Diary of a Wildfire Summer

A view of the smoke and fires near Easygo Ranch. Credit: Elli Meinert

Summer is generally a season to which most Canadians look forward. But for Lac La Hache, BC, resident Elli Meinert, 2017 was a summer she was glad to bid goodbye. Little did she know that when the province of British Columbia was about to experience one of its worst wildfire seasons in history, Meinert’s home was about to become a highly sought after evacuation zone.

“I remember that on July 6, I got my first Facebook message,” said Meinert. “It read, ‘Can I bring my herd over?’” she relayed. In addition to her own animals, Meinert ended up with 8 extra horses in her care that afternoon. Meinert owns and operates Easygo Ranch, an equine facility bordering a lake, in northern BC. As the events of the summer unfolded, the raging wildfires quickly sparked in several locations in close proximity to the ranch.

“During those early days in July we were watching the fire and there was smoke on the other side of the barn. We had had a fire in that direction 3-4 weeks before. We watched them hit it with retardant and it was gone. But this time, it was different,” she said.

“On July 7, I was by myself and all of a sudden there were water bombers flying right over the house. I phoned my hubby and asked him to come home. On Friday, I hauled horses for someone who was put on Order. And then while I was trying to load horses for someone else – we were put on Alert. I shoved the last horse I could fit in the trailer and went back home. Then the news started coming in. The 108 (a big settlement of houses nearby) were also put on Order.”

To be on “Alert” means officials in the province have advised residents to be ready, in case they must leave. You can leave but you can’t come back. Highways were only open to whatever evacuation route officials deemed safe to travel at the time.

To be on “Evacuation Order” means you have to leave.

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

“At that point, we weren’t just trying to look after our horses or other peoples’ horses – we were making beds for people. My Step-Dad, my neighbours – where else did they have to go? You can’t go to a hotel with two Jack Russells and cats and stuff,” Meinert stated. “So we got really efficient with the dog shuffle (because not all the animals got along). We took in a few extra people and more animals.”

On July 7, Meinert admits they all thought about leaving because the closest fire was too close for comfort. “I had trailers lined up, but soon we realized we couldn’t leave because they closed the highway.”

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

After that, another 15 horses arrived so Easygo’s tally came in at 35. “Some of the owners were stuck on the other side of road blocks. There was an orphan from the SPCA that came. We were looking after them all, full time,” she said.

The human residents of Easygo Ranch were also stuck on a 6-kms travel radius during those days. They were permitted to move around in the radius, but no farther.

“We could go to our gas station corner store, which was good but they quickly ran out of supplies. We were all put on rations: one loaf of bread and one jug of milk per household. It was stupid.

“After chores each day we would all meet up in front of the barn to decide who was cooking dinner that night. One night we had just finished and the power went out. I just wanted a shower… We spent this whole time prepping in case the fire did come to the ranch. We tried to make the place as fireproof as we could. But that night it was distressing. We’d look to the south west and you could see a plume of smoke from the 100 Mile fire. To the north west there was another huge fire from the Chilcotin. And in the north east there was the fire from Williams Lake. We were all just standing there and discussing what we were going to do and then all this smoke started drifting in from across the lake.”

Credit: Elli Meinert

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“I really wasn’t going to leave unless we could take all the horses,” she explained. “We could only take 12 horses and there were clearly more than that.”

Thankfully Easygo Ranch already had great fire suppression systems in place before summer started. These included a dry well located close tot the barn, the lake that could be pumped out of, and an indoor arena with amazing water hoses and generators for power.

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

 

 

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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However there were other things Meinert learned about in the face of a crisis that also helped ride out the storm.

“Val Detweiller used to work in forestry and she contacted me. She was a huge help with her information. She gave me ideas like placing a tarp over the manure pile, to prevent it from catching a spark. We also set up panels in the outdoor arena in case something happened to the barn and I would have to get all the horses outside. The good thing was, Easygo has lots of grass and open areas with sand breaks and driveways in between things. In the worst case scenario, we may have had a massive grass fire but I still think we could have saved our animals. That was my number one priority. Of course, I was also concerned for our own safety – but let the buildings burn if they must.”

