Horsepower in Halton: 32nd Annual Halton Farm Tour

On September 20, the Halton Agricultural Advisory Committee (HAAC) successfully hosted its 32nd Annual Halton Farm Tour, “Horsepower in Halton.”

David Whitford, Manager of Sam-Son Farm accepts Farm Tour sign

We have many farms in Halton because we are fortunate enough to have some of the best agriculture lands located in Canada, right here in Halton Region. This is why we need to continue to support our local agricultural industries. 

 Each year, we visit three agricultural or agriculturally related operations, and have an opportunity to learn more about the challenges facing the farming community.

One of the beautiful Sam-Son thoroughbreds

As a region, we need to continue to further support our agricultural neighbours. They provide us, and the communities around us, with produce we eat, valuable services to all people in our community and jobs to ensure our long-term wellbeing.

Our tour highlighted three equine operations in Halton: Sam-Son Farm, Windrush Stable and Mohawk Slots and Racetrack Facility.

Andrew Hill has been taking therapeutic riding lessons at Windrush Stables for the past three years. Windrush is one of only two private therapeutic riding stables in Canada.

This year’s theme, Horsepower in Halton, is particularly relevant now with the uncertainty surrounding the horse racing industry. 

Participants in the tour included representatives from Regional and Local Council, local and regional staff and media. Attendees had the opportunity to meet and hear from agricultural leaders, ask questions, and learn about issues and trends affecting Halton’s equine industry. 

Lesley Gauer accepts Farm Tour sign at Windrush Stable

In addition to the tour of the three operations, attendees heard from six panelists in a discussion focused on the economic importance of the equine industry to Halton and the Province. Moderated by HAAC Member Peter Lambrick and following an introductory presentation by equine expert Dr. Bob Wright, the discussion highlighted the challenges the horse racing industry is facing and the positive benefits the industry provides throughout Halton Region. One of the most pressing issues facing the industry at this time is fate of the provincial Slots at the Racetracks program, which is scheduled to end next March.

Keynote speaker Sandy Hawley

Sandy Hawley, who currently ranks eighth among jockeys in career wins, is a member of the Order of Canada and  Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and has been called the crown prince of the “Sport of Kings,” provided the keynote address at a dinner that featured local food at the Halton Region Museum.  Sandy rode his first race in 1968 at the age of 19. In his remarks, he credited legendary trainer  Donald H. (Duke) Campbell  for teaching him the fundamentals, including basics like what a hay net is, and leading jockey Avelino Gomez, his idol, for teaching him the real meaning of the sport, and fondly recalled meeting Bill Shoemaker, who was not only a great rider but a real prankster. Claiming to be lucky to be in the right place at the right time, so many times, Sandy shared fond memories of his days as a rider, including his races at Woodbine and Mohawk, and his pride in backstretch, the frontstretch and racing facilities here in the province.  Sandy summed it up nicely when he said: “It was a fantastic day today, some great speakers, a very emotional day…hopefully things will work out.”

As always, if you have any Regional concerns or comments you would like to share, please feel free to email me at gary.carr@halton.ca. You can also find me on Twitter @garycarrhalton or on Facebook. To receive further updates on Regional issues, please subscribe to my quarterly e-newsletter, “The Carr Report.”