Stolen Horse: Update

    A valuable horse went missing from Westerner Park in Red Deer, AB, on August 25. Here's what we know...

    Stolen Horse: Update Stolen Horse: Update

    Pick & Choose

    A medley of hoof picks for the discerning horse owner.

    Pick & Choose Pick & Choose

    August in Photos

    A busy month of horse shows and weddings.

    August in Photos August in Photos

    Grilled Caesar Salad

    A Caesar salad for the BBQ. Perfect for these last days of summer!

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    Bigger & Better

    A boost in added money saw this year’s Big Sky Futurity and Aged Event held August 11-16 at the Majestic… [more]

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    Earl Bascom Honored On National Cowboy Day

    The name of an old time Canadian cowboy has been placed into the national spotlight.

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Stolen Horse: Update

Rooster Kicker with his owner in 2010, after winning the individual gold medal from

Rooster Kicker with his owner in 2010, after winning the individual gold medal from the NAJYR Championships in Kentucky. This horse went missing from his stall at Westerner Park in Red Deer, AB, on August 25.


Typically I like to keep My Stable Life light, educational and occasionally, humorous. However, an incident occurring in the wee hours of August 25 hit a little too close to home for me and a good friend in particular. With very little information to go on and a frustrating investigation ensuing, I have chosen to spread the word about the disappearance of Rooster Kicker, a 2004 AQHA gelding, from his stall at Westerner Park during the Canadian Quarter Horse Nationals. With any luck, perhaps WHR readers might be able to help his owner shed some light on the crime. Here’s the story…

On Sunday, August 24, Nancy Pratch finished contending in the amateur reining class at the Canadian National Quarter Horse Show held at Westerner Park in Red Deer, AB. It was a great show for Nancy as she and her boyfriend Cory had each won their respective reining classes. Following their classes, the duo proceeded to put their horses away for the night. Although the show was technically done, given the late finish Cory and Nancy decided to stay one more night and leave first thing in the morning.

Rooster Kicker and Nancy Pratch in action. Photo by HD2 Sports.

Rooster Kicker and Nancy Pratch in action. Photo by HD2 Sports.

At approximately 12:30am, Rooster Kicker was in his stall, in Barn A, and fed two flakes of hay. When Nancy closed Rooster Kicker’s stall door, not only did she securely latch the stall door with its pin system, she also latched “Kicker’s” halter around the stall door and buckled it up for extra measures. The lead rope was clipped to the halter and left hanging. Cory and Nancy then went to sleep in the living quarters of their trailer, which was parked on the North East side of Barn B.

At 7:00 am on August 25, Cory left the trailer to feed their horses breakfast. Cory found Rooster Kicker’s stall empty, the door pushed inwards, halter lying in the middle of the stall – horse and lead rope missing. Cory started looking around. A few minutes later Nancy arrived to find the stall empty and Cory looking around the barn. The couple began to search the grounds and asked anyone they encountered if they had seen the missing bay horse as they went along.

Cory spoke to an employee of Westerner Park and learned that all gates other than the main entrance were closed. (Westerner staff also confirmed that all the gates except for the main entrance were closed at 12:30am and opened at 6:00am.)

After searching the entire property, it was apparent the horse was no longer at the Westerner Park facility. Brand inspector, Bruce Etherington was notified of the disappearance, Bruce then made the appropriate calls to get a hold of RCMP Livestock Investigator Dave Heaslip. Heaslip contacted Cory and advised him to call the Red Deer police. The 911 call was made at 7:47am by Cory and he and Nancy continued their search in and around the Westerner Park.

The yellow dot indicates

The yellow dot indicates where Rooster Kicker was eventually found. The red dot indicates where he was taken from.

