Internal Parasites and Your Barn Cat

By Dr. Bronwyn Atkinson & Jennifer Council of Barrett Veterinary Practice

Barn cats are an integral part of a farm/acreage environment and play an important role in rodent population control. Hardworking barn cats can be very useful to keep rodent populations in check as well as a pleasure to have around. So, how can we keep these kitties healthy and best equipped to do their jobs? In this blog, we will go into more detail about diseases that commonly affect barn cats and the different ways we can keep them healthy and performing at their best.

Internal Parasites in Cats

Roundworms: Roundworms are the most common internal parasite found in cats – kittens often carry more due to their age and young immune systems.  Adult roundworms are about 3-5 inches in length, off-white in colour and live in the cat’s intestines.

Kittens often carry more round worms due to their age and young immune systems.

A mature worm lays its eggs in the intestines where they can be passed in the cats’ feces. Once out in the environment the eggs mature into larvae and infect new cats. Rodents also carry these larvae in their tissues – infecting cats, which are hunting. Roundworms can cause disease in people, especially those with weaker immune systems. It is rare, but if there are numbers of larvae in the environment and they are ingested, they can migrate around human tissues trying to find a good place to settle, causing serious health problems.

Hookworms: Cats can be infected with hookworm larvae when they burrow through their skin – usually the paw pads. Infestation also occurs when a cat eats a rodent that is carrying hookworms in its tissues. These worms are about 1/2-inch in length and live in the intestines. Young worms burrow into the lining of the intestine, whereas adult worms use their hooked mouthparts to anchor into the intestinal lining where they suck blood. Heavy hookworm infection can cause cats to have poor growth, poor hair coat, diarrhea, anemia and even death from blood loss. Hookworms can also migrate into human skin, causing irritation and need for medical attention – luckily, this is rare as humans are not the hookworm’s preferred hosts.

Tapeworms: These are long, ribbon-like worms with bodies made up of egg-containing segments. These worms live in the cat’s small intestine and use their heads to hook onto the lining of the gut. The segments at the worm’s tail end mature first, break off and are passed in the cat’s feces. These segments can also sometimes be seen around the cat’s anus or tail area and look like rice grains if they are fresh, or sesame seeds if they are dried. Cats can pick up tapeworms by eating rodents that carry them, or by ingesting fleas that can also carry tapeworms. Adult tapeworms in the gastrointestinal tract are usually harmless to the cats. However, the younger tapeworm life stages that is shed by cats can cause cysts in organs such as the liver of horses, cows and pigs.

Echinococcus multilocularis is one specific kind of tapeworm that lives like the others, spending part of their life cycle inside a rodent, often being eaten by carnivores along with its host. They mature to an adult tapeworm in the carnivore’s gut and if ingested by people can cause significant disease by causing cysts that multiply and damage internal human organs.

Combating Feline Parasites

If you’re concerned about parasites your barn cats may be carrying, here’s a list of things you can do:
• Wash your hands after touching barn cats.
• Clean up any feces as well as dead rodent carcasses, to keep the environment as clean as possible.
• De-worm your cats routinely.

There are 2 types of de-wormer that Barrett Veterinary Practice prescribes; Profender, and Advantage Multi. Both are liquids that are applied to the back of a cat’s neck. This application is much easier than trying to pill a shy, barn cat that may not be used to handling!

Profender works to kill roundworms, hookworms and tapeworms.
Advantage Multi kills hookworms, roundworms, fleas and ear mites.

As these products have action against different internal parasites, it is a really good idea to alternate using them. Cats that are actively mousing need to be dewormed every three months. Good parasite control is key to ensuring a healthy barn cat and preventing disease in other species as well.

 

Centennial Buckle Means A Lot to Green

Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

Saddle bronc rider, Layton Green, is hoping a big win at Falkland will propel his season forward. Photo Credit: Billie-Jean Duff/Roughstock Studio

Layton Green is hoping history might just repeat itself.

