Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Horse tale helps your family shovel away winter blues

  • Print

Given recent weather patterns hereabouts, and the repetitive outdoor-chore obligations they've inevitably created for local folks, it might seem a bit risky -- foolish, even -- to recommend a TV movie that's basically about shovelling snow.

But in the spirit of the spirit of the season, here goes:

The Horses of McBride is a lovely, well-crafted and beautifully performed yarn that's perfect for family viewing during the festive season.

It has beautiful scenery. Small-town charm. Horses. Heroic humans. Pluck. Verve. Grit. A pure, simple expression of the unselfishness and generosity to which we all aspire during the holidays. Oh, and snow. Lots and lots of deep, drifted snow. But the beauty of this movie, even if you're sick to death of clearing your own sidewalk, is that you get to watch somebody else shovel it.

The Horses of McBride, which airs Sunday at 7 p.m. on CTV, is a tale of perseverance inspired by actual events that occurred near the northern British Columbia town of McBride just before Christmas 2008. After local snowmobilers discovered a pair of horses trapped in deep snow high up on the mountainside, starved and nearly frozen, townsfolk mounted a massive effort to hand-dig a trench to allow the animals to be led down to safety.

In this charming dramatization of events, the horses are discovered by father and son Matt and Kenny Davidson (Aidan Quinn, Edward Ruttle) during a trip up the mountain to rescue some stranded snowmobilers.

Their first inclination is to put the animals out of their misery, but after daughter Nicki (MacKenzie Porter) visits the site of their snowy prison, she's able to convince her father to try to figure out a way to save them. A veterinarian assesses their condition and declares them too weak to be airlifted out; again, putting them down is discussed, but defiant Nicki says she intends to dig a path -- which would have to be nearly three kilometres long -- to allow the horses to make their way to a nearby logging road.

Matt, perhaps burdened by the guilt of having just told his kids that hard financial times are about to force him to sell the family's cowboy-outfitting business and take a job in nearby Prince George, grabs a shovel and helps Nicki begin her unlikely effort.

Thanks to a visit from an aspiring TV producer (Greyston Holt) who also happens to be Nicki's reconnection-minded ex-boyfriend, word of the father/daughter rescue effort starts to spread -- first locally, prompting a wave of shovel-wielding helpers to head up the mountain, and then nationally, as bigger media outlets spread the word and support, both financial and in pure manpower terms, floods in.

The Horses of McBride is a necessarily sentimental story but it never becomes overwrought or cloying; it takes full advantage of beautiful mountainscapes and receives well-measured and seamlessly likable performances and from Quinn, Porter and Matchett.

As for the incessant snow shoveling -- well, it turns out that it's hardly as annoying when experienced as a spectator sport. Twitter: @BradOswald


The Horses of McBride

Starring Aidan Quinn, MacKenzie Porter and Kari Matchett

Sunday at 7 p.m.


4 stars out of 5

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 15, 2012 G3

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


I Dream of Diesel at Rachel Brown Theatre scene preview

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Carolyn Kavanagh(10) had this large dragonfly land on her while spending time at Winnetka Lake, Ontario. photo by Andrea Kavanagh (mom0 show us your summer winnipeg free press
  • A Canada goose makes takes flight on Wilkes Ave Friday afternoon- See Bryksa’s 30 Day goose a day challenge- Day 09- May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Do you think the Jets will win Game 4 on Wednesday?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google