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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The group at Easygo Ranch knew that if a fire did come to their doorstep, they would not be able to force it back. Luckily, during those days in July, the fires gave them quite a scare but didn’t progress to the point of destruction for the ranch.

Yet, little did the group at Easygo realize – this would only be the first wave of fires to threaten the area that summer.

“After the first scare, many horses did go home. We only had one group of horses who were owned by people who had all their fences burned down, etc. So they couldn’t return as quickly as the rest.

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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“But then, the second wave of fire evacuations began. We went down to nine horses and then I personally helped evacuate another boarding facility – again. All of a sudden we were back up to 22 horses…”

In the second round, Meinert was able to plan far enough ahead so the second round of horses came in with their own feed. This was a lifesaver for Easygo Ranch, because in the first bout of fires – feed went fast and there was no time, nor opportunity to replenish supplies.

“I fed everyone in the first round but in the second wave, we knew we were going to run out of feed. This time it was like, ‘If you can, please bring your own feed!’”

As July turned to August and finally September, a bit of relief was sighed when officials finally announced the fire situation was under control. Everyone who was housed at Easygo Ranch during the summer fared well.

 

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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Still, it’s not a situation Meinert ever wants to endure again. “Honestly, I hope to never see something like that in my lifetime again. It never needs to happen again,” she states.

A nighttime view of one of the fires that threatened Easygo Ranch during the summer of 2017. CREDIT: Elli Meinert

 

 

Western Thanksgiving

If you’re sitting in your house watching the raging blizzard outside your windows, it’s hard to imagine this coming weekend means Thanksgiving, in October – not a blustery day deep into December or January. However, a snow-mageddon presents the perfect opportunity to do some planning. With Thanksgiving on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to give thanks and reflect on our blessings of the past year. And it’s the perfect time to blend the elements of our western lifestyle around us, into a creative and elegant setting for a feast with our loved ones.

After all, I feel as though no one can do Autumn like western folk can – with harvests done, cattle moved into their winter pastures and much of the horse show year now behind us – this is our season!

The ultimate would be to serve Thanksgiving dinner in the barn. But if you’re inclined to stay indoors near the warmth of a hard-working oven, here are six ideas for integrating your western lifestyle into a beautiful Thanksgiving feast.

Source: Country Living.

1. Pendelton Pumpkins. These sassy, geometrically-designed gourds are certain to be all the rage this year. Get yourself some soft pastel paint colors and washi tape and you too, can create beautiful pumpkins that scream western elegance.

Source: Country Living

Credit: Jenn Webster

2. Mason Jars filled with cutlery. Mason jars have been popular for everything from drinking sweet tea, to featuring beautiful motifs in candle displays. This year, we’re using them at each place setting to carefully delegate eating utensils and napkins.

Source: Tone on Tone

3. An Antler & Pumpkin Centerpiece. This stunning, yet simplistic centerpiece is created with white candles, flowers and antler sheds. Set on top of a white-washed farm table, you can’t go wrong with the artistic western balance of it all.

Credit: Jenn Webster

4. Charcuterie Board. A no-cook way to get the party started. Served on a round wooden slab, a selection of meats, pickled beans, cheeses, grapes and shell-shucked dry roasted almonds can stimulate appetites, while allowing the host a few more minutes for dinner preparation. The addition of a harvest-inspired centerpiece will give your table an elegant western flare.

Credit: Tone on Tone

 

5. Decorate Your Barn with Pumpkins. Who says all the Thanksgiving decor has to be up at the house? Or conversely, bring a barn sign up to your house, to compliment all the fall accents.

Credit: Pinterest

6. Beautifully Set Table. A stunning tablescape will set the tone for your dinner. A table left with a little space for food is good, but a filled table can be gorgeous. Use natural foliage for table accents or napkin holders. Use rustic-looking charger plates and chic glassware to instill an exclusive element.

