Genesis: Starting with a plan

GENESIS

A scene in our yearling filly pasture.


I always love this time of year. These are the days when Clay starts focusing the training energy onto our 2-year-olds. The babies we foaled out in early 2008 have had almost two years to just grow and be horses. And now, it’s time to start handling them regularly. Up until now, they’ve been halter-broke and have received consistent farrier work and medical care. Other than that however, our yearlings have mainly been running and playing like little kids out in the pasture.

The fillies: aka Drama Queens.

Naturally, there is much discussion surrounding the topic of starting young horses. Every trainer or owner has an opinion on the subject and every program has valid points. I am not here to argue or validate which way is best. Clay and I just know what works best for us and the practice of starting our colts as long yearlings, has proven extremely beneficial in our experience.

All shapes and sizes.

Ideally, we like to center our breeding program around the earliest foals in the year as possible. This means, we try to aim for March babies. Of course, this goal isn’t always attainable since Mother Nature plays a large role in equine reproduction. However, we have found that earlier birth dates allow our foals more time to grow, develop and mature. And sometimes, if a mare is having difficulty getting in foal early in the year, we choose to leave her open. In today’s economy and with the instability of our market, it has become more crucial than ever to make smart breeding decisions. Since our herd consists of +/- 11 broodmares (depending on the year), we have decided that demand must exist for each and every horse we produce.

It’s all about supply equaling demand.

We don’t want to create something the world has no desire for, as often seen in the overbreeding problems and market lows the horse industry is already battling. Therefore, with careful scrutiny we make our breeding plans each year and if a mare just can’t seem to become pregnant early in the year, that’s alright with us. We don’t believe it’s absolutely necessary to bring another 11 foals into the world every year.

It’s always so amazing to me to watch dreams and goals take shape, from this tender moment forward.

That being said, each of our foals will have a better chance of thriving in today’s society if they are well-trained and have solid foundations. Broke horses have a modern purpose in today’s society and can give their owners justification of the costs of feeding and caring for them. That’s why Clay prefers to start our young horses as long yearlings, starting with approximately only ten minutes day, three times a week. Since the horse’s body continues to develop until it is about six year of age, it’s important to consider the young muscle and bone structure and never physically push the animal too far in a session.

A few minutes each day, starting earlier on in its life, allows Clay the time it takes to build a solid foundation with a colt. It is very hard on a horse to begin training later in life and have the same amount of lessons crammed into a shorter span of time. Doing so would be the equivalent of sending a child to begin school in grade six, without having the benefit of kindergarten, grade one, two, etc. The person training the horse would have to teach the horse all the same lessons, despite having only half the time.

The yearlings, just being horses.

Starting early also affords Clay the opportunity to turn our yearlings out to pasture again, if he so chooses. Sometimes a young horse comes along so nicely in the lessons that Clay might feel he needs time to go out and be a horse again. Or, perhaps his or her body just needs more time to develop. And later in January, February or March Clay might bring the colt back in and resume the training. Either way, an early starting point gives my husband a foundation to build on.

Who's clocking up at the early pro rodeos?

I always enjoy this time of year… (okay, okay, I’ll admit I’m still in Arizona but I’m wearing my “Alberta” hat right now) because spring means rodeo season is here.

Adel Hansen and Freddie, 2009 Calgary Stampede (photo by Mike Copeman)

Canadian Pro Rodeo action technically kicked off last fall with the Saskatoon Indoor Pro Rodeo but the first ‘spring’ show ran in Camrose March 19-21 followed up by Lethbridge March 25-27. While it’s still pretty early to say who’s in solid shape in the overall standings, it’s always fun (and interesting) to see who handles the small indoor barrel runs well. And, no surprise, some of the names at the top of the CPRA roster so far are the same names we saw at this point last year.

