2018 Youth Literary Winner for Poetry Division:
Maria Achilleos, age 12, is the oldest of four children. She is active in the church choir and teaches Sunday school at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Sarnia. She is currently in grade 7 at St John French Immersion Catholic School in London and last year she earned the Academic Excellence Award. She loves to read and enjoys writing poetry and song lyrics. Maria loves Greek Dancing and currently performs with the London Greek Dancers. She also enjoys playing soccer and likes football as well. She has a passion for animals and hopes to volunteer with the Humane Society when she is a little older. Her poem was written about her visit to Seelster Farms in Lucan, ON.
EARS POINTED FORWARD
To Seelster Farms, I went one day,
To see the horses munching their hay.
Ms. Anne showed me the mares and stallions too,
She showed me the foals, oh so brand new.
The standardbred mares, so big and strong
Just had their foals, with limbs so long
A young newborn by his mother’s side
Became so shy, he tried to hide.
Thinking Out Loud, I had to see
Would this tiny foal ever come to me
With ears pointed forward, the mare stood not afar,
I gently petted her head which was marked with a star.
At two years old they’d begin to train,
To run their races and win glory and fame.
Year after year they’d try to win the big bucks,
Hoping to be a champion just like Camluck.
There are two types of gait to train for their race,
One is a trot and one is a pace,
Running on Holiday Road as fast as can be
Harnessed to a two-wheeled chariot called a sulky.
I had so much fun, I thought I’d play a game,
Hidden in this poem are some stallions’ names,
Would you like to play this game with me?
Read the poem again and try to find all three.
2nd Prize for Poetry:
Kyla Civiero, age 12, is in Grade 7 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic school. Her favourite subjects are Language and Geography and her favourite hobbies are writing, horseback riding, reading, swimming skiing and daydreaming about horses. Her inspiration for her poem was her horse Cruz and some Standardbred foals at a farm down the road from her. Kyla also has 36 chickens, 2 dogs and 2 cats.
DARE TO DREAM
Mares and their foals; peaceful as can be
Babies frolicking under a tree
In the distance flying by
Standardbreds training, anticipation is high
Tails flow gently in the breeze;
Pacing, trotting, galloping with ease
As day turns into night, they’re off to the track
They’ll take their chances, there’s no turning back
Ready to race, their heads held high
The stars shine brightly in the night sky
As they round the last turn, it’s neck and neck
Who is going to take home the cheque?
Here comes the chestnut from behind the pack
So fast the jockey is flying out of her tack
Yes! It’s Cruz!! He wins his first race
They couldn’t be happier, he set the pace
Day is done, home they go
Who will win tomorrow, you never know
3rd Prize for Poetry:
Marilyn Schmidt was a student at the West Bentinck Amish Parochial School in Elmwood, ON when she wrote her entry for the contest. She and her family moved to Prince Edward Island in late September, 2018. According to her teacher, “Marilyn is a quiet girl with a ready smile for everyone. She is a good student who works hard and her marks show it. She excels in Math and Writing.” She enjoys going on trips with her family and making crafts and cards.
DAISY, THE STANDARDBRED FOAL
A sweet little foal was born yesterday,
On a lovely morn in the month of May.
A sweet little foal that is very tame,
And Daisy is the small newborn foal’s name.
She awoke this morning all bright and gay,
Chasing all her sleeptime dreams away,
Ready to start an adventuresome day,
Full of fun and full of glorious play.
Then Daisy neighed and looked toward the gate,
For the two little children, Mark and Kate,
Had come to the field with the fence all around,
And golden dandelions dotting the ground.
On her wobbly legs, little Daisy stood,
And walked to her mother as all foals should.
She stared at the girl and the little boy,
Who were very excited and filled with joy.
The children came and stroked Daisy’s soft nose,
The little foal realized they were not foes.
The girl talked lovingly to the baby horse,
And the boy looked Daisy over, of course.
The children left; Daisy explored the pasture,
All things were wonderful, of that she was sure.
She watched an orange butterfly flitting by,
And looked at the clouds floating in the sky.
Daisy played and napped all day in the sun.
I’m sure she filled her day with exciting fun.
But now it is dark; the day is over,
And she went to dreamland in the clover.
