Canada’s Cutting Olympics


Photo by Sandy Hansma

Amid the anticipation of tomorrow’s start to the Canadian Cutting Horse Association’s annual Finals, as well as the inaugural Northern Bloodstock Showcase and Sale – both at Olds, Alberta, we at the magazine are also feverishly finishing off the final details of our annual fashion photo shoot, scheduled this year at John Scott’s picturesque ranch – the scene of many movies over the years, from Little Big Man to Shanghai Noon to the modern The Virginian.

How I’m going to traverse from one to the other in the space of a Saturday, I haven’t quite determined, but I will be at both, and hope to offer you up some sneak peeks of the shoot sometime on Sunday.

Also, and in collaboration with our partners, Northern Bloodstock and Total Horse Marketing, we’ll be showing a live feed from the Finals beginning today.

Two valid reasons to stay tuned!

Biceps & Evening Gowns

Large biceps make it incredibly hard to look feminine in an evening gown. And my shoe supply is somewhat limited these days… When invited to a wedding last summer, I panicked. Did I have a prayer of converting my cowboy boots into wedding attire?

With a full time career in the horse industry, fashion and I have developed a love hate relationship. I love the fact that I can run out to work in a pair of Wranglers. And I hate the fact that I can I run out to work in a pair of Wranglers. Said jeans – aka, my work attire – may or may not even be clean!

Gone are the days when I might have spent up to an hour curling and prepping my hair for a day in the office. These days, a ballcap and hair elastic will suffice.

Make-up, makes no difference to the cows.

And high heels would likely get me killed or at least severely injured, in a fresh patch of Saskatchewan gumbo.

Sadly, I have an entire closet full of beautiful clothes that I barely wear anymore. Ironically, my hubbie’s side of the closet has fallen down three times in the last month.

“What can I say?” He grins. Yeah, I guess an excessive amount of Wranglers and a cantilever closet organizer are a terrible combination.

The issue of my closet came to a head when Clay and I were invited last August to a country wedding for our close friends, Danielle and Wade LaForge. Clay was to be the MC. I panicked. Any evening gowns I own – worn in a previous lifetime – have not seen the light of day, in years. And of course, I never left myself enough time to do some shopping prior to the big event. Then there was the issue of shoes. I deliberated, “Could a pair of cowboy boots work with a skirt?”

Maybe if I scrubbed and Lexall’ed them up well enough. And took my spurs off.

In the end, I decided on a pretty black and white summer dress and a pair of black, strappy sandals.

Danielle and Wade LaForge, at their country wedding.

Upon our arrival at the ceremony, my sandals proved difficult for walking across an uneven pasture and became accomplice to a twig stabbing of my left foot. And I won’t mention the near-Marilyn Monroe move I pulled when a gust of wind caught me by surprise. That’s precisely when it hit me: What was I thinking? Danielle is a country girl after my own heart. She probably still would have loved me had I shown up in jeans!

Tender Ranch-Style Oven Ribs… quick and easy!

Succulent, easy Ranch Style Ribs

One of the things I enjoy in my spare time… (which there is never enough of) is cooking. Especially if friends are coming over. And one of my favourite things to cook is ribs. I have to admit, I’m not a ‘stick to the recipe’ kind of cook. At least not when it comes to main dishes and starters. I’ve learned the hard way, to be a little more careful with desserts and quick breads, but as far as main meals, for better or worse, I use whatever is at hand that might lend itself to the recipe. The downside to this approach (as my husband regularly points out) is that recipes he particularly enjoys never get re-created a second time in exactly the same way.

Tender ‘fall off the bone’ easy ranch style ribs

Beef or pork ribs are easy to prepare, in summer or winter, and tend to be popular with most folks. Here is an easy rib recipe that I’ve made various versions of – both here in Arizona this winter and back at home in Canada as well. I tend to cook ribs more often down south as they’re more available – (particularly beef ribs) and less expensive in the U.S. than they are at home.

