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Enthusiastic Owner At Age 13

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Published: April 5, 2009 11:52 am ET

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She speaks with a knowledge that is far beyond her first year as a teenager and Rachel Oenema of Burgessville, ON near Woodstock is as enthusiastic a horse owner as any on the record.

“Well it was my dad and brother that made sure I got licensed as an owner when I was just nine years old and that was four years ago,” Rachel explains. “I’ve known since a very young age that I would be involved in harness racing,” the grade eight student at North Norwich Public School says in matter of fact way.

"I'm keeping a 93 percent average in school and I'm a straight 'A' student,” she added. “Keeping the best grades I can helps me free up more time in the afternoons to be with the horses" she says.

Her older brother, Terry, trains the stable of five she’s currently involved with.

“Terry treats the horses like family and we all just love the sport and our horses,” Rachel says. “You can be sure on the first day I’m eligible, when I turn 16, that I’ll be getting my trainer’s license. To try driving horses is something I’m a little less certain of. But I’m very sure about wanting to be a trainer.”

Former Mennonite Trotter Now Races For Rachel

For the record, Rachel’s name is alongside her dad’s on the ownership papers of pacing mares CR Sandy Cam, Rachel Sue Waves, Ja El Elegant and Ja El Elegantmoves. She’s also the sole owner of a new stable member that’s in the midst of a very successful streak in London.

“On Demand has really turned the corner and become a fine trotter,” says his trainer Terry Oenema. “He was originally tried by (trainer) Morley Bradshaw but he gave up on him because he kicked so much. A Mennonite man near Tillsonburg, ON named Roy Miller had On Demand for a year. A friend of mine, Jim McClintock, spotted him and suggested we give him a try.”

Oenema says when he first got On Demand in his barn he quickly lived up to his reputation as an ‘outlaw’ horse.

“It took us a full year of patience to keep him from getting hot, aggressive and kicking,” he added. “The final piece of the puzzle was a suggestion from (fellow trainer) Terry McKibbin that we try him in trotting hopples. When we qualified him on January 23 we started thinking he could be a really nice trotter.”

The latest conquest for On Demand was on March 31st at Western Fair when he romped over conditioned company in a $7,800 purse event to take a life’s mark of 2:03.0. On Demand has compiled a 3-0-1 record from just five starts early in his five-year-old season in what looms as his first full year of racing.

“Yes, I’m happy to report to you that he’s not back to his kicking and lashing out ways,” says 13-year-old owner Rachel Oenema of her experiences with the gelding when rushing to him almost every weekday after grade eight elementary school and on weekends. “He just loves what he does now and he's happy to do his work. You can walk behind him without fear now. The plan is just to keep racing him in London. This trotter, my dad and my brother have taught me so much. I hope into Spring and Summer that we can just keep enjoying this."

NDC Champ Brad Forward: London TV’s ‘Athlete Of The Week’

The fine coverage of harness racing in the London region by the local media took a slightly different turn on Wednesday, April 1st. A-TV London Sports Director Norman James designated Western Fair’s leading driver, Brad Forward, as the station’s ‘Athlete Of The Week.’

The story and salute to Forward were in recognition of his dramatic win in the recent National Driving Championship held at British Columbia’s Fraser Downs. Standardbred Canada's touring banner that will be sent to Norway will be on display at Western Fair Raceway on Tuesday afternoon, April 7, for London area fans to sign in support of Brad.

To view the view the video, click here.

‘Troy’ Ordered To Trot From The Outside Post

A top class card looms for the Monday afternoon April 6 program at Western Fair as both the $18,400 purse Preferred Trot and Preferred Pace have attracted full and quality fields.

In the 8th race Preferred Trot Handicap, Trottin Troy will start again from London’s outside Post 7 in the field of eight starters. The five-year-old Chip Chip Hooray gelding swept the field in the final half last week with Dave Wall aboard for trainer Steve Bossence and owners Crystal Ball and Parent Racing Stables of Ohio.

In the 12th race Preferred Pace, the 7-5 morning line choice is Western Fair’s 2008 Pacing Horse of the Year, Pacific Oak. Ken Oliver trains and reins the six-year-old Pacific Rocket-Yankee Delray gelding from post two for owners Shirley and Kerry House of St. Jacobs, ON.

Through June, post time at Western Fair each Monday and Tuesday afternoon is at 3:35 p.m. and every Friday evening at 7:05 p.m.

(Western Fair Raceway)


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