6 Halloween Treats

Need to send a spooky treat to the school this week? Want to impress your stable mates at a Halloween barn party? Here are 6 of our favorite Halloween snacks. Take the above Sugar Skull fruit platter for example. Loaded with fresh fruit and complimented by a cookie crust and frosting, this is a treat that is perfect for a Day of the Dead party!

Or what about this Candy Corn jell-o? Two packs of Jell-o, some whipped cream and a candy corn topper and these little individual treats are a delight with everyone!

 

Witch finger pretzel rods are a spectacularly sweet-and-salty treat – and a little creepy.

 

These poison apples are to die for… but seriously, aren’t they pretty?

 

We love this Rice Krispie treat idea! The candy eyeballs are the perfect touch – So cute and the kiddies would love them.

 

Lastly, this cheesy witch broom idea is adorable and healthy! Made with only three ingredients, they look as easy to do as they are tasty to eat.

Happy Halloween!

 

Competitive Edge

Megan Resch with a Saffire Miniature.

Every successful nutrition program starts with science. And that science may translate to success in the barn. Such is the case for Saffire Miniatures.

Sandy Resch of Lousana, Alberta, is a busy lady. As the wife of professional pick-up man, Jeff Resch, and a mother, Sandy has a full schedule. However in addition to all that Sandy works alongside her mother, Verna Cundliffe, at Saffire Miniatures, a breeding / training / showing operation exclusive to Miniature Horses. Along with her daughters, Megan and Haley, Sandy can often be found throughout the year showing at national and international levels of Mini Horse competition.

Verna Cundliffe and granddaughters, Megan and Haley Resch with their numerous awards at the Canadian National Miniature Horse show.

When it comes to the health and nutrition of their Miniature Horses, Sandy says Praise™ hemp is giving them the competitive edge they need.

“We started using Praise™ hemp as a permanent part of our feeding program early in 2017,” says Sandy. “Since using the product we have seen a very noticeable difference in the shine, finish and bloom in all of our horses. They have a dappling throughout their coats which they never had prior to using Praise™ hemp and maintaining that perfect body condition is so much easier using this product!”

 

Imprint Phantom Eagle Heart – the 2017 WCMHA Hi Point Country Pleasure Driving horse and the 2018 Canadian National Reserve Grand Champion Country and the Western Regional Reserve Grand Champion 32″ & under Country Pleasure Driving horse. Owned by Saffire Miniatures.

Ribbons won by Saffiire Miniatures from the 2018 AMHA Canadian National Horse Show.

Sandy’s daughter, Megan won a large number of championships in a number of disciplines with Candylands Pattoned Payday this year. This included the 2018 Canadian Grand Champion Classic Pleasure Driving Championship. They also won AMHA Honor Role Championship buckles in 2017 for Showmanship and Youth Classic Pleasure Driving and they won the 2017 WCMHA Hi Point Performance Horse, High Point Youth, and AMHA Superior Gelding Performance Champion as well as numerous other high point awards last year.

Megan Resch and Candylands Pattoned Payday t won a large number of Championships in a number of disciplines with their Garland for winning the 2018 Canadian Grand Champion Classic Pleasure Driving Championship.

“We have had long time, prominent Miniature horse people comment on the condition and coats of our horses. All of us here at Saffire Miniatures are very strong believers in this product and will never go without using Praise™ hemp  in our feeding program,” Sandy declares.

This buckskin gelding from Saffire Miniatures has won numerous Classic Pleasure Driving Championships and was the 2017 WCMHA Hi Point Classic Pleasure Driving Champion. He was also  the 2018 WCMHA Hi Point Hunter Horse.

For more information on Praise™ hemp, please check out their website here.

A Modern Rider

Tammi Etherington utilizing the Pneu Dart air rifle to medicate cattle.

BY JESSI SELTE

Scabbard securely fastened to the saddle, Tammi Etherington is outfitted for a tough job. Pasture Riding. The Marwayne, AB, born rider has experienced the job in every aspect throughout her life and continues to pasture ride today.