5-6 pounds of beef or pork ribs (about 3 kilograms in metric)

Allow 1 to 1 ½ pounds of ribs per person

1 small onion, chopped

1-2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 cup (fairly strong) brewed coffee (250 milliliters)

1 cup commercial barbecue sauce (250 milliliters)

½ cup brown sugar, honey or maple syrup (125 milliliters)

1 tablespoon Dijon or regular mustard (15 milliliters)

Cut thawed ribs into serving-sized pieces. Place in a stock pot. Add chopped onion and garlic. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with water. Simmer ribs on top of stove for about an hour.


Mix coffee, barbecue cause, brown sugar and mustard in small saucepan. Simmer briefly. Put ribs in roaster or casserole dish. Cover with sauce. Bake in 325 F oven (160 C) for an hour or so (or until very tender).

These are excellent paired with salad and a rice or potato dish.

Serves 4

I tend to double or triple this recipe even if I’m serving only four people the first time around. These ribs re-heat well… and we’re big on leftovers at our house!


Top seller barrel stallion comes to Canada

Brought to Billings, Montana by Tod DeJong, Tracy, IA the good mule sold to Mitch Svangstu, Noonan, ND, for $5,000.

The noise was all about the working boys – the strong, solid kind that deliver day in and day out – and – professional, service oriented horses and mules enjoyed a big weekend at Billings Livestock Commission‘s “Spring Special Catalog Sale” March 27-28.

Held each and every March, the “Trail, Outfitting, Guide, and Guest” horse feature also offered an excellent set of riding, driving, and pack mules.

Horses and mules sold from coast to coast – California to Massachusetts , Texas to Alaska, with a weekend total of 760 head offered including 74 cataloged mules.

It goes in the BLS record books – an iron-clad market was verified by a record low pass out rate as only 31 head were were passed out or “no-saled” by the consignor – that calculates to a 96% overall sale percentage. .

A gentle, attractive, top-notch trail mule that had been started heading topped the mule charts with a $5,000 price tag, and Hip 409 “Roy” was good to catch, load, saddle, and shoe.

Mules came in all colors, kinds, and areas of expertise, with the top five mule average at $3,300 and the top ten at $2,620.

In the horse division, stallions continue to shine as Hip 158 “Lazy Wind,” a 2003 AQHA sorrel stallion by the Triple Crown winner Special Effort and out of the Easy Jet daughter By All Means Easy, brought $10,700. Offered by Bucky Derflinger, Mud Butte, SD, the big, pretty stallion sold to Keith Pomeroy, Armstrong, BC.

Steady as she goes, the market was solid from the first horse to the last, with buyers seeking out the dependable, honest, gentle on their mind kind, where the top five averaged $5,850, top ten at $4,905, top 20 brought $4,097, top 50 came in at $3,293, and the top 100 averaged $2,730.

Double gentle and rides the same everyday, Hip 17 “Black Jack” a 2004 Grade black gelding offered by RMO Horses, Heber, UT brought $4,400 and went home with Bob and GayAnn Masolo,Townsend, MT.

Wildnerness Adventures, Powell, WY brought a stand-out assortment of mules and horses that had been used in their pack trips, dude rides, and hunting camps and included Hip 66 “Bones” a 2003 Grade Gray Quarter Draft gelding.

The gentle, trail and cowhorse sold to Mark Dunsley, Couer D’Alene, ID for $4,400.

Ray and Marjorie Beecher, Grass Range, MT offered a partial dispersion of their time-honored program including daughters of their famous sire “Gumbo Roany”.

Loose horses made a definite jump in value at the March sale where the top prospect commanded $2,500.

On the loose, he top five averaged $1,920 compared to $1,210 in 2009, the top ten averaged $1632 versus $1,022 last year; The top 20 brought $1,330 compared to $826 with the top 50 at $974 compared to $585; and the top 100 averaged $795 versus $435 one year ago.

Sue Wallis, Recluse, WY addressed the Sunday Sale crowd and updated the audience on the latest processing legislation. For more information

Billings Livestock’s next sale event is set for April 24 – 25 and will feature the 12th annual “Rope Horse Special” catalog sale and regular monthly horse sale.

Lots of cattle, lots of opportunities to watch the rope horses, including a jackpot team roping open only to sale horses set for Friday, April 23 in the BLS arena.

