Writing for pleasure to showcase the best Australia has on offer.
Published January 17th 2021
Inspirational Canadian Drama Interacting with Horses
Flicking through Netflix one afternoon I came across Heartland and although I did not think it would be for me, but not able to find anything else to take my interest, I decided to watch it for at least one season. Now watching Season 11 and being totally and emotionally attached to the series, it is hard to wonder why I had those thoughts in the first place.
The storyline is based on a series of books Heartland written by Lauren Brooke and follows a country family residing on a ranch in Alberta, Canada. Main actress Amy Fleming has a gift passed down from her late mother of being able to connect with damaged and/or mentally abused horses and by horse whispering methods, love and trust is able to bring the horses back to confidence in their chosen fields of work and endurance.
Although Amy has a love interest throughout the show with fellow cast member Ty Borden, and ultimately her husband and father of her child in later seasons, there are also other characters such as her crazy father (Tim Fleming), steady and stable grandfather (Jack Bartlett), control-freak older sister (Lou Fleming) and many others, whose involvement in their lives brings a balanced interaction of what life is like in country Canada. Over the highs and lows of the series, the actors bond together in what can only be described as natural living experiences and you would be confused to think this is only a group of people acting scenes from the script writer's creative mind.
Heartland has totally surpassed other one-hour scripted Canadian dramas such as Street Legal and, in my opinion, totally embodies scenes that we in Australia can also relate to. There has been love, fights, make-ups, marriages, divorce, separation, female career juggling with motherhood struggles, foster kids, wayward kids, babies, crime, travel abroad to places such as Mongolia and world issues like poaching, which allows all viewers to broaden their knowledge and understanding in what happens in other lives and countries. Some of these also challenged my thinking on certain subjects.
Outback Queensland (Author's Photo)
Being brought up in the country and for periods of my life had an association with life on the land, I have truly bonded with this series and hope city people can also comprehend the less fast pace, yet real issues that are fought each day on the land. Most of us in Australia have been to the occasional rodeo or campdraft, the latter of which I find the most interesting, but when speaking of rodeos, everyone would ultimately think of Canada where any professional bull rider would want the opportunity to visit and compete. In fact, Australia has its own successful riders such as Troy Dunn (Queensland) and Josh Birks (New South Wales) who have made it to Calgary and succeeded.
I watched a recent interview with Graham Wardle, who played Ty Borden, and one of the questions asked was 'what he would like the viewers to take away from watch Heartland?' This is an interesting question and one that I had already answered to myself in a previous episode. I have always been frightened of horses, they are so tall and strong, being able to push you away or carry you away quite swiftly if they wish. I have also had the occasion when trying to put a partner's horse in a pen, the opposite occurred, as I am quite sure she was able to read my mind and think "that's not going to happen!". Yet through the series, I have become so loving towards horses and feel I could easily go up to one to pat and caress, even brush and feel comfortable doing so. To have this confidence come through to me from a television screen is quite miraculous considering my daunting feelings in the past.
Actor Graham Wardle as Ty Borden (Photo courtesy of Heartland, Facebook)
Although I have been able to watch the series one after another, I have read reviews on the character Ty Borden dying in Season 14. I must be emotionally attached as a gut-wrenching feeling arose, but again after watching an interview with Graham Wardle, I concede death is part of every life and moving forward is what is necessary to grow and conquer obstacles in our lives. Luckily, I am only up to Season 11, so I still have a few more light-hearted scenes to go.
My Father as a Lad with his Horse (Author's Photo)
Being emotionally involved in a series can be a good thing. If you are going through hurdles in your own life, looking forward to that one-hour drama can take your mind off the issues of the day. I know I have laughed and cried along with the stars as I sit in my lounge room and enjoyed every moment. Canada is a beautiful country and I am fortunate to be able to say I have visited both East and West, although never to Calgary. So, my suggestion is to read the books and watch it on the big screen, you certainly will not be disappointed.