I caught up with Calgary, AB barrel racer, Lauren Chad by phone as she was heading off for a ‘Tim Hortons run’ before her morning University classes in Calgary. The former Saskatoon resident and 2008 CFR qualifier rides Macho, a 14 year old Doc Bar bred gelding. Lauren was second in Saskatoon last fall and won Camrose this spring to take the early lead in the CPRA standings. A full time psychology student, Lauren is juggling not only her academic load and equine demands… she’s also planning her wedding, set for later this year to bull fighter Jesse Byrne. With all that on her plate, Lauren looked to the Anchor R Ranch Equine Wellness Centre to help get her horse in shape for the spring season, “I was tickled with how good my horse looked after a month at Anchor R,” Lauren commented. “I picked him up the week before Camrose and he felt great.”

Right behind Lauren is another ‘soon-to-be-married’ barrel racer… the 2009 Reserve Canadian Champion Rana Walter. The Lethbridge cowgirl finished second at her hometown rodeo and third at Saskatoon last fall. No stranger to the world of barrel racing, Rana is a four time CFR qualifier. She rides Real Easy Doc (Easy Jet/Doc Bar bred). The long-strided gelding, trained and futuritied by Donnie Reese, won the first $100,000 Pro Tour Barrel Race in Oklahoma City as a three year old, then went on to earn the BFA Oklahoma City Juvenile Championship and Reserve BFA Derby title. Walter has since enjoyed additional Derby, Pro Rodeo and Fast Time wins aboard the big chestnut gelding.

Also making an appearance in the early standings is Laura McPherson of Wolf Point, Montana. A relative newcomer to the Canadian Barrel Racing scene, due in part to the challenges of rodeoing from Wolf Point (a farming community located in the northeast corner of Montana many miles from almost anywhere), Laura won the Saskatoon Pro Rodeo last September and has plans to head back to Canada later this spring. “I first came up to Canada two years ago,” the Montana accountant explained. “There are some great rodeos up there and really nice people. I just live a long way from most rodeos, so I have to plan my trips carefully.” Laura runs a ten year old home-raised granddaughter of Dash For Cash.

2009 Canadian CFR qualifier and CPRA Barrel Racing Rookie of the Year, Adel Hansen is off to a good start too. The Okotoks cowgirl and UFA executive has three horses in her barn though for the indoor venues, she often runs her mare, Freddie. Adel used a similar strategy to Lauren Chad – she booked her horse into the Champion Equine Rehab and Training Centre at Carstairs, Alberta for a few weeks of spring conditioning prior to rodeo season. Adel sits fourth in the standings.

The next pro rodeo on the roster is Medicine Hat on April 16-18

The majority of the semi-pro associations are just getting underway with April rodeos scheduled. Check back later this month for early-season semi-pro highlights.

No health records? Ship before July 31st

It isn’t an April Fool’s joke. In fact, rumors of it have been the talk of the industry all winter and in late January the Canadian Food Inspection Agency confirmed new regulations regarding the implementation of a Meat Hygiene Directive. As of July 31st, slaughter facilities will be allowed to process only those equines with complete health records dating back six months. In other words, the maintenance of health records must have begun by February 1st, for equines that are intended to be sent (or sold) for processing on or after July 31st.

The Information Bulletin from the CFIA that outlines the new requirements is available from the CFIA’s web site at:

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/newcom/newsrele.shtml where it states “ owners who wish to keep their sale options open should record all vaccines, medications given (administered or fed) to their animals and record any occurrence of illness in their animals.”

The CFIA requires that health records for equines intended for human consumption include the following:

• Identification information for the horse, including markings and photos

• Record of diagnosed illnesses

• Records of drugs or vaccines administered (or fed) that are not intended for use in food animals

• Records of drugs or vaccines administered (or fed) with known withdrawal periods

• Records of all other drugs or vaccines administered (or fed)

A list of the substances that are not intended for use in food animals can be found at in the Meat Hygiene Directive No. 2009-49 which is available from CFIA’s website at

http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/meavia/man/direct/2009/direct49e.shtml.

