Doc West: The Tuf Cooper Debacle



Question: Tuf Cooper invited back to compete at the world’s richest rodeo after last year’s fiasco is a bit of a head-scratcher for me. As, for that matter, is the invitation. These rodeo cowboys need to understand it’s a new world, one where abuse of animals is simply no longer sanctioned. Period. Cooper’s apparent disregard of the intense scrutiny events like the Calgary Stampede are under, should have been, in my opinion, addressed in a longer suspension. If Cooper wants to whip his horses, he can just stay in Texas as far as I’m concerned. Don’t you agree, Doc? 

Answer: Let’s set the record straight – characterizing Tuf Cooper’s ‘over and undering’ his horse with the end of a tie down rope as “abuse” is akin to portraying Justin Trudeau’s now infamous “elbowgate” as the greatest MMA beat-down of all time. Yes, yes, to a West Coast “progressive” it’s a capital offense. Pamela Anderson might write a letter in protest (or try to write a letter. . . or, have someone write a letter for her). But ask any horse trainer worth his salt, any horse trainer worth his salt, and they will all say something like, “you have to get after one every now and then”. Physical correction (within acceptable parameters) is part of horse training and yes, it is part of horsemanship. Forget the warm and fuzzy movies, forget the charlatans, and suave peddlers, forget the money you wasted on nonsense “natural horsemanship” videos – the hard stark truth is horses sometimes require physical correction.

You can’t talk to a horse, you can’t reason with them, they are free from logic as we humans understand it. Horses don’t understand your soft coos, ladies, and they don’t give a hoot about your hollering, fellas. Horses are herd animals that work on pressure and release. Physical pressure and physical release. What Tuf did was not abuse, he applied pressure to his horse in order to obtain a response.  ‎

That being said it wasn’t the place for it. Most “cowboy hat with a whistle” types sitting in the club seats at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, don’t break, train or even own their own horses. Some of them don’t eat meat, others bicycle to work, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say most don’t own a pair of boots – leather or rubber. They see horses as pets – to be cuddled and spoken softly to like their cat, Jerry, on Thursday Greys Anatomy night. So naturally, when people see a big bad cowboy “whip” his horse they spit out their beer and squawk. No one expects to see animals injured, or hit, or even die – because in the minds of the viewing public, those things never happen. That is the reality of the Calgary Stampede, and frankly it’s the reality of modern rodeo; rural culture – all sanitized, distilled, corrupted, packaged and finally displayed in spectacular fashion to all the city folk safe in the fold of a comfortable urban venue. It’s a marriage of opposites – culture, ideas and philosophies – bringing the country to the city, and as with all challenging relationships, both partners need to compromise enough to make it work, but not so much as to lose what made the marriage worth it in the first place.

The Stampede board, committees and directors need to realize that their job is not to simply bend to the whim of Hollywood activists and PETA zealots. They have a responsibility to stand firm, to educate and explain ethical, yet practical realities of animal husbandry. However, in this case even ordinary folks may have cringed a little, because Tuf’s display was cringe-worthy after all, which brings me to my final point. The cowboys also have a responsibility to realize that they are no longer competing in Terrell, East Texas – they are on an international stage with millions of viewers. Certain sensibilities need to prevail. In other words, think a bit. That means you too, Cooper. Just because your mamma named you “Tuf,” doesn’t mean you can’t use your head a bit more, and the end of your rope a little bit less.

Doc West: Hat Crimes & Courage

Hat-CrimeIllustration by Dave Elston

Q: I attended a western horse event mid-Autumn, and was chided by a rather stylish appearing mature woman for wearing a straw hat in the middle of October. Now, I know the old-time rule: felt is worn between Labour day and the May long weekend, and straw in between, but my question is . . . is it really necessary to abide by this rather outdated – in my mind – fashion statute of western etiquette in the 21st century?

