Back to School

Photo by Rockin A Photography. Outfit from Cody & Sioux.

Whether you’re preparing to send the kids back to school, or headed to back to work, or simply looking to update your wardrobe with the latest fall fashions, we have some ideas for you!

Photo by Rockin A Photography. Outfit from Cody & Sioux.
Photo by Rockin A Photography. Outfit from Cody & Sioux.

Starting out with our list of favorites is an outfit from Cody & Sioux in Calgary, AB. Here, the model is wearing a mid-length navy Tasha Polizzi skirt ($99.95), copper concho belt ($89.95), Shotgun Willie tee ($59.95), Wild leather jacket ($324.95), bone and pearl necklace ($225.95), and her own Doc Marten’s boots.

Photo by Rockin A Photograpy. Outfit from Cody & Sioux.

Next are the Kimes Ranchwear Sarah jeans ($199.95), a Tasha Polizzi Josie shirt ($174.95), Double D Ranchwear Consuela belt ($199.95) and the model’s own vintage Old Gringo boots.

Photo by Rockin A Photograpy. Outfit from Cody & Sioux.

Lastly, we have some Kimes Ranch high-rise Jennifer jeans ($179.95), Leave the Road tee ($54.95), Lack of Colors Sierra Hat ($144.95), Old Gringo boots ($425.00), and a vintage suede Scully jacket.

Photo by Tara McKenzie Fotos. Outfit from Classic Rodeo.

Then we take you to Classic Rodeo in DeWinton, AB. Featured above is a Tasha Polizzi denim, long sleeve shirt ($259), long turquoise necklace (inquire within), Genuine Handcrafted Sterling Earrings ($350) and turquoise ring. Tooled turquoise Juan Antonio purse – $705. Boots are model’s own.

Photo by Tara McKenzie Fotos. Outfit from Classic Rodeo.

Fall is the perfect time for cozy blankets! This one is by Tasha Polizzi. Hat by Charley 1 Horse.

Photo by Tara McKenzie Fotos. Outfit from Classic Rodeo.

Above is a Double D Ranch jacket with soutache embroidery ($675), and Navajo string pearls from Classic Rodeo. Hat is a custom-built Smithbilt.

Photo by BAR XP PHOTO.

Next, we take you to Lammle’s Western Wear, with styles for the whole family! Above is a Girl’s Panhandle shirt with Aztec print and jeans by Grace with jeweled feathers on the pockets.

Photo by BAR XP PHOTO.

Above is Lammle’s own oilskin vest, perfect for the chillier temperatures of fall.

Photo by BAR XP PHOTO.

Rock & Roll Cowgirl Women’s Southwest Print Vest ($39.95), jeans and white tee are model’s own.

Photo by BAR XP PHOTO.

And the Pandhandle Ladies shirt snap dress, Rough Stock For Her. Featuring a tie front, stretch fabric and western yoke, this versatile piece can be worn alone as a dress or open as a duster. Hat from Smithbilt.

We wish everybody a successful September!

Mental Wellness Pt. II

When you have horses, a lot goes into it – it’s not just about riding. Caring for a horse can add to a person’s productivity. Photo by Wildrose Imagery.

This blog is a continuation from our Embracing Mental Health blog. If you’re struggling with mental health, you’re not alone. The pressures added to society due to Covid-19 are two-fold. Here, we get some meaningful advice from Psychologist Vanessa Goodchild, for navigating the world we currently live in.

THE ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM
Depression looks different in every person. Sadly, many men who suffer from anxiety or depression don’t always get noticed.

“Society expects females to cry and share our emotions. Yet still in today’s day and age, society expects men not to share feelings of sadness or overwhelm, etc. Therefore, many men kind of withdraw and bottle up their emotions – they feel like it’s a sign of weakness or they are a failure if they show emotion,” Goodchild states.

She goes on to say that sometimes men don’t even realize depression is a “thing” because there is so much dishonour in society surrounding it.

“We need to slowly reduce that stigma,” she says. “With men , depression or anxiety can show up as aggression or irritability. It’s like an iceberg – on the surface there’s just a little piece popping up out of ocean. This is what we all see – the aggression or irritability. But underneath the water is a larger piece of the iceberg. Underneath there is sadness, guilt, blame, self-doubt, loss and grieving, hopelessness and from my experience in speaking with many male clients, it stems from the belief that they are not good enough and they feel like a failure…”

The psychologist says the reason this happens so often is because of the expectations many men put on themselves.