Important to note: the use of Phenylbutazone (commonly known as bute), is now considered a banned substance for any equine intended for human consumption.

Equine meds which require a six-month withdrawal period include such drugs as Acepromazine, commonly known as Ace.

Perhaps even more troubling than the health records requirement is the news that this program is all intended to lead into an overall Canadian equine identification program, which is intended to encompass not only unique identification, but movement tracking and health and drug administration. Read on for the official word from the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency:

“To assist horse owners in the maintenance of health records, the CFIA has created the Equine Identification Document (EID). The EID is a paper document that can be downloaded and printed from the CFIA website.

“The CFIA announcement describes this as “the first step in the development of a comprehensive food safety and traceability program for the Canadian equine industry—for both domestic and international markets.” This is in-line with previous Agriculture and Agri-food Canada announcements committing to the development of livestock traceability programs for Canada by 2013.

“It is expected that the EID paper document will serve as a foundation stone upon which a comprehensive electronic system will be built to incorporate unique equine identification, movement tracking, and health and drug administration information necessary to satisfy food safety and bio-security requirements.

“It is expected that further information and details regarding the development and implementation of the national identification and traceability system will be announced shortly.”

If all of this smacks you in the gut the teensiest bit, if you find your thoughts drifting off to 1984, and big-brotherism, you just might not be alone . . . and plenty of you may even recall we’ve been through this before, back in 2003-04 when Equine Canada gave it’s best shot at fast-tracking an equine identification program. Alarms were raised, cries of “not another gun registry!” were made and eventually, it all went away, back into the dark hole from whence it came. Or, so we thought.

Just as intriguing . . . on the heels of this Canadian announcement came the news from the United States Department of Agriculture of its complete scrapping of it’s $142 million NAIS (National Animal Identification System) and starting it’s disease traceabililty program from scratch according to the Washington-based American Horse Council. Apparently, the decision came after a USDA national listening tour.

We’ll be keeping track of this as it progresses, but in the meantime, thoughts anyone?

Win an Autographed Shane Doan Jersey!

WIN AN AUTOGRAPHED SHANE DOAN JERSEY!

Read MY STABLE LIFE and win this great prize!

As a former Olympian, a gold and silver medal winner at the World Championships and the Captain of the Phoenix Coyotes hockey team, Shane Doan is the pride of Canada. From Halkirk, Alberta, to the Winnipeg Jets, to the Arizona desert, Doan has proven that he can rise to any challenge and is the ultimate leader. As the Coyotes have clinched a berth in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs, this autographed jersey is a timely and priceless artifact. Doan has passion for Quarter Horses and makes an appearance on My Stable Life, warranting this jersey as a most fitting prize.

To us, Doan is a hero. And it’s pretty cool that he just-so-happens to have a thing for cow horses, ropers and reiners. So… I want to hear about your heroes with horse connections. Let me know by commenting at MY STABLE LIFE. Tell me about people who are helping the horse community or simply lending a hand to a horsey friend. Large or small, I want to hear about them!! And be sure to tell me why they are a hero in your eyes.

The winner will be drawn randomly from comment submissions.

Contest closes April 30, 2010.

Saskatchewan Paint Horse Club news

A POST FROM THE SASKATCHEWAN PAINT HORSE CLUB

Harvest of Colors Youth Class 2009

As I write my very first newsletter, my clothing is covered in horse hair, my eyes are itchy and I wonder how 90% of the shedding always ends up on or close to my nose.  Spring is here on the calendar, not so much in person on the day I am writing this, but a hopeful forecast is in today’s weather.   Pastures are starting to welcome new additions and I hope you all share pictures of this years foal crop. So with new beginnings we move forward excited for 2010.  This year the SPHC is back on track with monthly newsletters, and has anyone checked out our new and improved www.saskpainthorseclub.com?  All the information you need including up coming shows, a what’s new page, and a great classifieds page were members can list horses or show clothing.  Great place to shop as well so check it out.