At 8:39 am, Cory received a call from the RCMP stating that a horse had been found behind the south Red Deer Best Buy. Behind the store, the search party found Rooster Kicker in the care of Dan Metzger. According to Metzger, two homeless men had discovered Rooster Kicker on Highway 2 (north bound) with the lead rope tied snugly around his neck. They found him wandering around a very busy intersection, where he was left in harms way. The men caught Rooster Kicker and lead him down behind Best Buy, tied him to a tree and went to find someone who could contact authorities. The two men made contact with Dan, who contacted authorities and the two homeless men continued with their day. RCMP Investigator Hugo Painchaud arrived at the scene found the horse had been retrieved to the proper owners and left shortly thereafter. Rooster Kicker was found unharmed, loaded into a trailer and returned to his stall.

Nancy Pratch with Team Canada

Nancy Pratch with Team Canada at the NAJYR Championships in Kentucky, 2010.

There are several theories about “Kicker’s” disappearance, however, few solid answers have yet to surface. During the Canadian Quarter Horse Nationals, the Quarter Horse Association of Alberta had hired a security company to patrol the grounds to ensure the safety of all competitors. However, this security contract was over as of the evening of August 24 – as soon as the show concluded. Since Nancy and Cory had decided to stay over one extra night to prevent themselves from experiencing fatigue on the highway home, there was no security in effect during the time of Kicker’s disappearance.

RCMP have confirmed that since there was no evidence to verify whether this incident was a crime, or that the horse got away on its own, they have concluded the file. Additionally, as the horse was found safe, there are no investigational avenues to pursue from a RCMP standpoint.

RCMP advice to future competitors at Westerner Park is to ensure that “everything is locked up.”

With “no evidence” to base the incident upon, Rooster Kicker’s disappearance – which left the horse in harm’s way – has left his owners to question whether or not the incident was a random act of theft or a malicious crime. However, the facts conclude that there is nothing “random” about the horse that missing from Westerner Park that day. Rooster Kicker is actually a gold medal winner from the North American Junior & Young Rider’s Championships held in Kentucky in 2010. He has earned numerous championships with his owner. Whomever decided to undo the halter that secured his stall shut, open the pin system of the stall door itself, tie the lead rope around Kicker’s neck (because we all know horses can’t do this themselves) and remove him from his stall – had no good intentions on their mind. And being the lovely animal Kicker is, he followed the requests of the human who handled him without complaint – even if that human was about to place him in harm’s way.

For now, it might also be wise for competitors to consider taking extra precautions to protect their horse’s safety while on show grounds. All competitors have the option to lock their tack stalls and horses into stalls at night – however, there are serious considerations for animal safety in the event of a fire if locks were to be used. Video cameras might be another good option but by law, you must place a sign in front that makes people aware they are being watched. Associations also may employ extra precautions, just as the QHAA tried to do with their extra security guard contracted to walk the grounds. For now, all we really know is that it is up to us as competitors to watch for each other and take matters into our own hands. All of us deserve to go to sleep at night and not have to worry about the safety of our animals on show grounds at events. Ever. Or at least, that’s just my opinion…

- JW



Anyone with information with regard to this criminal act can contact the Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575 and all tips will be kept confidential.

Pick & Choose

Hoof Picks


Discerning horse owners know there’s more than meets than eye when it comes to hoof picks. Those tiny little tools in the tack store that typically go missing on a monthly basis, end up in the laundry pile because you’ve forgotten to remove it from your back pocket again – and are an absolute essential when it comes to the care of your equine companion.

It’s been said a million times. No Hoof, No Horse.

To be at their best, horse care starts at ground level. And if you’re like me, you’re picky about which hoof pick is in your hand. I’m not fond of wimpy picks that can’t stand up to tough mud, balled-up snow or are difficult to hang on to with my hands. Here are a few of my favorite  picks available, available either at your local tack store or via the internet. There may be a couple you haven’t seen yet but trust me, they’re worth a shot! Plus, be sure to check out the upcoming September / October issue of WHR for some more Great Hoof Care Products.

