Fourwinds Farm is a small property on the North coast of Nova Scotia Canada.  Since 2003 it has been home to myself, Katharine Locke, my Irish horses and Dominique chickens, and the usual array of dogs and cats doing their various jobs.  We are close to the sea, with tidal marsh on two sides, thus connected to the winds and tides.  The farmland along this coast is rich and productive, as is the sea and fishery.  This is cottage country as well, so it is lively with in summer and quiet in winter.

Fourwinds is a small private barn focused solely on my horses.  In the first five years we produced a number of Irish Draught Sport Horses.  By the way, when I use “we” in this context, I am referring to the herd and me since we are a team!  Then we had a pause in breeding, which gave me opportunity to focus on my education as a rider and trainer. 

Katharine and home-bred Fiddler’s Pride 1977

Katharine and home-bred Fiddler’s Pride 1977

Now my time is divided between a selective breeding program and training with those members of the herd who are not otherwise engaged in making and raising foals.  I expect all my horses to do both jobs unless young or retired!!

No More Mistakes TB and her daughter Fourwinds Juniperus

I was born and raised in New Jersey USA, just down the road from the United States Equestrian Team headquarters.  My older sister, who competes in showjumping these days, lead the way with ponies when we were young.  I do not remember learning to ride!  It was just what I did every day after school.  We had Pony Club, local shows, the Essex Fox Hounds, and endless trails and dirt roads around the countryside. 

And we regularly rubbed elbows with the top riders and officials of the 1970’s and 80’s.  My family had a couple of foals in those years, one of which I rode in the A Show hunters for a season as a teenager.  Through it all we kept our ponies and horses at home and took responsibility for their care.

As often happens, I left horses for twenty years to pursue education, career, etc.  But I read The Chronicle of the Horse every week and never stopped dreaming about horses.  In those years my attention turned firmly to the discipline of three day eventing and the horses that excell in that sport.  Thus the Irish horses!  The move to Nova Scotia was my opportunity. Before emigrating I spent a winter with Denny and May Emerson of Tamarack Hill Farm at their winter property in Southern Pines, NC.  I got back in the saddle and developed my obsession with pedigrees.  Shortly after arriving in Nova Scotia in 2000 I acquired my first mare, a Thoroughbred named No More Mistakes who I bred with Irish stallions.

My priorites in horse husbandry are the health, soundness, manners, and – most important – the happiness of the animals with whom I share my life.  While I have a lovely small barn, they spend very little time in it!  The fields, tracks, and paddocks are arranged for small groups to live out with access shelter, hay, grass, and mineral feeders as needed.  Given how hardy and easy keeping Irish horses are I rarely feed concentrates and then only for specific reasons.  Young horses here grow up slow, strong and well adjusted.

The foundation of horse education at Fourwinds Farm is sensitive mindful day to day handling and relationship building. Whether moving from one area to another or standing for trims or just having a visit, all the horses learn to interact with humans with thoughtfulness and trust.  They learn to respond to requests, and they also learn that their feelings and opinions will be heard.  By offering them lightness and precision from the start and in every interaction, a horse raised at Fourwinds Farm is prepared to be a good citizen and a willing partner.

Photographs © Sarah Baker Forward, © Al Cook, ©Jeff Clements, ©Katharine Locke and others