Advancements in technology have furthered the ability of many modern jobs but are considered separate from the western lifestyle. Pasture riders, in particular, have always made an art of performing their multiple tasks with only that of a steady mount and lariat.

Often Lone Rangers, these caretakers must deal with all aspects of bovine health, management, difficult terrain, inclement weather and all kinds of wildlife. The job – typically learned as an apprentice – develops a unique set of skills and a new set of tools. Still, there is no replacing a good horse. With their ability to travel effectively and keen sense, the horse can help a rider detect cattle before they are seen.

A rider must be able to fix fence, locate and doctor cattle all with the tools carried on their saddle. Fencing pliers that double as a hammer, staples, binoculars, a knife, and matches are in the pack. These days however, there is a new addition to the saddle: The Pneu Dart Gun. This air rifle can administer up to 10cc of medicine in a single dart, allowing a rider the ability to treat an animal without the use of a lariat, or take the animal to a set of corrals that may be miles away. Riders try to make use of their individual abilities, and for Tammi Etherington, with her sharp aim, and quiet demeanour, the Pneu Dart gun has changed the job for her.

A cow with medicating darts.

Etherington, and her husband Bruce ranch in northeastern Alberta. The couple, run 200 head of Simmental cross cow/calf pairs, and during the grazing season, Tammi also rides herd for a private pasture.

The youngest in a farming family of five girls, Etherington and her sisters were raised working alongside their parents, involved in every aspect. The initial years were spent without the convenience of power or running water. Work ethic was paramount. Etherington describes her father Tom in his memoir In My Long Life as a man whose, “…hat could change from that of a hunter, a farmer, a pilot’s helper, or a cowboy, in the sweep of a hand. They all fit him well.” Mother Moira will forever be known as “Dr. Mom the Encyclopedia.” Etherington inherited her own personality from these traits.

Work created comfort and that mentality stuck with Etherington. As a teenager, her mother’s keen observation, and tireless support helped Etherington hone her riding skills. They were further advanced when at the tender age of 13, Etherington started her first job as a pasture rider. She used the job as a training ground for young horses, under the careful council of Terry and Sonia Franklin. Etherington continued to work off and on through the years at various pastures. She also made time to train, show, judge and give clinics.

The rewards of pasture riding look very different than those in the show ring, but also have a lasting effect. In the early years if an animal needed treatment, Etherington would trail the animal, sometimes miles, to a set of corrals in order to administer the appropriate medication. When the circumstances did not allow for extensive travel, a rope would be used to detain the sick bovine just long enough for treatment.

“I’ve been blessed to have worked for, and with very good managers, and riders with good roping skills.”

Now part of their low-stress management Etherington and her husband, have also started using a Pneu Dart Gun to treat animals. As a World Championship qualifying team roper, Bruce is more than capable for treating with a lariat, but with less help at home and animal husbandry a constant concern, the Pneu Dart gun is a natural fit. Etherington finds it imperative to follow the set protocol. This involves administering medication in the prescribed area on a bovine and recording the treatment properly, with cattle identification. This guarantees the safety and quality of meat for the end user. A clear shot is essential to success.

At 20,000 acres and with much of it featuring tree-covered hills and swamp, the northern Alberta private pasture is vast and unforgiving. The Pneu Dart gun brings a new dimension, to an old job. A rider is able to treat multiple animals in a day with minimal stress to both the cattle and the horse.

“Your horse needs to tolerate being shot off, whether they are up to their hocks in mud and deadfall, or just standing quietly in the middle of a herd,” says Etherington.

A good mount needs to have strong legs and feet, as well as cow sense. A horse that understands the expected job is crucial. Etherington is not looking forward to the day she has to retire her current horse. At 19 the solid little mare has clean legs and no saddle marks. This is a testament to a well-fitted saddle and Etherington’s habit of dismounting and walking both up, and down the long hills.

“We are both getting a little long in the tooth,” Etherington says. “If I’m going to ask her to go all day I need to be willing to do the same.”

