Cuttin’ Up in Calgary

Photos courtesy of Hudyma Photography & Calgary Stampede Agriculture

The final aged event of the cutting horse season, the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler, wrapped up Sunday, October 13. Competitors from across Canada and the United States came to show their horse’s cow sense and incredible ability in the futurity, derby, classic, and non-pro seven up divisions.

Hot off the presses, here are the champions of the 2018 Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity. To read the insights and stories behind these incredible runs from the competitors themselves, be sure to grab a copy of the November/December issue of Western Horse Review, “The Champions Issue”, will be on stands and available at the beginning of November.

Gerry Hansma and Justa Swingin Cat were the 2018 Open Futurity champions.

Gerry Hansma, Granum, AB, took top honours in the crown jewel of Canadian cutting when he piloted Justa Swingin Cat to the Open Futurity win. Justa Swingin Cat, owned by Dennis Nolin of Edmonton, AB, could not be bested when he put up a score of 222, earning $20,147.82 in the process.

In the Non Pro Futurity class, Irricana, AB, cowgirl, Emma Reinhardt scored a 219 on the mare, This Cat Dreamin, owned by father, Doug Reinhardt. Reinhardt walked away with $6,559.94.

In the Open Derby, the trip North paid off for Dax Hadlock, Oakley, ID, when This Cats Lethal posted a 222 to win $10,231.69 for owners, E Squared Performance Horses.

It was a tie to take home the championship in the Non Pro Derby. Chad Eaton of Arcola, SK, and his mare, Come Away With Me, posted a 215 on the leaderboard. Samantha Goodman of Liberty, UT, followed directly after on her gelding, Crimson Coug, to post the same score. Both competitors won $6,821.13 for their co-championship title. Eaton also took home the $50,000 Amateur title in the Derby division.

Under the Saturday night lights of the Nutrien Events Centre, Travis Rempel of Fort Langley, BC, ensured tough cows didn’t get the best of him. Aboard NVR Reylena, owned by David Paton, Abbotsford BC, the duo scored a 222 to win $12,278.42 in the Open Classic.

Heather Pedersen and Downtown Calico were co-champions in the Non Pro Classic.

In the Non Pro Classic, two Alberta competitors were crowned victorious. Matt Anderson, Sturgeon County, AB went first in the herd on his mare, Catatulla, to score a 222. Heather Pedersen, Lacombe, AB followed in the middle of the pack on her mare, Downtown Calico, also posting a 222. Both competitors received cheques for $12,278.42.

In the $50,000 Amateur division of the Non Pro Classic, Doreen Ruggles, Ardmore, AB, and Hala Cat walked away with the champion title.

To finish up the exciting competition at the Calgary Stampede grounds, Amanda Digness, Millet, AB, and her gelding, Reys of Moonshine took home the Non Pro Seven Up title. Digness marked a 220 that could not be bested and earned $3,257.10 for her efforts.

For full results visit: https://ag.calgarystampede.com/events/737-cutting-horse-futurity.html

Lessons in Liberty – Part 2

STORY & PHOTOS BY JENN WEBSTER

If’ you’ve been reading along in our blog series with Jim Anderson, you may have caught our last installment. If not, you can always catch it here! In the last blog, we revealed 2014 Road to the Horse Champion Jim Anderson’s foundation principles of liberty training. In this blog, we take those notions a step further and build on the first exercise of moving the horse’s hindquarters, to more advanced techniques of body control with the horse in a halter and lead.

“When we put these first four exercises together, we’re laying the foundation of our communication with our horse,” the trainer says. “At liberty, you need this so badly because eventually, we won’t have a halter or saddle or bridle on the horse. If they don’t want to to be there with you, they not going to be. However, if you can train your horse through these basic exercises, there’s never worry nor fear from him – so he wants to be with you.”

The tricky part is teaching a horse the contrast between yielding exercises and “joining up.”

