by Victoria M. Howard
Joanne Colville, the chair of Standardbred Canada and the outrider at Woodbine Mohawk Park is a multi-tasker who owns, breeds, races, and serves as the outrider at several tracks.
Outriders have one of the most important and dangerous jobs in the industry, as they are responsible for maintaining a safe environment at the track during live races (both human and equine). If there is a loose horse it is the rider’s job to catch the runaway before anyone is hurt.
The hours are extremely long for the outrider as they close the track every day, and financially they do not make nearly what the drivers earn.
Born in East York, ON, Colville has always been an animal lover. She purchased her first horse — a weanling filly with a white blaze — after spotting her while visiting Murray Brethour’s farm with her dad, Frank Colville. The horse’s name was Wil Lor Wilma.
“I had a choice — it was either the filly or the fancy winter coat I wanted,” Colville said. “Guess what won? Of course, the horse.”
Although her father enjoyed owning and racing standardbreds, he was one of the few who considered it a hobby.
“He obtained a trainers’ license, but never made it a career. Dad and I would visit Greenwood Raceway every weekend where I would watch those beautiful animals. It was love at first sight and I made it my lifelong career,” Colville said.
“I love them all, but I guess (my favorite) would probably be a horse named Juggles. Although he never raced, Juggles became my outriding horse and would do anything for me. As far as a racehorse it would be Wazzup Wazzup, a horse I bred and raised. Unfortunately, he lost his eye when he was only a few month old, but did race and earned $566,000. I still have his mom and two sisters on my farm.”
Colville became an outrider as a fill-in for special events at Flamboro Downs, Grand River and other smaller tracks.
“I rode while completing high school and started to fill in when needed at Woodbine and Mohawk seven years ago,” she said. “For the past five years I have been full time with a team of three really good horses — one mare and two geldings.”
At one time, Colville had her own staking business, but it consumed so much of her time that today she only stakes her own.
“I’d rather work one on one breeding and foaling. The babies are the best,” she said, laughing.
Colville’s significant other is noted driver/trainer Jack Moiseyev.
“We’ve been together for 15 years and train and break the horses together,” Colville said.
Moiseyev recently has concentrated on training youngsters and driving occasionally, due to a back problem, but is kept very busy training a stable of 16 at First Line Training Center.
As with many horsepeople, Colville’s involvement is a family affair.
“It’s definitely in the blood. My daughter Emma’s father is Canadian driver Chris Christoforou. Emma helps train and has started warming up and training our horses,” Colville said. “Emma’s a natural. She takes after her mom, and is actively involved in all aspects of the business. But we have one rule — school comes first.”
Besides helping Jack train and run her breeding farm, Colville is serving her third year as chair of Standardbred Canada and a breeder/director in Ontario.
“I am heavily involved with organizational boards such as Standardbred Canada and COSA (Central Ontario Horseman’s Association), and the administrator of the Ontario Standardbred Adoption Society (OSAS),” Colville said. “I want to be part of the change for the future and understand the dynamics as we push forward to a more sustainable industry across the board.”
If anyone can help the business in a positive way it’s Joanne Colville. With her passion, drive and love for the sport, she is one of the most dedicated and honorable people representing our great sport of harness racing.