PRCA World Champion Team Roper, Bobby Harris, will be on-site Friday, 12 noon, prior to the jackpot, for an informal, free roping seminar which will touch on scoring, horse position, facing, stopping, and roping basics.

Rope horses will show again in previews on Saturday and Sunday.

All classes of horses will sell including mares, stallions, finished horses, prospects, and young stock.

Cattle will also be available to show the cutting horses and calf horses.

Catalog closing date is April 5, with a supplement printed for later entries.

Bright & sunny with canvas sales up

The 3rd canvas auction of the year – the WPCA Dodge Pro Tour’s chuckwagon canvas auction took place on Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary, with satellite locations in Medicine Hat, Rocky Mountain House, Grande Prairie, Drumheller and Bonnyville. Shows up for sale included the Grande Prairie Stompede, Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede, North American Chuckwagon Championship, Bonnyville Chuckwagon Championship, Badlands Dinosaur Derby, WPCA Dodge Pro Tour Championship, Battle of the North and finally the Battle of the Rockies.

All but one show was up over 2009 totals. The overall total came in at $1,276,250.00 – up $93,000.00 over 2009 totals. The top selling show of 2010 for the 2nd consecutive year was the Bonnyville Chuckwagon Championship. It totaled a very impressive $202,000.00 up $10,500.00 over its 2009 total of $191,500.00. The average bid came in at $5,611.11 with the median bid at $5,125.00. High bid of $19,500.00 went to local hero Rae Croteau Jr.

The 2nd highest total of the 2010 satellite auction was the Grande Prairie Stompede.  It totaled $194,500, up $18,500.00 from $176,000.00 in 2009. The average bid came in at $5,402.78 with the median bid at $5,000.00. High bid of $10,000.00 went to Hugh Sinclair, Kelly Sutherland and Jason Glass.

The 3rd highest total of the 2009 satellite auction was the WPCA Dodge Pro Tour Championship in Strathmore. It totaled $185,250.00, up $13,750.00 from $171,500.00 in 2009. The average bid came in at $5,145.83 with the median bid at $4,875.00. High bid of $9,500 went to Kelly Sutherland.

4th highest total was the North American Chuckwagon Championship in High River.  Although it totaled $155,000.00, it was the only show of the 8 auctioned off to be down in total from 2009.High River’s auction was down $2,500.00 from $157,500.00 in 2009. The average bid came in at $4,305.56 with the median bid coming in at $4,500.00. High bid of $8,000.00 went to Rick Fraser.

The 5th highest total was a new show – the Battle of the Rockies in Rocky Mountain House which replaced the Red Deer Chuckwagon Champiuonship.  The change of venue was a positive as the sale totaled $152,750.00, up $28,750.00 over Red Deer’s 2009 total of $124,000.00. The average bid came in at $4,243.06 with the median bid at $3,875.00. High bid of $9,500.00 went to Jerry Bremner.

6th highest total was the Battle of the North in Dawson Creek.  It totaled $148,500.00, up $11,750.00 from $136,750.00 in 2009. The average bid came in at $4,125.00 with the median bid at $4,000.00. High bid of $8,000.00 went to Chad Harden.

7th highest total went to the Medicine Hat Exhibition & Stampede.  It totaled $120,250.00, up $2,500.00 from $117,750.00 in 2009. The average bid came in at $3,340.28 with the median bid equaling the 2009 median bid at an even $3,000.00. High bid of $8,000.00 went to Troy Dorchester.

Finally, the Badlands Dinosaur Derby totaled $118,000.00, up $9,750.00 from $108,250.00 in 2009. The average bid came in at $3,277.78 with the median bid at $3,000.00. High bid of $6,250.00 went to Rae Croteau Jr.

The final auction of the year will be for the Ponoka Stampede which will take place on Friday, May 8, 2009 at the new Stagecoach Saloon on on the Ponoka Stampede Grounds. Last years Ponoka Stampede auction brought in a total of $304,500.00.