“There’s a big difference in teaching a horse how to yield away from you, but not run away from you,” Anderson explains. “When you put pressure on the horse, they should yield from the pressure – but with confidence. If they yield out of fear and you took the halter off – the horse would be gone. I need to be able to use my giddy-up stick and have it mean certain cues to my horse, without it ever implying to him ‘Leave me.’”

Often, people don’t mean to teach their horses this, but it happens unintentionally.

“It’s one of the most important points of liberty training. Pressure is something that signals to the equine they should remain with us, not leave us. Horses in nature use pressure but they’re actually still joined up. They can put pressure on each other, but they still want to be together. That’s what we need to figure out as riders or handlers. Well-trained liberty horses understand this – they don’t take it personally.”

TOOLS YOU’LL NEED:
• Rope halter
• Soft lead shank (0.5” thick, 16-feet long)
• Giddy-Up stick (On average,a four-foot dressage whip – depending on the horse.)

First Exercise: Yielding the Hind Quarters. Again, you need to read the first blog in our installment for this exercise.

Exercise #2.

Second Exercise: Get the Horse’s Shoulders Yielding Away From the Handler. The horse may yield away from us, but they must remain focused on us as they yield away. So when you yield the shoulder, the horse must always have one eye looking at us.

 

Exercise #3.

3rd Exercise: Softening of the head and neck. Softening it laterally; right and left. And softening it vertically; being able to set the head and neck down. When you can put the head wherever you want, it means the horse really has confidence in us as the handler. It’s an exercise that helps to bring the focus back to us.

 

Exercise #4.

4th Exercise: The Ribcage. When the horse circles on the lead line it arcs its ribcage around us. The horse has to give its ribcage and arc its entire body around yet, their whole focus is on us as they’re still kind of yielding away. They should hold a perfect circle around us and they should not push into us at any point. The horse must keep the same radius around, with the ribcage arced to the outside.

When I point my giddy-up stick at the ribcage, the horse should bend it outward and actually give me one eye or two. When the stick goes to the ground, that’s when he should yield his hindquarters away, but come to me. This is why it’s so important for the development of subtle cues – learned through the repetition of exercises one through four. When we are successful in all of them, I can merely bend my giddy-up stick at my horse and he does what I am requesting. The important point here is that my cues are incredibly subtle.

 

Horse Halloween Costumes

As found on Pinterest. Source

Happy Hollaween y’all! If you’ve been searching for some horse Halloween costume ideas that are out of the norm, be sure to check the WHR Pinterest page for some inspiration. We love this time of year. The creativity brought out by people who want to include their horses in the fun is at an all-time high. Of course, it just takes the right, willing partner.

Check out this adorable M&Ms idea:

As found on Pinterest.

Or what about this astronaut:

As found on Pinterest.

Tinker Bell and Peter Pan:

As seen on Pinterest.

And the mini options are truly endless:

As seen on Pinterest

We love this fairy idea. All you need is a trip to the Dollar Store for flowers and a willing gray mount!

As seen on Pinterest

This mermaid idea is really beautiful. You just have to be willing to go sidesaddle!

As seen on Pinterest

However, Captain Jack Sparrow is absolutely brilliant:

As seen on Pinterest

Then of course, it’s hard to beat this Dragon costume as seen at last year’s Royal West!

From all us at WHR, we wish you a happy (and safe) Halloween!

Visionaries of the West – WWI – Winnie

Winnie, as a cub, with one of the Sergeants from the CAVC – Photo taken 1914 Source: Library and Archives Canada.

BY DEBBIE MACRAE

It is August 1914, and World War I has only just begun. The 34th Fort Garry Horse Division is on its way eastward by train from Winnipeg, when they stop at the small community of White River, Ontario.