Mane Event Red Deer, Post Coverage

 

BY ESTEBAN ADROGUE

That’s a wrap, folks! Western Horse Review Magazine had the pleasure of attending the 11th annual Mane Event Expo held at Westerner Park, in Red Deer from April 21-23, 2017. This year’s event hosted amazing clinicians and speakers who presented a great variety of disciplines and topics; from barrel racing and ranch roping, to dressage and jumping, to driving the horse and tack fitting. Plus, the well anticipated “Trainers Challenge”. But what would be an expo without the shopping? The Trade Show, as expected, didn’t disappoint. With an array of options for everyone, from jewelry made from your horse’s hair, to saddles and farrier equipment.


Highlights of the expo included presentations by Van Hargis and Peter Gray (over 35 years of experience in the show arena and Bronze medalist at the Pan Am Games in Eventing, respectively) who filled both arenas with thrilled spectators. There was also the “Live Like Ty” booth, which commemorated the loss of champion and an exceptional individual – both on and off the arena – Ty Pozzobon. Looking to raise awareness, protect and support the health and well-being of rodeo competitors and hosted by the Ty Pozzobon Foundation, a presentation on Liberty Training was conducted by Kalley Krickeberg. During this time, Krickeberg taught the audience how to build awareness and educate the horse’s instincts, in addition to presenting other interesting topics.

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The always anticipated Trainers Challenge consists of a three-day event and this year’s competitors Glenn Stewart, Martin Black, and Shamus Haws went head-to-head, putting their skills and knowledge to the test. Each trainer relayed their methods to the audience while handling unbroke horses provided by Ace of Clubs Quarter Horses. In a progression that usually takes between 30-60 days, these amazing trainers managed to achieve it in just as little as 96hrs! After Sunday’s final session, Martin Black was named the champion of the 2017 Trainers Challenge.


On Sunday afternoon, Western Horse Review had a wonderful visit from the Calgary Stampede Royalty. Queen Meagan Peters, Princess Brittany Lloyd, and Princess Lizzie Ryman helped us draw names for our give-aways for the expo and delivered Western Horse Review goodie bags, plus had pictures taken with the public.

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After the conclusion of the Trainers Challenge, people gathered their belongings and shopping articles, loaded their horses into trailers and this year’s Red Deer, AB, Mane Event came to a closing. We hope to see y’all at the next Mane Event, which will be held in London, Ontario from May 12-14, 2017!

Vimy Ridge – 100 Years Later

Pack horses taking up ammunition to the guns of the 20th Battery Canadian Field Artillery, Vimy Ridge, April 1917.

 

BY TODD LEMIEUX

In the depths of trench warfare, the assault on Vimy Ridge began on Easter Monday at 05:30 AM April 9th, 1917.  By April 12th, through Canadian tactical and strategic innovation, and a radical departure from warfare at the time, Vimy Ridge would be captured.  The cost was tremendous, 3,598 Canadian dead and 7,004 wounded, an average casualty rate of 147 soldiers per hour of battle.

Both the British and French had previously tried to dislodge the Germans from Vimy with no success.  A combination of Canadian pioneer spirit, meticulous planning, study of previous failures, crafty use of “creeping barrage” artillery, and “leapfrogging” of Canadian units to maintain a crushing forward momentum, ultimately took Vimy under 72 hours. The German Army had held Vimy and repelled attacks successfully for 3 years prior.

The taking of Vimy Ridge, Easter Monday 1917, by Richard Jack.

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Vimy represents much more than just an isolated battle in terrible war.  The Canadian Corps radical change from contemporary British warfare tactics of the day represents the first departure and a distinct move towards independent thinking and nationhood from the encompassing British Commonwealth. For Canadian soldiers on the ground, most of a rural background, the fastest and most efficient was the only way to get things done. They cared not for antiquated protocol, especially when their lives were hanging in the balance. It was this thinking that drove innovation and battlefield success.

The Vimy memorial, unveiled on July 26th, 1936, stands as a beacon to our nation’s determination and strength in the face of adversity. France has granted the land that it stands on, to Canada, for all time.

