Successful Open House Shows The Power Of The Horse

A young girl with a foal at the Rankins' Open House
Published: May 15, 2023 12:19 pm EDT

Beth and Tom Rankin hosted a very well attended Open House event at their St. Catharines Standardbred breeding farm on May 13 with over 300 visitors meeting the mares and foals.

The Rankins hosted the Open House in support of four horse-themed contests for kids coordinated by the newly formed Bill Galvin Racing Alliance (BGRA), including the Youth Literary Derby and the Youth Art Derby.  These contests are for elementary school children in Grades 3 to 8. Complete rules and details for the contests can be found on the BGRA website.

Kids visiting the St. Catharines breeding farm had lots of subject matter to inspire them for the contests as 10 mares had foals by their side and were eager to interact with their captive audience.

“The smiles on their faces, that’s all I need," said Tom Rankin. “That means a lot to me and makes this all worthwhile. Bill [Galvin] would have loved this!"

The Rankins started breeding Standardbreds in 1990 and have enjoyed considerable success. Over the course of 33 years, they have bred about 300 horses at the St. Paul St. West nursery. Currently, the farm is home to 16 broodmares and 10 foals with two more foals on the way.

“We should never underestimate the power of the horse,” said Karen Hauver, the founding director of the BGRA. “It’s amazing how people feel when they spend some time with horses, and we sincerely appreciate everything that the Rankins and their wonderful staff did to host this event and welcome people to their farm." 

Kids could take part in a Name The Foal Contest for any of the seven fillies and three colts, and were provided with a list of the dam and sire names for each foal.  The newest foal on the ground was a two-day old Muscle Mass filly out of Miss Adam T.

“I’ve driven by here for 20 years and I always wondered what breed of horses were here," said Linda Garrett, a local resident. "Now I know.  To have an opportunity to come in and talk to the people who work with the horses, and even pet some of the mares and foals, was amazing!"

“When I feel crummy, I take a drive by this farm," said Anita from Port Colborne, Ont., "and seeing the horses always makes me feel better.” 

The event drew a wide range of guests -- families, couples, a dance club, local residents and more. Included among the visitors were Dave Augustyn, former Mayor of Pelham, and people visiting the St. Catharines area from Holland and Germany.

Volunteer directors from the Bill Galvin Racing Alliance were on hand to greet guests, provide information on the four youth contests and answer any questions about harness racing.

(Bill Galvin Racing Alliance)

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