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Skijordue2: Fast Horses & Fearless Fashion

Saturday February 10th saw fringe fly and fondue served at the second annual Skijordue presented by Skijor Canada & The Alberta Skijor Society. Billed as “THE social event of the Alberta Foothills” Skijordue brought “a blistering blend of snow, speed, cheese, gritty cowboys, gnarly freeriders, fur- fringe & fashionistas” to the Calgary Polo Club. Over 150 teams competed for $10,000, prizes and bragging rights over four events. The event included exhibition trick riders and snow stunts as well as a patio for spectators to enjoy the festivities along with signature cocktails, craft beers and excellent food, including fondue and bbq. The event had a charitable twist as well, with portions of proceeds going to support the Prairie Sky Equine Assisted Therapy Association which is a local organization that provides a safe and fun environment for people with physical, mental and emotional disabilities to participate in riding lessons and Equine Assisted Therapy.

Rider, Brigitte Meyer and slider, Whitney Hughes, take off down the circuit course.

A Canadiana-themed team head towards the Circuit finish line.

Skijordue hosts four events: the Circuit, the Relay, the Sprint and the Long Jump, where riders, and their sliders, take on a variety of obstacles in fun and fearless spirit. The Circuit saw teams leave from the start line and had sliders weave through pylons and then head up onto berms where they had to tackle pylons again. From there the team’s came down, weaved a set of hay bales, and then took a large turn before heading home. Sliders then had to complete a set of small jumps before crossing the finish line.

Western Horse Review team, Chelsea Brown and Pete Bernier head towards the finish line of the relay race.

The second event of the day was the Relay race, where riders take off with one slider, run to the end of the course and then have to expertly switch to a second slider and head back. Pictured above is Western Horse Review team, Chelsea Brown running full out with snowboarder, Pete Bernier behind her.

The Sprint was a crowd favourite with riders running at dead gallops from one end of the polo field to another.

The Sprint was another exhilarating event where riders took off as fast as they could from one end of the field to the next. Sliders mostly maintained a crouched and controlled position in an attempt to stay up, and we are confident, were happy for their eye protection and face masks.

Chelsea Brown again representing team Western Horse Review with Sheldon Kennedy on the sliding side.

Skijordue brings together an eclectic group of sport enthusiasts, team Western Horse Review was thankful that former professional NHL hockey player, Sheldon Kennedy, could sub in for us at last minute. Kennedy expertly handled the long jump portion, and final event, of the day. The jump was 2 m in height with a sloped landing, and sliders had to exhibit control throughout the event. The long jump distance was determined by the heel of the back boot landing. Although team WHR didn’t come away with top honours, we felt that our teams did us exceptionally proud throughout the day!

Slider, Devon Dinsdale grabs some air behind rider, Alex Callaghan, during the Long Jump portion of the day.

Skijordue also celebrates that winter fashion can be both fun and functional. Spectators and competitors alike were asked to bring the best versions of Euro-Trash, Wild West and Novel and Innovative fashions to the Polo Club for a chance at three gift cards from Cody & Sioux. The attendees did not disappoint, and everyone managed to bring their A-game, whether that be fur, fringe, neon or all of the above!

Some went the authentic route, here we see beautiful beadwork, fringe, and the iconic pattern of the Hudsons Bay Company.

 

Slider, Whitney Hughes, rocks the Rodeo Q Ariat Collection, available at Lammles, Chaps and a Go-Pro heading into her first event.

Seems to us you can rock anything astride a gorgeous horse like this!

Horses showed off their fashion as well, here is a competitor horse, Mac, decked out in Back On Track products.

 

Former Calgary Stampede Princess, Lizzie Ryman, rocking the shearling Powder River Outfitters Jacket from Rodeo Dawg.

 

Skijordue organizer extraordinaire, Sam Mitchell, takes off toward the Long Jump in a Veuve Clicquot branded down jacket.

Skijordue2 was yet again a successful day that celebrated winter sport, fearless competitors and fun fashion.

Here’s to Skijordue2!

Skijordue

 

STORY & PHOTOS BY JENN WEBSTER

It’s official. Canadians might have a slight obsession with Skijoring. Because if Skijordue held on February 11, 2017 at the Calgary Polo Club was any indication, the concept just grew in popularity with hundreds of stoked fans in the country. Which later translated to thousands of photos, videos and all kinds of media coverage going viral across the globe.