The Vimy Ridge memorial.

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On April 9th, 2017, take a moment to stop and consider the lump rising in the throat of a young Canadian kid, as he stepped to move forward and walk behind the barrage and advance up that daunting ridge.

It is our Canada now, but they earned it for us, forged in fire, steel and blood.

Canadian Calvary moves to position at Vimy Ridge.

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I became a Canadian on Vimy Ridge…
We became a nation there in the eyes of the world. It cut across French and English, rich and poor, urban and rural. Vimy Ridge confirmed that we were as good as, if not better than, any European power.

– Reginald Roy, WW1 Veteran

Canadians advancing on the scarred landscape of Vimy Ridge.

Colt Starting for A Great Cause

The Okotoks Agricultural Society will play host to a special event this Sunday, March 19, as a one-day colt starting demonstration will be conducted by Alex Alves (Bassano, AB) and Nick Baer (Olds, AB) – all in support of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation.

All proceeds generated from the event will be donated directly to the hospital. This includes ticket sales, donations and any other funds raised.

 

“This is something we have been planning for quite some time and are very excited to finally announce the details!” says Sonja Alves, one of the main coordinators of the day. The doors will open at 10 am with the first demo starting at 10:30. March 19 will be an excellent opportunity to come and watch two horse trainers demonstrate their techniques and support a great cause.

Farrier Chad Lausen will also conduct a horseshoeing demo, while JR’s Hat will be offering hat cleanings or re-shapings for a donation to the cause!

Alex Alves at the Saskatchewan Agribition, Trainer’s Challenge.

 

 

Alex Alves operates Hat Creek Performance Horses near the town of Bassano, Alberta. Growing up in the horse industry allowed Alves to develop as a horseman through the many disciplines he either competed or worked in, ranging from hunter jumpers, to western and English pleasure, track and polo horses, and rope horses. Every discipline taught him something valuable. Along with every horse. Today, Alves starts young horses on the right track for any discipline and finishes them to a focus in roping, cutting, or cow horse.

Nick Baer operates Running Bar N Horsemanship and is currently a student at Olds College, studying for his advanced farrier sciences. Baer began learning at a young age about how to start his own horses and has dedicated himself to better horsemanship. Learning his techniques from horseman Doug Mills and Bob Kaufmann he began furthering himself. His dedication has shown at competitions at the Daines Ranch and Rocking Heart Ranch. Baer himself has spent many hours in the Alberta Children’s Hospital as he was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at a very early age. He lives every day with a insulin pump and is excited to have a chance to give back.

Chad Lausen is a graduate of the Olds College Advanced Farrier Sciences program and operates his business out of Strathmore, AB, currently. Lausen has earned the reputation as being extremely hard-working, with a dedication to the horse. He likes to continuously improve his skill set. Lausen also consistently represents Alberta and Canada on the world stage at farrier and blacksmith competitions across North America, as a past team member of the Western Canadian Farriers team and as an individual. This year Lausen will once again represent Alberta at the World Championships of Blacksmithing in Madison, Wisconsin.

The use of two fillies have graciously been donated for the day by Rocking Heart Ranch.

 

Doors will open at 10am with the first demo starting at 10:30. Minimum donations/admission of $10 will be collected at the door.

 

Contact Alex Alves at 1-403-909-5664 for more information.

BAR T5 Agra Services Inc. – More Than Trailers

Approximately 35 years ago, Greg Thomson and his family moved to the beautiful foothills of Alberta. After leaving a career in petroleum marketing and an enjoyable six year sojourn as a Councillor for the M.D. of Foothills, Greg decided to pursue his entrepreneurial instincts. A love of rural life, animals and business resulted in the formation of Bar T5 Agra Services Inc. A company focused on rural lifestyle and fulfilling the needs of the growing population of like-minded families pursuing their rural lifestyle dreams.

