Twinbrook Farms has been busy producing some of the finest standardbred athletes since the early 1970’s. The Embro, Ontario operation originally bred Simmental cattle and Standardbred horses. Twenty years ago Rob and Tammy McNiven took over the operation of the farm and gravitated to breeding horses full time.
In the past 20 years Twinbrook farms has left a legacy of over 300 horses bearing the Twin B prefix to their name.
In the spring of each year Rob and Tammy share the evening foaling duties, while the kids help out during the day.
“I am married to a perfectionist,” sighs Tammy.”Rob makes sure everything to do with broodmare care is done to perfection”.
Twinbrook farms now have a broodmare band of fifteen mares. That number is down by half from numbers prior to 2012.
The McNivens own shares in a number of stallions on both sides of the border.
“We try to split the breeding, so that 50% of our mares are bred in Canada while the other 50% are bred in the United States,” Says Tammy.” We still believe that the Ontario Sires Stakes program is second to none.”
Jenna McNiven is the farms social media expert. She posts pictures on facebook of the newborn foals in the spring, and the yearlings as they are being prepped for the Harrisburg and the Ontario sales. It was one of Jenna’s posts that caught the attention of Casie Coleman two years ago.
“Casie called us and told us the yearling picture of Twin B Tenacious (Betters Delight X Twin B Intimate), posted on facebook, looks exactly like her favourite Betters Delight colt, Betterthancheddar.”
It wasn’t long before Casie was scoping out the Twin B colt at the Harrisburg sale. She purchased Twin B Tenacious for $42,000.
In July of 2014 Twin B Tenacious won in the NYSS while his old Twinbrook stable mate Twin B Speedo finished second. Casie loves her colt and will no doubt be ready to purchase more of the Twin B horses in the future.
When asked what the biggest changes the McNivens have seen in the past twenty years in the breeding business Tammy says,” The biggest difference would have to be the mare manipulation. We can now control the lighting in the barns and encourage the mares to cycle earlier in the season.”
“Our feeding programs have come a long way too. We can no longer expect mares to produce the finest athletes by feeding only hay and oats. Our hay is tested regularly by the feed companies. They can then create the most balanced feeds with all the necessary nutrients for the mare’s diet.”
We believe that mares should be kept outdoors as much as possible. They foal inside, but are turned out often. Rob has constructed a special indoor walker so even in the most inclement weather his mares and foals can get their exercise.
Tammy and Rob have both served on the boards of Standardbred Canada and the Standardbred Breeders of Ontario Association. They somehow find time to get Robert to hockey and baseball and Jenna and Maddi to quarter horse shows.
It has been a wonderful life raising horses and kids at Twinbrook Farms for Rob and Tammy McNiven and when asked Tammy says,” I wouldn’t change a thing.”