By all accounts, Skijordue 2017, brought to us by the Alberta Skijor Socierty (check out the hashtag, #ASS) was an epic cocktail of speed, snow and horsepower. More than 600 people showed up to witness three events run over the course of the day; circuit, long jump and sprint.

Inside the polo cantina, a culinary delight of cheese fondue and adult bevvies were on hand, plus the grilling of more 300 Spolumbos Sausages wrapped in fresh baked Continental Rolls were available on the outside grills. Western Horse Review was proud to sponsor the day and as we predicted, Skijordue 2017 was the not-be-missed extreme sporting event of the year!

Congratulations to Sam and Graham Mitchell of Millarville, AB, and all the people behind the scenes who came together to put on such a fantastical day.

Make no mistake, this was a badass affair – with a hearty-serving of mind-boggling equine athleticism and skier mayhem at every glance.

There were also several moments of elation and pure greatness.

And if that weren’t enough, Skijordue might become the social and fashion event of the year too. Everything from the spandex and neon styles wonderfully anachronistic of the 80s, to fur and fringe of the modern West, were on display.

 

But one of our distinctly favorite parts of the event was the fact that people of all equestrian disciplines were brought together at Skijordue. Jumpers, team penners, polo players, ropers, trail riders, reiners, etc. alike, came to try out something new and as a result, benefited the Prairie Sky Equine Assisted Therapy Association.

It was a perfect day.

Stay tuned to the March/April issue of Western Horse Review for full coverage of the day!

Skijordue 2017

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

There is an event happening in southern Alberta this February 11, that is more anticipated than the current blast of snow we’re receiving. With fast ponies, plus skiers or snowboarders looking for their next thrill, Skijordue 2017 promises to be the not-be-missed extreme sporting event of the year!

Held at the Calgary Polo Club and in support of the Prairie Sky Equine Assisted Therapy Association, Skijordue will feature sprint and circuit races, plus a long jump. Oh and there will be jaw-dropping trick riding stunts performed by Alanna Nolan and Western Horse Review’s own Sally Bishop!

There will also be Yodelling & Alphorn performance from members of the astonishing Yodel Club Heimattreu – Jodlerklub Heimattreu, Calgary Canada

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Gates open at 10:30am. Races start at 11:00am sharp.

Flaunt your fanciest furs & glammest glasses to win the most Stylish Spectator prize package from uber-chic modern western boutique Cody & Sioux!

Inside the Calgary Polo Club Cantina there will be a patio and heaters, bonfires, a Race Commentator, DJ and Cheese Fondue, Bratwurst & Beverage concession (*cash only*). PLUS! Freestyle ski/board exhibitions.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Your $5, (cash only please), grants you entry plus a bunch of door prize draws throughout the day, so keep your ticket close & your ears open!  DJ G will be spinning mad techno yodelling mixes to get the patio dance floor bumpin’. This is set to be the most exciting snow-equine-fromage event of the season!

IT’S SNOWING, SO COME CHECK IT OUT!

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

So much awesomeness coming together, here’s some of what the Alberta Skijoring Society #ASS has got lined up for you:

*FAAAAST horses & ninja skiers from far & wide.
*Groovy tunes & goofy door prize draws from DJ Graham Mitchell
*Entertaining erudite race commentary from the incomparable Alan Leys
*Jaw dropping trick riding from stunners Alanna Nolan & Sally Bishop
*Yodelling & Alphorn performance from members of the astonishing Yodel Club Heimattreu – Jodlerklub Heimattreu, Calgary Canada
*Epic images from Chad Rowbotham Photography
*Rad video coverage from Atomic10 Inc.
*Proficient paramedics Courtney Isbister & Radar Goddard
*Handsome handy marshalling by Dace Cochlan & Dave Callaway
*Judicious judging by Tracy Thorbjornsen & Anne Thompson

*Venue vistas with SNOW from Gordon Ross Remax

*Truck-Truck viewing experience extravaganza with uber host JR Cox of The Shooting Edge Inc & William Evans Canada

*Prizes prizes PRIZES!!! From: Little Monkey Metal Works, Smithbilt Hats Inc., SS Chaps, Bar T5 Agra Services, Country Living and Garden Centre, Monod Sports, LTD, Sporting Life, Cody & Sioux, Western Specialties, Cam Clark Ford, Water’s Edge Pub, Jane’s, Coffee shop, delicous food and fine art, Sweetgrass Deli & Eatery, Wild Rose Brewery, Knaughty Nets & Pets, Chuckwagon Cafe

Skijoring the Blues Away

In a Canadian winter, it’s often difficult to break the “winter cycle.” You know, go to work or school, come home, watch TV. It’s often so cold outside that it’s difficult to summon the motivation one needs to get outside and reap some much needed Vitamin D.