1. The Jelly Wellie hoofpick has a boot-shaped handle, is 5 3/4″ tall and comes in assorted colors. Aside from being a sturdy pick, this one never goes missing via the male riders in our barn. Making it one of my ultimate faves <grin.>

Hoof Pick

2. These plastic bodied picks with brushes are great for cleaning out dirt deep in the crevices of a frog but typically, the metal pick can easily be bent backwards. At least, that’s been my experience – especially when dealing with Gumbo mud – an anomaly of nature, I’m sure.

Hoof pick

3. The Ultimate Hoofpick was designed by a horse trainer who was fed up with picks that couldn’t hold their own when it came to yet another hoof filled with concrete-like mud. An ergonomically correct, unbreakable handle with a rubber, easy grip and a wider pick angle makes this hoofpick a solid and effective tool. The “Jackhammer of Hoof Care” comes in two sizes and easily tackles packed-in mud and snow.

Ultimate Hoof Pick



4. The Illuminated Hoof Pick from MJ Equine Tools is truly a bright idea. What sets this pick apart is its battery powered LED light on the tip. Now you can have a better view when cleaning out a horse’s hooves and while checking for problems such as puncture wounds or hoof cracks. Accompanied by a sturdy steel pick, a stiff nylon brush and an easy grip handle, the Illuminated Hoof Pick is also water resistant. Also available in hot pink or electric blue.

Illuminating hoof pick


5. To be totally honest, I truly only like having these two types of hoof picks in our trailer for when we head to a show. Typically horse shows are a frenzy of missing – or misplaced – equipment, in my case. Therefore, the vinyl-handled hoof pick on the right which can be found in every tack store, often for only a little over $1.00, is the perfect pick to have if you know there is potential for it to go missing.

The silver-plated beauty on the left is a great conversation piece but if I remember correctly, it cost almost $15 and I can’t say it was worth the money. Hoof Picks

6. Hoof picks from Oster are one of my all-time favorite picks. With a rubber control-touch handle for added comfort and a better grip, it easily fits into my hands. The durable stainless steel pick resists rust and is an incredibly strong structure within its handle. Plus, these picks come as a convenient pocket size! Available in blue or pink.

Oster Hoof Pick

August in Photos

My Stable Life August in Pics

August. The month of horse shows and weddings. And ice bucket challenges, lol! I didn’t even have time to blink in the last 31 days. Our weekends ran nine-O. The first weekend was a horse show, followed by a wedding. Then a horse show, a wedding and finally, another horse show. However, it was a joyful, happy month and the two weddings I write about were for some of the most precious people in our lives. Here’s a photo summary of how August played out for me.

Breast Collar, My Stable Life

The beginning of August started with a horse show. It was my first time getting back into the pen after a 6- month hiatus. I love the cow horse folks and was happy to see them again. It was also lovely to feel the power of a cow horse underneath me again. Although I did have  a bit of a “hat issue” to start with…


The following weekend was the wedding of some dear friends to us – Kirk Shaw and Crissy Santangelo. Kirk has been a beloved friend for many years, was the best man at our wedding and is also our farrier. Many of you may know Crissy as one of the hardworking gals behind the scenes of Silver Slate Arena (check out Featuring a charming tiny white church, a long-stretch Hummer limo, black cowboy hats, hot pink dresses with cowgirl boots to match, horses for photos, and a fantastic gathering and pig roast at Silver Slate to celebrate with friends and family – this was one of the most beautiful western weddings I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Congrats to Kirk and Crissy and we wish you many blessings to come!

Photo by Judy Doiron.

I think all kids love cowgirl, Kelin Doiron. Mine certainly do! Photo by Judy Doiron.


The following weekend, we were right back at Silver Slate arena, but with horses this time. A number of other “horse show kids” were there as well and many of them contend in the Future Stars class – one of our all-time favorite divisions to watch.

