Tractor pull // Going In House

Civil litigator David Outerbridge fell in love with his wife, horses, and country living (in that order)

By Denise Balkissoon

On Tuesday December 9th, 2008


Born and raised in Montreal, David Outerbridge made it to adulthood without ever getting on the back of a horse. It wasn’t until he met his future wife, Allison, that the civil litigator got in the saddle. Allison shared her lifelong passion for horses with David and he’s been hooked ever since. “They’re nice animals, once you get to know them,” he says. “Each horse really has its own personality.” Now his personal ride is a stately white Percheron named Titan.

Titan shares a roof with 10 other horses and two ponies in the Outerbridges’ ambitious renovation of a former cattle barn on their 25-acre farm located in the rolling hills just outside the Dundas Valley Conservation Area. When David and Allison lucked in to the property two years ago, it proved to be a perfect fit for what would become Outerbridge Stables. They expanded the barn from eight to 13 stalls and laid down old conveyor belts to soften the concrete floor. Outside, they built fencing around the entire property, put down gravel in the courtyard, and planted a line of cedar trees between the house and stable for privacy — along with their own five horses and two ponies, they board six horses whose owners come and go as they please. Eventually, the couple would like to continue to cultivate the beautiful gardens around the house, a cozy 1960s bungalow with a living room that looks out over the horse pasture.

Allison deals with the day-to-day activities of the family business, feeding and currying the horses and handling administration. On weekends, David drives tractor loads of manure over to their neighbour, an organic farmer. The couple’s two children, Aidan, 8, and Emily, 5, occasionally take riding lessons. While Aidan prefers his skateboard, Emily has proven to be a natural and fearless rider. “She’ll tell you how many times she’s fallen off, how many times she’s been bitten and stepped on — and she’s proud,” says Allison.

Of course living in paradise can have its setbacks. “Making it down my driveway is the biggest obstacle in getting to work,” David chuckles. Once, after a particularly heavy snowfall, he had to push his Honda Civic to the road with the nose of his pickup. “And you can’t always rely on a rickety, 50-year-old tractor.” But overall, David vows the hour-and-a-half commute is absolutely worth it. “It’s nice to come home to birds chirping and horses and cats happy to see you,” he says. “We can get our fill of the bright lights and get away from it when we come home.”

The Lowdown:

Name: David Outerbridge
Firm: Torys LLP
Area of Practice: Civil litigation
Year of Call: 2000
Location: Dundas, Ontario
Building Profile: Three-bedroom, 1,700 sq. ft. detached bungalow on a 25-acre farm with four pastures, a pond, an in-ground swimming pool, and a 7,000 sq. ft. horse barn

Photography by May Truong