My ramblin thoughts

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I am offering this RAMBLING editorial as a reference/resume with hopes that it will make our business together a “comfortable” success.  I want you to get to know me and where I'm coming from.  If you are only interested in what I think with regards to this new era of internet sales, please skip down about half way.  So from the grey haired lady that looks after this gang read on!  I hope you don’t get lost in the reading…...


First a bit of an editorial on myself.  I have always been the little girl with the “horse bug”.  But finally got my “fix” when moving to a farm at ten years of age.  My first riding was not at shows or even 4-H, but going to get the milk cows on old Smoke the draft horse.  That gentle giant taught me to sit quietly and be respectful.  It was a long way down and an even longer way up if he decided that I was misbehaving or not paying attention to “his” language.  And at that time a saddle was an option which I wasn’t allowed, so bareback it was……   Picture a scrawny girl trying to convince a 16H gelding that he should stand beside a fence while she crawled up.  There was a non horse lull when I did the teenager in the city thing.  In 1973 I met my “farmer man” Ernest, we were married in 1974 and lived on the farm a ways out of North Battleford, Sask.  It wasn’t long before I bought Red Boy, a Kanata gelding. 

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In 1979 the registered Arabian mare Winter Magic came to live with us and with her, my entry in to the show world.

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In 1979 our first child Jeff was born.  In 1982 we relocated our farm to Erickson, Manitoba.  1983 saw the birth of Jen our second child.   While my children were younger I did a lot of saddle training as well as raising a few Arabian foals.   My love was for the reining horse and I competed with my chestnut Arabian stallion “Pride” for many years, well at least until he decided that he knew the patterns better than I…..   I also did a 10 year stint as head leader of a large forward moving 4-H club.  At my husbands suggestion I bought my first mini in 1986, a little unregistered mare that was bred to Komokos King Tut.   At that time the registry was still open so I registered Gypsy with AMHR.  In 1987 she gave me a bay filly who we called Zina.  AND THEN IT STARTED……  Never a horse person, I think Ern thought that having a mini would slow down the big horse traffic.   Bet he wishes he’d never pointed out that ad in the Western Producer…

At present I am still working within the health care profession as a HCA.   It was 18 years as of Nov. 2006.  I work facility (Personal Care Homes) as well as doing Community Home Care.  Home Care means that I plough through 2 foot snow banks in frigid weather to provide service for clients in their homes.


Our family increased by one June, 2006.  Our son Jeff was married to “little Jennie Hyde”.   And now there are TWO Jen Bartkewichs, so to lessen confusion I try to have a Jennie and a Jen. 

  Left to right Jeff, Jennie, myself, Ernest and sitting Jen.

Our son Jeff works with Ernest on our farm.  They also have a shop where they rebuild trucks, cars, bikes, snowmobiles, well pretty much anything with a motor, wheels or metal.  Our farm has a large herd of commercial beef cows as well as hay land and grain land.  Our new daughter-in-law Jennie is a Director at “Minnedosa Funeral Home”.  Our daughter Jen completed her degree in Science at the University of Lethbridge, worked for a year in a lab, and is now working/traveling in Australia.       


I started showing in 1979, so 2006 makes that 27 years in the ring.   First with my Arabians and then with the minis.  It is a passion and a love.  I have shown at approved Arabian shows, Open Reining Competitions, then Jen and I (often with a group of friends and youths) did the local show circuit for years.  That is until she reached driving age and the lure of the near by National park and a summer job drew her away.  After that it was on to the approved Miniature Horse shows for me.

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Photo's:  Pride/Mary Ann, Pride/Mary Ann, Winter Magic/Mary Ann, Rocky Magic/Jen, Goldie/Jen, Goldie/Jeff, Rocky Magic/Jen.

Over the years I have taken many clinics from the “popular at the time” clinicians.   Always taking, storing and using what works for me.   I believe that when you quit learning, you quit improving…….. 

