Niagara-on-the-Lake is the kind of charming small town where anything can happen. Including bumping in to two young women on horseback on the Commons, which you might have done if you were out and about of a Saturday morning.
Emily Mayes and Kasia Polakiewicz-Morrice took their horses Tucker and Copper for a trail ride, for the obvious reason of wanting to enjoy nature and each other’s company — and also to acclimate Copper, an Arabian rescue, to new trails, and to trailers.
Polakiewicz-Morrice fell for Copper the minute she heard his tragic tale. He and another horse had been found by the Hamilton Humane Society after spending three days in a trailer without food or water, in the heat of summer, in the city’s downtown.
Her husband Justin Morrice bought the traumatized 11-year-old horse from Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue for Polakiewicz-Morrice’s birthday almost two years ago, and she has been rehabilitating him since. “He had never been ridden before — had never even been brushed,” she recalls. “He trusts me now.”
Copper was not their first rescue — Polakiewicz-Morrice has been at this for a decade.
The young couple manage a boarding business and farm on Concession 6. They have four horses of their own (including Copper and Minipuff, a miniature pony), “and we’re adapting to suit all animals for boarding,” says Morrice.
Their most common clients are horses and dogs; they also board cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and even sheep. “A man was moving his farm from Manitoba, and needed a place to keep his three horses and a dozen sheep for two weeks,” says Polakiewicz-Morrice.
They have boarded a pet pig too, “A big one. We kept him in the barn,” she remembers with a smile. “We haven’t’ gotten an elephant yet,” quips Morrice.
The pair were married in 2016 on the 16-acre property, which belongs to Polakiewicz-Morrice’s parents. Her father is an accomplished carpenter who has built and customized any number of projects on the farm, with help from Morrice. The latter works in greenhouses, and has helped establish striking perennial beds which act as backdrops for photo sessions in the summer.
Polakiewicz-Morrice is an amateur photographer, and creates albums for her clients of their pets’ “vacations.” She also offers seasonally-themed backdrops and photo shoots for pet owners.
Five acres of the land at Evergreen Trail Stables are native forest “with trails galore,” she says — and locals are welcome to come and enjoy them. The site is also becoming a popular location for weddings.
Polakiewicz-Morrice’s father has made a habit of planting approximately 100 new trees on his land every year, including fruit orchards and evergreens, to a total or more than 1,000 new additions. Since establishing the stables, manure is used as a convenient fertilizer.
“We have our own little paradise here,” says Polakiewicz-Morrice, looking over the pastures at the pond feating turtles and fish in season, and the Weeping Willow tree that sweeps over it. “We enjoy every day.”