When asked if being alone out on the range bothered her, Etherington chuckled, “I expect when the good Lord wants me, he will come and get me. Other than that, I expect he will give me a leg up.”

 

Country Luxe Life

 

Did you see this exquisite home featured in the September/October issue of Western Horse Review? If not, the issue is only on stands a little while longer! This creatively-designed home situated on a unique parcel of land offers up all the benefits of nature with a view of downtown Calgary, AB, while fitting immaculately into its rural setting.

The architectural style of this southern Albertan home is atypical of a conventional farmhouse, but upon arriving here, guests quickly embrace its inviting atmosphere with an easygoing sensibility. At over 4,800 square feet, this acreage situated in the county of rural Foothills M.D. (approximately 20 minutes south east of Calgary), features a tranquil retreat and views of the river below that will leave one breathless.

 

Finished with a red brick exterior, the bones of the home display their strength and timeless structure. As you follow the curves of the entrance, you discover there is a natural rhythm to the place that counter balances its large, interior space and never makes it feel overwhelming. Dramatic floor to ceiling windows in the main living area hold a cathedral style living room, complimented by a copper fireplace. The larger-than-life windows allow nature to be enjoyed from within as you will never miss a hawk soaring above, or deer passing through to the riverbed below. From here, there is also access to an expansive patio and comfortable, outdoor living space that adds to the relaxed, inviting atmosphere of the home. Plus, a view of the hot-tub below.

The dining room continues to maximize the vista with large windows that also pour light upon an expansive dining area. The chandelier above this room is rich with sparkle and dimension and serves as a piece of artwork, while offering an anchoring element to the space. The living area combined with the dining room is a large space you can feel cozy in, with lots of texture and intriguing interior touches, such as long bookcases (with a ladder) and a telescope for capturing the night sky.

In the kitchen, a six-burner gas stove, breakfast bar, dual islands with an extra sink and more than enough cupboard and pantry space, make it a chef’s or entertainer’s dream. However, with multiple zones for cooking, serving and eating, it also makes this kitchen a mother’s dream.

Near the heart of the home is a magnificently curved staircase, topped with wood steps to complement the hardwood floors. Contemporary railings and handrails complete the modern-looking design as it transports one to the upper level. At the top, an open-concept office featuring more hardwood and an open-beamed ceiling add visual interest to this floor. The walls containing the top half of the stairs form another curvy, fluid shape.

Boasting five bedrooms, four full bathrooms and one half-bath, the home is perfect for accommodating guests. Designed with unique curving walls, guest rooms provide individual charm and more pristine views of the outdoors. A large dressing area in the master bedroom adds interest and functionality and works well with shabby chic furnishings. With windows offering a near 180-degree perspective of Mother Nature, the master suite creates a peaceful retreat and escape from the outside world. An ensuite bathroom with dual sinks gives the master bedroom another perk.

Downstairs, a luxurious man-cave awaits with a full bar and recreation area. Bookended by a brick fireplace and spacious family seating area at one end, the downstairs level also features another relaxing abode. Whichever way you choose to turn in this luxurious western home, you’ll find peace and a slice of heaven with spa-like amenities in every corner. Its grand-estate-meets-relaxed-dwelling look, makes it feel right at home in the country.

Built in 1980 this large family home is durable enough to handle rural life. A front, automatic gate offers protection and security upon entrance to the property and large Evergreen trees provide a wind break in the driveway.

Outside, large paddocks with properly built and secured shelters make the property a comfortable home for equines as well. There are additionally miles of trails to be explored nearby with stunning views. Several box stalls, a cross-tie area plus a quaint tack room and cozy lounge area can all be found inside the heated barn. It’s the perfect place to slip off your muddy boots before dinner.

In all four seasons, this southern country home opens its arms to Mother Nature and feeds one’s soul. It’s comfortable, romantic and an ideal location to enjoy a tranquil rural existence. Or raise a family in the sweet, Alberta prairie air.

