For the second consecutive year, Beth and Tom Rankin hosted an Open House event at their St. Catharines based Standardbred breeding farm in co-operation with the Bill Galvin Racing Alliance (BGRA).

The event on Saturday, May 25, promoted two horse themed contests - a Youth Literary Derby and a Youth Art Derby, coordinated by the BGRA, and sponsored by the Rankins. Complete rules and details for the contests can be found on the BGRA website.

Despite some inclement weather that rolled in mid-way through the event, over 200 people stopped by to visit the horses. Kids visiting the farm found lots of inspiration for the contests with 10 mares and 10 foals on hand, eager to interact with their guests.

One of the most common comments heard from guests was, “I drive by this farm all the time and always wanted to know what breed of horses were here, and who owned it.”   Well now they have their answers.

“I do this to see the smiles on the faces of all ages of kids,” said Tom Rankin.  “That means the world to me.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to have a horse or have access to horses.  If we can provide them this opportunity one day a year, I’m extremely happy to do this.   

We were expecting 400 guests based on the registration.  No doubt, once the torrential rain hit, some people would have changed their plans, but we were really pleased with the number of guests who attended!”

The Rankins started breeding Standardbreds in 1990 and have enjoyed considerable success. Over the course of 34 years, they have bred more than 300 horses at the St. Paul St. West nursery. 

“Horses are truly magical animals,” said Karen Hauver, the founding director of the BGRA. “For those of us in the industry who have unlimited access to interact with horses, we can take them for granted.  Seeing smiles on the faces of people of all ages and hearing how they feel when they spend some time with horses, even if just for a few minutes, reminds us of the power of the horse.  The BGRA directors sincerely appreciate everything that the Rankins and their wonderful staff did to host this event and welcome people to their farm." 

Kids also had a chance to take part in a Name The Foal Contest for any of the seven colts and three fillies they had a chance to meet. 

The event drew a wide range of guests -- families, couples, business associates of the Rankins, local residents and even a couple who were visiting the area from New Zealand.

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

(Bill Galvin Racing Alliance)

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