Harry Colebourn, a young Lieutenant in the Fort Garry Horse Cavalry regiment, is a veterinary surgeon, and encounters a hunter who is selling a female bear cub for $20. She is very young, orphaned, and is domiciled or “socialized” to human contact, likely by the hunter who killed her mother. Harry’s veterinary conscience embraces the young cub, realizing her prospects for a long life are not good. He purchases the bear, which he names “Winnie,” after his adopted hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Enroute to Valcartier, Quebec, Winnie accompanied the horse regiment to report to the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, where she became the mascot of the Fort Gary Horse Regiment.

Incredibly, Winnie would travel from White River by train to Valcartier, and then overseas from Gaspe Bay aboard the S.S. Manitou, to England, providing entertainment and amusement to the troops with her keen intelligence and endearing affection. Unfortunately, she wasn’t always a favorite with the horses, and she was often blamed for some of their unregimented behaviours. Just her scent was enough to agitate some of the more hot-blooded.

Winnie was to remain with Lt. Colebourn at the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade Headquarters, however, faced with the reality of the front lines, the well-being of the animals, and the overwhelming obligation to defend and protect, Lt. Colebourn was forced to make an emotional decision to find a home for her at the London Zoo when his regiment was sent to fight in France.

Harry Colebourn and Winnie. The Fort Garry Horse Museum and Archives.

Harry would often visit Winnie while on leave. His intention was to take her back to Canada with him to the Assiniboine Zoo in Winnipeg at the end of the war, not realizing it would be four long years before the First World War would come to an end.

Fortunately for Harry, and more so for Winnie, she became a celebrity bruin at the London Zoo, with her amazing personality and gentle demeanour. The zoo-keepers even allowed children to play inside the confines of her pen, bringing a breath of fresh air, and a symbol of hope for those children living in the shadow of a frightening war.

As she grew more and more popular with the children, now Captain, Harry Colebourn resolved to donate her to the London Zoo as a gesture of thanks for the care Winnie had received during her stay. In 1919, the Zoo held a dedication ceremony and erected a plaque dedicated to Captain Harry Colebourn of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps for donating her.One of the more frequent visitors to the zoo, who often entered Winnie’s cage to feed her condensed milk, was a young lad by the name of Christopher Robin Milne. His interest and enjoyment in visiting Winnie would result in his father’s publication of the well-known children’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh.

Winnie was an inspiration and a symbol of hope for London’s children of the war, as well as a diversion and a source of entertainment for those servicemen dedicated to the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps.

Lt. Colebourn was a visionary in his own right – with the vision to ensure that Winnie should not be maintained in a life of imprisonment – and with the clarity of vision that comes with realizing that moral support can come from the most unusual of sources.

As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War 1, we remember also, the sacrifice of the animal soldiers and mascots who supported our troops.

Roll of Honour

They shall grow not old
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.

A memorial panel inside McGregor Armoury in Winnipeg, hosts the Roll of Honour for the Fort Garry Horse. The Regiment was formed in 1912, and this memorial commemorates the servicemen who dedicated their lives to service during both the peace time and the war.

The Grind Doesn’t Stop

Roy on an autumn, Alberta ride. Photo by Taylor Hillier Photography.

BY JENN WEBSTER

Bryn Roy, an Alberta boy who successfully made the journey from cowboy to professional linebacker, is many things.

He was drafted by the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League in 2012 and then played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016 and the Edmonton Eskimos in 2017. He grew up in a rodeo family, which naturally transitioned Roy into roping, and bulldogging in the competition arena. And he’s a down-home guy who can still remember the first horse he ever swung a leg over, an Appaloosa named Chief. But perhaps most notably for a 30-year-old cowboy of his merit, Roy is an inspiration for other young, Canadian athletes who may want to follow in his footsteps.

“I know how hard it is to be a high school kid coming out of Alberta, wanting to pursue an athletic career,” Roy states. “It makes it tough to go on. There’s a lot of good athletes here who don’t necessarily get the exposure they need.”

