• Equine Connection: Using the Horse as the Teacher

      Equine Connection is empowering people to change their lives while working with the horse. Located near Calgary, Alberta, Equine Connection is a multi-faceted organization that focuses on the many ways using the horse as a teacher through Equine Assisted Learning can help people build the skills to change their lives. Equine Assisted Learning is a… [Continue Reading]

      Equine Connection: Using the Horse as the Teacher
    • EQUI-BUSINESS – True Life Stories of Success

      “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele Last month on the Equi-Business blog, we talked about obtaining financial lending in pursuit of an equine property goal. We began with the reality that the equine… [Continue Reading]

      EQUI-BUSINESS – True Life Stories of Success
    • Red Deer is the Proud New Home to the Canadian Finals Rodeo 

      Article courtesy of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association January 16 | Red Deer, AB — Tonight, hundreds of people turned out in anticipation to hear the major announcement that sparked huge social media attention when the invitation was sent out this past Friday.  The room was filled with excitement from beginning to end with video… [Continue Reading]

      Red Deer is the Proud New Home to the Canadian Finals Rodeo 
    • The Richest 2-Year-Old Futurity in Canada

      The Manitoba Superhorse 50/50, held in Brandon, Manitoba, is an innovative futurity format that celebrates the Quarter Horse breed and is billed as the richest two year old western horse futurity in Canada. The organization has been running successfully for the past 27 years and continues to grow with exhibitors coming across Canada for a… [Continue Reading]

      The Richest 2-Year-Old Futurity in Canada
    • 7th Annual SK Equine Expo

      The 7th Annual Saskatchewan Equine Expo takes place February 15-18, 2018 at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, SK. Together volunteers from Saskatchewan Horse Federation, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, various equine breed groups and the staff of Prairieland Park work together to facilitate this annual event. The event presents equine related lectures, presentations, demonstrations, entertainment… [Continue Reading]

      7th Annual SK Equine Expo
    • Praise Hemp for the Performance Horse

      There is a lot of talk about hemp oil as the new “it” supplement in the equine world. Praise Hemp, a division of Hempco, is working hand-in-hand with top veterinarians to deliver the best hemp-based supplement on the market today. So why choose hemp for your equine partner? As a relatively new food to western… [Continue Reading]

      Praise Hemp for the Performance Horse
    • Western Wedding: A Story of Second Chances

      The Wedding of Stephanie Clarke & Kyle Golinsky Photographer: Carmen Freemark Date: July 29, 2017 Their Story: The bride, Stephanie Clarke, remarks that her, and her husband-to-be Kyle Golinksy wanted a wedding that was natural, easy, and as much about their children, family, and friends, as it was their love. It was, after all, family that… [Continue Reading]

      Western Wedding: A Story of Second Chances
    • WHR’s Top Instagram Posts of 2017

      Tomorrow is a new day and a new year. With all the excitement around Western Horse Review’s social media channels in 2017, we thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of our top Instagram posts of the year. #1, Above, was a photo taken by Chad Rowbotham Photography. We used… [Continue Reading]

      WHR’s Top Instagram Posts of 2017

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Equine Connection: Using the Horse as the Teacher

Equine Connection offers programs where the horse is the teacher.

Equine Connection is empowering people to change their lives while working with the horse. Located near Calgary, Alberta, Equine Connection is a multi-faceted organization that focuses on the many ways using the horse as a teacher through Equine Assisted Learning can help people build the skills to change their lives. Equine Assisted Learning is a horse-course with an effective approach to human development that encourages individual and team growth. Participants engage in objectively driven exercises and find themselves learning valuable life skills in a fun and exciting atmosphere. Equine Assisted Learning has proven to be useful, powerful, positive, educational and creative. Exercises are developed to encourage self-confidence through validated, hands-on experiences. Equine Connection offers team-building and leadership development for organizations, empowering women’s workshops and also offer horse certification courses so that you too can become active in the Equine Assisted Learning community.

Youth programs offered by Equine Connection empower children and allow them to be leaders.

Youth programs are also an important part of the Equine Connection curriculum and are approved by the Calgary Board of Education. Through interactive youth programs, participants will learn life skills to aid in their personal growth. Once a child is taught the basics of dealing properly with a horse, he or she can become the leader the horse seeks, making horses the ultimate teacher for children. When the horse feels safe, cooperation is a hundred fold and the child can easily get the horse to do what is asked of it. Bringing that piece back to their lives is a parallel to how one needs to work with people and themselves in all aspects of their lives.

The programs are generally twelve weeks long with each week focusing on a different skill or lesson.