Fast forward 25 years and you have a unique business anchored by a feed, tack and most things rural store, plus a full service repair shop and large trailer dealership. The home location (situated north of Millarville, AB, and southwest of Calgary, AB,) is based on 10 expansive acres and a 6,500 square foot building. As well, Bar T5 has three strategically-located trailer dealerships throughout western Canada to ensure their top of the line products and services can be offered to a broad base of consumers.

The trailer dealership carries horse trailers, livestock trailers, cargo, flatdeck and dump trailers. Plus, the living quarter trailer selection in stock is second to none as well! At any one point in time, Bar T5 Trailers has in excess of 500 trailers to choose from.

From the very beginning, the Bar T5 Agra Services Inc. focus has been simple – source and form long-term relationships with highly reputable and innovative suppliers. From a trailer perspective, the company serves and markets the products of eight trailer manufacturers – each one complimenting the other, to ensure the trailer needs of all customers can be met. Additionally, their highly qualified and trained staff take pride in ensuring their customers needs relating to trailer repairs, service and warranty are met and exceeded. Whether you are looking for a knowledgeable trailer service representative or your needs have changed regarding the trailer you currently have, you can rely on Bar T5 Trailers to get you on the road and keep you there!

Their staff, comprised of the friendly faces you’ll find in the store, service department, and sales and admin offices all live the rural and equine-lifestyle. As such, the authenticity of their experience solidifies the knowledge that comes only from being immersed in the rural and equestrian way of life. Bar T5 Agra Services staff are experts in everything from animal nutrition, to fencing, to trailer safety. And their success is the product of building life-long relationships with their customers.

Life is great in the Foothills. After all this time, Greg Thomson and the Bar T5 Agra Services team continue to see the beauty of the area and recognize the vast importance of preserving the agricultural way of life. Bar T5 believes in building its community with support of numerous local events in reined cow horse, team roping, barrel racing and rodeo. Their sponsorship support has also extended to the Chinook Team Penning Association, 4-H groups and the Calgary Stampede.


Bar T5 Agra Services looks forward to sharing their knowledge and experience with customers as they interact with Bar T5 today, and for many years to come!

Stay tuned for Bar T5 Agra Services BIG EVENT announcement next week, but save the date now! March 10-12, 2017!

Contact Bar T5 today! Toll-Free: (800) 331-6977 – Local: (403) 931-2212.

www.bart5trailers.com
Or stop by for yourself! Bar T5 Trailers located at: Hwy 22 South at 274th Avenue, North of Millarville, AB, Southwest of Calgary, AB.

Skijordue 2017

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

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

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

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

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

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

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

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

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

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

IT’S SNOWING, SO COME CHECK IT OUT!

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

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

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

*Venue vistas with SNOW from Gordon Ross Remax

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

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

Full Circle

with-christa

He came first, into the life of my husband. The sorrel horse was 18-months-old – unbroke, but had a solid temperament. He was sired by Super High Gear, out of the mare Ms Lyndi Lou, born in 1991 and came from John Miller’s breeding program.

My husband, Clay spent countless hours with the gelding who eventually became known as “Doc.” Clay could lead Doc by his tail, send him to the far end of an arena, make him wait patiently and then call him back again. Clay used Doc in his clinic demonstrations, rode him bridleless, brought the cows in at the ranch, and to help start other colts.

doc-at-clinic

Then as often happens in a trainer’s life, came a moment when Doc could become a safe mount for someone else. In 1999, Doc was sold to new home. But as fate would have it, we had the opportunity to buy Doc back in 2001. Clay and I had recently become engaged and shortly afterwards, I incurred a bad ankle break after coming off a polo horse. When I had healed up enough to ride, I needed something to help build my confidence again. Doc was the horse for the job.

I learned to ride western on Doc’s back. I got my first showing experiences with him and truly got a chance to refine my horsemanship. When Clay and I were married, our friend Gabriele Noll painted Doc’s portrait.

Painting by Gabriele Noll.

Painting by Gabriele Noll.

But again, as life sometime goes in chapters, Doc was sold again – to another loving person who really needed him.