 A: Necessity my friend, is a relative term. There are few items in the culture of the West that carry the same iconic weight as the cowboy hat. As an old cowboy saying goes, “It’s the last thing you take off and the first thing that is noticed.” First designed in 1865 by John B. Stetson, the “Boss of the Plains” were originally all felt of some variety, worn by cowboys from the North Saskatchewan all the way to the Rio Grande. Straws and palm leafs followed to add comfort and coolness for those southwestern cowboys working in the Texas Panhandle heat.

As straw hats gained popularity, they were found to be superior in the heat of the summer, protecting from heat and sun while felt hats were generally worn in winter (protecting from moisture and cold). Eventually this evolved and crystalized into the ‘Labour Day/May long weekend’ customary switch. Now, here in Canada, you will see northern cowboys wearing felt on cooler days past the May long weekend or alternatively our southern cousins wearing a straw well past Labour Day. Many working cowboys in Canada wear a felt year round, while a cowpuncher in New Mexico might own only straws or palm leafs.

So, no it’s not necessary. 

However, as I stated, necessity is relative. It never hurts to respect long standing western traditions and wearing the correct hat at the correct time of year will help you with that. More important than the felt/straw rule is to pay attention to the manufacture, shape and condition of your hat. Make sure your hat doesn’t look like you drove over it with a skidster. Mud, slop and other organic matter on your hat is not cool and does not make you a real cowboy. Ladies, please try to avoid the ‘bar star’ leopard print and zebra stripe hats with chin strings. For the fellas, the black crushable $9.99 ‘felties’ and the Corona straw beach hats are a ‘no no’ in the real West.

Finally, whether you wear felt or straw, or something else, the cardinal sin is a cowboy hat worn backwards. Frontend front, backend back – and in Alberta, that goes for you too, Premier Notley.

Q: What exactly, do you think John Wayne meant when he said, “Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway?”

A: John Wayne had a way of breathing American realism into English abstraction. Before Hollywood began to influence western culture at the turn of the 20th century, courage was the exclusive realm of gilded knights with pleasant sounding Wessex accents and impeccable manners. Whether it was St. George slaying a dragon or King Arthur with Lancelot and Galahad charging down upon Saxon invaders, courage was a lofty ideal for great men, in a far, far away land.

However, in the early 1900’s, in the New World, in a new continent, and an unfamiliar and dangerous country, a brand-new mythology began to evolve, one shaped by the vast expanse of the American West. Courage was slowly but surely redefined, largely by ordinary men doing ordinary things. Every slouched-back cowpuncher, every bent-back sod buster, every crooked-back card speeler was just as fine a gentlemen as England’s most grand heroes, and equally courageous. Staking a claim in the Klondike, maintaining a trap line off the North Saskatchewan, saddling a green colt in the Texas Panhandle, or even stepping one foot from civilization into the abyss of endless prairie to do anything, simply anything at all, alone, took courage. The West didn’t change the idea of courage – it individualized it, as it individualized most everything. Every man who climbed into a saddle, and most men climbed into a saddle every day, faced some version of personal risk. Being scared, and saddling up anyway, was a necessity to life in the American West. It was okay to be scared, you saddled up nonetheless, and that took courage. 

Today the analogy of “saddling up” is all but lost to the modern urbanized hipster, irrespective of the frontier beard and woodsman flannel. Yet the idea that courage is not some high falutin’ ideal from folklore, but instead is real, and dirty and smells of rust and sweat and is both ordinary and exceptional at the same time – that lives on. And we can thank John Wayne for it.

Have a question for Doc West burning in your back pocket? We welcome you to direct it to 


Guy Weadick Days 2016

Deomostration of Roman Riding during Guy Weadick Days Media day.

Demonstration of Roman Riding during Guy Weadick Days Media event.


HIGH RIVER, AB – Saddle up and get ready to experience Guy Weadick Days like you have never before, taking place June, 24th- 26th, at the High River Agricultural Society Grounds. The High River Ag. Society, together with C5 Rodeo Company, will bring forward a professional rodeo, World Professional Chuckwagon action and a variety of family friendly activities.

