Actors with real ranch and horseback riding experience

TV show heartland premiered on CBC in 2007 and the series is currently filming its 16th season. heartland follows the life of Amy Fleming (Amber Marshall) and her natural gift for working with horses. In addition to Marshall, several actors on the show have experience on horseback.

Amber Marshall in “Heartland” | Courtesy of CBC

Amber Marshall plays Amy Fleming in ‘Heartland’

heartland airs on the Canadian network CBC, and the show is based on a book series of the same name by Lauren Brooke.

On heartland, Amy helps traumatized horses through natural riding on her family’s farm, Heartland Ranch. Because horses play such a central role in Amy’s story, it was important to have an actor comfortable with animals.

Like his character Amy, Marshall also lives on a ranch and owns his own horses, as well as dogs, cats, and various farm animals.

In a 2019 interview for CBC Official heartland blog, Marshall shared how his real-life experience with animals influences the show.

“I believe over the years my character Amy has become more like me and vice versa. The writers seem to gravitate around stories that happened in my real life, and while living on a ranch myself in Alberta , I’ve adopted similar traits to my character. It makes what I do easy, and I like being able to bring realism to the character,” Marshall said.

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‘Heartland’ actress Alisha Newton has plenty of riding experience

Alisha Newton has joined the cast of heartland in the show’s sixth season. On heartlandNewton plays Georgie Fleming-Morris, the adopted daughter of Amy’s sister, Lou Fleming (Michelle Morgan).

Georgie is a natural with horses, as is Amy, and in later seasons aims to become an Olympic jumper.

In a 2018 interview with Heels Down Mag, Newton revealed that she had two horses herself at the time of the interview.

“Horseback riding has become an escape. I can just spend my time at the barn. It’s very peaceful compared to my busy days on set. Horseback riding has become very important to my mental health,” Newton told the magazine. “It’s hard to have competitive goals when I’m working all the time.”

She continued: “My goals are just to ride as long as possible, and heartland helped me do it. So I’m really grateful for that. I just enjoy riding as a hobby, and I try not to take it too seriously like I do the other things in my life.

Due to his extensive driving experience, Newton does not have to use a stuntman as much as some other actors when filming driving scenes on heartland.

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Shaun Johnston has a background on the ranches

While Amy is the main character of Heartland, her grandfather Jack Bartlett (Shaun Johnston) is the family patriarch. In the show, Jack is a cattle rancher and the official owner of Heartland Ranch.

Like his character, Johnston has experience in herding and riding. He frequently shares updates with heartland fans on what it’s like to work on the show on his Instagram.

Johnston is also transparent in the scenes that show him on horseback and the scenes that use a stunt double, giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the show.

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Clyde P. Johnson