“They want to be the rock of the family and when challenges or stressors arise , they bring sadness and fear, but also, shame. Men may feel like they are letting down their family. They don’t think they can open up to anyone. It’s not expected in our culture. The pain gets heavier and heavier, until they can’t deal with it anymore,” she explains.

For men, depression or anxiety can be silent and harder to recognize – therefore making it more difficult for them to reach out for support. And according to the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA), “…among Canadians of all ages, four of every five suicides are male.” As such, the CMHA are calling it “a silent crisis.”

“Men are more likely to commit suicide, compared to women,” explains Goodchild. “Women will attempt it but often fail. It’s not a sign of weakness or failure, it’s an actual illness. And it’s not something we can deal with a quick fix. People with suicidal thoughts cannot just ‘Get Over It.’ Even medication can’t just fix it – but there are tools to help people struggling,” the psychologist states.

If you’re someone already strained by a mental health issue, the stressors of 2020 have done little to calm the stormy seas of uncertainty. In fact, the year has exposed many more troubling mental health vulnerabilities. On June 25, 2020, the CMHA put out a press release that stated, “The pandemic has caused intense stress and disruption for all people in Canada, and is causing pronounced mental health concerns, including suicidal thoughts and feelings, in various subgroups of the population, including parents, those with existing mental illness or mental health issues, Indigenous people and those with a disability or who identify as LGBTQ+.”

Goodchild echoes this sentiment. “With Covid, many people with mental health issues have had their coping mechanisms taken away from them. Things like going for coffee, getting away, going on vacation, etc. I’m seeing a lot more anxiety and depression these days.”

“If you don’t feel there’s someone out there you can really open up and talk to, consider seeing a psychologist,” advises Goodchild.

“We’re trained specifically to treat mental illness. We know the research and we’re a compassionate ear. We can walk alongside people as they heal and become better versions of themselves.”

If you are someone who may need to reach out for help, consider this: the more people who come forward and find support, the more the stigma will be erased.

“It’s unfortunate there’s so much stigma associated with ‘mental illness,’ says Goodchild. “Because with an illness, it might be something you can fix! There’s hope. Mental illness might just be a condition where a lot of stressors / difficulties have come up and it’s way too much for one person on their own. It’s more common than we think – but it is treatable. You can learn how to overcome it. We can show you tools and strategies to use, to help you get back to where you were or want to be.”

WHAT CAN BE DONE
If you notice someone close to you may need support, the first step is to check in on them or call them . Don’t pity them, Goodchild advises.

“Reach out to them because it’s harder for them to reach out to you. Show them you care. Find out if they need to talk. If they do feel they can open up to you, listen! Listen without the intent to respond right away and just be there, with them and for them.”

Goodchild says that often it’s human nature to want to solve the other person’s problems and try to fix it for them, but that doesn’t always help.

“They just might need to know that someone cares about them and they can benefit from a little distraction for the time being. Humour might be good. A kind, caring mindset is good. Be compassionate but not belittling to that person.Ask them, ‘What can I do for you?’ Whether it’s cooking a meal, recommending a funny movie, or just somehow maintaining that connection between you – it can all help,” says the psychologist.

Depression and anxiety can happen when a person becomes so numb, so detached, that they don’t know what to do. In some cases it might be helpful to book that person a therapy appointment.

“Help them look up a psychologist in the area,” Goodchild suggests. “But help them confidentially. Learn about depression! Some people think it’s not even a thing – they think a depressed person should be able to snap out of it, but that doesn’t work.”

She says that it’s frequently helpful to learn what depression and anxiety are, what the signs and symptoms are and recognize if someone close to you is showing those behaviours.

“If that’s case, then you may have to impede a little more – if it means saving their life. Looking up signs of suicidal behaviour in people may be good knowledge too. Things like sending a text out of the blue, a goodbye call or letter, or tying up loose ends.

And know that sometimes we don’t see the signs either…” she stresses.