It was one year ago that the Meeting Creek, Alberta bronc rider rolled into Falkland on the May Long and left town a while later as the Falkland Stampede champion. But just as importantly, the Falkland win propelled the 23 year old talent to a phenomenal string of successes on both sides of the 49th parallel that resulted in Green eventually being crowned Canadian Champion and earning his first trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Fast forward one year and there was Green once again emerging with the Falkland bronc riding title after a standout 87.5 point effort aboard Northcott-Macza’s Honeymoon for $1417. But this one was maybe a bit more special as the win came with the 100th anniversary commemorative buckle the committee put up to celebrate its centennial edition.
“Yeah, that’s pretty cool,” Green reflected. “Anytime you win one of those anniversary rodeos it means a lot, especially when you think about the fact that you’re the only person who will ever have that buckle. It’s pretty exciting to win one like that.”
As for putting together another run like the 2017 roll he enjoyed, Green was very definite. “That’s my plan,” he stated. “After I won Falkland last year, I really started rolling from there. This is the time of the year I really love—the outdoor rodeos—I’m just getting warmed up. I’m really excited for the rest of the year.”
The reigning champion wasn’t the only repeat winner at Falkland. Barrel racer Shalayne Lewis of Vernon also went back to back, this time with a 16.658 second run to take home $1292.
Other Falkland 100th Anniversary Champions included Cadogan product Clint Laye in the bareback riding (87 points on Northcott-Macza’s Stevie Knicks for $1264), bull rider Austin Nash of Eckville (86 points on Northcott-Macza’s Crazy Wings for $1512); Cochrane’s Straws Milan whose 4.1 second run earned $1599; veteran Curtis Cassidy who posted a 9.0 run in the tie-down roping to come away with $1730 and the team roping duo of Brett Buss (Ponoka) and Kelly Buhler (Pritchard, BC) who topped the field with a 4.9 second run for $1213 each.
Milo, Alberta’s, Chett Deitz, earned 65 points and $256 to win the novice bareback riding championship; Ben Andersen (Eckville, AB) was 71 points for $303 to capture the novice saddle bronc riding title while in the steer riding it was Carter Sahli or Red Deer who scored 78.5 points for $302.64 and the win.
For complete Falkland Stampede results, go to rodeocanada.com
Next up on the CPRA schedule—a four event weekend with the Grande Prairie Stompede and Leduc Black Gold Rodeo both running from May 31 to June 3, the Wildwood Bronc Bustin June 2 and the Hand Hills Lake Stampede June 2-3.
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About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. The organization holds the Grass Roots Final September 27-28 at Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta and their premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) – at the ENMAX Centrium, Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta, October 30 – November 4. Follow the CPRA on Twitter and Instagram @prorodeocanada, ‘Like’ Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook or online at RodeoCanada.com.

An Interview with Cieran Starlight

How the 2018 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess is breaking barriers and maintaining the ethos of Stampede.

BY JENN WEBSTER

If you haven’t picked up a copy of the May/June Western Horse Review, you need to – soon! In this issue, we had the opportunity to photograph and interview Cieran Starlight, the 2018 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. Lending her photography talent, was Shelby Simmonds of Twisted Tree Photography. There were so many amazing photos taken at this shoot and since it’s not always possible to fit everything onto the printed pages of a magazine, we simply had to showcase them here. Here too, is an excerpt of the interview.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Cieran Starlight is a fresh face in a heavy conversation about Indigenous awareness.

Raised traditionally, Starlight hails from the Tsuu T’ina First Nations. She represents the tribes of Treaty 7 (Siksika, Tsuu T’ina, Stoney, Piikani and Kainai Nations), Indian Village and the Calgary Stampede as the 2018 Indian Princess. It’s a commitment of colossal proportions and one that requires large shoulders. As Princess, Starlight will attend numerous events during her reign (more than there are days in the year), and educate the people she meets about the vibrant First Nations culture.

The name of her title will be questioned.

That fact alone should make the general public realize that upon winning her crown, Starlight won herself a very important role in promoting Indigenous richness – not a beauty pageant.

Starlight in her white, satin fancy dress, colourful shawl, and other breathtaking, cultural regalia. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

However, it doesn’t hurt that she has the kindest eyes, a genuinely beautiful smile and flawless skin either.