This past spring, Roy put together the Bryn Roy Southern Alberta Football Combine and the response was overwhelming for the event’s first year out of the gate. Seeing a need for a Canadian showcasing event that allowed potential football hopefuls to perform physical and mental tests in front of a panel of scouts, Roy brought 25 universities and schools together this past March. He expects more to join the ranks in 2019.

“I started calling different universities, I had schools all the way from Calgary to Texas who came to watch that day. A few kids got signed and got scholarships and are now focusing on the next level! I’m excited about it,” he explained. “I feel that we are at somewhat of a disadvantage up here, because we don’t have the same opportunities American athletes have. And it’s based off numbers alone,” Roy stated.

“From what I’ve seen and what I’ve been able to prove, the good players up here are just as good as the good American athletes – there’s just not as many of them.” Roy says much of his motivation for developing the combine was inspired by his own history. Determined to rewrite the books for a new wave of athletes coming up, he wanted to create a venue that brought out the “right kinds of eyes” for young potentials.

 

From Roy’s Instagram

 

“I wanted it so badly and eventually a way presented itself for me. But it took a lot of work and a little luck,” said Roy, who didn’t actually get to play organized football himself, until grade eight. In many ways, the odds were stacked against the rural Albertan to play professional football. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way and all the nights of watching football highlights, and days playing catch and running routes at rodeos grounds across North America eventually saw him become a collegiate athlete on scholarship. Now with 6 seasons under his belt in the CFL, Roy has a lot of experience he hopes to be able to share with others who want to tread a similar path.

“It’s fun to be able to try and help guys who want to do what I’ve done. The combine was my major emphasis of the spring.” For now, Roy is currently a free agent, which has afforded him the time it takes to put on such an event. Presently, he is already making plans for the 2019 combine, which will likely happen in February.

 

From Roy’s Instagram

 

“I would love to potentially play for the next three years – or I may never play again. That’s the side of sport that not everyone sees. It’s so far out of my control that I don’t even have a good answer for the question of my immediate future,” Roy said with honesty.

Until the next combine, Roy will busy himself training young athletes at Built Strong Athletics in Okotoks, AB, continue to work as a day hand on several different Alberta ranches, and fit some movie work in when he can. There’s also the call that came in yesterday – to see if he’d be interested to play in a European football league.

He’s got some thinking to do.

Until such time as he makes his decision however, he’s enjoying his time at home near Dalemead, AB, getting back to his roots.

“Once the the combine got wrapped up this spring, I was siting there trying to figure out what my next step was. I missed all the spring training and getting ready, as far as rodeoing goes. But I had a few young horses in the pasture that I had been riding, so I decided to get back to that a little,” he told. “There’s this palomino in the bunch that is my favourite – we call her Honey. she was a fun filly to start. We got going with her and eventually, I put her on the Heel-O-Matic,” Roy said.

“Now she’s a three-year-old and I’ve roped a few live steers with her, all the while, taking it pretty slow. I’ve since ranched off her a little and she has been awesome, right from the get-go.” Having talent to fall back on is a gift for which, many people can only wish. And while rodeo still holds its arms open to Roy – he wants to ensure he scores every last opportunity out of football at the same time.

“I put rodeo on the back-burner for so long and I’ve lived on the cusp of it. I’m still roping and throwing steers down at home – but you only can play football for so long. I’ve worked hard for that and I’m going to try and squeeze every last drop out of it that I can,” he said. Adding, “But that’s the beauty of the combine. As soon as my career is done, I can help the new generation.”

With the powerful forces of football and rodeo pulling him in either direction, the decision of which path to choose at this point in his life ain’t easy. Yet luckily for him, Roy has meaningful work on the horizon. And a few good horses waiting in the pasture.

 

For more information on the 2019 Bryn Roy Southern Alberta Football Combine, stay tuned to his personal Facebook page and Instagram @bryn_roy16.