“C5 Rodeo Company is excited to bring professional rodeo back to High River” said Gillian Shields, rodeo coordinator at C5 Rodeo. “We intend to provide an authentic and captivating rodeo production to keep spectators on the edge of their seat, while bringing opportunity for the community to prosper and come together in celebrating High River’s roots.”


Gillian Shields, Rodeo Coordinator of C5 Rodeo.

Gillian Shields, Rodeo Coordinator of C5 Rodeo.


The High River Agricultural society is also looking forward to professional rodeo returning with a whole new approach. “This is a new direction for the High River AG Society, I believe that the weekend will be a true family event. The board is excited about the production that C5 Rodeo Company will bring for the weekend” said Darren Hunter, President of the High River Agricultural Society.

About Guy Weadick Days

Guy Weadick days is an annual celebration in High River, Alberta named after the famous rodeo legend Guy Weadick, who was a resident of High River. Guy Weadick was the founder of the Calgary Stampede, and contributed to many traditions in the sport of rodeo we see today. This year the event will take place June 23 – June 26, 2016, with 3 Canadian Professional Rodeo performances and 4 World Professional Chuckwagon heats. Guy Weadick Days is owned and operated by the High River Agricultural Society. The not-for-profit organization was registered March 1st 1907. It has been an active and integral part of the agricultural community ever since.

Guy Weadick Days Concerts

Friday 9 pm – High River’s own Justin Ament.

Saturday 9 pm Emerson Drive

Pro Rodeo and WPCA Chuckwagons Schedule

Thursday: Chucks 7pm to 9 pm Friday: Rodeo 5pm-6:30 pm/Chucks 7pm-9pm Saturday: Rodeo Slack 9am-11am/Rodeo 2pm-4pm/Chucks 7pm-9pm Sunday: Rodeo noon-2pm/Chucks 4pm-6pm

To get tickets go to:


Q’s & A’s With Stampede Royalty

Photo by Laura Parry of Wildheart Photography.

Photo by Laura Parry of Wildheart Photography.


Western Horse Review sat down with Chelsey, the second Calgary Stampede princess about her experiences, her stampede horse, beauty, learning experiences and much more about her exciting life experience as Stampede royalty!

Can you please tell me what has been one of your most memorable experiences of being part of the royalty to date?

It’s so hard to pick just one, but one of the especially memorable moments was during Aggie days.The entire week was such a blast, we got to do so many exciting things and I loved hanging out with the kids, and of course It was our first grand entry as a trio so that in itself was sure something! But the very first time we were waiting in the alleyway on our horses, when they began to open up for the rodeo they began playing AC/DC (which of course is a heartwarmer for me on any day!), and when the announcer began his line “welcome to the Calgary Staaaaaampeeede!” which we’ve all heard so so many times as spectators, it was almost surreal for me. It really hit me, I think possibly for the first time, of the role that I’m in and that I was in a once in a lifetime spot, preparing to do what I love to do most. Really geared me up for the rest of the season and especially Stampede itself.

What are you still looking forward to?

Of course Stampede week will probably be the most exciting part of the whole year, however, I’m really looking forward to attending the Handhills Lake Stampede. Not only is this their 100th year, but coming from Drumheller, it is like a hometown rodeo for me. I already have so many friends and family members that are planning to be there to see us and I’m so excited to be able to be a part of something larger and hopefully make my hometown proud!


Chelsey all cowboyed up.

Chelsey all cowboyed up.


What have you learned about the experience thus far?

Well of course we’ve been through tons of great training, which has offered an incredible amount of knowledge for the role, but on a more personal level I’ve learned a lot about myself as well. Coming from the country, I was raised pretty much a tomboy (when I was little my dream was to be a NASCAR driver). But I grew up tinkering on vehicles, riding quads, playing in the dirt, and hunting. Having this opportunity introduced me (and everyone else) to a completely new side of me, which even I didn’t know existed. I have opened up and discovered that I can be, for lack of a better description, a Princess, and even enjoy getting pampered and all dolled up for events while still remaining true to myself and my roots.