The Equine Assisted Learning programs are now emerging in reserve communities throughout Alberta facilitated by certified facilitators through Equine Connection. These unique programs are contributing to the wellbeing of First Nations youth. Canadian research indicates that the majority of misusers of volatile substances are between the ages of 10 and 17, with peak use between 12 and 15. (Adlaf and Paglia 2003; Youth Solvent Additional Committee 2004). The spirit of the horse can assist in turning this shocking statistic around and reshape the future of the children. The Equine Connection programs run for twelve weeks and each week teaches a different lesson or life skill. Using the horse as the teacher can prepare the children for life by helping them build life skills to empower them and turn them into leaders of their community.

Hands-on learning is a key aspect of the programs.

One of the many bonuses of working with horses instead of in a traditional classroom setting is the component of interactivity. We all learn differently, but we can all take away lessons that we learn through our experiences. As the only Nationally Recognized Equine Assisted Learning Program in Canada, each of Equine Connection’s exercises are custom designed to maximize learning potential and focus on developing individual skills as they work through each fun interactive group challenge. Youth participants will develop relationships, learn to accept responsibility and accountability, overcome barriers to fin change and be encouraged to be creative and innovative. The youth programs allow the opportunity for children to work together and realize the benefits associated with effective communication. Equine Assisted Learning acts as an important educational tool to help to develop empathy and kindness as well as combat behavioural disorders, low self-esteem, bullying, drug abuse, emotional issues, poor communication skills and the inability to work with others.

 

The First Nations community is teaching empowerment and key life skills through Equine Assisted Learning.

Here is just one of the great stories that has emerged from the youth programs working with First Nations children.

“”The shell must break before the bird can fly,” ~ Tennyson. As Gloria progressively came to us, she was able to slowly break out of her shell and was able to acquire the skill she needed. We placed them into groups and more often than not the kids are not always satisfied with who they get matched up with. This was the case for this group of kids. No one even wanted to be with Gloria, so she began working on a horse on her own.

When Gloria began to work on the horse on her own, she began connecting with him right away due to her stimulus. The horse and her were constantly eye to eye and just by a quick glance you could tell already that they were opening up to each other. The other kids began noticing and began to get jealous, which resulted in them going up and taking the horse away from Gloria. We as facilitators had to let the process happen and could not intervene. It took all the strength in us to not involve ourselves as we felt bad for little Gloria. It broke our hearts to see that connection be broken up so quickly. But again, we listened to the horse and the situation happening was okay.

On to the next horse. You wouldn’t believe it. It happened again. Gloria and this other horse connected right away. Eye ball to eye ball. There came the other kids and stole that horse away from Gloria. Again, we stood back and let the process happen.

Finally, by the 8th program… The last program, she got the skill she needed. This same situation happened repeatedly and that last day she finally stood up for herself. She stomped down her foot and said no, I am working with this horse. I think we were all taken back a bit as we were not expecting that. However, by us letting the process happen she finally got the skill she needed to say no.
   
 Just when you thought that was amazing, it got even better. After we were done, we went back into the classroom as happy as pigs in mud to go debrief. In the debriefing stage, the kids usually choose one word and talk about it and how it reflected their day. However, for Gloria she didn’t chose just one word, not even just two words. She chose 8 words! I asked her why she hose those and BAM BAM BAM she lists each of them off. Each and every one of them. Next thing you know, all the kids are standing up and giving her a standing ovation.
   
Seeing the change from the beginning to the end is why we love our career so much.”

Equine Connection offers many different programs, but all of them focus on the horse as the teacher.

For more information on Equine Connection and the various programs they offer, visit www.equineconnection.ca.

EQUI-BUSINESS – True Life Stories of Success

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

Last month on the Equi-Business blog, we talked about obtaining financial lending in pursuit of an equine property goal. We began with the reality that the equine business is a challenging industry for traditional banks to provide financial support. For young people with the goal of creating a business in the horse industry, the lifestyle can be one filled with many rewards. Equine industries are also a good way of making a piece of land pay for itself – but none of it comes without proper planning, hard work and often, sacrifice.

Last year WHR spoke with some couples in the horse industry who faced the daunting task of obtaining financial support for a farm or ranch, to help elevate their horse businesses to the next level. Each faced their own hurdles as they went through the process.

Austin and Sara Seelhof and family.

Austin and Sara Seelhof run a successful reining horse training facility in Bottrel, Alberta. Austin focuses on training, showing and selling futurity and derby horses, and has a successful coaching program for non-professional riders. His wife, Sara, owns Be Better Equine Therapy which specializes in therapeutic thermal imaging for equine athletes. They are also the proud parents to three young children. Originally, Austin ran his burgeoning training business out of Lauder Ranch near Cochrane, AB, but the Seelhofs recognized the need to invest in more equity while growing their business and investing in their future.

In March 2017, the couple purchased a 50-acre property in Bottrel, Alberta that includes a house, a 110 x 220 arena, an existing barn and a shop. The property fit many of their requirements, including a wonderful school for their children nearby.