Cow Horsin’ in Ontario

Submitted by Barbara Daudlin

Darren Bilyea receiving a Greg Darnell bit for his High Point Award. Presented by Steve Close of The Saddle Shack, Tack Shop. Photo Credit: Alison Robinson

The Misty Meadows Fall Spectacular, judged by Rod Thiessen from Estevan, SK, was the gem in the crown of the North Eastern Reined Cow Horse Alliance for their shows this season. The show was  held on September 1 & 2 at the Ilderton Fairgrounds in Ilderton, Ontario. Competitors came from as far away as New York State, Michigan, Virginia and Kentucky.

This show will be talked about for some time and competitors and fans of cow horse are anticipating another spectacular event for 2019.

Highlights from the Misty Meadows Fall Spectacular include two days of National Reined Cow Horse Association (NRCHA) classes with $1,000 added each day. The Spectacular also included NRCHA Futurity Open classes, as well as Non-Pro and Limited Non-Pro classes with $1,200 added. For the four-year-olds, there were NRCHA Derby Open, Non-Pro and Limited Non-Pro classes, again with $1,200 added. Finally, for the older horses there was an NRCHA Bridle Spectacular Open, Non-Pro and LTD. Non Pro with $1,200 added, and a Green Rider Spectacular with $500 added.

The winner of the Greg Darnell bit for High Point Cow Horse (highest fence run) was won by Darren Bilyea. Bilyea recently worked on the Taron Ranch, in Wabasca , AB. During his employment there he started colts, trained and showed reining and working reined cow horses. Bilyea is an NRCHA approved judge and has won numerous national titles. No doubt those days spent working on the Taron Ranch prepared the champion competitor for the event.  Now back in Ontario, Bilyea is working hard to promote the working reined cow horse through the North Eastern Reined Cow Horse Alliance.

Feel free to follow the NERCHA on Facebook at Northeastern Reined Cowhorse Alliance.

Canadians Bring Home World Paint Title

A picture is worth 1,000 words. Photo by Larry Williams Photography.

Big congratulations goes to Sandy McCook of Buck Lake, AB, and We Should B Friends (a home-bred and raised Paint filly) on their recent WORLD TITLE in the Open Class of the Amateur Yearling In Hand Trail at the 2018 APHA World Championship Show held at the Will Rogers Memorial Center in Fort Worth, TX!

McCook raised the filly (and her momma too), and then the filly was sadly orphaned at eight-weeks-old.

“She’s just such a cool filly…. takes everything in stride and so after going to a couple APHC shows, we decided to take her to the APHA World Show. We went early giving her time to acclimate. I won the Amateur Yearling In Hand Trail and then Jesse Jones showed her to a Res World title in the open class.”

Congratulations to all! Way to make Canada proud ????

McCook and We Should B Friends in action.

 

Show Photographer Larry Williams Photography: larrywilliamsphotog.com

Visionaries of the West – John Ware

John Ware and a team of horses at Red Deer River. Glenbow Archives.

BY DEBBIE MACRAE

Legends are like the wind. You hear them; you feel them; you see their strength; you know their direction and their magnitude; you feel their gentleness and see the lasting effects of their force. They are traditional stories, historically related, told and re-told because of the power of their influence.

Such is the legend of John Ware.

Born into slavery on a cotton plantation in South Carolina in 1845, John was the middle son of a family of 10 children with four older brothers , three younger brothers and two younger sisters. At the age of eight years he was picking cotton with his adult counterparts, and childhood dreams and aspirations had no place in the desensitized world of human trafficking. Human rights were unrecognized, and education was reserved for those with aristocratic backgrounds or potential for more profit. Educating a slave boy wouldn’t make him a more valuable slave.