Above all, try not to “fix” that person. Avoid certain statements that are blaming and shaming. Think before you speak and always ask yourself, “Will this be helpful?” before you say something to someone who is in genuine pain.

“For example, don’t say things like, ‘Everyone gets sad sometimes…’ You don’t want to minimize the situation, nor criticize it either.”

Instead, Goodchild recommends saying things like, “You haven’t seemed like yourself lately.”

“Show them gently that you see them and hear them, but you’re still not blaming nor criticizing them.”

She says there can a heavy burden for caregivers living with someone with mental illness or depression. If they really rely on you, you have to ensure you set yourself up with emotional boundaries.

“It can affect the caregiver greatly too,” Goodchild explains. “Our nervous systems do tie up with the people around us. Therefore, we must be in check with ourselves too. Honour our own needs. We have to make sure we’re still exercising and seeking support. Because otherwise, this can lead to burnout.”

As stated, support can be extremely helpful and can be found in numerous, different ways. Especially in big cities. However, rural people may need to look at more online outlets. Sometimes there are helpful tools online, things like support groups for people with chronic pain. Psychologists are an essential service, so rural people can still find ways to do video conferences or telephone calls for help, if distance is a factor.

“And if you are dealing with abuse or there are people in your house that you don’t want to hear your conversation with a psychologist, go for a walk while doing a phone session or sit in your car for more privacy,” Goodchild states.

Remember, there are always ways around perceived hurdles. Suicide help lines or distress centres are available in every region, with 24/7 help. Or a person can call 911 or go to the nearest hospital.

Holistic health measures may be beneficial for finding balance. It’s also important to keep a check on our emotional health. These days we all need to ask ourselves – are we taking on too much? If so, what can be done to prioritize? How are we coping? Can we provide ourself some comfort? Do we do that by reading a book? Or by going horseback riding?

If you need help, speaking with a physiologist can be valuable. However, it’s also important to do the things you love to do. Try a new recipe or paint. Get outside, movement is huge! Listen to music. Watch a funny TV show. Have a bubble bath. Garden. Pet some horses. Take care of yourself.

New Years 2021

By JENN WEBSTER, PHOTOS BY TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY

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

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

Or maybe even this with the kids:

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

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

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

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

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

We’re going to make the most of it.

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

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

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

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

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

THE YEAR THAT WASN’T

2020 in one picture. Photo by BAR XP PHOTO.

BY JENN WEBSTER

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

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

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

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

Boerderij Cheese Fondue

A ranch version of a Swiss classic.


By MIKE EDGAR, PHOTOS BY TWISTED TREE PHOTOGRAPHY


Celebrate the season with a big, beautiful platter of cheese, charcuterie, bread and seasonal fruits. This gooey indulgence is a festive family tradition in many households, but is a delicious treat at any time. Serve it around a holiday table and make an entire evening of memories from it.

INGREDIENTS
½ Pound Cave Aged Gruyere Cheese
½ Pound Raclette Cheese
2 Tbsp. Cornstarch
1 Garlic Clove peeled
1 Cup Dry White Wine
1 Tbsp. Lemon
2 Tbsp. Brandy
½ Tsp. Dry Mustard
Pinch of Nutmeg
Assorted breads and cured meats for dipping.


 METHOD

  1. In a small bowl, coat the cheeses with cornstarch and set aside. Rub the inside of a ceramic fondue pot with garlic, then discard.
  2. Over medium heat add the wine and lemon juice to the fondue pot and bring to a gentle simmer. Gradually stir the cheese into the simmering liquid – melting the cheese slowly encourages a smooth fondue. Once smooth, stir in the brandy, nutmeg and mustard.
  3. Surround your fondue with all your meats, fruits, bread and family and enjoy.
  • Thank-you to the French 50 Bakery in Okotoks, AB, for providing the bread for this recipe.

Remembering our Aboriginal Veterans

The lapel pin commissioned by the Royal Canadian Legion
to commemorate Aboriginal Veterans
.

BY DEBBIE MACRAE

While not officially recognized by the Federal Government as National Aboriginal Veterans Day, November 8th, was inaugurated in Winnipeg in 1994 to recognize the efforts of our Indigenous Veterans and aboriginal participants.