~ Courtesy of the World Pro Chuckwagon Association

Road Less Saddled – Day 4

Road Less Saddled – Day 4

We’ve loaded the horses and set out from Albuquerque at 7:30 am. Feist is doctored, cold hosed and all the winter blankets are exchanged for lighter show sheets. The forecast at our destination of Cave Creek, Arizona, is predicting 21 Celcius this afternoon! As we change out the blankets, we realize our palomino mare looks gaunt, despite having a large bucket of fresh water all night in her stall. Clay and I chalk this up to the probability that she didn’t care for the taste of the water for some reason. Thankfully, all the other horses were fine with it. We give the mare some paste electrolytes and start the last leg of our journey.

Our morning starts on Route 66. Kinda.

Approximately a half hour into our day we begin to pass Casinos, small towns and open desert. In addition to that, there are several roadside signs warning drivers about the dangers of picking up hitch hikers: this is a high prison area. Other roadside billboards discuss sad but poignant issues such as Crystal Meth, abortion, child and animal abuse. I am in unfamiliar territory.

As Clay and I roll farther west on I40, we find a spot to pull over to offer our palomino some water. The electrolytes should have had a chance to work by now and we are hopeful she will drink.

Clay offers the horses water and thankfully, the palomino drinks.

During this stop, my husband also checks our rig: the tires, lights and axels. This is a routine practice of his, however what’s not routine is the protruding piece of metal sticking out the top of one of our trailer tires. This particular tire’s sidewalls are also very warm and a lot of axel grease has leaked out here.


We consider our options: keep going and hope for the best? Or should we just change the tire right now? Either way, we are in a bad place to change a tire so we decide to set up the road a little farther and see what we can find.

The scenery is beautiful here but isn’t doing much to help our accident-waiting-to-happen.

Clay drives for a few more miles. And just as we are both getting really nervous, the next bend reveals a huge commercial truck service station! What luck, eh?! We pull our rig up to the Bosselman 24 Hour Boss Truck Stop near Ciniza, New Mexico (I think).

Our heroes.

The mechanics there immediately instruct us to pull our rig into a large service bay, horses and all. Turns out, we had picked up a nail in the tire, however, it hasn’t quite punctured through the tire’s inner tube. Yet.

Our rig in the Boss Truck Stop service bay.

It is at this point that I realize: what a blessing in disguise it was that our mare appeared gaunt this morning! Giving her electrolytes required us to stop and offer her water 30 minutes later. If we hadn’t needed to do so, it’s possible we may not have noticed the nail otherwise. And instead, the crew at the Boss Truck Stop took us in immediately, fixed the tire and our axel grease problem and sent us on our way. What a huge relief!

Yes, those are extremely rare plastic animals up there.

On the road once again, we count the driving hours remaining. We cross the Arizona stateline and immediately, there is a Port of Entry we have to visit.

More bugs on the windshield.

One more stop.

The attendant asks us what livestock we have on board, tells us the Ag office is closed and flags us through.

Clay is driving me crazy with his whistled version of “Bonanza.” Up ahead there’s a sign boasting another tourist trap approximately one hour away. There, it might be time for a pit stop. And hey, you can get 50 per cent off meteorites today! Excellent.

We arrive at our destination in good time and unload the horses, first thing.

I think they were happier than we were to get to Arizona!!

Vogue Western


Welcome to Vogue Western, a category I’ve decided to devote to the unique genre of clothing and accessories we call western. Throughout it I’m going to post photos of what I consider hits to the core and vitality of western wear – in all it’s tradition, cosmopolitanism, luxury, polish, hipness and flair. Since my travels can take me anywhere from a 4-H club show in rural Alberta to the culture-shock of an Arabian Show in Scottsdale, I figure I’m in a great position to amass an interesting cross section of all that is western to entertain and inspire your own sense of fashionableness.

For our opener, I chose this shot of a vaquero-styled ranch hand at a clinic I attended a year or so ago, because he, quite likely unbeknownst to himself dominated the film of most of the media’s cameramen and women that day. Yes, it was the blue shirt, the sky blue shirt – ageless in style, modern in adaption. It was a bleak Canadian wintery day, a dark arena, a conservative crowd, and he chose this to wear.

Our cameras loved him.

Road Less Saddled – Day 3

The Road Less Saddled – Day 3

In the morning, we get ready to leave Albuquerque, NM. Feist is cold hosed once more and doctored. Clay and I feed the horses their breakfast on the trailer, say our thank-you’s to Mike at High Line Stable and head out.

