• New Years 2021

      By JENN WEBSTER, PHOTOS BY TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? I can tell you – my family has been waiting for this day all year long… That’s not to say we expect 2021 to morph us immediately into an easier time, but we do have hope for the upcoming… [Continue Reading]

      New Years 2021
    • Making the Most of Everything

      The following is an excerpt from my current Publisher’s Note in Western Horse Review. Considering the new restrictions / changes / happenings of the past week, I’ve needed to re-look at my own writing. My own history. I needed this reminder. Perhaps many of you will find it helpful too… Growing up as the young… [Continue Reading]

      Making the Most of Everything
    • THE YEAR THAT WASN’T

      BY JENN WEBSTER As we approach the end of 2020 and reflect back, it’s crazy to think about the events of the past year. In fact, some of the events were the strangest of the strange… Yet, what might be even odder is the notion that we began to accept them as normal, almost cliché.… [Continue Reading]

      THE YEAR THAT WASN’T
    • Boerderij Cheese Fondue

      A ranch version of a Swiss classic. By MIKE EDGAR, PHOTOS BY TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY Celebrate the season with a big, beautiful platter of cheese, charcuterie, bread and seasonal fruits. This gooey indulgence is a festive family tradition in many households, but is a delicious treat at any time. Serve it around a holiday table… [Continue Reading]

      Boerderij Cheese Fondue
    • Remembering our Aboriginal Veterans

      BY DEBBIE MACRAE While not officially recognized by the Federal Government as National Aboriginal Veterans Day, November 8th, was inaugurated in Winnipeg in 1994 to recognize the efforts of our Indigenous Veterans and aboriginal participants. Even before the War of 1812, territorial expansion was being guarded and defended against invasion by encroaching military and political… [Continue Reading]

      Remembering our Aboriginal Veterans
    • Classic Pork Chops

      By Chef Mike Edgar, Photos by Twisted Tree Photography Now that meal prep is top of mind for many, here’s a pork dish that is easy to make and features a delicious cranberry touch. Thick and juicy oven-baked pork loin chops, smothered in a savoury, brandy reduction and topped with a cranberry-mustard are a wonderful… [Continue Reading]

      Classic Pork Chops
    • Ansel, Our Photoshoot Dog

      BY JENN WEBSTER Just in case you’re not on our subscriber list, we thought we should bring you all up to speed on our latest photoshoot, appearing in the Jan/Feb issue of Western Horse Review. Through this publication, I truly believe we are changing the world in a perhaps small, but significant manner. Even via… [Continue Reading]

      Ansel, Our Photoshoot Dog
    • Ringing in 2020

      BY JENN WEBSTER & ALL PHOTOS BY Twisted Tree Photography. Make-up by Ivonne Arsenault of One Beauty, Calgary, ABHair by Michelle Walsh of One Beauty, Calgary, AB How are you ringing in the New Year? We’re skipping the resolutions and the big bash parties this time – instead choosing to spend the evening with friends… [Continue Reading]

      Ringing in 2020

home_b4_blog

New Years 2021

By JENN WEBSTER, PHOTOS BY TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? I can tell you – my family has been waiting for this day all year long… That’s not to say we expect 2021 to morph us immediately into an easier time, but we do have hope for the upcoming year. And that’s something.

Today, we’re also hoping to do a little of this:

Or maybe even this with the kids:

Like many other folks we’ll be staying home – obviously due to the pandemic – but especially because we have animals to tend to in the morning. (We’re also looking forward to Eggs Benedict for breakfast!)

However, that doesn’t mean we plan to have a boring night.

Supper will likely be take-out from our favorite restaurant. And who knows? Maybe we’ll even eat in the barn.

The kids will have special “mocktails,” which is essentially Ginger-Ale poured over Gummy Bears:

We’ve made our own holiday crackers to celebrate the changing of the annual. Stuffed with little treats inside, the kids love these things. (And as they are made from toilet paper rolls, I’m not sure there’s anything more perfectly reminiscent of 2020 than these babies…)

We’re going to make the most of it.

