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Standardbreds In The Classroom

Published: April 22, 2018 9:39 am ET

Last Comment: April 22, 2018 12:32 pm ET | 1 Comment(s) | Jump to Comments

Elementary school teacher Trena Lebedz of Rodney, Ont. has had a love affair with Standardbreds since she was a young child. She’s now sharing that passion with her Grade 4 and 5 students by incorporating horses into their education curriculum. She’s hopeful that many of her students will make the trip with their parents and families to Mac Lilley Farms for the Mother’s Day Open House to meet a mare and foal she owns.

Lebedz has a strong background in the industry and owns broodmare Dior Seelster, who gave birth to a Sportswriter colt at Mac Lilley Farms on April 5. “Although his name is not yet registered, we plan to name the colt something related to his outgoing and spunky personality. Right now, we refer to him as 'Spunky' and he’s proving to be a quick, strong and energetic colt already!

“Our class is currently working on a poetry unit and the students are excited to write poems about my foal. They have followed Dior’s pregnancy, the foaling process, and the colt’s growth since he was born and continue to write about it in their literacy activities,” explains Lebedz, who also uses videos and a Name The Foal contest as part of her equine curriculum. She’s also encouraging her students to submit their entries to the Youth Literary Derby.

Lebedz was born and raised on her family’s farm in Rodney, Ont., and hasn’t strayed far from the farm, purchasing an established Standardbred boarding farm on the other side of town. The affirmed animal lover owned her first Standardbred in 2014. Dior was her second Standardbred horse who came to her following the birth of her first foal. “Her first colt was boarded and raised at my farm until he was weaned and then Dior went back to Mac Lilley this year to have her second foal,” she explained.

Her great grandfather, J. Russell Miller, was an accomplished and successful horseman who owned, trained and bred many well known Standardbreds for more than four decades. “As a kid I was always thrilled when we got to go to the track and watch a night of harness racing! Today, the family tradition continues as I now own, breed and board Standardbred horses.

“My plan is to sell the colt in the 2019 London Select Yearling sale. The Lilley family at Mac Lilley farms have worked with our family going back four generations and will continue to do so as I renew and expand my involvement in Standardbreds and harness racing as an owner and boarding facility."

Mac Lilley Farms in Dutton, Ont. and Tara Hills Stud near Port Perry, Ont., will both be hosting Mother’s Day Open House events for the general public on Sunday, May 13 from 1 to 4 p.m. to showcase their mares, foals, stallions and facilities, and in collaboration with the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association (SBOA) and Standardbred Canada’s ‘I Love Canadian Harness Racing’ Fan Club, will educate visitors about Standardbred breeding and harness racing.

Students in grades 5 through 8 are encouraged to write about one of the foals they see at one of these farms for the Youth Literary Derby, a juried, horse-themed writing contest with prize money.

The addresses for each of the participating farms are as follows:

Mac Lilley Farms
28322 Chalmers Line
Dutton, Ont. NOL 1JO
Phone # - 519-762-3423

Tara Hills Stud Farm
13700 Mast Rd.
Port Perry, Ont. L9L 1B5
Phone # - 1-877-828-6057

April 22, 2018 - 12:32 pmThis is just a wonderful and

This is just a wonderful and extremely interesting story. Congratulations to Trena and her ingenious efforts to find new ways to teach children. Looking at the pictures that accompany the story show the "personalities" that horses develop from a very young age. What made this story even more interesting was to find that I have known Trena's extended family for a very long time. Congratulations and continued success in your very important calling as an educator of our precious young people.

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