Austin says that when they began to think about properties he had originally wanted to buy land and build on it. They went through Farm Credit Canada (FCC), with the help of a great mortgage broker. However, the FCC was leery about financing a property that would need to be built upon and the Seelhof’s wouldn’t have been able to come up with a big enough down payment. The acreage they decided on was much easier to receive financing for through the FCC.

The FCC also had a “Young Farmers Loan” program at the time that liked to assist agriculturists under 40 in keeping their family in agriculture. The Seelhof’s had a solid business plan that showed steady growth in the last six years, as well as a side business in compressed hay that could be run from the property. The couple did look at other banks who offered good interest rates, but Austin says, “We chose Farm Credit because of their flexibility. You can stall payments, and we really felt like we were a person with them, not a number. They have different programs available so if you are having trouble paying, or you break your leg or something, they can be flexible and add payments on to the end if need be.”

Another added bonus of using FCC was that the lending institution would value the entire property, while many banks won’t value outbuildings in their property assessment. For the Seelhofs, this meant that their barn and arena wouldn’t be included in their loan – not ideal for a family who makes a living training horses.

Austin says, “One thing I wish I would’ve done sooner was to talk to a banker. My dad always said that you need a relationship with a banker, or an accountant or mortgage broker. At first it was really scary, but it was helpful to have a great mortgage broker to guide us.”

Alex Alves works a horse in the roundpen.

Alex and Sonja Alves operate Hat Creek Performance Horses on the Hat Creek Ranch in Wheatland County, 30 minutes east of Strathmore, Alberta. They offer horse training from colt starting to finishing, with access to cattle, pasture, trails and obstacles. As well as lessons, cowboy challenge and flag practice nights, Hat Creek also takes in horses for resale, all the while slowly building a breeding program on strong bloodlines. The Alves ranch has 80 acres of which 50 are hay crop and 30 are pasture. The Alves’ purchased the property on August 31, 2012 after the previous owners had moved six years prior. The property had a calving barn that was too low for horses, a complete corral system to run cattle, a shop, a craft shop that had been used to make saddles and an outdoor arena that had become overgrown. Despite small modifications, the Alves’ felt the property had potential and Hat Creek was ready for them to bring horses in immediately. It needed few upgrades for cattle. Another bonus was that, at the time, Alex was working towards getting his welding journeyman and B-Pressure and the shop was perfect for his set-up.

Alex and Sonja have three children. Alex grew up in the horse industry and immersed himself in various events. It was always a dream of his to be able to make a living training horses, however it didn’t always seem feasible which is why he became a welder as well.

By the end of 2015 they had built an indoor arena on their property and by 2016 they training was their full time profession.

The main building at Hat Creek Ranch (owned by Alex and Sonja Alves).

The Alves’ did hit some snags when attempting to purchase their property. Due to Hat Creek being 80 acres and set up mainly for cattle, agricultural lenders considered it a hobby farm. Other lenders saw it as an acreage and therefore, agricultural. So, as Sonja states, “It completely fell through the cracks of the lending world. Being that we were 25 and under at the time, lenders had no interest in lending us money. The next catch was that we had to have 20% down.”

Alex and Sonja had to put together a business plan, and present it to the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) who offered a great interest rate of 1.86%. In order to acquire financing, the plan had to show that it was possible to generate at least $15,000 in revenue off the property so that they could be considered agricultural.

“At the time we only had about 10% to put down, so we got a loan through my parents so we could have the down payment and purchase the property. We honestly had to find a back road to be able to purchase the property. We spent at least a month-and-a-half trying to find a way to get financed. It was a nightmare.” For the Alves’, Sonja says that there is a lot of advice for young couples, and some of it seems to be repetitive in nature.

“For us, I think it is important to remember that if you wanted it bad enough there will be a way, no matter how many doors get shut right in your face, there will be a back road open. At the end of the day, success can only be achieved one way and that is through hard work. Alex says it so well, ‘You never fail, it just gives you another chance to succeed.’”

When Equi-Business returns, we’ll start discussing the important and elements of a business plan. ’Til next time!

Red Deer is the Proud New Home to the Canadian Finals Rodeo 

Article courtesy of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association

The Centrium at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta will be the new home of the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

January 16 | Red Deer, AB — Tonight, hundreds of people turned out in anticipation to hear the major announcement that sparked huge social media attention when the invitation was sent out this past Friday. 

The room was filled with excitement from beginning to end with video presentations, flashing lights, live music and fireworks that went off in celebration to announce the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) is coming to Red Deer.

“We feel honoured that the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) has chosen Red Deer to be the new home for CFR,” says Ben Antifaiff, CEO and General Manager at Westerner Park. “Together as a community, we should be very proud of this moment and celebrate that the CFR will continue its legacy right here in Central Alberta.”

Westerner Park and Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce began working on their vision for a multi-year proposal to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association several months ago and pitched their bid by hosting an event to showcase Red Deer as a strong contender.