For a time I took in outside training horses.  But that was a rough one with a young family and a husband that didn’t like the idea of me climbing on some pretty “challenging” mounts.  The time frame was usually a month to get them going in a manner suitable for what was generally inexperience clients.  I preferred a longer quieter training schedule, so started purchasing young select stock that I could work with at length then sell when I felt they were ready.  This also allowed me to place the horse with the right owner. 

With regards to how many horses I have sold, I just counted the minis up and from the time Gypsy came to live with us in 1986 until now (Nov 2006) I have sold just under 200 minis.  Before the Minis I raised and sold likely around the same amount of Arabians, Part Arabians, a few Quarter horses and the young grade horses I purchased for saddle training.  Because horses are a love and not just a business it has always been important for me that they get into happy homes.  Many of my clients have become good friends.  I can truly say that in all these years I have only had 3 people come back to me.   So I guess either I am blessed or I’m doing something right.

OUR PETS:      

Or should I say those who rule!  We haven't had many over the years as they live out their lives with us.  I always think you can tell alot about a person if you get to know their pets.   At present we have a 5 lb. Pomeranian, Laney.  My HUSBAND belongs to her......   Do you know what I'm saying?   Well she's a tractor riding, hay hauling, cow chasing (oooh yessss she can, although keeping up is a problem) and one heck of a great gopher hunting dog!  Then there is Brooks, the 20 lb part Manx cat.   His goal in life is to stalk Jen and catch mice for her.  I think it's retaliation for the baby cloths he was forced to wear when a kitten.   We have just added two barn kitten this spring, Amy and Charlie.   The barns is already freer of mice and sparrows.  And not to be forgotten is Cindy, Jeff and Jennies Chihuahua.  She's the door bell during the day.  Anyway here they are, another part of my family.

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I recently spent some major "stress" time dealing with a sale that went wrong.  Being the "fixer" that I am I tried to "fix" it and when the client didn't want that I tried to figure out how I could have done things differently.   So with that in mind I thought I would like to let buyers know what I'm thinking on this end when you come to me.  Here are a few of my thoughts on this new era of internet sales and buying sight unseen.  Although I would like to say that I'm more than willing to pick you up from Winnipeg (our closest airport) should you desire to fly in and see for yourself!  I have spare beds since the kids have left home and love visiting and would love to show you the gang.  The internet is a great tool and has taken the horse business and life in general to a new level.   But it is a TOOL to be used with care.  Don't forget the human aspect of purchasing and horse ownership. 

First of all I think that a buyer has a responsibility as well as the seller.   ASK QUESTIONS!  GET PICTURES! TALK ON THE PHONE!  I am more than willing to call and chat.  Like the good old days when there was one on one human aspect to a sale.  Tell me what you are going to do with your mini and what your likes and dislikes are.  PLEASE don't assume that I like what you like and will pick out the perfect horse for you.  You are buying the horse so make sure it's the "fit" you want.  I'll try my best to get the match and have sent buyers to other breeders.  As I said at the start of this spiel, I would much rather you ask a 1000 questions and ask for photo's till the cows come home than ship a horse to you and have you tell me much later that it wasn't what you expected. 

My thoughts on babies.  I think the miniature breed is unique in that a lot of the sales are of babies.  And anyone who has been in this business for any length of time will tell you that what you see is not always what you get.   I have had babies that have been the ugly ducklings that turned into swans and then there's the reverse of that....WHERE THE HECK DID THAT GORGEOUS BABY GO??????  If you are not comfortable with the "wait and see" game then you better not buy that cute fuzzy little thing. 

About MY babies.  They are not POCKET PETS.  I would love it if they were because that would mean that I had time to sit in the pasture with them.   But until I retire that is not going to happen.  I work outside of the home nearly full time.  The show horses take up a large part of my day during the summer.  Then all those feet to trim.   Add a bit of gardening, a lawn that is staggering at times and occasionally some house cleaning.   Oh yeah, forgot, now and again I do make a meal for my husband......   Dogs and cats to feed.   Hand breeding GT who will not run with mares and Bobby who is usually in the barn during show season.   Then the lovely visits with people that come to see the gang and the local people that stop by with their families who are out vacationing.  Add to that the shows I go to.   What I'm saying is my foals are not handled alot.   They get oats with their moms daily so they see me all the time.   I scratch the ones that want me to but I'm just too old and not near fast enough anymore to go jumping on the shy ones.  Once they are weaned they come into the barn daily for oats and a small amount of halter work.   So when you get them you will likely have to train them.  If you want special attention with a the horse you purchase please ask and I will get it done.   