Even before the War of 1812, territorial expansion was being guarded and defended against invasion by encroaching military and political interests. As British territories became vulnerable to attack, thousands of First Nations and Metis warriors were mustered to defend their borders during the War of 1812. More than 10,000 First Nations fighters participated in virtually every battle from the Great Lakes region and the St. Lawrence Valley.

Not only were they physically honed with stealth, patience and marksmanship, they brought a different element of communication not privy to the enemy.

During the Great War, 1914 – 1918, the interest from indigenous participants continued; requiring that volunteers travel extensive distances, learn new languages, and adapt dramatically to cultural differences, previously unfamiliar.

Hunters became snipers and reconnaissance scouts. In World War II they took on a new role; that of Code talkers, converting sensitive radio messages into languages like Cree, an Algonquin homeland dialect thought to be approximately 2,500 to 3,000-years-old from the great lakes region. Other interpreters would convert the messages back, preventing interception by the enemy.

It is believed that by the end of the conflict in 1945, over 3,000 First Nations members had served in uniform. However, the numbers were understated as unknown numbers of Metis, Inuit, and other Indigenous recruits continued to enroll in the Royal Canadian Navy, and Royal Canadian Air Force, as well as the Canadian Army. It is estimated that as many as 12,000 Indigenous people served to defend Canada’s interests during the 20th century.

Their efforts did not stop there. Large amounts of food, money, clothing and supplies were donated on the home front including the use of portions of their reserve lands for defense installations, rifle ranges and the construction of airport facilities.

Many returned to service in 1950 during the Korean War, after having seen action in World War II – and many more did not come home.

Their service continues – from NATO service in Europe to performing international peace support operations worldwide. Service in Afghanistan and even in Canada in remote locations along our east and west coasts, finds our Indigenous military personnel maintaining a vigilant presence to serve and protect in both local and international operations. In recognition of the contributions of all Aboriginal Canadians in war and peacekeeping operations, having served, or contributed on the home front, “To Aboriginal War Veterans in Canada and to those that have Fallen…”, the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument was erected in Confederation Park on the east side of Elgin Street between Laurier Avenue West and Slater Street, in Ottawa, Ontario.

The work is that of artist Lloyd Pinay, and depicts a large bronze eagle on the top, with four men and women from different Indigenous groups across Canada, beneath. The four “spiritual guides” understood to be critical to military success are the powerful wolf, bear, bison, and caribou, defending each corner.

The monument was unveiled on National Aboriginal Day, June 21, 2001 by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, C.C., C.M.M., C. D. former Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces.

In 2005, the Government of Canada participated in a sacred Calling Home Ceremony with Indigenous Spiritual Elders, Veterans and their families in an Aboriginal Spiritual Journey. This special ceremony was intended to invite the spirits of the war dead, and those who served in the World Wars, to return home to their families in their ancestral homelands.

A cultural illustration was created for the event, symbolizing each of the three main participating Indigenous groups:

First Nations People were signified by the Eagle’s Feather, held in the highest regard as the messenger of the Creator. The feather is the link between Creator and the People.

The Inuit symbol was that of the Inuksuk; traditional markers constructed for direction, sighting windows, hunting caches, or fishing locations, as well as another “virtual” being for hunting or companionship.

The colourful Metis Sash originated amongst the voyageurs. Its diverse functionality varied from emergency sewing kits for hunts, bathing cloths and towels, saddle blankets and emergency ropes or halters. Many of the voyageurs had mixed heritages, and the sash became an integral symbol of Metis culture in the West.

In appreciation of their contribution, the Royal Canadian Legion commemorated the Aboriginal Veterans with a lapel pin depicting those symbols. Centered on a dreamcatcher, (originally an Ojibwe symbol of protection), is the Legion Poppy encircled by the Metis sash. Suspended on either side of the Inuit Inuksuk are two Eagle feathers, symbolic of the First Nations people. Unique and beautiful in design, the pin is truly a symbol of unity and honour.

On November 8th, we honour those First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people who have long-served the proud tradition of military service and peace keeping for our country. We thank you.

We acknowledge Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, Veterans Affairs Canada, Artist Noel Lloyd Pinay, and Fred Gaffen, without whose contributions this article would not be possible.

Get Ready for More Heartland!

