Celebrity horse makes a local stop

By Merna Emara
Staff Writer
memara@fortfrances.com

A late night call from stranded equine haulers resulted in a brush with celebrity for boarder

Six degrees of separation is the idea that you are only six social connections away from meeting your idol. What if there was only one and that one was a horse?

Colleen Wieringa, owner of Colleen Wieringa Equine/Canine Nutrition and Horse Boarding, found herself the caretaker of a horse going to be trained for Ian Miller, a Canadian equestrian champion and show jumper.

This was after she received a call shortly after midnight to help horse haulers stranded in Finland, Ontario, just 25 minutes away from Wieringa’s house.

“Gerald, my husband got up and got our horse trailer hooked up and went to the scene and was able to pick up three of the seven horses,” Wieringa said. “Their neighbour, Jason Strom got the other four.”

“In the meantime, I was busy in my barn trying to get things together and moving horses around and getting some stalls up so we could house them all,” Wieringa said. “We gave the drivers a place to sleep and then we helped them get the parts necessary to get on the road the next day.”

Wieringa said horse haulers do not usually come to the western part of the district as they take the Trans-Canada Highway to get to southern Ontario.

“We were receiving a new boarding horse from Alberta and the owner of the horse was waiting in my yard for the hauler,” Wieringa said.

The horse had her own handler, whose daughter is an assistant trainer for Miller, Wieringa said.

Imported from Czechoslovakia, the four-year-old horse is one you do not get to see every day, and Wieringa being a horse expert, expects a glamorous future for her.

“I was in awe,” Wieringa said. “It was quite an amazing experience just to have something of that calibre in your barn. She is worth $700,000. She’ll be a show jumper. I’m sure she’s probably an Olympic prospect if Ian Miller is taking her on. I’m going to watch for her the next several years.”

Horse boarder Colleen Wieringa had a brush with a potential future champion, when a horse on its way to be trained for equestrian legend Ian Miller, made an emergency stop at her facility. – Submitted photo

“Ian Miller is just such a revered equestrian,” Wieringa said. “As a little girl, I remember him show jumping. He’s an icon and he’s won several gold and silver medals for Canada in individual and team jumping.”

Wieringa said they run a boarding stable, have a feed store and sell equine feed, supplements and dog food.

On multiple different occasion, the Wieringas have also hosted haulers before when they needed a layover.

“But this was an emergency case,” Wieringa chuckled.

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