Our first show of the season will be held in Lloyd May 22, 23rd 2010 and the Harvest of Colors Saskatoon will be September 25, 26th, 2010. Don’t forget to get your SPHC membership BEFORE your first class at the Lloydminster Spring Show.  Points only start to accumulate for show and year-end awards after you have obtained your membership. Check out our Show roster.  We are offering Nervous Novice classes for us new riders or riders who have not yet earned points, lots of fun and a way for some of us to find a comfortable start.  Speaking of fun, the Youth committee has lots of new fresh fun idea’s planned for this year, I can tell you all to plan for a stall decorating class, and I hope we can fit in a costume class but we will keep you updated.  Speaking of updating, you can now find the Saskatchewan Paint Horse Youth on facebook. 127 fans and growing it is a great place to receive quick updates, post your own comments, share idea’s on what you would like to see at upcoming shows, and we love to see pictures and news about you and your horse.  This fan page is open to all young and the young of heart, but we also now have a Saskatchewan Paint horse club web site for all our members to join that offers the same venue as they youth page does.

So now that the shedding process has begun, and horse and riders train for the upcoming season I would like to tell you about an exciting opportunity for our SPHC youth, and all equine youth of Saskatchewan. SHPC will again be sponsoring a High Point Paint Horse, for our members at the Youth Equestrian Summer Games on August 20th, 21st and 22nd.  The show will be the same 3rd weekend in August as it has been in past years, but a new Location Moose Jaw with a bigger and better format. Keep an eye on the Saskatchewan Horse Federation Web site and the Saskatchewan 4-H web site for information as it becomes available.  We would love to see a huge number of youth come to this show and color the ring.

That’s about it for this time, I look forward to hearing from you to share news or events with me to include with my next Newsletter in June, don’t forget to add pictures. You can send them to dtcooper@sasktel.net.

~ Tammy Cooper

2010 Rodeo Legends Announced

The Canadian Rodeo Historical Association (CRHA) has announced the Ranchman’s Legendary Achievement Award recipients for 2010. The honoured cowboys are Brian Whitlow, DC Lund and Allan Currier. They will each be recognized by the CRHA at separate rodeos this summer, which will be announced in an upcoming issue Canadian Rodeo News.

Brian Whitlow

Brian “Red” Whitlow competed at his first rodeo at the age of 11 in his hometown of Cremona, Alta. Although he would later try his hand at a number of events in the amateur circuit, Whitlow’s early experiences in the steer riding paved the way for his career, and he began to focus on bull riding. His first pro rodeo was at Lacombe, Alta. in 1965. Two years later, Whitlow attended Lawrence “Hutch” Hutchison’s bull riding school in Kamloops, B.C. He also attended a bull fighting school around the same time, and was employed in that position for a time, but figured he could make more money in a weekend of bull riding and decided to concentrate on his favourite roughstock event. The athlete went on to win the 1967 Permit Award, and even took a crack at the All-Around by adding steer wrestling to his professional events. He never did win that Canadian championship, but for Whitlow, rodeoing was about the challenge, and even though winning was great, the companionship of his fellow contestants was what really kept this cowboy going down the road. Whitlow retired from rodeo in 1976 after a Harvey Northcott bull named Al Capone broke his leg twice in one season. But by that time, Whitlow and his wife Joy had three children and he decided to settle down and concentrate on farming, but still found time to judge.

Allan Currier

Eight-time Canadian cow milking champion Allan Currier (Czar, Alta.) was an active competitor for nearly two decades, and dominated the standings in his event for most of the 1980s. His first Canadian championship was in 1970. A rodeo fan as a kid, Currier didn’t get his start as an athlete until later on, when a guy working for him on his ranch commended his roping skills and invited him out onto the rodeo trail for a summer. He started practicing and then started going to rodeos, competing in the tie-down roping. Then someone suggested he test his skills in the cow milking. He jokes that he stopped roping calves and focused on cow milking “when I started getting a little too slow to get… any money.” He also won the wild cow milking championship at the Calgary Stampede in 1970, 1982 and 1983, and won the Central Alberta Circuit championship eight times. Currier rodeoed professionally for the last time in 1987, the same year he claimed his eighth Canadian title.

