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Horse Safe Room

 

BY ALEXANDRA MORRIS

From our July/August 2016 issue of Western Horse Review files.

On average, over 1,000 tornadoes occur in the United States every year, especially in severe weather and supercell-prone areas such as Tornado Alley. Yet, according to ongoing research by Environment Canada, Canada experiences an average of 62 tornadoes a year as well.

Upon hearing a tornado warning, the natural response is to gather the kids and pets and hurry down to a safe room in the basement. But what happens to the animals we can’t take to safety below? When time is of the essence and a natural disaster is wreaking havoc in the area, the only logical option may be to let livestock go – and pray they will find refuge on their own.

With today’s technology it’s easier to predict when storms are going to come, unlike 10 years ago. Now we can predict, within minutes, when a tornado is going to hit. That means we also have time to prepare for the worst, gather everything we can and head to the safe room. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a safe room is a hardened structure specically designed to meet the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) criteria and provide near-absolute protection in extreme weather events, including tornadoes and hurricanes. Near-absolute protection means that, based on our current knowledge of tornadoes and hurricanes, the occupants of a safe room built in accordance with FEMA guidance will have a very high probability of being protected from injury or death.

There aren’t many out there, but Mary Ellen Hickman – who lives in the infamous Oklahoma “tornado alley” – built a safe room for her horses. She constructed it in 2014, after a devastating tornado just missed their place.

“I love Oklahoma, but I could not live here without this. I actually can rest now that I know my animals are safe!” says Hickman. The safe room can hold 10 horses comfortably and there is room for more in the aisle way, in the event two horses don’t get along.

“It’s designed like a slant-load horse trailer and will hold 10 horses plus dogs, cats, and people!” she says.

Each stall is equipped with hay nets, which remain filled throughout the tornado season. The room is intended to house horses for a few hours, overnight if need be, but not for several days. There are no waterlines, though Hickman stocks it with buckets and a nearby water source.

“The safe room has to be 12 feet wide but there is no regulation for length, so I made it 35 feet long,” says Hickman.

Before and after the build.

The cost to build was about $300 USD per linear foot for the building, and a 4×6’ storm door (with three dead bolts) which is eight feet high, plus walls that are eight inches thick. However, there are additional costs for all the other fixtures that could be added. The room’s complete concrete structure is a lot thicker than a normal regulation safety room and it took about a month to finish the whole safe room. Hickman’s shelter exceeds FEMA specs for an F5 Tornado. The safe room sits about 10 steps away from the barn.

“It sits right next to our main barn for easy access,” says Hickman. The safe room is also equipped with emergency lighting. Hickman explains that a basic 12×12 unit for horses, people and other animals would cost around $14,000 to start. Every year before tornado season hits, Hickman performs some emergency drills to ensure she will be prepared when a problem hits and hopefully, load everyone smoothly into the room. If bad weather arises and a horse is not cooperating Hickman will give them a tranquilizer, to ensure the horse relaxes and won’t injure itself or others.

Smokin’ Q

 

BY ESTEBAN ADROGUE

For many, Sunday morning came around smelling of fried eggs and homemade pancakes, with a fresh glass of squeezed orange juice. Tip-toeing all the way to Mom’s room…  For others, Sunday morning had a completely different meaning.

 

The sound of wood burning away in the BBQ’s, heating up the air, spreading that familiar smell, that aroma that takes us back to our childhood… It can only mean one thing: The Smokin Q BBQ Pitmasters Competition was finally here!

 

Lynnwood Ranch (Okotoks, AB) once again played host to the 3rd annual KCBS sanctioned BBQ Competition and BBQ Feast. The Smokin Q gathered 35 of the best Pitmasters and their crews from all around Alberta, in a sizzling battle against the toughest judges to become this year’s Pitmaster Champion.

The competition consisted of four different entries: first entry was BBQ chicken, a classic! Half hour later, competitors presented the judges with their best smoked ribs. Third entry consisted of delicious tender pulled-pork. And last, but definitely not least, judges were delighted with a low and slow roasted brisket. Makes you want to become a judge, doesn’t it?!

 

But before Sunday’s competition all participants had a chance to put their skills to the test.

Saturday night hosted the BBQ Bash Feast and Frolic. This year’s event consisted of competitors displaying a little preview of their abilities, not only to the judges, but to almost 300 guests as well. Everyone was eager to taste the pitmasters’ wonderful creations, which included everything from chorizo tacos with coleslaw, to a delicious fig and shrimp canapés

After sampling magnificent delights, guests were treated to a delicious brisket and salmon dinner, with a side of locally grown steamed veggies, salads and corn on the cob; followed by a dessert course of seasonal fruit trays and sweet delicatessens.

