foal! During our travels in the North Island of New Zealand we drove past a stud farm and decided on the spur of the moment to drop in and talk to the owners. We had the great good fortune to meet Greg and Tina Tilden, the Studmasters at Woodlands Stud. This is one of the premier breeding operations in the southern hemisphere and where Bettor’s Delight stands. Given that we have a colt of his here (OK Braveheart) and two of our mares are carrying his foals this year it was very wonderful to see him playing in his paddock. He was due to return to Blue Chip Farm four days later so we caught him just in time. Greg and Tina were very generous and very welcoming – this little detour proved to be a highlight of our trip.
February 6, 2007
We are still waiting for our first foal to be born. Stolen Magic had a PFD of January 19th for her Western Hanover foal BUT no signs of anything imminent. We contacted her previous owner and found out that she went 367 days last year before foaling, so we may have to wait until February 14th! Double Crème is due on March 3 with her Art Major foal and she has shown signs of an early foaling. We will keep you posted.
January 29th 2007
We are home! After our many adventures in Australia and New Zealand we have returned to the frozen north (-25C at night for those of you Down Under and a “High” of minus 16C!!) Stolen Magic, due on January 19th has elected to wait for our return and – so far – there is no indication she plans to deliver. Before we left New Zealand, I was invited to ride with the Papakura Hunt – what an amazing experience! Four riders (luckily, one of them was the Huntsman) set off with the hounds, 16 of the dogs were “puppies in training” so it was great fun to try and get them to work with the pack. A very special Thank You to Joy Calway for making the calls to allow me to participate in this great event.