Photo credit: Andrew Bako. Courtesy of CBC. 

BY JENN WEBSTER

Have you heard? There will be a season #13 of Heartland! For all you Heartland fans out there, Season 12 airs Sundays at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT) on CBC and CBC Gem through early April. The current and past seasons are available on-demand on the free CBC Gem streaming service. But if that isn’t enough, recently we had the opportunity to interview Amber Marshall. In a Q & A-style dialogue, here are a few highlights from that visit:

Q. What’s next for the characters or the show? What is something you would like to see within the show in the next few years?

AMBER – My favorite aspect about season 12 is the “togetherness” between Amy, Ty and Lindy. We’ve seen them go through ups and downs and we’ve watched them focus on building a business together. It’s really great for fans to see them working together towards a common dream. And to see them as parents.

This year we introduced “Luke,” a troubled kid who comes to Heartland to escape the troubles of his own life on weekends and spend time with Ty. It’s a neat dynamic between these characters. Ty gets to witness some of his past through this young child. And he is able to help the child because of what Ty has gone through.

In their loft home above the Heartland barn, Amy (Amber Marshall), Ty (Graham Wardle) and their daughter Lyndy (Ruby/Emmanuella Spencer). Photo credit: Andrew Bako. Courtesy of CBC.

Georgie is with a new jumping trainer this season and we see her reaching new levels. That’s exciting! That’s one thing I love about Heartland, the fact that we cover so many different disciplines. Amy is more western but Georgie is more English. Alisha Newton herself, is a really talented English rider, whereas, and I’m more western. The writers of the show picked up on that. That’s going to make the stories more real and make us as actors, interact in better in our roles better.

Ep. 1210 | Alisha Newton stars as Georgie, seen here with her horse Phoenix, on Heartland. | Air date: Sun, March 31 at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT) | Photo credit: Andrew Bako.

Q. You have been a contributing producer to the show for about five years now. What do you like about that position?

AMBER – I love what I can contribute to the show in terms of practical horse sense. We feature so many different horse aspects on the show. Sometimes an idea is brought up and although I may really love the idea, I will often speak up about how I feel the idea can be accomplished. Our writers do an extreme amount of research and they are very talented, but often they have never owned a horse or experienced the day-to-day to life on a ranch. I live this life on a ranch. And I’m always trying to create the most real experiences I can for Heartland. Whenever something happens interesting in my life, I take it to the writers. Sometimes that say say “Great!” Other times they think about it.

However, my absolute favorite part about that role of contributing producer is, I attend all the meetings ahead of time and go through a step-by-step process to create the show. There is so much prep-work before we ever begin filming! There are weeks put in with the directors and writers in finding locations, the right horses, and the right aspects for the upcoming scenes. There is so much time put into prep, that make our days on set run smoothly. But if the prep not done properly, it doesn’t run smoothly at all. All these things must be choreographed. I think my favorite part about the producer role is that I get to understand all those steps. I’m no longer blind to why certain decisions have been made before we get there. I get to understand everything that goes into making the show.

Ep. 1210 | Amber Marshall stars as Amy Fleming on Heartland. | Air date: Sun, March 31 at 7 p.m. (7:30 NT) | Photo credit: Andrew Bako

Q. Will any of our favourite character horses make an appearance in season 12?

AMBER – I loved working with the mare and foal in season 12! We do get to see them in the wild herd. Of course, Amy wants to check up with them in herd! There’s also a really great story with a Thoroughbred racehorse owned by Lisa Stillman. We also see more of Spartan, who Amy is penning on in the future! Geogie has a great season with Pheonix. And we do introduce new palomino.

Q. You are very involved with many of the horsemanship and stunts on the show – is there any particular new discipline, sport, or type of horse that you would like to see on an upcoming episode of Heartland?

AMBER – Over the last 12 years, we have covered so many disciplines; jousting, mounted archery, every discipline in the book. One thing we’ve never done however is, mounted shooting – but that would be neat. I also think a seeing eye pony would be cool. We really try to reach out and try new disciplines to show the world.

I’ve had so many people come up to me over the years and tell me, “Heartland has inspired me to get on a horse and take lessons!” at whatever age they might be. And they do!