My thoughts on height.  I make no bones about the fact that I prefer the Overs.  If an over is definitely not what you want then look at my little mares foals or check out the breeders that specialize in the small ones.  Ask me for a height guarantee and let’s get something on paper if that is a priority.  I'm ok with buying them back if they get to tall for you cause "I LIKE THEM THAT WAY" but lets make sure we both are on the same page at the beginning of the sale.    I'll measure them as babies, but please take a good look at mom and dad.  Remember you shouldn't be looking at foals off a 37" mare if you want something in the 30" range. I will do my best to "quesstimate" but that little one is going to do its own thing when it comes to its mature height.  One inch is not alot!   

My thoughts on return policy.  Everyone who knows me, knows how much I like shopping at Walmart.  Here is their return policy.   I've taken it from their website.  And I like it!!!!  Your complete shopping satisfaction is our number one priority.   If an item you ordered from does not meet your expectations, simply return it either to a store or by mail with in 90 days of receiving it.  Now the big thing here is, 90 days, if that's good enough for Walmart, it's good enough for me.   If you have a complaint tell me right away, not a year or two later.  I am honest to a fault and always try to come good and in fact have offered to refund full purchase price a year after the sale.   I've also come good on deals with the a major discount on another horse.   I cannot send you a cheque for part refund and let you keep the horse you aren't happy with.  If you don't want it then I sure do!  Where does it stop?   A friend said that she was following a thread on LB forum where a buyer was complaining about a horse that she had was the wrong color and she wanted some reimbursement.   WHAT????  SERIOUSLY??      

Now what about those geldings?  This is another one of those buyer questions, "Has he dropped?"  Please remind me to check.  Due to a few anxious cut and snip buyers, geldings sold as geldings will be that way when they leave our farm.  I have an amazing vet that can get the job done!  So if one of the boys is the one you want as a gelding a deposit will hold him till the work is done here.  If you want them at home right away and buy them intact it is with your understanding that some minis can take a while to mature and drop.  Not all vets will drop them in the corral and go looking, successfully I might add, as mine will.  If they aren't there and my vet can't do it and you don't wish wait, please don't buy!

My thoughts on youth.  I am a long time past 4-H leader and am very willing to help you get started.  I will discount to 4-H homes.  But please send your requests after you have your parents permission to purchase.  Then with your age, horse ability, facilities and finances stated I will try my best to find the miniature horse for you!  But I need to know if mom and dad are going to help you with this very large responsibility.   Buying a horse with babysitting money and keeping it at your friends house might not work for your mom and dad or your friends mom and dad.  Youth are the future of our breed and I would be proud to help you get started......  If you just want to chat, I don't mind that either, but please tell me that you are a youth.

My thoughts on payment plans.   I repeatedly have people asking whether I take payments.   So have decided to put this down in writing.   Once payments and deposit are agreed upon there will be a monthly board charge of $50. due the first day of the month until the horse is paid in full.  At that time arrangements will be made for delivery to new owner. Ok, now I'm going to tell you the story.  Short and sweet, I sold a VERY inexpensive colt to a client who made VERY small payments.  By the time the colt was paid for (nearly a year later) he had totally eaten his purchase price up in feed, not included was the 100 mile round trip I made to meet the transport for the little guy.  In the long run, I would have been better off giving the colt to the neighbor as I would have been money ahead.  So in order to make MY payments I figured I needed to address this issue. 

Well, do you know me a bit better?  I will get off the soap box and invite you to take look at my horses.  Happy owners have happy horses, and that's the kind of clients I want and will work hard for! 

Respectfully yours,

Mary Ann




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