Movies & TV

Heartland: How a Wholesome Canadian Horse Drama, Inspired Me to Seize the Reins of Life

A Look at How One Television Show Ignited a Passion for Following My Dreams

Nostalgia Alert: Remembering “The Saddle Club” TV Series

Did you grow up in Australia during the late 90s or early 00s? If so, chances are you were a fan of “The Saddle Club,” a popular TV series based on the books by US author Bonnie Bryant. Interestingly, the show was filmed in Australia and sparked a youthful fascination with horses for many viewers.

A Decade Later, Rediscovering a Passion for Horses Through TV Shows

After more than 10 years, a TV show reignited my love for all things equestrian. CBC’s Heartland – a beloved Canadian family drama based on Lauren Brooke’s novels – premiered in 2007 and has since aired 17 seasons. The show follows the story of Amy Fleming (played by Amber Marshall), a teenager residing in Alberta who takes after her mother as a horse whisperer. Amy has a gift for rehabilitating troubled horses using her intuition. Although there are occasional extreme events (in true soap opera fashion), such as plane, car, motorcycle crashes, fires, or shootings, the show is primarily a source of enjoyable family entertainment for horse enthusiasts.

How Heartland Inspired Me to Pursue My Passion for Horse Riding

It may sound cheesy, but the TV show Heartland has had a profound impact on my life. I began watching it on Netflix in 2016, just as I was getting back into horse riding as an adult amateur. The wholesome and soothing nature of the show resonated with me, and before I knew it, I had become fully immersed in the horse world. Today, I am the proud owner of three horses, whom I see every day. I also compete in eventing, show jumping, and dressage – even though I’m not very good at it – and, as a result, have depleted my bank account.

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The Allure of Heartland: A Visual Masterpiece

What made me disregard my financial security and invest in horses through Heartland? Perhaps it was the breathtaking cinematography, which captured the wild beauty of the Alberta mountains. The setting itself is like a beloved character, with the Heartland ranch sprawling across the land, complete with woodlands and streams.

Amy’s ability to connect with a troubled horse in the round pen while donning her cowboy hat resonated with my deep-seated desire to leave behind the fast-paced city life and dive into the serenity of nature.

In the story, Amy rescues her horse, Spartan, after a fatal car accident involving her mother. She develops a strong bond with Spartan and transforms him from a mistreated animal into a successful showjumper. While the plotline may be unrealistic, the relationship between Amy and Spartan is touching.

Heartland: A Source of Inspiration for Equestrians

As a beginner rider taking lessons at a riding school, I started watching Heartland. When I eventually bought my first horse, the experience was challenging, but I found that channeling my inner Amy Fleming helped me persevere through the falls, broken bones, and knocks to my confidence.

Amy and Logan, played by Drew Davis, in season 17 of Heartland. Photograph: David Brown/CBC

Introducing My Second Horse: A Journey of Patience and Learning

When I bought my second horse, she was just a six-month-old filly who was quite wary of strangers. To add to the challenge, she had a fear of being touched on the face. It was a slow process, but after three months of patience, I was finally able to get a halter on her. To tackle this hurdle, I took inspiration from Amy and delved into natural horsemanship techniques to help her get comfortable with being touched all over her face and ears. Fast forward to today, she’s almost three years old, ready to be worked under saddle, and has developed a newfound love for face pats.

Finding Comfort in Heartland During My Horse’s Illness

When my third horse fell ill with a puzzling condition, and I wasn’t sure if he would make it, I turned to Heartland for solace. In particular, I re-watched the episodes where Spartan was in the hospital and Amy had to decide whether to pursue surgery or to let him be euthanized. My horse eventually made it through, thanks to a diagnosis and treatment plan. The relatable struggles of Amy on Heartland helped me cope with the stress of the situation.

A Family Drama Worth Watching, Even If You’re Not Into Horses

This heartwarming family drama is a delight to watch, even if horses aren’t your thing. With an array of lovable characters, stunning scenery, and slow shots of sun-kissed fields, there’s a lot to appreciate. Give it a stream, but be warned – you may find yourself Googling “horse riding for beginners.”

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