Christa Vindum purchased Doc back in 2008. Before that sale, we had said we never wanted to part with Doc again. But never, say never. Christa too, needed a mount that would build her confidence. Doc was 15 at the time. Considering his age, it would have been hard for anyone to take a chance on an “old horse.” But during her time with Doc, Christa has ridden him on trail rides, in cowboy challenges, in shows, clinics… you name it. All the youngsters in her family also learned to ride on his back. Christa would later move to Idaho and she took Doc with her, where they continued their adventures.

names-on-papers

So again as life turned over another chapter, Christa contacted Clay and I earlier this year (2016). Now at age 25, Doc was still in great condition and still, the miraculous type of horse that could teach riders and instill confidence in them. His brand is faded, he has a lot more gray hairs now and in theory, he might not have many more years left in him.

But Christa wanted to know if we wanted Doc back.

Obviously, we agreed to take him back immediately – although we weren’t quite sure how to work out the logistics of shipping him up from Idaho at the time.

Christa offered to trailer Doc straight up to us.

dsc_0566

And we found it ironic as she told us the story of crossing the border.

“The Customs officer wanted to know what Doc’s value was,” she chuckled. “I’m looking at the guy – telling him that Doc is 25, suffers from ‘excessive sleepiness,’ and requires some special supplements for joint maintenance because of his age. How do you put a price on a horse like that?”

With a smile on her face and perhaps a tear in her eye, Christa continued. “To me, a horse like that is priceless.”

doc-little-b

We think so too.

Doc has had amazing homes with the other people on his papers. But he has returned to us for his remaining years. We are so grateful to have him back for the things he will teach our young children, are invaluable. He’ll teach them to ride a couple times per week. He’ll teach them about responsibility and empathy. He’ll teach them about commitment and love.

Doc has come full circle. He will live in the barn, be turned out during the day and given all the necessary joint supplements. He deserves it.

While we can’t take all of our horses sold throughout the years back, there are definitely a few that deserve to live out their days with us. We could never regret giving the mounts that have given their wisdom and precious gifts of education to us, a good home in their senior years.

They’re worth it.

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If you have a special story of a horse that’s come Full Circle, please let me know by firing WHR an email at: editorial@westernhorsereview.com

 

 

 

 

First Year Sell Out for Country Thunder AB!

Calgary love for Country Thunder AB.

Calgary love for Country Thunder AB.

Due to the overwhelming interest in the inaugural year for Country Thunder Alberta, organizers announced today that the festival has reached capacity and is officially sold out.

“We are so grateful to the people of Calgary for their overwhelming support. Our walk up sales were incredibly strong yesterday, helping to drive our attendance to capacity,” said Kim Blevins, director of marketing. “It is very encouraging to us as organizers of a first year show, to get this amount of support.”

Backstage Experiences are truly the best way to do Country Thunder, AB.

Backstage Experiences are truly the best way to do Country Thunder, AB. Some lucky Western Horse Review readers got to experience just that this weekend.

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Although no additional tickets will be sold to this event, current ticket holders looking to upgrade to the backstage experience, can still do so at the box office at each entry gate.

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Big-and-Rich

Big & Rich gave a thundering performance to kick off the first night of Country Thunder Alberta on Friday, August 19, in front of the gorgeous Calgary skyline. The entire day of entertainment was stellar, from Jess Moskaluke’s electric performance, to the sweet sounds of Chris Young later in the day.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Fans will be treated again tonight with veteran Neal McCoy, showman Phil Vassar, Bobby Wills, Chris Janson, and topping off the evening with superstar Tim McGraw.

Special thanks to Country Thunder’s official charity, the Rotary Club of Calgary South for providing most of the staff for the event.

Special Festival Information

The Child Find is located at the medical tent adjacent to the main entry to Prairie Winds Park. Families can bring their children for a special wristband to help locate them if they happen to get lost in the park.

As the temperature rises, festival organizers are offering a water filling station for patrons to keep people hydrated in the heat. In addition, patrons are allowed to bring in a sealed bottle of water with them to the event.

A Water Station is available...

Water Stations are available in Prairie Winds, to help patrons stay hydrated this weekend.