2018 Youth Literary Winner for Short Story Division:
Andrew Kuepfer of Elmwood Ontario is a 12-year-old who attends the West Bentinck Amish Parochial School. He loves sketching and all kinds of sports. His teacher, Marilyn Kuepfer says, “Andrew is a quiet boy but when he does say something, it is quite noteworthy. He has a great imagination and tries hard in all subjects”.
Andrew’s story is about the first day in the life a Standardbred foal named Wilfred.
ADVENTURES OF WILFRED’S FIRST DAY
Wilfred rose to his wobbly legs as the golden sun was just starting to rise over the 50 acre farm where he was born. His mother was a big, solid Standardbred mare with a good racing record.
Wilfred stepped closer to his mother as a collie came bounding into the pasture to greet them. Wilfred wasn’t sure what to do so he just watched curiously then soon it came up to him and they touched noses.
Wilfred and his mother had a nice pasture with green grass, dotted with daisies and a beautiful white fence bordered around it. A small creek with clear, cold water was running through the one corner of it. There were a few young maple trees along the one edge that they could go to on hot days for some shade.
When the sun was about half way over the farm, Wilfred and his mother went to the grove of maple trees. It felt so cool there as he was lying down swishing his tail at pesky flies. There was no better place for them on a sunny day like this.
The following evening, Paul Nixon, owner of Shady Lane Stables, opened the gate of the pasture then slipped a halter on the mare’s head and lead her to the barn with Wilfred following.
Not being in the barn before, Wilfred stopped and looked at the strange building, then after a while he galloped with his long legs to his mother, and stopped short again, staring at the barn for a few seconds. After a few minutes he finally walked in behind his mother when Paul put them into a box stall with clean shavings on the floor.
Paul gave the Standardbreds fresh water and refilled each stall’s hayrack with sweet smelling hay. After that the floor was swept and the harnesses were on hooks all in a row along the wall. Everything was done and Paul went in for his supper.
In the stall were Wilfred was, he was safe and sound beside his mother then lay down to sleep for the first time in his life.
2nd Prize for a Short Story:
Avery Kirkpatrick is an 11 year old girl from Bowmanville, ON. She attends St. Joseph Catholic Elementary School. Since the age of 3 she has wanted to ride horses and began riding lessons at the age of 8.
Avery works at the farm on weekends when she is not training, just so she can be around the horses. Her love for horses is evident in the books she reads and the stories she writes.
She has taken part of numerous school initiatives and most recently represented her school at We Day in Toronto. We Day inspires youth to become helpful and engaging members of their school and local communities.
SOME KIND OF WONDERFUL
One night a young boy was sleeping when he was awakened, “Hunter, will you check on Piper?” Hunter jumped out of bed as he went to see his mare. When Hunter arrived at the stable, he was amazed. His bay mare had foaled a little grey Standardbred filly. Hunter called for his father who was just as surprised as he was. “I’ve named her Chantilly-Lace. Even though she’s small, I know she’s going to do something wonderful” Hunter exclaimed.
Over the next few months, Hunter took good care of his mare and foal. Time passed quickly. Hunter worked daily with his new standy. When Chantilly-Lace was 18 months old, they started getting Lacey used to the sulky and being guided by a driver. The months continued to fly by. Before they knew it, Lacey was 2 years old. It was time that she entered her first race.
At the track, a stray dog ran in front of Lacey’s sulky. Lacey spooked and tore a tendon. She was on stall rest for 2 months. After daily rehab, medicine and rest Lacey was ready to ease back into work. As her next race approached, Chantilly-Lace was ready!
Over the years, she entered many races and was often a front runner. Chantilly-Lace was awarded the Canadian Harness Horse of the Year award twice and was a World Driving Champion. Finally, at the age of 14 her sulky was put away and she was retired from driving.
Chantilly-Lace was sold to Emerice Reeds, who fell in love with her new mount. Emerice started training Lacey for eventing. After 2 years, they were finally ready for a CCI* event. The pair would compete at numerous 3 day events together.
As Emerice sat before her computer, she submitted her application for the Badminton Horse Trials. They had 2 months until Badminton arrived. May 1st, Emerice and Lacey entered the dressage arena. They had a very successful round, which placed them in 5th. Emerice untacked and gave Lacey her well-deserved lunch. For cross country, she decided to take the short route. After a clear round, they sat in 3rd place. The trot was up next.