Going for a nice relaxing trail ride.

Going for a nice relaxing trail ride.


Chelsey bow hunting.

Chelsey bow hunting.


Can you tell me about your clothes and boots? Do you have a favorite outfit?

We are so incredible lucky to be able to work with the sponsors that we have. Each and every outfit and pair of boots seems to out-do the last and we are beyond grateful. One of my most favorite outfits though, was one that we received from Janine of Janine’s Custom Creations, it is a full leather jacket and skirt that is white leather and brown lamb suede (SO soft!). It has fringe all throughout as well as some subtle bling of course, but whenever we wear it, we truly feel like royalty. It pairs with a pair of custom cow hide boots from Alberta Boot Co. that are a shimmery brown and actually have our crowns lasered onto the front! It means the world to us that with these boots, we get to carry our crowns with us and don’t have to completely give them up at the end of September.

How do you ladies always look so beautiful?? Any hair, make up or nail tips you can share?

Let me tell you, we certainly don’t wake up like this! To start with though, we use all Aria skin care products specialized for each of our skin types as well as the Aria makeup line, which has been a lifesaver! The trick with the makeup is to apply it inside and then go sit in your car and re-evaluate, because no matter what, it always looks different in natural sunlight! For the hair, I never curl freshly washed hair or else it becomes limp and unmanageable within a few hours, go spend some time with your horse before curling it to get it a little dirty first which helps lock in the curl! For nails, our sponsor nail technicians at Lushus Concepts are miracle workers, I had never touched my nails before this year and they make them look amazing. I keep them short otherwise they break pretty quick working in the barns and such.

Chelsey enjoying some nice hot Starbucks.

Chelsey enjoying some nice hot Starbucks.


Can you please tell me about your Stampede horse?

I’ve been told that my Stampede horse, Snoopy, and I are kindred spirits. I think we’re the most competitive pair out of the group, no matter what we’re doing. Snoopy has one of the biggest personalities I’ve seen in a horse and makes me laugh every time I’m with him. He always has to be watching and waiting to help out while I groom and tack up, he will have his head literally cranked right around to ensure he doesn’t miss a thing. He also has to get every job done as fast as possible…life is a race for Snoop, and let me tell you, he usually wins. We have compared him a couple times to Justin Timberlake with his charming personality, and his love to dance (especially in the arena to O’Canada). He is a quirky guy who knows his job inside and out, and we definitely feed off of each other’s energy, especially when AC/DC comes on.

Chelsey cruising down the street in Calgary with Snoopy.

Chelsey cruising down the street in Calgary with Snoopy.


Can you tell us about a day in your life, when you are required to appear as part of the Stampede Royalty?

First off, there is hardly a routine to our lives, each day is different, and sometimes a surprise! But a typical day starts off with getting ourselves all dolled up and into whatever casual or formal outfit required. We usually meet on park and carpool over with our chaperone to the event itself. We check in with whoever is the contact for that event and carry on with whatever duty is expected of us. After it’s done, I like to come home and do nothing but unwind for about 15 minutes before even taking my makeup off. We typically like to prepare for each event by researching the event itself as well as who the guests and audience will be so that we can go in knowing as much as we can to avoid any unexpected surprises. It also makes the hosts feel more appreciated that we took the time to learn about their cause or hopes for the event, whatever they may be.


Chelsey, Maggie, and Vanessa chatting it up with etalk.

Chelsey, Maggie, and Vanessa chatting it up with etalk.


For others who might aspire to try out for the Royalty competition, do you have any tips or advice to offer?

For me, during the whole competition, I kept being told to just be myself and let my real personality shine. So that’s what I did and here I am. I typicall am very positive and bubbly and I didn’t hold back at all. The judges are looking for three genuine girls who are true to themselves and are grateful for the opportunity to represent the Stampede and what it stands for. So being your true self is a huge step in the right direction, nobody wants to see someone become somebody they’re not just because they’re in the spotlight or feel they need to impress others.

Chelsey pictured with the London bridge.