Presented by Kim Vink of RE/MAX First – www.kimvink.com

 

Bred for Battle

Sergeant Reckless beside 75 mm recoilless rifle, circa 1952 – 1955, Andrew Geer, Public Domain.

By DEBBIE MACRAE

Horses in battle is not a new concept. It dates back over 5,000 years during the period 2500 BC when Sumerian illustrations depicted some descendants of our modern equine creatures pulling wagons. The history of mounted horses in warfare references the period 3000 to 4000 BC in Eurasia, with chariot warfare becoming more prevalent by 1600 BC. Formal training for war horses was developed as early as 1350 BC with written instruction on how to train chariot horses. Training methods evolved, and in ancient Greece, cavalry methods replaced the chariot evolving with saddles, stirrups, and harness.

The Athenian philosopher, soldier and mercenary Xenophon advocated the use of cavalry to the extent that through his literature (the Cyropaedia) he presented that “no noble and good man” should be seen on foot – only on a horse, so much so, that they were presented almost as Centaurs. Xenophon wrote extensively on horsemanship, cavalry and training for war.

Depending on their purpose, horses of all breeds and sizes were used for battle. In the early wars of Mesopotamia, the Steppes of Central Asia and Turkey, horses were sure-footed, athletic and agile. Muslim warriors utilized light cavalry with minimal protection – using fast, fleet-footed horses, while the war horses of the Middle Ages, lasting from the 5th to the 15th centuries, were heavy cavalry – with both man and horse being heavily armoured.

Elite assault forces were created using lancers and archers, evolving from ordinary heavy cavalry – and armour evolved also from heavy mail to lighter mail and bronzed armour. The Celts of Western Europe were believed to have been the first to utilize heavy cavalry in their region – utilizing smaller, sturdier horses, and teams of men with fresh horses providing replacement weaponry and lances for retreating lancers, who could throw their weapons in retreat. They were known as skirmishers – or flank guards, screening their army from enemy advances. The horsemen of Gaul were widely reputed to have been the finest horsemen of the ancient world.

1881 Painting by Lady Butler – Scotland Forever Crop – Public Domain.

In the early 1800’s as the Napoleonic wars evolved, battle cavalry was developed, becoming the critical element in the success of the outcome. The use of armour declined and gunfire evolved, turning the tide again to light cavalry tactics. With the onset of development in the Americas, mounted warfare predominated in battles with indigenous peoples, with mounted regiments prevailing during the American Civil War.

Traveller – Civil War Horse.

Fast forward to the late 1800’s when western Canada was emerging as a cattle haven. Premier ranch and cattle horses were in high demand. The Bar U Ranch in Alberta, established in 1882, was one of a small group of corporate ranches, encompassing almost seven townships at its peak. The Allan family of Montreal, and Fred Stimson (a cattleman from Quebec), obtained two 21-year leases covering 147,000 acres at one penny per acre. Under the name of the Northwest Cattle Company, the ranch, later known as the Bar U, would sell over $300,000 beef annually to the CPR, the Northwest Mounted Police, and the government for distribution to the native people under treaty. It was one of the first ranches to ship cattle to Great Britain, and one of the first to lease their land for grazing. Fred Stimson was also one of the first ranchers in the area to employ native range riders, respecting the Blackfoot people and learning himself, to speak the Blackfoot language.

In 1823, a horse by the name of Jean Le Blanc, was foaled in La Perche, France. This horse would become the Father of lineage for all Percheron horses. In 1902, the Bar U was purchased by George Lane and his financial backers, and it was his goal to breed and raise Percherons, having some experience with them in Montana, as a youth. He believed that any farm or ranch would benefit and started to breed draft horses for sale to neighbouring ranchers. Starting with three purebred studs and 72 mares imported from La Perche, France, at a princely sum of $75,000, George Lane and the Bar U would become the largest purebred breeder of Percheron horse stock in the world, winning most of the awards at the World’s Fair in Seattle in 1909. At the height of their development, the Bar U had over 500 breeding mares and some of the most famous stallions in the world, breeding the finest Percherons a dollar could buy. Today, all Percheron bloodlines can be traced directly back to Jean Le Blanc foaled in La Perche.