My grandmother even rode her very first horse at the age of 80 because she was inspired by Heartland. It was on her bucket list. She actually took lessons for over a year and now every year, she comes out to my ranch to ride with us on the trails. She’s in her mid-80s!

A CBC original series, HEARTLAND is produced by Seven24 Films and Dynamo Films, and stars Amber Marshall, Michelle Morgan, Graham Wardle, Chris Potter, Shaun Johnston and Alisha Newton. 

Find HEARTLAND online:

Stream all episodes | CBC.ca/Heartland

facebook.com/CBCHeartland | @HeartlandOnCBC

#iloveheartlandinstagram.com/Official_HeartlandonCBC

DOC WEST – Ranch Roping

Illustration by Dave Elston.

Doc West returns with his sage advice for the lost and lonely gunsel.

Q. Doc West, explain if you will, the nuances of difference between ranch roping and team roping?

A. The answer to this question if asked a few years ago would have been as simple as team roping is what the cowboys do at the rodeo, and ranch roping is what the cowboys do back at the ranch. Today however, ranch roping has grown into a popular “off circuit” competitive event that has reached an almost cultish status complete with its own set of rules and even governing associations. As a general observation both competitive events are similar in the sense a team (usually two, but sometimes three) of cowboys (or cowgirls) on horseback armed with ropes or lassos embark upon the act of roping a bovine. However, that is where the similarities end and the many differences begin: for example, team ropers rope a single isolated steer, ranch ropers pick a target out of a herd; team ropers start in the box and blast forward in pursuit of a running target, ranch ropers meander at a walk through a herd. Team roping is a timed event where runs are won or lost on a fraction of a second, ranch roping is scored on a point system of bonuses and penalties, so long as you get your calf roped within the time limit – a generous three or four minutes.
 
Differences in rules and regulations do little justice to what is a truer answer to such a question – a long meandering tale that does not easily lend itself to this column’s short and glossy smartly edited words, as it finds its beginnings 500 hundred years ago when conquistadors such as Cortes and Coronado and De Soto were the first explorers to bury into the North American continent in search of gold to take, but paradoxically leaving a much finer gift, the Spanish horse. Spain’s colonization of the new world brought with it the hacienda system of ranching, which gave life to the pillar of that system, the vaquero. Of Spanish origin and Mexican blood, the vaquero trailed up the Baja travelling the El Camino Real into California, where the gentle climate over time molded the California vaquero into its own unique creation – the “California Tradition” of the American cowboy. Later yet, when the big ranches in California started breaking up, many of the California vaqueros moved northward once again and spread out into the “Buckaroo-dom” of the great basin region of Nevada, Oregon and Idaho where the traditions evolved once more. As a collective, the California Tradition – the vaqueros and buckaroo’s are first and oldest cowboys – Spanish in origin and Mediterranean in mentality.
 
In the California tradition, style rules supreme – flat hats, silvered spade bits, rawhide romel reins, bossels and hackamores, elaborately finessed loops, and a horse tuned as finely as a Swiss watch. A vaquero was not just a hired cowpuncher, he was a caballero, a citizen, a gentleman, an aristocrat of the saddle. An emphasis on form and lifestyle permeated Spanish cowboying where cattle were moved leisurely over the rolling green hills, “it took as long as it took” – if it didn’t get done today, there was always mañana or tomorrow. Modern day ranch roping is a derivative of the vaquero traditions and those high plains riders, and the nature of the competition is rooted in the west coast mindset that faster is not always better; cattle were roped slowly, methodically and with as little stress on the animal as possible – 60-foot lariats are dallied to a leather wrapped pommel which allowed a soft catch and the ability to let loose if things got hairy.
 
