Last year brought the fruition of fifteen years of work, study, selection, investment, and love.  Always love!  In 2005 I acquired my first Irish Draught mare – the inimitable River Run – selected as a mate for the equally inimitable Garryowen of Suma – with whom I had fallen in love.  The next year Sylvie was born, my first Irish Draught foal.

September of 2019 was the end of an era at Fourwinds Farm.  We laid River to rest on the hillside overlooking our marsh.  Hard to come up with the next sentence….  It was her time, she was 27 and struggling with a bad hip.  And I miss her terribly.  She was a true foundation mare for me in every sense of the word.  She gave me Sylvie – who is producing for me now – and she set the tone in the herd for fifteen years.  River carried me and many others with grace and generosity.  My heart swells with gratitude that she stayed long enough to meet and get to know her first surviving grand baby.  River’s legacy carries on!


Phew!  I forgot how much work it is – and how much fun! – to have a crop of foals.  We had two Irish Draught foals by Moorpark Image RID here at the farm, and an Irish Draught Sport Horse foal by Lionwood Kinsale’s Lad ID Class 1 born elsewhere.  I could not be more pleased with them all!

Fourwinds Caraway is daughter to Fourwinds Sylvan River RID (Garryowen of Suma x River Run), the result of that inspiration fifteen years ago!  Through no fault of her own, Sylvie’s breeding career has gotten a late start.  In the meantime she and I have dabbled in driving, trail riding, classical dressage, and more.  She would love a show career, poser that she is, but her person – me – doesn’t do that!

Caraway looks to be taking after grandma River in many ways.  She has the look in her eye and the steady demeanour of River, as well as her sensitive and forward nature.  And it looks like she will be well over 16 hands at maturity.  Cara’s movement is exceptionally rhythmic and correct, with a generous overstep.  Image contributed calmness, the bay colour, and more.

Cara is not for sale.  We repeated the breeding for 2020 and the foal is likely to be offered for sale.

Fourwinds Artisan is a grey colt out of All Maybelle ID Class 1 (Lionwood Kinsale’s Lad x Pearl Drop by Castana).  Artie showed up with tremendous bone and beautiful straight limbs.  He is sweet, confident, independent, and people oriented.  He has Image’s beautiful face and soft eye.  Artie may end up a compact model around 16 hands.

Artie will be offered for sale at some point.  This cross has also been repeated, the 2020 foal is spoken for.

Fourwinds Daring Lad is a tall bay colt out of Connemara Sport Horse Brambleridge Truth or Dare (Salute the Truth x Sparrow’s Tiptoes by Grange Finn Sparrow) by Lionwood Kinsale’s Lad ID Class 1.  He is Angus’ first North American foal since he moved to Ireland, and the first conceived with his frozen semen.  Royally bred for eventing, Laddie is a top class Traditional Irish Horse with potential for high level competition.

Lad will be offered for sale at some point.  We may repeat the cross for a 2021 foal.


With foals safely on the ground and repeat breedings accomplished we turned our attention to Maybelle’s inspection by the Irish Draught Horse Society of Canada.  Maybelle achieved Class 1 status, affirming her quality as an Irish Draught mare.  She and Artie impressed us all with their calm demeanour through trailering and performing in the midst of a Maritime storm with bucketing rain and strong wind.  They took it all in stride!

The inspection was a resounding confirmation of the quality mares in our small region and of Fourwinds Farm mares in particular.  In addition to Maybelle, homebred Fourwinds Juniperus (by Clover Cliste RIDSH) – now producing lovely sport horse foals of her own – was approved.  All four mares presented had excellent results: the Irish Draught mares received Class 1 status (with Emilie Murphy’s Windfield Belle of the Ball receiving Bronze Merit for Athleticism, Conformation and Movement), and the part bred mares were recognized as Approved Irish Draught Sport Horse.  Three of the four are in foal for 2020, with Juniper and Maybelle expecting Image foals.

Riding and teaching

Fall found us focused on training, riding and teaching!  Sylvie stepped up as my partner in teaching three young students.  My assistant Evangelinia O’Brien is one, and she made tremendous progress in her riding this fall.  We are now a fabulous trail team with her on Sylvie and me on Image.  Sylvie will go anywhere, and Image will follow her anywhere!

Maybelle made progress in her basic training, and Evangelinia was her first rider up in early January.  As expected, she calmly went along with all the new experiences of longing, long lining, backing and so on.

Image and I have finally begun our riding partnership in earnest.  With his extensive training from former owner Adam Gamble, Image presents an opportunity for me to go deeper with my classical dressage practice.

The horse family

The most joyful development of 2019 was the dynamic of the home herd: the horse family composed of Image, his mares, and their children.  Carefully managed and years in the making, the family group lives together as much as possible.  Image has learned to live in harmony with his mares, and he is a wonderful poppa to his foals.  The security of the family group allowed me to take the mares out for training with minimal stress once the foals were a few months old.  Testament to his happiness with the arrangement, Image also willingly left the family for training sessions and trail rides.

I feel tremendous pride in our accomplishments in 2019, the herd, my human team, and me.  The horses and I have learned so much together over the years.  Some lessons have been hard and sad.  But a successful year such as we had make it all worth it.  The people that make this farm work – and make it beautiful – are more precious to me than ever (meet the Team here!).  I feel exceptionally blessed to be able to pursue my dreams in this way.