At the outset of the war, many of the Bar U ranch hands deployed to the armed forces. With them went hundreds of thousands of horses, but the Percherons, such as those from the Bar U, became the horse of choice with their massive necks, their muscular build, and their solid stature. Their build and endurance were select for pulling munitions and guns through the rain, the mud, and the chalk-base of the Salisbury Plains of England, some of the most horrific battles of World War I.

Horse being loaded – WW1 – Yprespeacemonument.com

The British army only had 25,000 horses in its possession. The War Office was hard-pressed to recruit half a million more animals to service troops. They emptied the British countryside of every animal that could be put into service – from child’s pony to farm-horse, debilitating the country of its ability to provide crops and agriculture for its people.

Horses were transported to war across the English Channel to France, hoisted onto ships only to face the carnage of battle on the other side. Eight million horses, and innumerable mules and donkeys would die – victims too, of the senselessness that prevailed in the four years of the “war to end all wars.” The losses were so great that horses were being shipped at a rate of 1,000 per day from the United States with threats of naval attacks, poisonings, and theft, such was the value of the cargo.

During the second World War, cavalry regiments were utilized by several nations including Poland against Nazi Germany; Germany and the Soviet Union, particularly on the Eastern Front, the British Burma Frontier Force against Japanese invaders in central Burma, and the 26th Cavalry of the American Army, who held off Japanese forces during the invasion of the Philippines. Horses and mules were essential tools of supply and transportation – and it was often lamented that the Americans did not use the cavalry enough. General Patton is noted to have vocalized his concerns regarding the lack of cavalry support.

Both the Soviet and German armies used more horses than they had in the first World War, estimated at 3.5 million and 2.75 million horses, respectively.

In the ensuing Korean war, a Korean race-horse was purchased from a young boy desperate to buy an artificial leg for his sister. For $250 she was purchased from a stable-boy at a Seoul race track by members of the United States Marine Corps and trained to be a packhorse for the Recoilless Rifle Platoon. She quickly became a member of the unit, roaming freely, entering tents at will, sometimes creeping in to sleep out of the cold, and eating anything from scrambled eggs to Coca-Cola. Her name was Reckless.

She carried wounded soldiers, supplies and ammunition, often transporting supplies without a handler once she learned the route. At the highlight of her career, she made 51 solo trips in a single day, transporting supplies and ammunition to the frontline for her troops.

She was wounded twice in combat, promoted to Corporal, then given a battlefield promotion several months after the war to Sergeant. She became the first horse in the US Marine Corps to make an amphibious landing and received a saddlebag full of military honours including: two Purple Hearts, Presidential Unit Citations from two countries, South Korea and the US, and a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal. She was again promoted to staff sergeant in 1959. She died in May 1968 after giving birth to four foals. She was a decorated war hero, whose bronze statue has only recently been dedicated on May 12, 2018, in the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky among her racing peers.

Creatures of peace, which by the designs of men, became instruments of war. Lest we forget.

Cuttin’ Up in Calgary

Photos courtesy of Hudyma Photography & Calgary Stampede Agriculture

The final aged event of the cutting horse season, the Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity, presented by Wrangler, wrapped up Sunday, October 13. Competitors from across Canada and the United States came to show their horse’s cow sense and incredible ability in the futurity, derby, classic, and non-pro seven up divisions.

Hot off the presses, here are the champions of the 2018 Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Futurity. To read the insights and stories behind these incredible runs from the competitors themselves, be sure to grab a copy of the November/December issue of Western Horse Review, “The Champions Issue”, will be on stands and available at the beginning of November.

Gerry Hansma and Justa Swingin Cat were the 2018 Open Futurity champions.