Growing up around the Calgary Stampede teepee owners, Starlight is well educated about the history of the Indian Village. Her family has been part of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth since 1912. She comes from a long line of Starlight performers who year after year, stay in the Village for the duration of Stampede’s 10 days answering questions for tourists, performing in Rope Square, and participating in mini pow-wows. She even worked one summer stint as an interpretative guide. It’s possible Starlight’s transition into the Indian Princess role, was a birth right bestowed on her by the universe.

There may be no more genuinely authentic person to represent First Nations peoples and their Stampede traditions at the moment than Starlight. Her challenge – one shared by a younger generation that has inherited the after effects of a cultural trauma – is how to encourage a better understanding of Aboriginal Peoples and how to keep that difficult conversation relevant for the future.

“I am not offended to be called the Indian Princess. I’m okay with it. It’s beaded into my crown. People have just used it in such an offensive way to Natives in the past,” Starlight says. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Luckily, for many of her adventures as Princess, Starlight is accompanied by chaperone Holly Fortier, who is a Cree/Dene from Ft. McKay First Nation, Alberta, and was also born in Treaty 7 Territory. Fortier has travelled the county conducting cultural sensitivity workshops to literally thousands of people, through her Nisto Consulting business. Fortier is in the ripple-effect generation of Indigenous people who suffered first-hand from Canada’s Residential School policies as her own mother was taken from her family at an early age. She has her own story and has carved out her own powerful role in the world by helping others adopt a respectful comprehension of Indigenous awareness.

Together and separately, both Starlight and Fortier are a spiritual force we can’t help but embrace. They are the winds carrying change.

“I’m so happy that I get to be a voice and not just a face,” Starlight tells us afterwards.

Starlight’s custom Princess buckle and a jingle dress she created herself. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

In the interview, we talk about the history of the Calgary Stampede, Guy Weadick and the positive relations between the Stampede and the Treaty 7 First Nations people. We also talk about the Indigenous name controversy. It’s an enlightening conversation to which, we are privileged to have Fortier’s guidance on the subject.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

We also discover the many talents Starlight possesses: she often makes her own jingle or fancy dresses and shawls to compete in traditional dance. One of her favorite tasks as the Princess are her days spent with the Happy Trails organization – a monthly event during her reign that requires all of the Stampede Royalty to meet at Senior Citizen homes and spend time with the residents.

“We sing old songs and do live performances for them,” Starlight grins. “Sometimes they want to sing along with us so we’ll find the page in their songbooks for them too. Things like that.”

She often tries to wear her yellow jingle dress on these visits because she knows many of the seniors need their spirits lifted. “I do a healing dance for them. A lot of the older ladies want to touch the jingles afterwards – they’re so cute. And it’s so nice if you can bring a smile to their face,” she says.

 

Starlight curbs the chill of the winter temperatures, in a Pendleton Night Dance Robe blanket. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

“My role as Princess is to try and break down barriers and help people understand – this is about more than just a title. The Calgary Stampede is run on volunteers. The Royalty programs are youth development programs that help young women learn to speak publicly and build their confidence. I’m trying to educate people about my culture. We all have different dialects of language and different traditions that we practice. A word is not what I’m focusing on – it’s the Treaty 7 and the Calgary Stampede as a whole.” – Cieran Starlight.

To read more of this exclusive interview, order your subscription today at: www.westernhorsereview.com

Understanding Praise™ Hemp

If you are curious about the upward trend of Praise™ hemp products and their numerous benefits for horses on the equine nutrition front, it’s no illusion. Horse owners everywhere are discovering the healthy advantages Praise™ hemp can offer to equines at a rapid pace.

If however, you’re still on the fence about feeding hemp to your horses, let us help break it down. Western Horse Review recently had the opportunity to delve deeper into the many benefits of Praise™ hemp products and understand this nutritional superfood from the ground up.

Hemp seeds are categorized as an “achene” a one-seeded fruit with an inner “nut” protected by a hard outer shell.

Cannabis Sativa L. is the scientific name for hemp and it comes from the same family as sunflowers. It is a strong and fast growing, versatile plant that has been used by man for thousands of years and thousands of uses. It has been praised as the single greatest plant resource for human health and well-being as it provides food, clothing, shelter and medicine. Hemp plants are naturally found on all continents.