The second part of this story finds its genesis in the mid 1800’s when Anglo settlers moved westward into historic Spanish territory and took up ranching, initially in the great plains of Texas. The English adopted the many of the fine vaquero cowboy traditions, however many of these were modified to adapt to a much more unforgiving environment and gave birth to what is known as the “Texas Tradition” – or as modern lore has coined simply as “the cowboy.” Over time the Texan style also spread – following the great cattle herds driven north up the Rockies eastern slopes into the wilds of Wyoming, Montana and across the 49th into Alberta and Saskatchewan. Cowboys of the Texas Tradition were practical individuals, not as concerned with the “how” as with the “is.” By way of example where the California Vaquero enjoyed a pleasant climate they could work all day and mañana too, by contrast most cowpunchers were beat by the panhandle sun into sweltering goo by noon, as such most cowboying needed to be done quickly and efficiently in the morning hours – there was no mañana for the Texas cowboy. Tack was practical and tough, durable clothing that could take thorns, basic working bits, heavy leather split reins, plain saddles, gritty cowponies and maybe a saddle gun too. The Texan roped hard and fast. The big “purdy” open country throws favoured by the buckaroos were impracticable in prairie scrub, cowboys ropes were shorter, throws were tighter and faster, ropes were often tied on to the saddle horn as dallying was deemed too slow and according to the seasoned cowpuncher were reserved for those afraid to commit. The team roping that we all see in rodeos is all about two things, making the catch and how fast you did it. In the Texan Tradition that’s all that mattered on the range and that’s all that matters in the arena.

Holiday Giving – For Her

 

Stuck on the perfect gift idea for her? In this four-part blog series, Western Horse Review has rounded up several of our favorite tidings of joy. This is Christmas shopping made easy! You’re welcome.

By Louisa Murch White & Jenn Webster

 


POP SOCKETS – Never drop your phone again with these sweet handcrafted, Canadian-made pop sockets from Sweet Iron Silver. Sterling silver and can be personalized. Starting at $95
www.sweetiron.com

 


WILD RAGS – Wrap yourself or a loved one in the warmth of a 100% silk wild rag from Brown Creek this winter. Starting at $55
www.browncreekwildrags.com

 

Credit Twisted Tree Photography.

ANYTHING FROM SCOTT HARDY – Looking for something that is truly special? She’ll love anything from renowned silversmith, Scott Hardy. From custom-made buckles, to jewelry, to flasks or saddle silver, Hardy has the perfect signature piece for your one of a kind. Inquire for pricing.
www.scotthardy.com

 

WHR NECK WRAP – Wrap yourself in one of these neck wraps, hand-made in Canada by Janine’s Custom Creations exclusively for Western Horse Review. Crafted from real Pendleton® Blankets, these wraps are stylishly functional and look attractive with any style of outerwear. Light weight and lined with a soft sherpa for comfort and warmth. Easy snap closures. With fringe or without. Can be worn over the shoulders or as a wrap. Many colors and styles to choose from.

whr-boutique.westernhorsereview.com

 

CREDIT: Twisted Tree Photography. All hats from Smithbilt Hats. Tan hat with beadwork is a custom design by @thechiefsdaughter_.

CUSTOM HAT – The right hat is the perfect way to accentuate her western lifestyle. Choose from a variety of styles and colours at Smithbilt Hats to compliment her unique sense of style. Inquire for pricing.
smithbilthats.com

 

YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH TURQUOISE – Featuring one of the largest selections of high quality, vintage, Native American turquoise and sterling silver jewelry from Navajo, Zuni and Hopi artists, the Lost American Art Gallery & Museum has some truly exquisite pieces. Inquire for pricing.
www.thelostamericanartgallery.com

 

SEW CUTE KITS – These adorable mason jar sewing kits from Cattle Cait are the perfect stocking stuffer for the crafty lady in your life. Handmade from 100% recycled wool and jars, each kit contains needles, pins, buttons, a measuring tape and thread. $30.
cattlecait.com

 


JUST RIDE TEE – This stylish, ladies slim-fit graphic tee pairs perfectly with her favourite denim! Navy blue and 100% ringspun cotton, from Tonic Equestrian. $25.
tonicequestrian.com

 

BETTY & JOLENE JEAN – Canada’s #1 western retailer Lammle’s Western Wear & Tack, is now carrying Kimes Ranch Jeans! Two women’s styles, the classic Betty and the stylish Jolene, are the first to be offered both in-store and online through the Lammle’s website at www.lammles.com

 

HANDMADE STOCKINGS – Crafted from real Pendleton® Blankets by Janine’s Custom Creations exclusively for Western Horse Review Boutique, these beautiful stockings show off your western heritage. Fill them with all kinds of Christmas goodies and admire the elegance of your mantle as you do. ($60)
whr-boutique.westernhorsereview.com