BY SUSAN WINSLOW
From an eastern Ontario dairy farm to the historic village of Oosterwolde in the Netherlands, Carrie Ann Berkenbosch’s life could be straight out of a Hallmark movie. It’s a story of hard work, drive, dedication to her craft, love for her animals, and a touch of magic that eventually brought a special man into her life. Horses have always been a central figure in Carrie Ann’s family history. Her parents met while competing at a Barrel Racing event at a country fair, and horses have been intertwined with every aspect of their lives since. Growing up in rural Arnprior, Carrie Ann entered her first horse show at the age of two. She smiles when she recalls, “Two weeks before my second birthday, I showed my mother’s AQHA Champion and Superior Halter horse, Quarter Cajun, at a local fair. Many tried to reason with my mother that I was too young, to which she replied, ‘You try to tell her she’s too little to show.’” With the spunk and determination that would become a recurring theme in her life, Carrie Ann defied the doubters and took fifth place in a class of sixteen competitors. That experience set in motion a love of horses and competition that has included multiple World and Reserve World titles and has taken her from rural Ontario across the United States and to Europe.
Carrie Ann’s love of the outdoors and competition drew her to sports, as well as horses. In high school, she competed on her school’s basketball, volleyball, badminton, and track teams while moving up the rungs of the horse show circuit. By the time she was ten years old, Carrie Ann was ready for more than local competition. She took lessons at Stonegate Ranch and attended clinics hosted by her heroes: Lynn Palm, Pat and Patti Carter, and Randy Storey. Moving up to Eastern Ontario Quarter Horse Association competition at the age of 12, she began campaigning her grandmother’s horse, Hoo Dat Handshaker, and claimed a provincial title in Youth 18 and Under Trail and was Reserve in Horsemanship and Equitation while qualifying for the Youth World Show, nationally in Trail, and provincially in Horsemanship and Equitation. She went on to qualify for the Youth World Show every year and earned the title of AQHA Youth Champion and Superior Halter Champion with her AQHA gelding, Sucaryl Mint, before retiring her beloved gelding to the family dairy farm when she went off to further her education.Click here to read the complete article