Amber Marshall: Horse Girl

Heartland's Amber Marshall: From Aspiring Actress to Horse Whisperer

“Animals judge you by what’s on the inside, what’s in your heart,” the star of TV’s Heartland says

Amber Marshall, the star of CBC’s beloved drama Heartland, has become synonymous with the show’s idyllic ranch setting and heartwarming stories. But her journey to becoming Amy Fleming wasn’t easy.

The long-running series, filmed in Alberta’s picturesque ranch country, recently wrapped its 14th season, a feat achieved amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Marshall, exhausted but proud, reflected on the experience. Social distancing restrictions disrupted the usual camaraderie between cast and crew, making it a demanding year.

A Debut Forged in Tragedy

Marshall’s memorable debut as Amy in 2007 established an instant connection with viewers. The first episode opened with a dramatic scene: a horrific car crash during a storm claims Amy’s mother while she and her horse, Spartan, survive. Recovering at her grandfather’s ranch, Amy discovers her talent for healing troubled horses, a gift inherited from her mother.

The series, based on a young adult book series, features a captivating blend of relatable characters, unexpected plot twists, and stunning visuals. It has garnered a devoted fanbase and continues to be a Canadian television success story.

A Perfect Fit

Marshall, a natural horsewoman raised in Ontario, found an immediate connection with her role and the show’s setting. Her passion for horses began at a young age, and she even worked as a veterinary assistant – experiences that perfectly aligned with Amy’s character.

Heartland, Marshall explains, isn’t about violence or sensational drama. It’s about the heartwarming power of family, facing challenges together, and finding hope. The show’s impact on viewers resonates deeply with her. Fans have shared stories of how Heartland has helped them overcome personal struggles, inspiring Marshall and solidifying the importance of her work.

From Early Dreams to Overcoming Obstacles

Born in 1988, Marshall’s energy and determination were evident from a young age. With her parents’ support, she began acting at eight and landed her first significant role at 14. However, the path to success wasn’t without hurdles. Living in London, Ontario, meant long drives to Toronto for auditions, and facing rejection was a frequent reality.

Despite the discouragement, Marshall persevered with a positive attitude. She found solace and purpose in her love for horses, spending countless hours caring for them at a nearby stable. These experiences not only fostered her passion for animals but also offered a sense of responsibility and connection.

The Importance of Connection

In Heartland, Amy’s ability to understand and heal horses is often described as “horse whispering.” Marshall emphasizes that it’s not about dominance, but about building trust and respecting the animal’s individuality. Animals, she believes, possess a unique form of judgment – one that focuses on sincerity and kindness.

The Road to Heartland

While Marshall thrives in her role, the path to Heartland wasn’t a straight shot. Numerous auditions and moments of doubt threatened to derail her dream. It was during the filming of another pilot that the opportunity arose. With encouragement from her agent, Marshall submitted a self-taped audition despite the technical limitations. Her natural charisma and genuine passion for the role resonated with the producers, and the rest is history.

Amber Marshall lives in a real-life Heartland - Heartland

Beyond the Screen

Marshall actively connects with fans through social media, newsletters, and her own magazine. She shares glimpses of her life on the ranch with her husband, Shawn Turner, and their animals. Fans can also support her through her website, which offers various merchandise.

While the website has evolved into a small business, Marshall emphasizes that the focus remains on fostering a connection with her audience and supporting local Canadian businesses.

Finding Balance

Life on the ranch provides a welcome contrast to the demands of filming. Marshall cherishes the time spent caring for her animals and finds peace in the simple act of observing them. Marriage to Turner, a photographer and heavy-equipment operator, has brought some changes, including the addition of a television to their home – a previously alien concept for Marshall.


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An Unwavering Passion

Marshall’s enthusiasm for Heartland and her genuine personality are undeniable. While acknowledging that this lifestyle isn’t for everyone, she expresses her deep love for the project and her hope for its continued success. It’s clear that both Marshall and Heartland have captured the hearts of viewers worldwide.

Source: https://edition.cnn.com/

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