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2022 CQHA Trainer of the Year

Bryn Robertson of Hillerin Farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario

Bryn Robertson lives with his wife Carole on their 150-acre farm in Hillsburgh, Ontario.

Just a teenager when he met Carol, a horse-crazy girl from Islington, Ontario who was riding horses before he was. Bryn learned to ride through Carol and the pair immersed themselves in various events including barrels and pole bending, showing, and winning prizes across the province. They joined many other horse owners and raced in quarter mile dashes for fun on farms north of Toronto including Circle M Ranch, owned by Al Greco.

Hillerin farm was originally purchased by Carole’s parents; they have called it their home for now well over 50 years. The couple raised three children who are still heavily involved with horses as are many of their grandchildren including Cody Sabila CQHA’s 2021 Rising Star award recipient, for many years they raised and owned dozens of top Barrel and Race Horses.

Originally from Wales, Bryn was just 3-years-old when he arrived in Canada with his parents soon after his father fought in World War II.

“There were 1,800 people on a boat coming to Canada,” said Bryn. “The crazy thing is, we went over a mine in the ocean and it blew a hole in the boat and we had to go back to France for it to be patched up. It took two weeks to get to Canada.”

The Robertsons made a permanent move to racing Quarter Horses before the new millennium and raced their first horse under trainer Wayne Proctor at Picov Downs’ J-track in 2000. Bryn watched and studied other trainers and achieved his own license in 2004. Working initially with horses purchased at sales and more recently with horses bred at his farm with Carol, son Mike and daughter-in-law Jaime, Bryn has trained numerous champions and several Horses of the Year.

His stars include the mare Had to Be Fandango, stakes winner of over $145,000 who has gone on to produce 2019 Horse of the Year Had to Be Ivory and one of 2020’s top juveniles Had to Be Relentless.

Bryn’s purchase in 2011 of One Famous Glass at a sale in Oklahoma changed his life as the sorrel gelding became one of Ontario’s top horses for almost a decade. Named 2013 Horse of the Year, One Famous Glass recently retired with 20 wins, including numerous stakes victories and earnings over $294,000.

Bryn’s ability to keep his horses healthy, happy and in top form for most of their career has made him one of the province’s most accomplished conditioners.

Robertson has excelled at every aspect of the industry, from breeding to racing, and making sure that his horses have the right home to start their second careers. He has dedicated his life to horses, not just as trainer but as a horseman as well. Putting the good of the horse ahead of anything else Bryn understands that if the horses are taken care of, then they will take care of you.

Bryn Robertson has had some of the top horses ever to run at Ajax Downs. He has had 3 Horse of the Year winners, multiple champions of all ages, and currently his horses own 2 track records. Mr. Robertson prides himself on breeding the best he can and that all started the day he purchased Hadtobefandango. Who has gone on to produce three extremely productive horses and all three have been recognized as champions by Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc (QROOI). And all three have proudly been born on his Hillerin Farm. Since 2013 he has trained at minimum 6 champions from QROORI. Mr. Robertson also trained and bred 2018 and 2019 AQHA Canadian Champion Had to Be Ivory. In 2019 he has 3 horses nominated for AQHA Canadian Champion, 2 of them he bred and both were from his broodmare Hadtobefandango.

With all the success that Bryn has had he has never forgotten his roots and is always willing to help in his community. Each year at the Erin Fall Fair he takes one of his horses so that he can showcase quarter horse racing to the community. In 2019 he and his wife Carol were honored with induction into the Erin Fall Fair Hall of Fame.

As per Equibase Bryn Roberts is listed as a “Best Racing Class Achieved Multiple Stakes Winning Trainer” with 741 career starts, 154 wins, 117 seconds, and 115 thirds and total lifetime earnings of $1,982,719.00

Written with excerpts from Jennifer Morrison’s The Robertsons: Living the Quarter Horse dream