As a child he was robust, with muscles developed like a plantation mule. He was athletic with the ability to out-run, out-lift, and out-jump any child his age. It was very common for plantation owners to entertain guests with gladiator-style battles among the slave boys; pitting endurance against brawn. The consent of the boys was not an option. Fight rings were roped off and guests were seated in comfortable ringside chairs in the shade, while young Negro boys about 12 to 16 were pitted against each other like roosters in a cock fight. The prize was usually a pair of shoes, and the only rule was that the last “man” standing won only if his opponent stayed down.

Those contests often ended up with John flat on the ground; not because he wasn’t good enough to win – but someone else usually needed the shoes more.

His reputation grew with his stature, and so did respect for him. Over the years, John’s training both in and out of the ring, moulded a giant of a man who would eventually make his way to Canada down the cowboy trail.

John was 20 years of age when the Civil War ended. Most of the southern slaves were uneducated, illiterate, and unfamiliar with the freedom they had suddenly gained with emancipation. Most of them had never travelled beyond the confines of their plantations, and certainly not beyond the swamps of their territorial boundaries. The only thing they knew about Canada was that it was a faraway place at the end of the underground railroad, if they had ever heard of it at all. John was no different.

John’s family had been slaves for at least three generations – living, working, breathing, like work-horses, guaranteed only of limited food and clothing. Education was not a commodity. A man’s future was garnered only by the dirt on his hands and the desire in his heart. With the defeat of General Lee’s Confederate troops at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863, the yoke of slavery was lifted, but the weight of an uncertain freedom was almost as heavy. Tensions in the South were high and masked night riders preyed on superstition and fear. Violence prevailed even in the wake of freedom.

John decided that freedom meant heading “out West”, and “out West” meant travelling to Texas. Leaving his sorrowful parents and family, he left in a pair of ill-fitting shoes, remnants from a Yankee soldier. For the next five months he walked, and worked his way west, until he reached the outskirts of Fort Worth, Texas.

Trading labour for food, John started to work for “Old Murph” Blandon and for the next several years, worked on a Texas ranch, cutting hay with a scythe, riding horses and mules, and racing – building stamina and strength, experience and ingenuity, and training for the biggest opportunities yet to come.

John wasn’t a cowboy in the traditional sense. He was big, with long legs, and had no formal training as a cowhand. His first big chance to ride herd on a cattle trail came in 1879 – from Texas to the Far North in Montana – where new cattle ranges were being stocked. Inexperienced men always started as “drag men,” trailing in the dust behind the cattle, prodding the slow and lazy as they snaked their way across the prairies. In an industry where Negro riders were not accepted, John earned his way out of the ‘drag’ with his hard work, unrelenting determination, muscled control, and unsuspecting sense of humour. He named the winner of the first trailside longhorn bull fight, “Abraham Lincoln”, at the same time proclaiming “General Lee” as the loser.

He was the level-headed one when the men went into town to celebrate. While the others visited saloons and dance halls, he was the one who assumed the responsibility of the herd. At one point he single-handedly warded off a disastrous night stampede by attacking Sioux – racing to the point of the herd and shooting to turn the lead cows back to their grazing range. After nearly 2,000 miles and four months of eating dust, the cattle arrived at their destination in Montana’s Judith Basin.

At the end of the trail, one of the cowboys, Bill Moodie, announced his intention of heading to Canada while they were so close. Ware’s response: “Wheah is Canada f’om heah?”

From there, John and his Moodie continued to the Virginia City gold rush, working the gold mines without success. Moodie returned to Idaho as a cowpoke, and in 1882, John sought his company once again, after losing his faithful horse. A black man without a horse trod a precarious trail in the wild west, and John knew he needed another mount to work. He knew Moodie would help him get one, and John proposed they ride the long trail back to Texas. However, fate intervened in the form of Tom Lynch, Canadian cattleman extraordinaire and the face of Canadian ranching would never be the same.

The Ware family.