DC Lund

DC Lund started rodeoing professionally in the 1950s, following a family tradition of involvement in the sport. He says he learned to rodeo “First by trial and error, then practice, then observation, then practice, then rodeo school, then practice, then more instruction, and more practice,” but cites his father, Clark Lund, as the person who really helped him get going. He worked all the events except bull riding, and was an especially strong contender in the steer wrestling and tie down roping. He was the 1965 Southern Alberta Rodeo Circuit steer wrestling winner, and won the All-Around in that same circuit in 1974. In 1967, Lund was one of two cowboys selected to represent Canada in a six-month tour of Australia as guests of the Australian Roughriders Association. 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Jim Clifford, was the other competing alongside Lund in the International Championship Rodeo series. Lund and his wife Patty sent regular updates into Canadian Rodeo News during the tour, chronicling the challenges they endured, their failures, their laughs, and winning championships in his and Clifford’s respective events. Back in Canada, Lund finished the season in the steer wrestling within the top five in 1972, 1973 and 1975. He was the steer wrestling representative on the CRCA board in 1974 and 1975. Lund was also a practicing veterinarian. He is now retired.

~ Courtesy the CPRA

ICE Quarter Horses

ICE QUARTER HORSES

So if any of you are hockey fans like us, you might be interested to know one of Canada’s most famous exports is also a big Quarter Horse enthusiast. Shane Doan, #19 and captain of the Phoenix Coyotes is the other half of ICE Quarter Horses, based out of Halkirk, Alberta. Along with Darcy and Andrea Mabbott and their family, Doan has a passion for great bloodlines and versatile equines. (Darcy and Shane are cousins). Of course, Doan’s involvement with the program mostly takes place after hockey season and his commitments on the ice are on hiatus.

On December 17, 2009, Doan played his 1,000 game with the Phoenix Coyotes at Columbus.

Doan was born in Halkirk, Alberta and drafted into the NHL in 1995-1996.

On December 26, 2009, Doan was honored for playing 1,000 NHL games before the Los Angeles Kings game at Jobing.com arena in Phoenix, AZ. A 20-minute on ice tribute took place, which included a brief speech by Doan to thank his team members, staff and family and fans for their support since he entered the NHL. He even thanked the LA kings for delaying the start time of the game!

Shane Doan was Winnipeg’s first choice (1st round, 7th overall) in the 1995 Entry Draft.

Doan’s wife Andrea, their four children and his parents joined him on the ice for the presentation, which he detailed as a rare, special occasion. A video tribute was played to congratulate #19 on the accomplishment and those commenting included: Jerome Iginla (who played junior hockey with Doan), Ed Joanovski, Matthew Lombardi, Steve Nash, Scott Neidermayer, and Keith Yandle, among others. The NHL was represented by Kris King (also a former teammate and roommate.) Doan was presented with a commemorative crystal, a career memory book, a framed photo collage and a silver stick. He was also given a Rolex watch and a saddle: gifts from his teammates.

Along with his 1,000th game, the saddle represents Doan’s time with the Winnipeg Jets and the Phoenix Coyotes and is adorned with #19 conchos.

ICE Quarter Horses will have their first annual Production Sale in Halkirk, AB, this coming September 12, 2010. So make plans to be there if you’re looking for some high quality, well-bred roping, working cow horse or ranch prospects!

Doan was unavailable for a photo, at the time.

Just kidding.

Shane Doan, along with Marcy Ver Meer and her mother, Betty and I. This was Betty’s  very first hockey game! GO COYOTES!!

Check back to MY STABLE LIFE tomorrow, for a chance to win an autographed Shane Doan jersey!

