Blame It On Heartland

I did it again, I’ve been absent and for the dorkiest of reasons but I still owe my readers an apology.

Recently I have discovered that Heartland season 9 was available on Netflix and I’ve spent the last week binging indulgently on the sweet equine drama that is this show.

Pictured borrowed from

If you haven’t heard of Heartland you must be a unicorn, but I’d be happy to fill you in.

Heartland is Canada’s longest running scripted 1-hour drama television series in history.  It takes place just outside of Calgary in Big River (Alberta, Canada).  Geographically it is about 100 miles north of the United States Border, due north of Western Montana.  In the first season we meet Amy Fleming, a young woman who had been injured in the accident that took her mother’s life rescuing a horse, Spartan.  In response to the tragic accident Amy’s sister, Lou returns home from New York to help run the ranch with their grandpa Jack.

Although Lou is not interested in horses she runs the business while Amy works with troubled horses.  Many other characters join the scene.  You’ll meet Mallory, Ashley, Caleb, Georgie, Lisa, Peter, and Tim among many others.  Some you’ll love, some you’ll love to hate, and many will continue to have you guessing.  The show has gone into 11 seasons now and we all hope for a 12th.

What’s unique about this show is the level of accurate horse information portrayed by the series. Amy works with troubled horses, troubled riders, and this “Miracle Girl” can pretty much do any discipline (not realistic but it sure is fun).  Amy is seen riding thoroughbred race horses, liberty horses, roping, barrel racing, jumping, trick riding, etc.  The series tackles some sensitive issues in the horse world and can also offer insight into dealing with some troubling problems you may have with your own horse (though you should never rely 100% on a tv show for your information).  Some issues are hotly debated and controversial.  Heartland also addresses behavioral, training, and health situations that are seen in the horse world.

The show caters to the horse obsessed souls we are, but everyone can enjoy it.  I’ve heard of horse husbands even enjoying the show.  Aside from horses there are some story lines that you will follow involving the Fleming family and friends.  Throughout the years we watch Amy and the whole family grow up; we fall in love with the characters and become attached to them…and yes I cry for the good and bad times.

Amber Marshall as Amy Fleming in Season 1 (2007) Photo borrowed from
Girls’ ride Season 9 (2015-2016).  Some new faces, and we’ve watched both Lou and Amy grow up. Image borrowed from

Since the show is Canadian we all must impatiently wait for the show to air in our own countries…2017-2018 is Canada’s airing of season 11, and we just got season 9 on Netflix.


(so you can pretty much count another binge episode when that happens)

Graham Wardle (Ty Borden) and Amber Marshall (Amy Fleming) – Image borrowed from

Fun facts you may or may not know about Heartland and its cast.

  • The head writer, Heather Conkey is not actually a horse person.  With the help of research, writers, the wranglers, and others they still put together a very accurate show.
  • Amber Marshall (Amy Fleming) began riding at the age of three
  • Amber (Amy) and Graham Wardle (Ty) are both married to different people (and I hear fans are still unhappy about it).  It’s amazing how convincing the actors are on screen.  I would love to hear the perspective of the spouses.
  • Amber (Amy) met her husband at an equine trade show in Ontario (~8 Years Ago)
  • Amber’s wedding featured her horses, ponies, and canines.
  • Amber’s 80-year old grandma began taking riding lessons

  • Shaun Johnston (Grandpa Jack) is a lifetime horse-person
  • Shaun Johnston is quite young (60) and auditioned for Tim’s role, but was asked to play the part of Grandpa Jack.  With makeup he turns into Grandpa Jack (and we love him).
  • Johnston enjoyed playing guitar and hockey in his free time
Alisha Newton (Georgie) and Shaun Johnston (Grandpa Jack) Image borrowed from Pintrest
  • Alisha Newton (Georgie) didn’t begin with Heartland as a horse person but is now a very active rider.  She competes in the hunter/jumper circuit.  I have also heard hints regarding her own stunts doing mounted archery in future seasons.

  • There are now more than 30 horses that play Spartan
  • The longest standing Spartan is named Stormy who has been the face since day 1.  Due to bad knees he assumes the role for closeups and standing around.

 One of my favorite podcasts is Horses in the Morning on the Horse Radio Network.  In September 2016 Heather Conkey interviewed on the show (which re-aired 1-26-18), and Amber Marshall came on the show in May 2017.  Click the links below to listen to each episode!

A few other links you may enjoy:


      1. I stumbled upon it accidentally channel surfing the “Christian” channels and I am so glad I continued watching the episode and quickly fell in love with this show. I now have every episode on my DVR. It took a while to collect them all because they show them out of order, but got them plus the Christmas specials.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. I adore this show. I was very ill a couple years back and it literally saved me, every time I watch an episode it makes me feel like everything is gonna be okay. It is one of my saving graces. It touches on the realistic of family life and the love of animals. I have every episode on my DVR and it took a while to collect them but the thought of having them there as my go-to is a comfort. Ty leaving us was very difficult but to see the show continuing on helps. I love some of the First Nation stories but we need a bit more (I am 40 percent native) of the characters.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really does cover all the bases. They touch on real issues also. I actually like the unrealistic ability Amy has to do any equestrian discipline since it gives the writers an ability to bring in lots of equine jobs that people might enjoy.


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