That is of course, unless you are a horse person. Horse people must go outside. Even when we really don’t want to…

We often find ourselves engaged in winter activities, even if it only involves the simplest task of feeding horses or doing chores. Oh, there are so many benefits of horse ownership!

And here’s another one for you – Skijoring.

According to Wikipedia, Skijoring is a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word “skikjøring” meaning, ski driving.

Here in Canada, Skijoring is a darn good way to spend a snowy day. And, beat the winter blues.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

So how does one simply, skijor?

In my barn, we figured you pretty much… just got outside and did it.

One fine winter day, some neighbours, friends and I decided to find out what it takes. With the Rocky Mountains as our backdrop, a mild winter temperature hovering around -5 degrees C and zero windchill, we met in the middle of a pristine cow pasture (retired for the season). There were no gopher holes to worry about, but there was a fresh layer of powdery snow waiting for our arrival.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

*

What does it take to skijor? While we weren’t entirely sure, we knew good-minded horses were the key. Our darling neighbour Caroline, brought out her awesome little gelding named “Webster” and our friend Murray brought two mounts, “Prairie” and “Rocket.” All three were absolute super stars.

Murray and his horse, Rocket. Photo by Jenn Webster.

Murray and his horse, Rocket. Photo by Jenn Webster.

*

All three horses had been used extensively for roping and were extremely seasoned mounts. They ran barefoot in the pasture. However, according to some Skijoring associations, many horses wear studded ice shoes.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

 

We were successful in having the horses pull a sled. The kids loved it!

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

 

 

And the burning question I had was – could one snowboard behind a horse?

Boarding-WEB

I learned that yes. You can! And it’s a good time too, because a board glides along easily behind a loping horse.

Just don’t catch an edge.

Or a frozen cowpie…

Snowboard-WEB

*

When the horses really got going, the sled went along at a pretty good clip. This is where the token “cowboy hat” came in handy. It could protect one’s face from the flying snow of the horse’s hooves.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

*

Next time we’re gonna try it with a warm bonfire to greet us at the end. And a whole bunch of marshmallows to roast.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

 

What a way to make some Canadian memories!

Meet our Models

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Have you seen our September/October issue of Western Horse Review yet? Photographed by the talented Shelby Simmonds of Twisted Tree Photography at Webster Ranch, WHR put together one of our most elaborate fashion shoots to date. Focusing on fall fashion, we had several wonderful people come together to bring this shoot to life. This includes the make-up talents of The Aria Studios and hair by Amber BigPlume. We also shot some amazing Food of the West dishes for future editorial – but we’re going to have to share those with readers in the future. So stay tuned!

For now, we’d like to introduce you to the lovely models seen in our Sept/Oct. fashion spread. Priding ourselves on featuring real people of the horse industry, we thought you might like to get to know them a little bit as well (if you don’t already).

Wearing a couple of outfits from Cody & Sioux, plus modelling some fantastic jewelry designs by Scott Hardy was Wendy Nelson. Wendy owns and operates Wendy Nelson Reining and Performance Horses – a training and breeding facility near Cochrane, Alberta. Wendy has been an active part of the Equine and Reining Horse Industry for 25 years throughout Canada, Europe and the USA. She has bred, trained, and produced many Reining Horse champions and finalists in Futurities, Derbies and Aged events. Wendy has accomplished year-end championship titles in NRHA Germany, Ontario Reining Horse Association, Reining Alberta, Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association, AQHA, and Reining Canada as well as being in the NRHA ‘Top Ten.’ Her coaching skills have led many of her Non-Pros and Youth to the same success.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

 

Next we have our youngest models. Wearing the new EQ3™ helmets from Back on Track and some lovely  back-to-school fashions from Lammle’s Western Wear & Tack these two cuties kicked off the shoot. Both girls are avid riders in real life and can be found playing around with their Miniature horses, or taking in a trail ride on their senior mounts whenever the opportunity presents.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