Gerry Hansma, Granum, AB, took top honours in the crown jewel of Canadian cutting when he piloted Justa Swingin Cat to the Open Futurity win. Justa Swingin Cat, owned by Dennis Nolin of Edmonton, AB, could not be bested when he put up a score of 222, earning $20,147.82 in the process.

In the Non Pro Futurity class, Irricana, AB, cowgirl, Emma Reinhardt scored a 219 on the mare, This Cat Dreamin, owned by father, Doug Reinhardt. Reinhardt walked away with $6,559.94.

In the Open Derby, the trip North paid off for Dax Hadlock, Oakley, ID, when This Cats Lethal posted a 222 to win $10,231.69 for owners, E Squared Performance Horses.

It was a tie to take home the championship in the Non Pro Derby. Chad Eaton of Arcola, SK, and his mare, Come Away With Me, posted a 215 on the leaderboard. Samantha Goodman of Liberty, UT, followed directly after on her gelding, Crimson Coug, to post the same score. Both competitors won $6,821.13 for their co-championship title. Eaton also took home the $50,000 Amateur title in the Derby division.

Under the Saturday night lights of the Nutrien Events Centre, Travis Rempel of Fort Langley, BC, ensured tough cows didn’t get the best of him. Aboard NVR Reylena, owned by David Paton, Abbotsford BC, the duo scored a 222 to win $12,278.42 in the Open Classic.

Heather Pedersen and Downtown Calico were co-champions in the Non Pro Classic.

In the Non Pro Classic, two Alberta competitors were crowned victorious. Matt Anderson, Sturgeon County, AB went first in the herd on his mare, Catatulla, to score a 222. Heather Pedersen, Lacombe, AB followed in the middle of the pack on her mare, Downtown Calico, also posting a 222. Both competitors received cheques for $12,278.42.

In the $50,000 Amateur division of the Non Pro Classic, Doreen Ruggles, Ardmore, AB, and Hala Cat walked away with the champion title.

To finish up the exciting competition at the Calgary Stampede grounds, Amanda Digness, Millet, AB, and her gelding, Reys of Moonshine took home the Non Pro Seven Up title. Digness marked a 220 that could not be bested and earned $3,257.10 for her efforts.

For full results visit: https://ag.calgarystampede.com/events/737-cutting-horse-futurity.html

Lessons in Liberty – Part 2

STORY & PHOTOS BY JENN WEBSTER

If’ you’ve been reading along in our blog series with Jim Anderson, you may have caught our last installment. If not, you can always catch it here! In the last blog, we revealed 2014 Road to the Horse Champion Jim Anderson’s foundation principles of liberty training. In this blog, we take those notions a step further and build on the first exercise of moving the horse’s hindquarters, to more advanced techniques of body control with the horse in a halter and lead.

“When we put these first four exercises together, we’re laying the foundation of our communication with our horse,” the trainer says. “At liberty, you need this so badly because eventually, we won’t have a halter or saddle or bridle on the horse. If they don’t want to to be there with you, they not going to be. However, if you can train your horse through these basic exercises, there’s never worry nor fear from him – so he wants to be with you.”

The tricky part is teaching a horse the contrast between yielding exercises and “joining up.”

“There’s a big difference in teaching a horse how to yield away from you, but not run away from you,” Anderson explains. “When you put pressure on the horse, they should yield from the pressure – but with confidence. If they yield out of fear and you took the halter off – the horse would be gone. I need to be able to use my giddy-up stick and have it mean certain cues to my horse, without it ever implying to him ‘Leave me.’”

Often, people don’t mean to teach their horses this, but it happens unintentionally.

“It’s one of the most important points of liberty training. Pressure is something that signals to the equine they should remain with us, not leave us. Horses in nature use pressure but they’re actually still joined up. They can put pressure on each other, but they still want to be together. That’s what we need to figure out as riders or handlers. Well-trained liberty horses understand this – they don’t take it personally.”

TOOLS YOU’LL NEED:
• Rope halter
• Soft lead shank (0.5” thick, 16-feet long)
• Giddy-Up stick (On average,a four-foot dressage whip – depending on the horse.)