Early into our day, another weigh scale appears on the side of the road. It’s open and all vehicles over 10,000 lbs are asked to stop. Clay goes inside with our paperwork and everything checks out fine. Aside from watering stops and weigh scales, we rarely have to pull over today, since our freightliner carries massive fuel tanks. Plus, we always travel with extra jerry cans of fuel. Therefore, diesel fill-ups at night are really the only time we ever have to stop for fuel – which is why it’s wise for me to watch my personal water intake!

Denver. And yes, we have obtained a crack in our windshield. The traffic isn’t too bad right now, which is the reason I have the guts to take a picture at the moment.

When we arrive in Denver, CO, the traffic is thick in some areas, we have no desire to stop here. And even though Clay is driving, in intense road conditions I somehow feel as though it might be helpful if I refuse to take my eyes off the road as well. Clay however, begs to differ. For some reason, my white knuckles on the armrests and frequent gasps only serve to agitate him.

I ponder this.

Yes, we have bugs on the window.

Finally we are through Denver and light snow begins to fall on the windshield. It doesn’t seem to last however. Thank goodness, we have been really lucky on this trip for road conditions so far. Two weeks prior to heading out, Clay and I actually decided to delay our trip when reports of large snow storms in the Denver area made the news. Clay even went out to purchase tire chains, in the event we would need them. Getting stuck in a Colorado mountainous range with 7 horses isn’t our idea of a good time.

Tonight the horses are staying at the Broken M Ranch in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Clay and I have also made arrangements to stay in the guest cabin they have there. We recently found out that the Budweiser Clydesdales had been there the night before and we are excited to see what the place looks like.

Of course, crossing the New Mexico state border means another Port of Entry.

Upon arrival at the Broken M Ranch, we are greeted by owner Susan Miller. Along with her husband, Keith Duke, Susan relocated to Albuquerque from Michigan. There, Duke was a Detroit narcotics officer. And when he retired, Duke wanted to try his hand at being a cowboy, so he packed up his family and moved to the Broken M Ranch (aptly named because Susan says something is always broken around there.) Who, in the horse business, can’t relate to that?

Broken M Ranch.

Again, Clay and I get to work settling the horses for the night. Clay cleans the trailer and flips it around for an easier departure in the morning. The sheer size of this rig sometimes makes it difficult to negotiate entrance gates and gas stations, among other things. Once the horses are bedded down, it’s our turn for supper and relaxation. To our delight, the guest cabin at Broken M is fantastic!

The front entrance of the Broken M Ranch guest house reveals the kitchen and eating area.

Everything a traveler could need is stocked in this little place. Eggs, bacon, coffee and cereal for the morning. Soda, Beer and Twinkies to wind down in the evening. Spike TV (for Clay) and internet (for me). And then, there is nothing better after a day of driving than a hot shower and climbing into a soft bed piled high with fluffy pillows, a down duvet and crisp white sheets.

Possibly our most comfortable stay throughout the entire duration of our trip!
But the only problem is, neither Clay nor I can sleep. We were too excited to get to AZ! Only one more day to go…

Winter Cutting Series Wraps Up

It happens every year. The tundra swans arrive. The winter series departs. It’s all part of the weird and wonderful universe we live in.

Tundra swans stop by at a slough near the log house. They are enroute to their breeding grounds in the Arctic.

Last night I posted the results to the Silver Slate Arena‘s winter penning series and today I give you the results and photos of the winter cutting series.

Open Ranch Winner Jim Paradis and Kenny Be Caught.

5,000 Novice Horse Non-Pro Champion Lucy Streeter and Anita Steady Date.

Non-Pro and 20,000 Amateur Champion Jessica Devries on Lucky Powder.

2000 Limit Champion Gregg Dunn on Right On CD.

15,000 Novice Horse Non-Pro Champion Thomas Munro on Smart Lena Joe.

2,000 Limited Reserve Champion Railey Tremblay on Marty.

5,000 Ranch Champion (tie) Dana Jenkins on Una Lista Pepinic.

5,000 Ranch Champion (tie) Angie Sproule on Oakie.

If you have winter series results you’d like to have posted on this site, please contact the news desk at