 

Next we have have Maggie Short. Maggie was the 2016 Calgary Stampede Queen and an avid show jumper. (Check out the past blog we ran about her here!) Besides the “Blake Lively” look she has going on, Maggie is one of the kindest people you could ever get to know and is always eager to help. For instance, on this shoot we had Maggie helping with everything from picking wildflowers, to looking after kids, to picking up our photographer, to packing up clothing at the end. And then, she steps in front of the camera and absolutely nails the shot…

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

 

Next we have Amber BigPlume, who has helped us with a few WHR fashion shoots already. Amber was the 2013 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess and helped spread the word of Indigenous communities in trouble, during the torrential floods Alberta witnessed that same year. She is a talented musician and has been a performer in the Trans Alta Grandstand Show. She is additionally a very skilled hair stylist and has helped us create many looks for WHR fashion spreads. As if that weren’t enough, Amber is a fabulous model and always helps us bring the entire feature together.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

 

Sporting a Smithbilt hat, neckace from Cody & Sioux and a belt from Scott Hardy is Whitney Watson Wilson. As an accomplished competitor in the reining and cow horse competition arenas, Whitney is making a name for herself on the professional show circuit under the guidance of Clay Webster Performance Horses Inc. She recently won the Int. Open Hackamore at the Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity held in Claresholm, AB, and took the championship of the Level 1 Open Derby at the Equistro Cowtown Derby earlier in the year. She helped us saddle and prepare horses for this shoot and although she’s never had to model for WHR before, she pretty much killed it.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

 

You won’t see this shot in the magazine, but we’re so glad it was suggested that Maggie try on one of our signature Skijor shearling coats, created by Janine’s Custom Creations. We think it was the perfect way to end the day. Stay tuned for some more behind-the-scenes looks from our autumn feature!

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

WHR’s Top Instagram Posts of 2017

Credit: Chad Rowbotham Photography

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 this beautiful image as the cover to our Nov/Dec 2016 issue, but we loved the picture so much we ran it again on our Instagram page this past October. Viewers loved it so much, this photo is our all-time highest reaching post.

Credit: Callaghan Creative Co.

#2, Above, was an image taken at our most recent photo shoot, upcoming in the Jan/Feb 2018 issue. It was captured by Callaghan Creative Co. in an outfit inspired by Back on Track Canada and Winslowe Rowe. Turns out, our Instagram viewers loved it too.

 

Credit: Jenn Webster

#3, Above, was shot in a spur-of-the-moment reflex as Alberta experienced one of those momentous sunsets of the Indian Summer of September. Featuring a curious weanling in my backyard, his silhouette against the beautiful sky made for another of our most popular Instagram posts.

 

Credit: Jenn Webster

#4, Above, Posted only three days ago, this little mini in the snow captured the hearts of many of our Instagram viewers. One viewer even commented, “Thelwell lives on!”

 

Credit: Tara McKenzie Fotos

#5, Above, This photo taken by McKenzie Fotos featured the beauty in the details of this cow horse bit and romal reins. The photo is so real, you can almost feel the horse’s whiskers.

 

Credit: Tanja Schneider Photography

#6, Above, In our Jan/Feb 2018 issue (coming to your mailbox soon!) we have an exclusive interview with Tanja Schneider – the young photography phenom capturing the very souls of horses and dogs with her camera lens. This shot features a Paint horse and its Australian Shephard buddy and was our #6 most popular Instagram post of the year.

 

Credit: Jenn Webster

#7, Above, On Dec. 23, 2017, a group of our friends and family came out to enjoy a day of skijoring with us. I snapped this pic of our snowboarder friend Sara, in a moment of pure joy with a horse ironically named “Webster.”

 

Credit: Stock Photography.

#8, Above, This image was simply a stock photography pic we had in our files, but as it comes in at #8 on the list, it just goes to prove how popular winter shots are right now on Instagram!

 

Credit: Jenn Webster

#9, Above, Finally our #9 most popular post on Instagram was a shot I captured quickly on a snowy day of my daughter and her mini friend “Legacy,” with my iPhone.

 

As the clock strikes midnight tonight and we ring in 2018, Western Horse Review would like to wish you all a very happy New Year!