Best Babies Batch #1

ENTRIES FROM WHR’S BEST BABIES PHOTO CONTEST

Because it’s a beautiful spring day. Because we await our own new arrival here at the log house. Because it’s difficult to think of any subject which can loosen the words “grab the camera” from any horseperson’s lips more readily. Because I can’t wait to show you the first set of submissions to our Best Babies Photos Contest. Because I fell in love with photographing foals when we had our first two years ago, pictured above with my daughter. Because I want to encourage you to capture those short-lived days of foalhood.

Here then, without further ado, is a selection of the first set of entries we’ve received for our Best Babies Photo Contest.

It’s a predicament. Guns Poco Sun out of Suns Affair by Ima Sun Ofa Gun. Photo by John Regier, Pitchfork Ranching Quarter Horses, Lethbridge, AB

Invitation to play? Two foals by El Peppys Hurt. Photo by Karla Reimer, Beaverlodge, AB

A field of green grass, dandelions and new babies signal spring. Tito, a Cattin colt on the right, and Splash, a Pepto Taz colt on the left. Photo by Kevin Genz, KG Performance Horses, Duffield, AB

Sharing a kiss. Stud colt, Custom Made Surprize by Hangten Surprize. Photo by Stacey Huska, Drayton Valley, AB

Baby with a barn background. Star is a Standardbred foal. Photo by Lindsay Macneil, Cape Breton, NS

The Drop Zone doesn’t miss a beat, by Peptozone out of Sea Breeze Please. Photo by Lori Turk, Wyoming, ON

And finally, we love the warmth of this mood shot of a Quarter Horse foal taken in northern B.C. Photo by Nicky Hemingson, Grande Prairie, AB

Now it’s your turn, you still have plenty of time to submit your foal photos and enter our Best Babies Photo Contest. You might win our fantastic foaling package, sponsored by Greenhawk (value: $130). Please send your photo, a brief description of foal’s pedigree if applicable, photographer’s name and hometown to dknews@telus.net.

Contest ends June 30.

The Barrel Patch is up and running

RED HAWK RANCH, CLARESHOLM, AB

Welcome everyone, it’s Barb Poulsen here – the gal behind The Barrel Patch.

With Western Horse Review joining the world of blogging, I’m happy to be aboard. Though I’m by no means an expert on barrel racing, it’s the sport I love the most and one I’ve been involved in, in one way or another, for many years now.

Recent times have seen me immersed in writing about and promoting barrel racing to a much greater extent than competing. Not to say that I don’t own a horse. I own several in fact (name the age, size and colour and I can probably oblige… just kidding!) I’m actually composing my first barrel racing blog from the sunny south – Maricopa, Arizona to be exact. I’ve been fortunate to spend the last few winters in “Little Canada” south of Phoenix where the sun almost always shines, sandy conditions provide excellent footing for riding and fellow Canadian equine enthusiasts abound!

This is me and Josey.

During the rest of the year, when we’re not at a rodeo or bull riding, my husband (rodeo announcer and author Dave Poulsen) and I spend our time on our little place back in the Porcupine Hills west of Claresholm, Alberta. A high school teacher in my ‘last life’, I now run a communications business – web/print design and writing – which, I’m thankful to say, I can run from anywhere. And I ride when I can, which will hopefully be more often in 2010! A transplanted Albertan (I was born and raised in Saskatchewan and still love the prairies), I’ve lived in southwestern Alberta for the last 15 years or so.

Please join me with your feedback, ideas and opinions as the blog progresses. I’m excited to be part of this endeavor and hope to share thoughts on barrel events, competitors, trainers, horses, clinicians and even a few recipes. If you have relevant, interesting news or photos, I’d love to hear about them… along with other tips/ideas that might translate into barrel racing blog fodder.

Spring’s almost here, rodeo season is underway and the first western Canadian barrel futurity will soon be upon us. Dave and I (along with the horses and dogs) will be heading north in ten days or so… (I’m getting lonesome for the Alberta foothills). Check back often to see what’s happening in The Barrel Patch!