The judge announced over the speakers, “Chantilly-Lace and Emerice Reeds have been spun”. As soon as she heard this, Emerice knew her dreams of winning were over. They weren’t eliminated yet. A second vet would arrive shortly with a decision. “Chantilly-Lace and Emerice Reeds have pass to the final phase”. A roar of excitement came from the crown. She would enter the final round!
RING! Chantilly-Lace cantered underneath Emerice as she rode to the first jump. The grey mare cleared it! All jumps were in their cups as the pair approached the final obstacle.
One, two, three… Emerice counted her strides. It was like flying and as the pole rocked in its cups, it didn’t fall! “They have won! Emerice Reeds and Chantilly-Lace are the youngest and only standardbred horse combination to ever win Badminton!”
3rd Prize for a Short Story:
Allie is a busy 7th grader whose hobbies include bullet journaling, slime making and drawing! Her favourite subjects in school are language and art.
Allie is passionate about playing piano and is currently working on her grade 5 Royal Conservatory!
Allie can often be found in her room working on building LEGO creations, and this summer her hard work paid off and she was crowned Fort Erie’s
It was a warm summer morning when my dad told me the news. A new standardbred horse had been born! I grabbed my shoes and ran to the barn right away. I forced open the barn door and there laying in front of me was the little foal. He had chestnut hair and layed close to his mother. I stood close enough to be able to smell his breath, but far enough so that I didn’t scare him. I watched him for at least 30 minutes. He tried to stand and walk many times but failed. When he finally did it I ran to the house.
“Dad, dad the horse walked” I said. “What are we gonna name it?” “I’m not sure. Why don’t you decide” he replied. Because there are so many horses on our farm, usually we sell them to other riders so they get to name them. But this horse was special. I spent the next hour trying to pick the perfect name… and then it hit me. Last month dad said the next foal that was born could be mine! That’s why he let me name it. This horse is mine. I get to go to competitions with him. We were gonna become stars. As soon as these thoughts came flooding in the name seemed clear . . . Star.
Two years after Star was born was our first race. I got dressed then groomed Star. I got in the cart and the truck began to move. “Come on Star, you can do it” I said. First we were fourth, then third, then second. By the time the race was done we were first! He did it. Not me. Just him. At that moment we were inseparable. He really was a star!
After that winning came easy. We had the confidence and Star had the speed. First it was one race, then two, then three. Medal after medal. Ribbon after ribbon. Soon all of Canada knew who Star was. He was the best horse ever. He was my best friend and no one could ever replace him … EVER.
Today is Star’s birthday. It’s been six years since our first race. He’s been stealing the hearts of millions. He’s an idol to other racers and horses. He is one of the best race horses ever. As I walked into the barn to see him I remember the same little chestnut brown foal I saw that summer morning. He could hardly stand and didn’t want to leave his mother’s side. Now look at him. He won hundreds of medals and ribbons. He’s one of the fastest horses ever and will never be forgotten. I love him with all my heart and he loves me. I will always remember him. My little Star.
Previous Contest Winners
A poetry contest about a Standardbred foal was won by a 10-year-old student named Barbara Dutchyn from the Niagara-on-the-Lake area. Her winning poem appears below.
Bright and early one fine morn,
Colt and filly two were born.
Warm and soft they nestled mother,
As they lay beside each other.
When the mare ate of her oats,
She and Jo had chestnut coats.
Meager Jo, he braved to stand
But fragile knees gave way as strands.
Try again he did and won,
Tiny Jo’s life had just begun.
But day was ending for them all,
So they settled in their stall.
“Run, son, run” dreamt the mare,
For the secret she did not share.
Students were required to write a poem about a mare called Easter Sonnet. The winner was Sarah Eastwood, an 11-year-old Waterdown student who submitted the following poem:
At the great Greenwood Racetrack
In Barn Number four
Stands the sleek Easter Sonnet
Whom we all adore.
She’s swift as the wind
and poised as a dove.
She’s covered with fame
And touched up with love.
She stands straight and tall
And is proud of her name
A smart little filly
There’s no one the same.
So go on Easter Sonnet
The sky is your aim.