Photo by Natalie Jackman,

Photo by Natalie Jackman,

Warm August weather provided an ideal chance to snap a few shots of our upcoming yearlings. Taking photos of youngsters is an exercise in patience but we’re certainly glad Natalie Jackman has the know-how and tolerance to work with us in this venture <smile.>



Almost immediately following that show, I’m sure you can guess… we hit the road for another wedding. This time, we headed for beautiful Kelowna, BC – to attend the wedding of my beautiful sister. Along the way, there are many fabulous tourist places to hit. This year, we stopped at D Duchman Dairy – a farm fresh dairy store that kids can delight in the animal interaction as much as they can the ice cream at the end! Featuring exotic animals like llamas, birds and goats, D Dutchman Dairy also offers a hands-on approach to their calf barn. We tried taking our kidlets over to the other animals but they kept running back to the calves! I guess, you just can’t beat an up-close and personal interaction with friendly Holsteins.

Albino Kangaroo

Our son petting an albino wallaby at Kangaroo Creek Farm in Kelowna, BC.

However, just when I thought we couldn’t top that experience, my sister took us to Kangaroo Creek Farm – a farm that been breeding kangaroos and wallabies for more than 20 years in Lake Country near Kelowna. This is an incredible experience – operated entirely on donations alone. Guests are invited to walk into the farm and see wallaroos (a type of kangaroo, not a cross between a wallaby and a kangaroo) and Bennett wallabies roaming about, freely amongst the people! The animals are so friendly and tame, kids and adults alike can walk right up to them and pet them or offer a treat provided by farm operators! The farm also features emu, peacocks, fancy chickens, goats, parrots, a baby albino wallaby (*see the albino mother my son is petting above), baby kangaroos and potbellied pigs. There are also a pair of capybara, the world’s larges rodent (up to 150 lbs.)



And if you wait your turn, you can even have the chance to hold a baby kangaroo! This experience was worth posting a picture of myself (sans make-up) for…


We had one day of down time to visit with family and friends before the big day. But I definitely could have gone for a few more here… My sister Nicole and her husband choose a beautiful setting to host a wedding!

Next, it was on to the big day! Held at the historic Hotel Eldorado on the rooftop patio overlooking a marina, my baby sis and her new husband did a hilarious exchange of vows. My little family and I were truly honored to be a part of it and we watched with pride as she begins this new chapter in her life. The wedding was beautiful, the photos are insanely idyllic and the reception was all about the details. I should almost post a blog on that specifically <grin.> Congrats Nick and Jay – we love your dearly and thank-you for allowing us to be part of your special day!


The drive to Kelowna also provided us the perfect opportunity to pick up the newest member to our animal family – meet “Taylor,” a miniature gray-dun Donkey. I’m sure there will be more adventures about this little guy to come.

Cow-nightThe day after we returned from my sister’s wedding (at 2:00 am, I might add,) we unloaded Taylor, doctored a colt that had become injured over the weekend and headed straight for bed. For the following evening, Clay was hosting a practice cow night for over 40 people at our place. Cow nights make for a busy schedule but a great opportunity to practice for upcoming events. On this particular evening, a crop duster was hard at work nearby. It’s that time of year.


As I’m sure you can guess, the very next weekend we were back showing horses at the Back On Track Snaffle Bit Futurity hosted by the Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association.

Phew! August was a busy month.

Photo by Natalie Jackman

My husband, Clay riding “Bob” in a powerful fence turn. Photo by Natalie Jackman,






Grilled Caesar Salad

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A boost in added money saw this year’s Big Sky Futurity and Aged Event held August 11-16 at the Majestic Valley Arena in Kalispell, MT reach a record payout to owners and riders. Due in part to continued and increased sponsorships from Switchback Cutting Horses, Montana Ranch of Bigfork, and Crazy Mountain Cutting Horses, the […]

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Peach Schnapps Summertime Dessert

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I wish I could take full credit for this fantastic dessert, which has become an instant classic in our household. But alas, I can’t as it my mom’s creation! This is pretty much an adult dessert, but presented in Mason jars, it’s an easy take-along for horse shows or rodeos. Ingredients: • Fresh peaches • […]

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