Hemp seeds are categorized as an “achene” a one-seeded fruit with an inner “nut” protected by a hard outer shell. It is one of the most essential nutrient dense and balanced foods available, and provides an excellent easily digestible source of protein and healthy fats for human and animal health. Once removed from the shell, the nut can be eaten raw or pressed to create hemp oil. Praise™ hemp uses a number of unique processes to ensure that the shelling, cleaning and pressing are done gently, thoroughly, and at a cool temperature to protect nutritional values. The result is an exceptionally clean, flavourful product with an optimum nutritional profile.

So why would a discerning horse owner decide to feed hemp to one’s equine?

By supplementing hemp oil, topping and protein fiber to your equine’s diets you may notice improvements in their immune system, energy, digestion, skin, coat, mobility, muscle health and cardiovascular health.

Hemp is considered to be a “Superfood” due to its digestibility, Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs), Essential Amino Acids (the building blocks of protein), vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients – especially terpenes and cannabidiols (CBD). All living things with a vertebrae have an “endocannabinoid system” and hemp has an unusually vast and plentiful array of the cannabinoids which mimic our own endocannabinoid system. When consumed, many health benefits are experienced in all areas of the human body. This rings true for many animals as well and especially in horses and dogs.

What separates hemp oil from the rest of the supplements currently on the market is that while Praise™ hemp’s Omega 6:3 ratio is 3:1, it also has GLA – Gamma Linolenic Acid which is actually an Omega 6 fatty acid but unlike other Omega 6s, it is known to reduce inflammation.

 This is akin to a secret weapon in the equine competition world because Praise™ hemp products can help reduce a wide array of inflammatory related diseases including skin conditions, allergies, degenerative joint disease, heart disease and reduce inflammation involved in mobility and digestion.

 That’s why we are seeing all kinds of competitive riders flocking to Praise™ hemp. These include rodeo athletes, endurance riders, dressage competitors, and western performance enthusiasts of various disciplines.

Angie Pierce, an endurance and competitive trail rider loves the benefits of Praise Hemp products that she regularly observes in her horses.

“Praise™ hemp oil helped my distance horse with stamina, recovery and lean muscle mass,” says Angie Pierce of Beaver County, AB. Pierce is the owner of Jenovation Farm and is an endurance and competitive trail rider.

“I am completely sold on the benefits that Praise products provide to my equines, whether it be my competing horses or the senior members of the herd.”

It may be a tiny seed, but it’s a nutritional giant.

Learn more about Praise Hemp products at: www.praisehemp.com

Try a Bit Before You Buy It!

There’s no question – top riders across the globe favour Tom Balding’s handcrafted bits and spurs. With Balding’s meticulous attention to detail, knowledge of the horse and high quality materials used to create his bits and spurs, it’s no wonder Balding’s company is a leader in the field. Fans include the National Reining Horse Association $5 Million Rider Andrea Fappani, National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Famer Phil Rapp, and National Reined Cow Horse Association Million-Dollar Rider Zane Davis, to name a few.

If you’ve ever considered purchasing a high quality bit, Tom Balding Bits & Spurs offers a wide variety of custom bit combinations. No matter what you are looking to attain from your horse’s performance, there’s a bit that will offer customized assistance. Tom Balding Bits & Spurs knows a high quality bit purchase requires the best educated decision possible; as it is an investment that will often last a lifetime. Which is why the company created the Trial Bit Service, offered to those who would like to try a mouthpiece before purchasing – to ensure they are comfortable with the function in relation to their riding style.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Within the Trial Bit Service, clients are welcome to try up to three bits for two weeks. Additionally, the company tries to offer most combinations; however, because of the large number of possible combinations, clients may have to try a bit with a similar shank to the one requested. The only out of pocket expense you may incur are the shipping costs. For more information about this unique service, check out the Trial Bit website page here.

There are also multiple resources on the Tom Balding Bits & Spurs website available to help you select a mouthpiece and shank combination you might like to try. They include:

•  The Tom Balding blog.
•  The online catalog.
• The bit creator.
Sample buy-it-now-options.
Endorsements.