Once dinner was over, it was time to get up from those seats and shake that body to the rhythm of live jazz-fusion music. People came together to share a great time, laughed, had a few drinks and danced the night away as this year’s BBQ Bash came to an end.

To fully appreciate and understand the hard work behind such a fantastic culinary experience, we must venture back to Saturday morning; 10:00 am brought with it the first few trailers loaded with BBQ equipment, food, and competitors ready and full of ambition to demonstrate what they are capable of.

While pitmasters got their fires going, Western Horse Review went around interviewing different cooks and their crews, and talked about which elements a BBQ team should include to be the best.

 

They each described a “perfect BBQ” as having two crucial factors: food and atmosphere.

 

“It has to be the perfect balance among smoke, spices and meat. Not overpowering any single one of them.” – shared pitmaster Chris, head of Rocky Mountain Smokers.

 

All competitors also shared one unanimous tip: low and slow.

 

“…the best? Low and slow! It is a long and slow process, 250 degrees fahrenheit for about 8 to 12 hours” – said pitmaster Danny Cooper, from Fahrenheit 250 BBQ.

 

Sydney from Bordertown Bar-B-Que commented – “It’s all about friends coming together to have fun, a good time. You want to create a ‘party’ rather than a competitive atmosphere.”

 

Not only did they talk about friendship between their crew, but amongst their other rivals too. “We are all (competitors) a big family. If we don’t win, we are thrilled they (rivals) did! Barbecue it’s like golf; it’s not you against the competitors, it is us against those judges.” – Logan, part of the crew of Rocky Mountain Smokers.

 

As a very thankful attendee, I must admit with every bite of the tender brisket I took, I tasted that camaraderie, I felt that love, effort and passion pitmasters put in every single BBQ they cook.

 

Western Horse Review can’t wait to see y’all there again next year!

 

For more information, visit the Lynnwood Ranch website.

 

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Happy Mother’s Day!

 

BY ESTEBAN ADROGUE

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, Western Horse Review wanted to give you a hand selecting the right gift for the most important woman in your life. If you need a last minute gift idea, here are a selection of our favorite items, available online now. Show Mom how much she means to you with these great ideas!

Who doesn’t love a pair of new boots? These Aztec, All-Around Square Toe Boots, from Noble Outfitters, are perfect for the Mom on the go! With a tough, leather exterior and an interior with lightweight Physio Outsole, designed for ultimate comfort, they are perfect for the woman who’s always on the move.

$239. Check out: Noble Outfitters.

With all the hard work she does, the least you can do is ensure Mom’s horse is comfortable. “The Rancher” 5 Star Saddle Pad is the ideal gift! Designed for all those ropers and ranchers out there, this super thick 1-1/8” wool pad eliminates double padding and reduces cinching, excellent for long trial rides! Not a Roper or a Rancher? Not to worry! Visit the  – 5 Star Equine Products website for many other saddle pad options and disciplines to find the perfect gift for Mom. $263.95.

What defines a mother is the love and commitment she had for her children, whether they have two or four legs! Maybe it’s time to treat yourself by treating that 1,500lbs, lovable goof in your life with a brand new “Mesh Sheet” from Back On Track. Their amazing Welltex fabric, reflects the horse’s own natural body warmth creating a soothing thermal warmth – the horse will not get over heated, but the sheet allows sweating to relieve and loosen inflamed or sore muscles. It also helps increase blood circulation and speeds muscle recovery. It’s the closest thing to a good, old fashioned bear hug for your furry creature! Starting at $199.

This beautiful dark leather bridle with extensive silver buckles, conchos and accents is designed for the Cowgirl within you! Make Mom’s horse look fantastic – and by extension, you look fantastic – with this piece from HB Leather.

Complete Mom’s outfit with beautiful hand-made belts, bracelets and accessories from Noble Outfitters offers many mix-n-match options such as the Aztec bracelet and belt. Why not top it off with an Ombre headband? Perfect for those cold days in which she wants to ride and still look great! (Even though Mom always looks great, right?) $22.95-$69.99.

Finish Mom’s special day by treating her to an amazing culinary experience. Gaucho Brazilian BBQ is a one of a kind Brazilian Barbecue. Experience the original taste of Churrasco, an authentic barbecue style made famous by Gauchos – the cowboys of South America. Want to become the best husband ever? Obtain a gift certificate from Gauchos, offer to take care of the kids, and let her enjoy a night to herself with her friends instead! (If you are lucky enough, she might even brag about how good of a man you are!)
Located in Calgary and Canmore. To make a reservation or for more information visit Gaucho Brazilian BBQ online.

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