After the Land Act received Ottawa’s approval for 21 year leases in southern Alberta, cattlemen moved their herds north and west to the Cochrane Ranch, the Bar U, and the North West Cattle Company. Tom Lynch was looking for dependable cowhands and tried to persuade Bill Moodie to join the group. Bill accepted on the condition that he also hire his friend, John Ware. Lynch was cold to the concept – a Negro without a horse. But Bill was adamant; “take both of us or neither”, so John was hired to peel potatoes and ride night herd. He sang while he peeled, and he sang while he rode, and he was paid a well-earned “dollar a day and grub”.

John was given an outlaw bronco to ride, and perhaps furnish some amusement, as no one except Moodie believed he could handle a real horse. At the end of its violent bucking demonstration, the horse was subdued, and Ware’s comment was, “Thanks Boss. Ah’ll keep this hoss – if it’s ahwight with yo.” He had earned his respect and was promoted to a new position. Never again was he asked to ride night herd.

Along the Marias River, John again earned renewed respect when he single-handedly captured two cattle rustlers and recovered the stolen cattle, leading the rustlers on foot at the end of a long lariat. They were released on foot, without their guns, and thanks in part to John, they weren’t hung in traditional Montana fashion.

September 26, 1882, John hired on with the North West Cattle Company along the Highwood River in southern Alberta, now known as the historic Bar U Ranch. He stayed with the Bar U until 1884, when he joined the Quorn Ranch.

In 1885, he participated in a cattle round-up, rounding up strays, lost, and unbranded cattle – which cattle were divided among their finders. By 1890 he had amassed 75 head of the bovine critters – enough to register his own brand 9999, and start his own ranch, known as the Four-Nines Ranch.

He was known for his self-sufficiency as one of the first ranchers in Alberta to utilize irrigation techniques to ensure a successful hay crop. He had his own milk-cows and butter station, and milked his own cows – not exactly a cowboy tradition.

He met his future wife, Mildred Lewis, formerly of Toronto, Ontario, in 1891 after meeting her father at the I.G. Baker supply store. After several Sunday afternoon dinner invitations, John came to call on Miss Mildred with a borrowed team and democrat buggy. During the visit, John hitched the team to the Lewis’s democrat with double seating benches, so he could take Mildred, and her friends, the Hansons, for a leisurely ride. The afternoon flew delightfully by until thunderclouds opened-up on them. Lightning and thunder continued to assail them, until a bolt of lightning struck the team, killing them instantly in their harness. A stalwart gentleman to the end, John separated the horses from the gear, picked up the tongue of the democrat and, with the strength of the Biblical Samson, pulled the buggy and its passengers the three or four miles back to the Lewis home.

February 29, 1892, “Mr. John Ware of Sheep Creek and Miss Mildred J. Lewis of Calgary, were united. In Holy Matrimony, according to the ordinances of God and the Laws of the Dominion of Canada, in Calgary.”

The Ware homestead in the Millarville, AB, district before the turn of the century.

In the spring of 1892, he spontaneously demonstrated the first cow wrestling display at the Walrond Ranch, albeit came of necessity in the form of an enraged longhorn. His instinctive act of self-preservation would be applauded and repeated, as ‘steer wrestling,’ for the next 125 years.

In 1900, John moved to set up a new ranch near Brooks, Alberta. That move was short-lived, as he was flooded out in a spring flood two years later. Undeterred, with typical John Ware perseverance, he rebuilt on higher ground. But in April, 1905, his dreams collapsed with the death of his young wife. Grief-stricken, he sent his young children to live with their grand-parents who had moved to Blairmore, Alberta. Less than six months later, he too would die, in the most ironic of deaths. John Ware, the man of whom it was said, “The horse is not running on the prairie which John cannot ride” would die; his horse stepping in a badger hole and falling on him.

His funeral was the largest the City of Calgary had ever seen. He left behind five children, helped establish Alberta’s beef industry and bequeathed a living legacy; the John Ware Society, dedicated to the preservation of the traditions of the Old West; John Ware Ridge, Mount Ware, and Ware Creek in Kananaskis country, John Ware Junior High School, the John Ware Building at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, the Four Nine’s Cafeteria, and a legion of admiration and respect for a man who refused to be tried by the color of his skin.