 

When you are ready to request your trial bits give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call or message them with the desired mouthpiece and shank combinations. They look forward to getting you into the right bit for you and your horse. Request your trial bits today!

Give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call at 307.672.8459 or visit them online at: www.tombalding.com

 

Rodeo’s Best to Compete At Calgary Stampede 2018

Courtesy of the Calgary Stampede

Tiany Schuster was the 2017 Calgary Stampede Barrel Racing Champion, and will be returning to defend her title in 2018. Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede

Calgary – The Calgary Stampede is proud to officially reveal the names of the 120 rodeo superstars who have been invited to compete at Stampede 2018, July 6-15. Among them is 23 year-old Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta, who has his sights set on capturing a record breaking fourth straight Calgary Stampede Saddle Bronc Championship.

“Zeke Thurston has the opportunity to make an incredible mark in Stampede history, but it won’t be easy,” says Kynan Vine, Manager of Western Events. “He is just one of many incredible competitors from Canada, the United States and Brazil who will be riding for a share of more than $2 million in prize money at this year’s Calgary Stampede.”

All six 2017 Calgary Stampede champions will return in 2018 to defend their titles at the world’s largest outdoor rodeo. They will be joined by the best-of-the-best in the world of rodeo, from the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, Women’s Professional Rodeo Association, Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and Professional Bull Riders.

Canadian rodeo fans will be excited to see the return of veterans such as local bull rider Scott Schiffner, a Canadian and Stampede Champion and brothers Curtis and Cody Cassidy of Donalda, Alberta. Canada is also well represented by talented young riders such as Jake Vold, Clay Elliott, Layton Green and Zane Lambert. In Ladies Barrel Racing, 2017 Canadian Champion Carman Pozzobon of B.C. joins Diane Skocdopole of Big Valley, Alberta as the lone Canadians in the group of 20 extremely skilled horsewomen.

“It’s great to see so much home grown talent,” says Justin Denis, Calgary Stampede Rodeo committee chair, adding “We call it the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth for a reason. You will truly see the best in the world compete in Calgary over 10 days this July.”

The full 2018 Calgary Stampede Rodeo contestant list is below, and can also be found on CalgaryStampede.com.

Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Calgary Stampede, and can be purchased at CalgaryStampede.com

 

If Zeke Thurston can continue his winning streak at the Calgary Stampede it will be a record-breaking moment in rodeo history. Photo Credit: Calgary Stampede