Once all the animals are all tucked safely into the barn for the night, we have fireworks to light up in the back pasture.

After that, if we can still handle the cold, it might be time for a fire and some roasted marshmallows.

It might not be as exciting as an exotic beach New Year’s Eve getaway, or even that of the ambience in a fancy restaurant – but it works for us.

From my family to yours – we wish you all a Happy New Year!

Goat kids provided by Callie’s Classy Critters. Photos shot on location at Hartell Homestead. Belgians owned by The Stampede Ranch.

Making the Most of Everything

Photo by BAR XP PHOTO

The following is an excerpt from my current Publisher’s Note in Western Horse Review. Considering the new restrictions / changes / happenings of the past week, I’ve needed to re-look at my own writing. My own history. I needed this reminder.

Perhaps many of you will find it helpful too…

I was 4-years-old when my sister, mother and I made these decorations together.

Growing up as the young child of a single mother, I remember a couple of tough Christmases. Money was tight, stress was high and my mother secretly worried about how she was going to pay rent. I imagine it’s not much different to what many of us are facing this year in the first ever, Covid-Christmas.

Back then, she was so worried about the normal essentials. Not to mention how she would create a joyful holiday occasion for my sister and I. Of course, we were oblivious to her concerns, as we carried along in the blissful day-to-day of toddlers.

What I remember of those trying times were hand-baking ornaments out of dough, because we had no decorations for the tiny tree my mom managed to scrape together a few dollars for. None of them had any colour – they were all brown from varnish and we baked paper clips in the tops of each, so we could string green wool through the tops to hang them. I was so proud, in particular, of the hand-rolled candy canes I made. As a four-year-old, some of the more intricate designs were better suited for Mom.

To date, my mother still decorates her tree with some of those decorations. They didn’t cost a penny and they maintain the same brown color. Yet, they withstood the test of time. And after all these years, they serve as reminders of one of the most important lessons of my life.

Make the most of it.

After all this time, I worry that my mother still frets about those Christmases. There were few material gifts for us under the tree but the truth is, she gave us something much more precious. Much more important. At four-years-old, I learned how to use what I had. How to make the most of it. And it turned out okay.

That lesson has proven invaluable this year. In 2020, “making the most of it” has become my mantra. I only hope I can pass it on to my children as well as my mother did for us.

Whatever the Christmas season looks like for you this year – I wish you all the very best. Make the most of it.

Photo by BAR XP PHOTO

THE YEAR THAT WASN’T

2020 in one picture. Photo by BAR XP PHOTO.

BY JENN WEBSTER

As we approach the end of 2020 and reflect back, it’s crazy to think about the events of the past year. In fact, some of the events were the strangest of the strange… Yet, what might be even odder is the notion that we began to accept them as normal, almost cliché. “Well, it is 2020 after all…” became catchphrase. With that in mind, here are five of the strangest happenings we noticed in the horse world this year.