Chelsey pictured with the London bridge.

The 2017 Queen and Princesses Contest is now open. Applications accepted until August 15, 2016.

Q & A With Stampede Royalty

Photo by Laura Parry of Wildheart Photography.

Photo by Laura Parry of Wildheart Photography.


Western Horse Review sat down with Bailee recently – one of the Calgary Stampede princesses – about her experiences, her Stampede horse, beauty tips, learning experiences and much more about her exciting life experience as Stampede royalty!

Can you please tell me what has been one of your most memorable experiences of being part of the royalty to date?

The most memorable moment so far has probably been our first grand entry at Aggie Days. I was a ball of nerves leading up to it, but my horse, Hawk, as well as Maggie and Chelsey, helped to ease my nerves and we had an absolute blast going full speed around the arena full of cheering kids!

What are you still looking forward to?

Definitely the actual ten days of Stampede! In particular, I’m really looking forward to riding in the parade – what better way to kick things off?! Every year I look forward to eating pancakes for ten days straight, and that hasn’t changed either – haha.

What have you learned about the experience thus far?

I thought that I knew a lot about the Calgary Stampede and I thought I was very passionate about it when I first tried out for Royalty – but that knowledge and passion of this organization has only grown! Learning about everything the Stampede does year round, from agriculture education to animal events to supporting youth programs has only made me love it more and I know I will remain involved long after my year as Princess is over.

Bailee giving some scratches to a week old foal.

Bailee giving some scratches to a week old foal.


Can you tell me about your clothes and boots?

We are so lucky to have our whole wardrobe sponsored for the year! Lammles, Janine’s Custom Creations, Alberta Boot Company and Wrangler do an amazing job of making sure that we look and feel our best whether we are at a pancake breakfast with elementary school kids in town, or at a party with the Canadian Ambassador in Berlin. I love wearing any of our Alberta Boots with skinny Wranglers and a fancy top – I feel just a little dressed up, but could also hop on my horse in that outfit!

Bailee's gorgeous Stampede Royalty journal.

Bailee’s gorgeous Stampede Royalty journal.


How do you ladies always look so beautiful? Any hair, make up or nail tips you can share?

Liz from The Aria Studios gets full credit!! She provides us with all the skin care and make up products we need throughout the year and teaches us how to use all of it. My go-to’s are matte powder, blush and bright lipstick – always bright lipstick! I’m not a good person to talk to about nails, I bite mine so much! I don’t know how they do it, but Lushus Concepts always manages to make my manicure beautiful though. I love pastel colours on my nails year round. As for hair, we curl our hair a lot so I like to put coconut oil in my hair over night to help ease the heat damage. It also makes my hair smell awesome.

Photo by Laura Parry of Wildheart Photography.

Photo by Laura Parry of Wildheart Photography.


Can you please tell me about your Stampede horse?

My horse is a stunning dun named Hawk. He has year-round natural highlights through his mane and tiger stripes down his legs. I like to compare Hawk to George Clooney: he’s super handsome, one of the best at what he does and is always relaxed under pressure. A couple of things Hawk and I have in common are that we are both the oldest members of our trio and we both love snacks and laying in the sunshine. We call him “Hawk the Rock” because he is always a good balancing board for me; when I am energetic and little crazy Hawk levels me out and brings me back down to earth and when I’m down or having a bad day, he always lifts my spirits.

Bailee's Stampede horse Hawk.

Bailee’s Stampede horse Hawk.


Can you tell us about a day in your life, when you are required to appear as part of the Stampede Royalty?

Typically, Maggie, Chelsey and I are in touch throughout the day, planning what outfit to wear and what jewelry to pair it with. I’ll crank up some Keith Urban or AC/DC about an hour before I have to leave the house, because doing make-up in silence is no fun! I have a big rolling rack of my royalty wardrobe in my room so everything is easy to find. If it’s not something I’ve done already, I’ll double check the event information and make sure I have an understanding of the company/organization hosting us and what we are there to do. Then I kiss my puppies good-bye and I’m out the door – I’ll meet up with Chelsey and Maggie at Stampede Park and we’ll head off to our event together! Everyday is a little bit different, but that’s the general way things go for me.