2018 Calgary Stampede Rodeo Contestants:
Saddle Bronc Riding
Justin Berg – Marwayne, AB
Hardy Braden – Welch, OK
CoBurn Bradshaw – Milford, UT
Jacobs Crawley – Boerne, TX
Sterling Crawley – Stephenville TX
Brody Cress – Hillsdale, WY
Cody DeMoss – Heflin, LA
Isaac Diaz – Desdemona, TX
Clay Elliott – Nanton, AB
Layton Green – Meeting Creek, AB
Dusty Hausauer – Dickinson, ND
Sam Kelts – Millarville, AB
Taos Muncy – Corona, NM
Audy Reed – Spearman, TX
Cort Scheer – Elsmere, NE
Wade Sundell – Coleman, OK
Zeke Thurston – Big Valley, AB
Jake Wright – Milford, UT
Ryder Wright- Milford, UT
Rusty Wright – Milford, UT
Bareback Riding
Tanner Aus – Granite Falls, MN
Caleb Bennett – Tremonton, UT
Clayton Biglow – Clements, CA
Ty Breuer – Mandan, ND
Jake Brown – Cleveland ,TX
Richmond Champion – Dublin, TX
Mason Clements – Santaquin, UT
Wyatt Denny – Minden, NV
Steven Dent – Mullen, NE
Kaycee Feild – Elk Ridge, UT
Cole Goodine – Carbon, AB
Seth Hardwick – Laramie, WY
Tilden Hooper – Weatherford, TX
RC Landingham – Hat Creek, CA
Orin Larsen – Inglis, MB
Clint Laye – Cadogan, AB
Tim O’Connell – Zwingle, IA
Bill Tutor – Huntsville, TX
J.R. Vezain – Cowley, WY
Jake Vold – Airdrie, AB
Ladies Barrel Racing
Taci Bettis – Round Top, TX
Kelly Bruner – Millsap, TX
Kellie Collier – Hereford , TX
Ivy Conrado – Hudson, CO
Callahan Crossley – Hermiston, OR
Jaime Hinton – Bulverde, TX
Hailey Kinsel – Cotulla, TX
Nicole Laurence – Cresson, TX
Lisa Lockhart – Oelrichs , SD
Nellie Miller – Cottonwood, CA
Amberleigh Moore – Salem, OR
Tillar Murray – Fort Worth, TX
Ericka Nelson – Century , FL
Carman Pozzobon – Aldergrove, BC
Carley Richardson – Pampa, TX
Jessica Routier – Buffalo, SD
Tiany Schuster – Krum, TX
Diane Skocdopole –  Big Valley, AB
Kylie Weast – Comanche, OK
Carmel Wright – Roy, MT
Steer Wrestling
Curtis Cassidy – Donalda, AB
Cody Cassidy – Donalda , AB
Cole Edge – Humboldt, IA
Dakota Eldridge – Elko, NV
Ty Erickson – Helena, MT
Chason Floyd – Ludlow, SD
Scott Guenthner – Consort, AB
Olin Hannum – Malad, UT
Kyle Irwin – Robertsdale, AL
Brendan Laye – Consort, AB
Tanner Milan – Cochrane, AB
Straws Milan – Cochrane, AB
Rowdy Parrott – Mamou, LA
Tyler Pearson – Independence, LA
Jon Ragatz – Beetwon, WI
Matt Reeves – Cross Plains, TX
Baylor Roche- Tremonton, UT
J. D. Struxness – Appleton, MN
Jason Thomas – Archer City, TX
Tyler Waguespack – Gonzales, LA
Tie Down Roping
Logan Bird – Nanton, AB
Al Bouchard – Scandia, AB
Trevor Brazile – Decatur, TX
Tuf Cooper – Weatherford, TX
Marcos Costa – Parana, BRA
Blane Cox – Cameron, TX
Morgan Grant – Didsbury, AB
Shane Hanchey – Sulphur, LA
Ryan Jarrett – Comanche, OK
Kyle Lucas – Carstairs, AB
Cooper Martin – Alma, KS
Timber Moore – Aubrey, TX
Jake Pratt – Ellensburg, WA
Matt Shiozawa – Chubbuck, ID
Caleb Smidt – Bellville, TX
Cory Solomon – Prairie View, TX
Cade Swor – Chico, TX
Stetson Vest – Childress, TX
Riley Warren – Stettler, AB
Marty Yates – Stephenville, TX
Bull Riding
Eduardo Aparecido – Goias, BRA
Trey Benton III – Rock Island, TX
Todd Chotowetz – Major, SK
Cooper Davis – Buna, TX
Ramon de Lima – Sao Paulo, BRA
Luciano De Castro – Ribeira Dos Indios, BRA
Joe Frost – Randlett, UT
Marcos Gloria – Edmonton,  AB
Jordan Hansen – Calgary, AB
Sage Steele Kimzey – Strong City, OK
Derek Kolbaba – Walla Walla, WA
Zane Lambert – Ponoka, AB
Jess Lockwood – Volborg, MT
Cole Melancon – Batson, TX
Chase Outlaw – Crossett, AR
Scott Schiffner – Strathmore, AB
Garrett Smith – Rexburg, ID
Fabiano Vieira – Perola, BRA
Ty Wallace – Collbran, CO
Stormy Wing – Dalhart, TX
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together, we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates our western heritage, cultures and community spirit. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.

A Country Easter

With (hypothetical) Spring in the air and Easter to celebrate this weekend, my kids and I needed some country-esque decorating inspiration. As such, we turned to Pinterest and found a few cool ideas we thought we’d share with you. After all, a snow storm outside plus time off school means this household needs a few crafts to keep everyone happy.

First up was a tablescape for our Easter dinner. With its peat moss and bunny features, this one from Nora Murphy Country House is a favorite:

Next up were the eggs. These ones caught our eyes…

As found on Pinterest

and the same with these…

As found on Pinterest

…or these are adorable.