“Our city and our region has been buzzing with excitement since we went public with our proposal to host the CFR,” says Robin Bobocel, CEO of Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. “We are a vibrant community that can accomplish anything it sets its sights on, and with the help of our partners in the community, and the CPRA, we will make CFR 2018 a huge success.”

Canadian Professional Rodeo Association went on stage following the big reveal that Westerner Park and the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce were successful in their efforts to bring the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) to Red Deer.

President of the CPRA, Terry Cooke, echoed the excitement expressed by the Red Deer group. “We see this as a wonderful new opportunity for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, our contestants, sponsors, partners and fans,” Cooke said. “Central Alberta has long been known as a hub of rodeo talent and community support for our sport. The combination of great rodeo fans in this region, coupled with the influx of visitors that make the CFR an annual destination, point to a tremendous future for the CFR in Red Deer.“

“The CPRA Board would like to thank all the cities that have expressed interest in the Canadian Finals Rodeo,” noted Jeff Robson, CPRA spokesman. “This process was obviously accelerated with the closing of the Coliseum in Edmonton one year sooner than expected. The moving of an event of this magnitude and heritage that has only had one home certainly wasn’t taken lightly. We looked at a number of factors in selecting Red Deer as our new host city. Their excitement for the event and facilities to not only host the rodeo, but to host various other activities during the week will continue to support the economic impact that CFR brings to the host community. We would like to thank Westerner Park and the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce for all their work on this bid and look forward to working with them on the event.”

Brett Gardiner was the emcee for the evening event and closed off the celebration by thanking everyone in attendance as “your presence here is a testament to the passion for rodeo that we have in Central Alberta.”

The countdown for CFR 45 taking place on Oct 30 to Nov 4, 2018 in the ENMAX Centrium at Westerner Park starts now!

Red Deer, where champions are made and legends continue.

– 30 –

Westerner Park is Central Alberta’s largest tradeshow, agricultural, sports, entertainment and convention facility. A not-for-profit organization supported by 50 full-time staff and 150 full-time volunteers, Westerner Park generates $150 million annually in economic activity hosting over 1,500 events and 1.5 million visitors each year. 

With more than 800 business members, the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce is a collaborative leader that fosters an environment where businesses can lead, be innovative, sustainable and grow. 

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. The organization holds the Grass Roots Final (at the Agrium Western Event Centre, Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta) each September and their premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) – in Red Deer, Alberta in late fall. Follow the CPRA on Twitter and Instagram @prorodeocanada, ‘Like’ Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook or online at RodeoCanada.com.

The Richest 2-Year-Old Futurity in Canada

The Manitoba Superhorse 50/50, held in Brandon, Manitoba, is an innovative futurity format that celebrates the Quarter Horse breed and is billed as the richest two year old western horse futurity in Canada. The organization has been running successfully for the past 27 years and continues to grow with exhibitors coming across Canada for a […]

[Continue reading…]

7th Annual SK Equine Expo

The 7th Annual Saskatchewan Equine Expo takes place February 15-18, 2018 at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, SK. Together volunteers from Saskatchewan Horse Federation, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, various equine breed groups and the staff of Prairieland Park work together to facilitate this annual event. The event presents equine related lectures, presentations, demonstrations, entertainment […]

[Continue reading…]

Praise Hemp for the Performance Horse

There is a lot of talk about hemp oil as the new “it” supplement in the equine world. Praise Hemp, a division of Hempco, is working hand-in-hand with top veterinarians to deliver the best hemp-based supplement on the market today. So why choose hemp for your equine partner? As a relatively new food to western […]

[Continue reading…]

Western Wedding: A Story of Second Chances

The Wedding of Stephanie Clarke & Kyle Golinsky Photographer: Carmen Freemark Date: July 29, 2017 Their Story: The bride, Stephanie Clarke, remarks that her, and her husband-to-be Kyle Golinksy wanted a wedding that was natural, easy, and as much about their children, family, and friends, as it was their love. It was, after all, family that […]

[Continue reading…]

WHR’s Top Instagram Posts of 2017

Tomorrow is a new day and a new year. With all the excitement around Western Horse Review’s social media channels in 2017, we thought it might be fun to take a look back at some of our top Instagram posts of the year. #1, Above, was a photo taken by Chad Rowbotham Photography. We used […]

[Continue reading…]

WHR & Lammle’s Western Wear Holiday Giveaway

Western Horse Review and Lammle’s Western Wear is proud to present our Holidays Giveaway for a $250 Gift Card and Magazine Subscription Sweepstakes. For a chance to win visit the Western Horse Review Facebook page and read the rules below. Contest dates: December 21st-31st, 2017 RULES AND REGULATIONS 1. Ways to Enter the Contest No purchase […]

[Continue reading…]