Some of my earliest memories involve my mom and dad with our
My moms' love was her cattle. She had developed one of
the top producing Holstein herds in Quebec, then when we moved out west she
worked her way into having a small top quality herd of commercial Herefords, and
futher developed another interest - rocks, gems, & stones.
My dad's love was horses, the Morgan specifically, and he
purchased Silvers Award (Trophy's Award x Jane Wood) as a 4 yr old. Silver
was the beginning of Beattiedale Morgans, and as Silver was only a month older then
I, we grew up together.
I caught a love from both parents.
The love of rocks, fossils, & gems
which my mom helped to develop by taking me to Rock & Gem shows, all through Jr.
and Sr. High School. I spent a year back-packing through Australia and New
Zealand when I was 20/21. I still smile when I think of the outback post
masters' face, when I handed him a really heavy box to mail home and he
asked "What's in this...rocks?" and I promptly answered 'Yup"! To this day
I still pick up the 'pretty ones' when I go for walks!
From dad I 'caught'
the horse bug with Morgans and Arabians/Morabs being the horses of choice.
This is how the farm name Ammolite Acres came about - combining the love of
rocks from mom and the love of horses from dad!
Growing up on a mixed farm in Central Alberta is a
truly great life
for a kid. I rode from sun up to sun down during school holidays and easily 4
times a week during school, regardless of the weather. When little I had an 11 hh Shetland Welsh cross
gelding (Early Autumn) that I rode in parades and fun shows and then drove at home
and in the occasional cutter rally as I got older. As I got taller, I
moved up to Sunday Surprise a 13:2 hh bay Morgan Welsh cross gelding (by Silver)
who had to do it all at 4H shows and Open Shows. Then in about grade 9, I started
two mares. Beattiedale Lil Lady, a purebred Morgan mare (by Silver) as a hunter
on flat and over fences, and Kelabar a 3/4 Arab 1/4 Saddlebred mare for Western
I was active in the Camrose Light Horse Easy Riders 4H club and
will be eternally grateful for all the help the various 4H leaders gave,
especially Ben & Dorris Hirsh, who opened up their farm and their hearts every
summer, to host a 4H camp where we all had the opportunity to bring our horses,
camp in tents, and learn LOTS!
I was truly a handful growing up as I was
hyper, bad and a geek! I'd rather ride then study, rather bath
horses on a Friday night to get ready for a weekend show then go to a
bush party with the 'in kids', rather trail ride then party all
day/night... so of course this made me stand out from the norm
even worse then I already did.
This in turn, brought me even closer to my horses as they always understood how I was feeling and helped me deal with
Myself on Early Autumn on
left, Girly (dam of Early & Sunday Surprise) with family on right. 1975
Photo Credit: Mrs. Beattie
My Dad, Royce Beattie of Beattiedale Morgan Farm, and I
participating in the Camrose parade (1978).
Note the Breyer Morgan I'm holding.
Photo Credit: Mrs. Riske (a favorite Jr. High teacher)
When I graduated and moved from the farm to the city, it
wasn't long and I was suffering withdrawal from the horses. I was
working at a tack store and found out I could work mornings at the thoroughbred
track. So I started work at the track at 5 am, worked till approx. 11 am,
then had to 'run fast' to get home, shower, eat, and head to work for my 1 pm to 9 pm
shift at the store. When it was time for the horses to ship
from Edmonton to Calgary, I chose to move with the horses, so I became a full
time groom and pony person on the Alberta A circuit. My boss wasn't sure
about "a girl" ponying his race horses, and was horrified when I pulled out my
English saddle to pony from...but in 2 1/2 years I only lost one horse, most of
the pony people lost from 1 a week to a few a day!
I had always wanted to travel, so I decided to go backpacking
for a year.
In Australia I worked on a dairy farm, as a tour guide assistant, and on a
thoroughbred stud where I was lucky enough to work for Kaye, who had finished
first in her class at the Irish National Stud and was the most knowledgeable
horse person I'd ever met! Then in New Zealand I worked on a dude ranch,
taking tourists out for rides in the beautiful countryside, that was a hard job
to take (not)!
When I returned to Alberta, I went to work for Dave Batty, a
top cutting horse trainer and thus got to learn some of the basics of another
segment of the horse industry. Then the opportunity to go North and make some
decent dollars working a construction job presented itself - so I headed North.
At the job end party I met Royce, who as it turns out was destined to become my
husband. We lived in Fort McMurray for 14 years, opened and ran a very
successful business and then tragically lost both Joe (Royces' dad) and my dad
within approx. a year of each other, to cancer. This was a real wake up
call for us, and we realized that working 7 days a week running a business and
being at the mercy of the customer, was not how we wanted to spend the rest of
our lives! So we went property shopping and found our farm - 104 acres of
hay with a 2 year old log home in 2004. Since then we have been working
hard to build it up to the horse property I believe it can be, my husband has
said... "I can't believe we worked that hard, to retire early, to work this
hard!" To me the farm work is different though, we work when we want, doing
what we want & only at the mercy of the weather!
My husband & I are now separated and he is living back
in the city, while I've chosen to stay on the farm with my horses & dogs.
I guess the old adage is true - once a farm girl, always a farm girl! I love the
peace & quiet of the farm, the fresh air, sitting on the deck watching the
sunrises and sunsets and watching the foals play in the sunshine - to me - this
Looking onward and upward,
This page is in honor of my mom and dad.
Without your guidance and love as I grew up, I'd be nothing now!
And in loving memory of Silvers Award and the horses of my childhood and
teenage years, I never could have survived those teen years without you!