As found on Pinterest

However in reality, this is more our style:

The Easter Bunny also has some work to do, to help the kids gather their eggs after the Easter egg hunt. This is an adorable idea for the little horse lovers in your lives!

Speaking of Easter egg hunts, I’ve always wanted to do this. Just not sure this is the year for it…

In whatever capacity you celebrate Easter, we hope you have a wonderful weekend!

Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket: A Brief History

Source, Pinterest.

By JENN WEBSTER

Recently I had the opportunity to bring my mother a gift. I was really struggling with the perfect offering but when I came across a Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket, I knew my search had ended. Was there anything more Canadian? Growing up, I was always familiar with the multi-stripe pattern of this iconic blanket. One of my most treasured possessions now is a baby picture of my husband crawling around on one. However, I came to realize that after giving the newly acquired gift to my mother, I didn’t understand much of the blanket’s history.

It was time to look further into the iconic status of the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket. First commissioned by Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC) in 1800, the multi-stripe design lives on as a testament to our shared Canadian heritage. Throughout the 18th century, wool blankets were among the most popular trade items in the Canadian fur trade, accounting for more than 60% of all goods exchanged by 1700. Although blankets had been a trade good offered for some time, it was not until 1779 that the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket came to life.

French fur-trader Germain Maugenest is thought to have advised the HBC to introduce point blankets. As part of his service of employment to HBC, he offered several suggestions for improving the growing inland trade from Fort Albany along the west coast of James Bay. One of his suggestions was that the company should regularly stock and trade “pointed” blankets.

Points were identified by the indigo lines woven into the side of each blanket. A full point measured 4–5.5 inches (10–14 centimetres); a half point measured half that length. The standard measurements for a pair of 1-point blankets was: 2 feet, 8 inches (81 centimetres) wide by 8 feet (2.4 metres) in length; with a weight of 3 pounds, 1 ounce (1.4 kilograms) each. Points ranged from 1 to 6, increasing by halves depending upon the size and weight of the blanket.

They allowed a blanket’s size to be easily determined even when folded – (Oh, how I wish all blankets and sheets came marked like this! Lord knows a system such as that found on Point Blankets would serve my current linen closet well…!) The point system was invented by French weavers in the mid-1700s since then, as now, blankets were shrunk as part of the manufacturing process. The word point derives from the French empointer, meaning “to make threaded stitches on cloth.”

The number of points on a blanket represents the overall finished size of the blanket – not its value in terms of beaver pelts, as is often thought.

 Although some sources suggest there is some meaning to the stripe colours or order, the truth is that nothing intentional was meant by the design. The four traditional colours of green, red, yellow, and indigo were simply colours that were popular and easily produced using good colourfast dyes at the time (around 1800). They are sometimes referred to as Queen Anne’s colours, since they first became popular during her reign (1702–1714).

 

The 1974 Calgary Stamped Royalty. Happy Barlow, Karin Kraft, Sis Thacker.

Interestingly enough, HBC did not roll out its first commercially available Point Blanket coat until 1922, although fur traders, voyageurs and Indigenous peoples had already been making them into coats for almost 200 years by then. These too, come with a long, interesting history.

The Coyote Fur throw by Caroline Furs.

What I love most about the HBC Point Blankets are their rich history and the fact that back in the early days of fur trading, they were well suited for cold Canadian winters. I had a Grandfather who tried to make an early living out of the trapping of beaver pelts. I can almost picture him traveling by dogsled with his young wife (my Grandmother) draped in a Point Blanket, deep into the wilderness of Canada.

Today, the blankets still hold their iconic status and warmth and as such, are used in a multitude of ways for home decor or fashion.

As seen in Vogue Australia. Source: Pinterest.

With their pops of color, these blankets make Canadiana statements wherever you look. From couch throws, to mugs, to the patterns on towels at a cottage retreat – the HBC Point Blanket pattern has inspired many a home. The pattern has also made appearances on special edition Canadian Olympic blankets, snowboards, Barbies, and milestone anniversary Canadian gifts.