The Minister’s funeral tribute imparted a fitting farewell; “John Ware was a man with a beautiful skin. Every human skin is as beautiful as the character of the person who wears it. To know John Ware was to know a gentleman, one of God’s gentlemen. Never again will I see a colored skin as anything but lovely. He leaves me with the thought that black is a beautiful color – one which the Creator must have held in particularly high favor because He gave it to His most cheerful people. Make no mistake about it, black can be beautiful”, as is the legend, John Ware.

Much of the research for this blog was obtained from the book John Ware’s Cow Country, written by Grant MacEwan. Inside this particular book is a signed note from the author.

 

 

Introducing WHR Boutique!

The WHR Neck Wrap in Turquoise, with black fringe is a stunning piece to add to your wardrobe.

 

It’s autumn, and staying warm and cozy outdoors is a necessity for every cowgirl who lives in Canada. However, staying warm and fashionable is now a thing, thanks in part to our newest venture – the WHR Boutique! You can check it out here.

The WHR Neck Wrap in Aqua, made from Chief Joseph Pendleton® blankets.

 

In the WHR Boutique, you’ll find an array of beautifully, hand-crafted neck wraps designed by WHR Staff and hand-made in Canada by Janine’s Custom Creations, exclusively for Western Horse Review. Crafted from real Pendleton® Blankets, or iconic Hudson’s Bay Point blankets (not labelled), or with other beautiful western blankets, these wraps are stylishly functional and look attractive with any style of outerwear.

 

The WHR Neck Wrap in Iconic Canadiana, with a red fleece inside lining and without fringe.

 

Light weight and lined with a fleece or sherpa material for comfort and warmth, they are the perfect way to give yourself more protection against the elements. With easy snap closures, they can also be worn over the shoulders or as a wrap.

The WHR wrap in Teal & Eggplant.

We think these wraps make the ultimate gift and are just in time for the chilly weather. With fringe or without, they are also the perfect way to dress up a denim jacket, or give a leather coat more of a cowgirl quality.

WHR Neck Wrap in Turquoise

The other beautiful aspect of these wraps is that when purchased, you are supporting true, local businesses. Hand-made and designed in Canada.

WHR Neck Wrap in Turquoise, with Burgundy and Tan Accents.

 

Now we have to introduce you to the talent bringing these beautiful pieces to life. Janine Stabner (of Janine’s Custom Creations), is a local Calgarian, born and raised. She has over 35 years of sewing and design experience and graduated design schools with top honors. She has worked alongside a number of top designers. In addition to this, Janine is also an official sponsor for the Calgary Stampede Royalty (Queen, and Princesses) and for The Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess. Those outfits you see on the Stampede Royalty on parade day come from Janine’s workshop – which continues to be her favorite place in the entire world. Drawing, design, creating, sewing and helping others bring their visions of design to life is what inspires her.

If you’re a fan of reality TV, you can catch Janine on October 7, on an episode of STITCHED, a fierce, television competition series that fuses jaw-dropping creations and big personalities from the world of North American fashion. The series matches wits and stitches in an epic fashion throw-down in three rounds. In every high-style-meets-high-stakes episode, four competitors face off in dramatically themed challenges with one designer eliminated each round. Facing the resident judges and a new guest judge per episode, designers create ambitious outfits inspired by unique materials and concepts under tight timelines. In the end, the top designer from each episode rises to the top with a couture-level creation that earns them the $10,000 prize.

The WHR Neck Wrap in Aqua, with Fringe.

We can’t wait to see who makes it to the final round! But for now, we are extremely proud to be affiliated with Janine’s Custom Creations in our newest venture. Stay tuned for other exciting products on the horizon of the WHR Boutique!