Bailee attending the 2013 Grey Cup.

Bailee attending the 2013 Grey Cup.


For others who might aspire to try out for the Royalty competition, do you have any tips or advice to offer?

This is definitely a role that will require 110% commitment, so just know that you really have to put your heart and soul into it! If you decide you want to be a part of the trio, don’t be afraid to commit to pursuing that dream wholeheartedly. I was selected the second year I was in the competition and it has without a doubt been worth it. It may seem like a crazy dream or something that might be out of reach, but it’s not!

Bailee packing for her trip to Berlin.

Bailee packing for her trip to Berlin.

The 2017 Queen and Princesses Contest is now open. Applications accepted until August 15, 2016.

Doc West – Distracted Texting & Cutting 101

Illustration by Dave Elston

Illustration by Dave Elston

Welcome to the inaugural column of Doc West – our no-holds barred, brand new column on modern western culture. Watch each print edition for the latest sage advice for the lost and lonely gunsel, and this column for the occasional reprise of the print edition.

Q: It seems like everywhere you look today, people have smart phones, even at horse shows, and that brings up my beef. Are smart phones really necessary in the practice pen at shows? I don’t want to come off as an old codger, but really, isn’t there a safety issue here? For the kid, or “loper” who’s warming up someone’s horse, or, the competitor preparing for their next class, can’t you just leave texting and your compulsive checking on how many “Like’s” your last Facebook post has gained, until you’ve dismounted and are sitting somewhere safely? Don’t you think we need some rules here? Where do you weigh in on this, Doc West?

A: Safety issue? Yes indeed. Let’s legislate no cell phones in the warm up pen! Strike a committee perhaps? A study on the dangers of riding and texting? Helmets and flack jackets for all! What’s a bigger ‘beef’ to me than this pressing ‘safety’ issue is people like you who want to legislate and regulate every aspect of human existence. Without a doubt, it is indeed annoying having the 19-year-old bubble gum chewing, boy-crazy ‘loper’ manically warming up a $50,000 cow pony with no hands on the wheel, eyes down, frantically texting. However, is it really a pressing ‘safety issue’? An equine smash-up derby waiting to happen? Where is the last headline that read ‘Texting and Riding Causes Multi-Horse Pile-Up’?

Are a whole new set of rules and regulations required? 

Rules, regulations and safety measures are largely the child of eastern industrialists and pacified urbanites. Out West, clear from the clutches of suburbia we prefer solutions that are practical, flexible and individual – the Alberta NDP provincial government was loudly reminded of this when Bill 6 was tabled. If you have a legitimate safety issue with a runaway mounted texter, then you can certainly address the offender directly; a quick “heads up,” or “watch where you’re going, buddy,” may suffice. Talking to a trainer, or if need be, the show coordinator if there is a continual problem will rectify 99% of cases. Or, just minding your own business never hurt anyone either.

On a more philosophical level, Benjamin Franklin famously once stated, “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.” Every safety rule that is made, every safety regulation that is passed constitutes a corresponding encroachment on personal liberty, however small or seemingly insignificant. Anytime someone saddles a horse, lopes a circle, cuts a cow, ropes a steer, runs a fence, crosses a bridge, there is risk to personal safety. Risk is a part of life. It was part of life on the high plains 100 years ago, it remains a part of life in the western horse world today. However, it is not the risk we face that separates the western path from the path of others, but the manner in which we face it, and rules for rules sake is not the western way.


Q: Recently some horse-owning friends of mine and I got together for a few drinks and the cost of horses as recreational activity came up. Now, I own a couple of horses, and I’m a trail rider, and what with the gear and tack, and feed and vet bills, I’m sometimes astounded at the money I spend in a year. However, when I learned what my friends, who compete in the sport of cutting, spend in a year, I hit the floor. They must be competing for incredible money and prizes, I thought. I hoped. But no, it’s for no more than a year-end buckle or piece of tack with “champion” for this or another class, emblazoned upon it. In other words, trinkets! They talked about cutting as a “bug” that once caught, never lets you go. My question is what kind of personality takes part in this sort of neurotic behavior, and how do I ensure I’m never at risk of catching this bug?