Photo Credit: Ryan Rowell of Rowell Photo

Often duplicated, all genuine HBC Point Blankets come with authenticity labels. This has been done since 1890, as point blankets of similar quality were being sold by HBC competitors. In April 2017 HBC updated the label, rotating it from portrait to landscape, making it is easy to have English and French on either side of the crest. It was also enhanced with red on the flag. To celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary in 2017, HBC added an additional label which was a picture of voyageurs in a canoe, with CANADA on the top, to the blanket.

With such an elaborate history dating back to the early days of fur traders and settlers in Canada, I believe we’ll start to see more of the HBC Point Blanket influence in western lifestyle culture too, as our younger generations begin to understand its importance to our early beginnings. To me, it’s a symbol of early pioneering. A good that was crafted into a need and helped forge early Canada. It goes hand in hand with a wood-burning stove and a love of the past. What’s more western than that?

How To Waterproof a Blanket

By Jenn Webster

With what seems like winter’s relentless grip on us this year, there’s been an increased need for good, waterproofs blankets in my barn. I was tired of constantly buying new blankets to compensate for the rips our horses have incurred, or the new young stock coming for training. So in an effort to try and keep things economical, I dug through our tack room and found a pile of old blankets I had forgotten about.

Oh happy day!

In this pile was even Ol’ Green Faithful – a blanket I’ve had since my teenage days. This green beast has figuratively been thrown “to the wolves,” since it was the blanket belonging to my first Thoroughbred, Charlie. It’s been chewed on, caught on barbed-wire fences and accidentally lost out of the back of a truck a few times. It’s a warrior. Still, you can see from its numerous patches that I’ve taken the time over the years to care for it, wash it and have it stitched and repaired when necessary. Pulling it out of the tack room the other day, I had full confidence that my green blanket could still provide an equine with the necessary comfort and warmth an animal may need, despite the rug’s age.

The only thing that worried me was the blanket’s waterproof qualities at this point – or lack thereof.

That’s when I discovered Dry Guy from Strathcona Ventures, an eco-friendly waterproofing product. Since it was water-based, did not use harsh chemicals that could be harmful to my animals and claimed to dry odor free, I really had nothing to lose. Plus the cost of one bottle of Dry Guy at $15.97 was easily justifiable. So I decided to put Dry Guy to the test with Ol’ Green Faithful. Here’s how easy the process of waterproofing my blanket was:

 

Step #1 – Prep the Blanket.

After being in the tack room for so long, Ol’ Green Faithful was a little dirty. And slightly covered in cat hair. I laid the blanket out on a table outside and brushed it clean with a study, bristle brush. The directions of Dry Guy instruct a person to apply it in a well-ventilated area and this day was beautiful, so it was nice to be outside. I shook the bottle and sprayed my entire blanket, taking care to really get at all the seams of the patches. There was no yellowing of the blanket’s original color and it was easy to apply.

Step #2 – Rub in Any Droplets.

If droplets of Dry Guy accumulate in any area of the blankets, the instructions advise you to rub them in with a soft cloth. Then as soon as the entire blanket was sprayed, I hung it in the sun to dry. A 473 ml/16 fl oz. bottle covers 50-60 square feet.

Step #3 – Don’t Leave Your Blanket Where Critters Can Get to it.

Once the blanket was completely dry, I was extremely pleased with the results. My blanket didn’t “stiffen” with the application of Dry Guy and it made Ol’ Green Faithful both waterproof and dirt repellent! An extra bonus is that Dry Guy comes ready to use and helps blankets resist the growth of mold. I was so impressed with this product and considering Western Horse Review is celebrating our 25th anniversary this year, I figured our readers should all get a chance to win some! There are two ways to win – here’s how:

1. Comment below this blog with regard to why you could use some Dry Guy Waterproofing Spray from Strathcona Ventures & Western Horse Review.

OR

2. Head on over to Western Horse Review’s Instagram or Facebook page and like, comment & tag a friend on this exciting giveaway!

* One winner will be drawn at random at 12 PM MST on March 7, 2018. The Prize must be accepted as awarded and no substitutions will be made. Prizes may not be sold, transferred or assigned and are not convertible to cash.