Heartland Season 13 Episode 1 Review

The long-awaited thirteenth season of Heartland is finally here. And it began with an episode filled with quite a few highs. Yet sadly also with twice as many lows. So, without further ado, here is the recap of Heartland season 13 episode 1 titled “Snakes and Ladders”.

Warning, spoilers ahead!


The episode began with Amy and Ty checking on the progress of their new house. Which, although currently only has a foundation, is coming along great. However, soon we realize that all isn’t as rosy as it seems. Because, to be able to build their dream house, the two of them are taking on many client horses and therefore stretching themselves pretty thin. And when another client, Kirk Jackson, bullies them into taking on his horse as well by leaving bad reviews online, Amy and Ty start worrying that they might have bitten off more than they can chew.

But then the unthinkable happened. On the plane from Switzerland Phoenix was exposed to a contaminated feed bucket which meant that Georgie’s jumper had to spend 21 days in quarantine. Luckily, Amy was able to convince the resident vet for Phoenix to be quarantined at Heartland. Yet, once Ty got back Phoenix’s bloodwork from the airport vet office it turned out it wasn’t just some bacteria that Phoenix was exposed to. It actually was Vesicular stomatitis, a highly contagious virus that put the entire ranch on quarantine, not just Phoenix.

Which meant that Amy and Ty had to inform all of their clients that their horses are under quarantine for over two weeks. Including Kirk Jackson whose horse Sarge actually came into direct contact with Phoenix and got sick. And that in addition to Kirk’s previous bad online publicity means that Amy and Ty’s new business is in some serious danger. So, it looks like this season will be much about the couple trying to rebuild their reputation and keep their business afloat.

Where to watch Heartland season 13

The living situation

The second big storyline had to do with the living situation our characters are currently in. Since Tim is still living in the ranch house with Jack and Lisa. Which only got more cramped when Georgie returned from Switzerland. While Ty, Amy, Luke, and Lyndy are all occupying Amy and Ty’s small loft.

Luckily, Tim had a solution in mind. One that he pretty much manipulated everyone into. Amy, Ty, Lyndy, and Luke would move back into the ranch house. And he would move into the loft above the stable, making it into his bachelor pad. However, once it came down to actually moving, things didn’t quite shake out the way Tim wanted.

Amy and Ty agreed to move back into the house. Which would mean that Ty and Amy would occupy Amy’s old bedroom. And Lyndy would share a room with Katie. But that would leave Luke with nowhere to sleep.

So, Georgie suggested that she could move into the loft and that would free up Georgie’s current room for Luke to move into. Yet, that would also mean that Tim, the instigator of these changes, would have to move out permanently. After all, Lou will be back in a couple of weeks, so her room isn’t up for grabs either.

In the end, Tim, seeing Georgie taking care of Phoenix, decided to let Georgie have the loft. As for himself? Time moved back into his RV and parked it right next to Amy and Ty’s new house. Which was no surprise really as Tim didn’t like Lee, the contractor Amy and Ty hired to build their home. So, get ready for some good old Tim meddling this season. Let’s just hope that it won’t end in Lee quitting.

A learning curve

While the third storyline on Heartland season 13 episode 1 was all about Jack teaching Luke to ride.

At the beginning of the episode, Jack noticed how good Luke is with Boots, the horse we met back in season 12 episode 5. So, Jack decided to teach Luke how to ride Boots. Even despite the fact that Luke admitted that he’s scared of riding the horse. And that resulted in the first session of the Jack Bartlett cowboy boot camp not being a success. As Luke was too scared to really relax and let Jack teach him how to ride.

However, Jack didn’t give up on Luke that easily. And suggested they go on a trail ride around the Heartland ranch after Luke told him that he’s scared that Boots is going to get sick, too. And while on that ride Jack explained to Luke that for him to be able to enjoy riding Luke has to trust Boots, not control him (see the quotes of the episode). Which ended up working and for the first time Luke was able to really enjoy riding.

And at the end of the episode, we even saw Luke show off his new riding skills to Georgie, Amy, and Ty. Who all were so proud of Luke! As Jack said: “Anyone who lives at Heartland knows how to ride.” And this episode we saw it become true once again.

Last thoughts on Heartland season 13 episode 1

If you read the Heartland season 13 spoilers article then you know that this season we are going to get some flashbacks to Jack’s younger days. And it seems that this episode had the first clue as to what those flashbacks might be about.

In the scene where Jack took Luke to visit the Bartlett family cemetery Luke read off multiple names and Jack explained who each person was to him. However, when Luke came upon the gravestone of June Bartlett and told Jack that it’s sad that she died at only 17 years old (in 1964), Jack quickly changed the subject.

Could she be Jack’s sister? Or another relative? I guess we just will have to wait until episodes three and four to find out. As those will be the episodes that will have the flashbacks to Jack’s youth. Where young Jack will be played by Shaun Johnston’s real-life son Shea Johnston.

READ NEXT: Heartland Season 13 Episode 2 Review

Quotes of the episode

Jack: “You know Luke, I’ve been thinking about you and this fear you have. I think maybe, you’ve been used to looking after your mom like it’s your responsibility. She’s your mom, of course you wanna take care of her. But maybe, that’s just my opinion, I think you might feel like you need to control every situation you come up against. And when you can’t control something, well, you kind of lose it, right?”

Luke: *nods*

Jack: “I think that’s probably why you’re so worried about riding Boots. You don’t think you can control him. And that makes you feel pretty darn vulnerable. And you don’t like to feel that way do you?”

Luke: *nods again*

Jack: “I wanna help you see that riding, like many things in life, has a lot to do with trust. So, I want you to do something. I want you to close your eyes. Go on! Close your eyes, I’m right beside you. I’m not going to let anything bad happen! I want you to feel your horse move, okay? Here we go. You and your horse moving and feel the trust that your horse has in you.”

Luke: “He’s okay with me, isn’t he?”

Jack: “Yes, he is.”

Luke: “Boots doesn’t want me to be afraid of riding him. He wants me to like it.”

Jack: “That’s exactly right! See, you two have a bond and Boots is not about to break it.”

Luke: “This is all Heartland?”

Jack: “Jup.”

Luke: “It’s so big. It’s like having your own kingdom.”

Promo for Heartland season 13 episode 2

And here is a preview of the next episode of Heartland, episode 1302 titled “Wild One”:


  1. I would like to see much more of Jack and Lisa.
    I would also love to see Lisa put Lou in her place. Lou screwed her marriage by constantly leaving her husband. Don’t care much for her.

  2. I would like Lou and Mitch stay together forever, they really loved each other

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