A: There is an Arabian Proverb that says, “The wind of Heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.” If you’ve ever had occasion to sit on an equine of the cutter variety, you’d understand. Nine hundred pounds of turbo charged, cat quick, equine muscle – twisting, turning, exploding into motion one second and slamming into a full stop, the next. Cutting to the cowboy is what rally racing is to the motor head, or the Drop of Doom at the local fair is to your nine-year-old hopped up on cotton candy.

Back when the range was open, cutting horses were used to separate or ‘cut’ cattle from one another. Whether a cow was sick and needed to be doctored, or a calf was unbranded – the little muscled stock type or foundation ponies with cow sense and agility – were used to go eye-to-eye with the most sour frontier longhorn. Cowboys would sometimes have informal contests seeing whose horse could hold a cow the longest, and winning was more a matter of pride than anything (given cowboys had little of value to wager), and so the ‘sport’ of cutting came to be.

Modern cuttings today are a far shade from the early jimmy-rigged contests on frontier cattle in dusty outdoor corrals. Cow ponies are now carefully warmed up in indoor air-conditioned equestrian facilities with deep soft #1 sand. They are booted, clipped, trimmed, shone, brushed and floated. Crowds of curious onlookers, horsie types and tourists have replaced the horsemen and the cowpunchers. Yet for all that has changed the power, the grace and the pure marvel of the cutting horse has not.

Today we find contestants of all shapes and sizes obsessively hauling all over North America chasing, yes, what are ostensibly, trinkets. What kind of personality breeds such idiocy you ask? All sorts I would say, but mainly the mid-life, well-heeled, athletically-challenged, neurotic glory seeker. You know, the ones you see in the cutting pen – on way too much horse, flip-flopping, tipped over, jacked up, teeth clenched, arms clamped like a vice to saddle leather and horse hair, legs and $1,200 dollar spurs holding on for dear life – all done with a fiery desire to win at all costs. Yeah, that kind.

If you don’t want to end up like one of those, the answer is simple, don’t cut. If you must, pen. However, that’s a psychological disorder all to itself. 

Send your western culture question to Doc West at

Emergency Aid Needed for Equine Community



In light of the wildfires in Fort McMurray, AB, Equine Canada (EC) would like to share the following update from the Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF) with the Canadian equestrian community:

The Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF) greatly appreciates the outpour of support of the Alberta equine community and have been assembling a growing list of individuals and businesses who are willing to open up their farms and homes to those affected by the fires in Fort McMurray and their horses.

 The AEF will be doing all we can to update the equine community on the fire situation(s) as we receive them from Alberta Agriculture and Forestry Emergency Directors and we are the first point of contact for equine updates.

 We are currently in communication with the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, Horse Racing Alberta, and many other provincial equine organizations to coordinate help for those in need.

 At this time, emergency aid in the way of funds are needed for feed, water, transportation and veterinary care; these are of the utmost importance at this time. The AEF will match donations received up to $5,000. Donations of other items will be required at a later date to assist with recovery and replacement and the AEF will help with this coordination as well.

 If you are interested in providing aid in the form of a monetary donation, feel free to forward an etransfer (Security answer: fortmacequine) to Email: or contact the office:

 Rita, 403-253-4411 ext. 7 or toll-free: 1-877-463-6233 ext. 7

 The AEF is unable to issue taxable receipts, however donations over $250 are eligible for a taxable donation receipt and can be made by completing this donation form.

 We encourage those offering to house equines to please familiarize themselves with Biosecurity best practices to help prevent a disease outbreak. If you are interested in being added to our contact list to help, please contact our office with contact information and the specifics as to what you can assist with.

