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OUR DREAM FARM

Located two hours north of Vancouver and half an hour from Whistler, host of the 2010 Winter Olympics, is the quaint western-style town of Pemberton. Dreamcatcher Meadows is part of the lush lowlands known as the Pemberton Meadows, nestled next to the ever-changing Lilloet River and embraced by two ranges of mountains. Words can barely relay the beauty of this unblemished valley; descriptions such as “Shangra La,” “surreal,” or as I call it, “Canada’s Kentucky,” give some sense of this natural paradise. In 2003, my English partner John Dingle and I moved from

Europe to my home country of Canada and began renovating this former cattle ranch into a “one stop shop” for equine enthusiasts. Named after my horse of a lifetime, state premium mare Dream- catcher (registered Daisy Dee by Dream of Glory/Western Star), we set out to create a business offering from full breeding services to individually designed training programs for horse and rider (see “Build a Business with Embryo Transfer” Warmbloods Today, May/ June 2009). We stand two Hanoverian stallions with bloodlines that excel in both dressage and jumping competition: Lokomotion (Lordanos/Landseiger) and Dreammaster (Dimaggio/ Don Primero) and cross them with mares of carefully selected pedigrees. It is also the home base and distribution site for Equimats, the EVA Rubber stable and portable show mats we import from Europe.

WARNING SIGNS

July 25, 2009 began as a typical Rocky Mountain summer day, with a gentle pine-scented breeze cooling the summer heat. Conditions were perfect for the morning gallops along the miles of sandy riverside trails; wild garlic and alpine flowers were still abundant on the floor of the mature forest. As staff and clients were leaving the park-like trails on horseback to return to the barn, they were suddenly transfixed by the site of a freak lightning show dancing along the top of nearby Copperdome Mountain. This virgin wonderland often features several microclimate conditions at the same time; streaming sunshine in front of you while the meadows behind receive a thorough soaking. The ground actually shook as small lightning bolts rained along the jagged peaks creating mini- fireworks at random intervals. While watching this natural pageant, I made the routine report to

the British Columbia Parks Fire Centre, stating that at the moment the impact was minimal, but we did see a lazy twisting plume of smoke rising from a couple of contact points. Watching this uncommon but not unfamiliar site, we carried on feeding, exercising and performing the routine chores of a busy breeding and training operation. Later, practicing in the dressage arena next to the river, I looked

up, noting the small burn was behaving well, crawling up the mountain in a defined narrow line which would typically burn out at the peak. With 85 percent of the province facing a high or extreme fire hazard level, B.C. Forest Services was not taking chances and we soon had a response to our call. My mare Dreamcatcher, quite bomb-proof from a decade of competition, behaved like the veteran she is. She ignored the bright red helicopter swooping down to collect water from the adjacent river, then rising to hover over the little blaze and release its load like an airborne waterfall. The

From the top: The valley of Pemberton Meadows. Scenic view in the winter from the farm. John and Jill with their stallion Dreammaster.

Greg Edmunson

Jill Dingle

Totem Photography

Warmbloods Today 13

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