  1. GIRL JUMPS LIKE A HORSE – Yes, you read that correctly. Ava Vogel, an Edmonton, AB, teenager made international news this year when she was scouted by Ripley’s Believe It or Not for its newest book. On her hands and feet, Vogel can gallop and hurdle over obstacles and mimic a horse. The highest she’s jumped is almost four feet in height. And if you don’t believe us, find her on Instagram @jumping.like.a.horse.
From the Instagram feed of @jumping.like.a.horse.
  1. HORSES USED IN PROTESTS – It’s not uncommon for horses to be used in protests. For ages, they have been ridden by mounted police during riots and demonstrations. They offer added height and visibility that officers wouldn’t normally have on their own two feet and as such, allow people in the wider area a better chance to visualize the police. However, the recent use of equines by demonstrators in civil rights protests across the US this year have flipped the mounted police narrative on its head. Black cowboys and cowgirls showed up on horseback in several demonstrations fighting for racial justice. Their equine partners gave them the edge they needed, capturing the attention of media, celebrities and inspiring the general public across the globe.
From the Twitter feed of Lil Nas X. Black Lives Matter protesters caught the celebrity’s attention when they rode into downtown Houston on horseback.
  1. FRANCE’S EQUINE MUTILATIONS – Since the start of the year, France has experienced numerous horse slashings across the country. Some animals have been mutilated, while others have died as a result of injuries. The national police confirmed in a press release that almost 200 investigations were in progress as we neared the end of 2020. With no suspects, nor motives for the atrocious acts, horse owners began to take matters into their own hands by using drones to supervise pastures at night, installing electrified gates and surveillance cameras and placing locks wherever needed. Increased police efforts were also been made, including an agreement between horse organizations in the country and authorities to reinforce efforts in the prevention of attacks against horses in the country.

  1. NO DERBY SPECTATORS – For the first time since the 1945 Kentucky Derby was affected by World War II, Churchill Downs was forced to move the 2020 Kentucky Derby from its historical first Saturday in May, to September 5, due to the pandemic. Officials also ran the event without spectators, citing increasing cases of COVID-19 in the area – making it the first ever Kentucky Derby to run without fans.

  1. COWBOY SECURITY INFLUENCES THE WORLD – When the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, OK, closed down earlier this year, they decided to put their head of security, Tim Send, in charge of social media. The decision proved to be a brilliant one as Send, who was unfamiliar with Twitter, Instagram and selfies at the time, struggled hilariously through posts and tweets. With access to the entire museum on his own, Send captured the hearts and attention of the world with his innocent approach to the internet – becoming an international social media darling in the process.

Boerderij Cheese Fondue

A ranch version of a Swiss classic. By MIKE EDGAR, PHOTOS BY TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY Celebrate the season with a big, beautiful platter of cheese, charcuterie, bread and seasonal fruits. This gooey indulgence is a festive family tradition in many households, but is a delicious treat at any time. Serve it around a holiday table […]

[Continue reading…]

Remembering our Aboriginal Veterans

BY DEBBIE MACRAE While not officially recognized by the Federal Government as National Aboriginal Veterans Day, November 8th, was inaugurated in Winnipeg in 1994 to recognize the efforts of our Indigenous Veterans and aboriginal participants. Even before the War of 1812, territorial expansion was being guarded and defended against invasion by encroaching military and political […]

[Continue reading…]

Classic Pork Chops

By Chef Mike Edgar, Photos by Twisted Tree Photography Now that meal prep is top of mind for many, here’s a pork dish that is easy to make and features a delicious cranberry touch. Thick and juicy oven-baked pork loin chops, smothered in a savoury, brandy reduction and topped with a cranberry-mustard are a wonderful […]

[Continue reading…]

Ansel, Our Photoshoot Dog

BY JENN WEBSTER Just in case you’re not on our subscriber list, we thought we should bring you all up to speed on our latest photoshoot, appearing in the Jan/Feb issue of Western Horse Review. Through this publication, I truly believe we are changing the world in a perhaps small, but significant manner. Even via […]

[Continue reading…]

Ringing in 2020

BY JENN WEBSTER & ALL PHOTOS BY Twisted Tree Photography. Make-up by Ivonne Arsenault of One Beauty, Calgary, ABHair by Michelle Walsh of One Beauty, Calgary, AB How are you ringing in the New Year? We’re skipping the resolutions and the big bash parties this time – instead choosing to spend the evening with friends […]

[Continue reading…]

Horses with Heart – Sergeant Reckless

BY DEBBIE MACRAE She was truly a gift of love – her life exchanged for a limb. His sister had stepped on a land mine and $250 meant that Kim Huk Moon could buy her a leg prosthesis. It was the Korean war. But to do so, he had to let his filly go… He […]

[Continue reading…]