 The AEF sends our thoughts to all residents and evacuees affected by the fires and we will continue to provide support for our equine friends.

10 Year Anniversary of The Mane Event

K & K Livestock Booth

K & K Livestock Booth at The Mane Event, Red Deer.


Western Horse Review attended the 10th anniversary of Mane Event Expo at Westerner Park from April 21-24, 2016. The Mane Event had speakers and clinicians from multiple disciplines, from dressage to trick riding to reining, all different breeds and don’t forget the very popular trainers challenge. The trade show had a little something for everyone, from booths with cute little nick-knacks, to tack of all disciplines, ponies to pet and even some of the trailers we dream of owning were there.


Gyspy Vanner

Gyspy Vanner horse being petted by a happy little girl.



JT Heritage Sales and Services Trailer Booth

JT Heritage Sales and Services Trailer Booth.


On Sunday afternoon of Mane Event we had an awesome visit from the Calgary Stampede Royalty, who help draw names for our daily give-away of the day. They also stuck around to help give out little Western Horse Review goodie bags and had pictures taken with little kids who dreamed of meeting a queen and princesses.


Calgary Stampede Royalty draws a name for out Country Thunder Prize

Calgary Stampede Royalty draws a name for our Country Thunder prize.


Later that day we stumble upon one of Pat Parelli clinics with two girls between the ages of 12-15, where he taught them the natural approach to horsemanship. He teaches them how to control their horse with body movements and motions. He teaches these through 7 games: friendly, porcupine, driving, yo-yo, circling, sideways and squeeze. He introduces the ball to show the horse that the tools he uses aren’t a threat and to get them use to the motion of objects.


Pat Parelli, with demonstration of circling in the background

Pat Parelli, with demonstration of circling in the background.



Parelli teaching the game of friendly, teaching the horse that the tools are not a threat

Parelli teaching the game of friendly, showing the horse that the tools are not a threat.


After Parelli’s clinic, the final of the trainers challenge was about to commence. Over the past four days, four trainers – Doug Mills, Patrick King, Scott Purdum, and Steve Rother put their skills to the test to show their method of training the unbroke horse. The trainer’s progression is not normally this fast, they usually take 30-60 days to do what they are demonstrate in 4 days. After the final session, Steve Rother was announced the winner of the Trainers Challenge.


Doug Mills demonstrating his training

Doug Mills demonstrating his training.


The closing of the well attended Mane Event followed shortly after the Trainers Challenge. The next Mane Event is being held in Chilliwack, British Columbia from October 21-23, 2016

Record Breaking Year at Agribition

Photo Courtesy of ShowChampions

Photo Courtesy of ShowChampions


REGINA, SASKATCHEWAN – Canadian Western Agribition (CWA) announced today at their Annual General Meeting a profit from operations of $844,606 and a provincial economic impact to $56 million annually.

Attendance for the show was the highest it’s been in six years with 130,200 visitors over the six-day event.

“This year’s show felt more festive than any in recent memory. Our music lineup has expanded and programming has evolved to include educating consumers about where their food comes from. These changes, combined with the health of the agriculture industry, made for a great show,” says CWA President, Stewart Stone.

CWA’s reputation as an agriculture marketplace was amplified by significant growth in livestock sales. For the first time since 1975, overall livestock sales reached $3.4 million and purebred beef sales exceeded $2 million.

The rodeo opened with a free admission night courtesy of The Mosaic Company and numbers stayed strong all week resulting in a record of 23,560 fans over five performances.

“Our partnership with Mosaic set the stage for an attendance record that will never be broken,” says CWA CEO, Marty Seymour.

The show was visited by over 800 international guests from 70 different countries, with a 25 per cent increase in active international buyers.

Adding to the show’s banner year, CWA was recognized for marketing and promotional achievement at the Paragon Business Excellence Awards. CWA is also up for Marquee Event of the Year at the Saskatchewan Tourism Awards of Excellence to take place on April 14.

Dates for the 2016 Canadian Western Agribition are November 21-26, 2016.