First Exercise: Yielding the Hind Quarters. Again, you need to read the first blog in our installment for this exercise.

Exercise #2.

Second Exercise: Get the Horse’s Shoulders Yielding Away From the Handler. The horse may yield away from us, but they must remain focused on us as they yield away. So when you yield the shoulder, the horse must always have one eye looking at us.

 

Exercise #3.

3rd Exercise: Softening of the head and neck. Softening it laterally; right and left. And softening it vertically; being able to set the head and neck down. When you can put the head wherever you want, it means the horse really has confidence in us as the handler. It’s an exercise that helps to bring the focus back to us.

 

Exercise #4.

4th Exercise: The Ribcage. When the horse circles on the lead line it arcs its ribcage around us. The horse has to give its ribcage and arc its entire body around yet, their whole focus is on us as they’re still kind of yielding away. They should hold a perfect circle around us and they should not push into us at any point. The horse must keep the same radius around, with the ribcage arced to the outside.

When I point my giddy-up stick at the ribcage, the horse should bend it outward and actually give me one eye or two. When the stick goes to the ground, that’s when he should yield his hindquarters away, but come to me. This is why it’s so important for the development of subtle cues – learned through the repetition of exercises one through four. When we are successful in all of them, I can merely bend my giddy-up stick at my horse and he does what I am requesting. The important point here is that my cues are incredibly subtle.

 

Horse Halloween Costumes

As found on Pinterest. Source

Happy Hollaween y’all! If you’ve been searching for some horse Halloween costume ideas that are out of the norm, be sure to check the WHR Pinterest page for some inspiration. We love this time of year. The creativity brought out by people who want to include their horses in the fun is at an all-time high. Of course, it just takes the right, willing partner.

Check out this adorable M&Ms idea:

As found on Pinterest.

Or what about this astronaut:

As found on Pinterest.

Tinker Bell and Peter Pan:

As seen on Pinterest.

And the mini options are truly endless:

As seen on Pinterest

We love this fairy idea. All you need is a trip to the Dollar Store for flowers and a willing gray mount!

As seen on Pinterest

This mermaid idea is really beautiful. You just have to be willing to go sidesaddle!

As seen on Pinterest

However, Captain Jack Sparrow is absolutely brilliant:

As seen on Pinterest

Then of course, it’s hard to beat this Dragon costume as seen at last year’s Royal West!

From all us at WHR, we wish you a happy (and safe) Halloween!

Visionaries of the West – WWI – Winnie

Winnie, as a cub, with one of the Sergeants from the CAVC – Photo taken 1914 Source: Library and Archives Canada.

BY DEBBIE MACRAE

It is August 1914, and World War I has only just begun. The 34th Fort Garry Horse Division is on its way eastward by train from Winnipeg, when they stop at the small community of White River, Ontario.

Harry Colebourn, a young Lieutenant in the Fort Garry Horse Cavalry regiment, is a veterinary surgeon, and encounters a hunter who is selling a female bear cub for $20. She is very young, orphaned, and is domiciled or “socialized” to human contact, likely by the hunter who killed her mother. Harry’s veterinary conscience embraces the young cub, realizing her prospects for a long life are not good. He purchases the bear, which he names “Winnie,” after his adopted hometown of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Enroute to Valcartier, Quebec, Winnie accompanied the horse regiment to report to the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps, where she became the mascot of the Fort Gary Horse Regiment.

Incredibly, Winnie would travel from White River by train to Valcartier, and then overseas from Gaspe Bay aboard the S.S. Manitou, to England, providing entertainment and amusement to the troops with her keen intelligence and endearing affection. Unfortunately, she wasn’t always a favorite with the horses, and she was often blamed for some of their unregimented behaviours. Just her scent was enough to agitate some of the more hot-blooded.

Winnie was to remain with Lt. Colebourn at the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade Headquarters, however, faced with the reality of the front lines, the well-being of the animals, and the overwhelming obligation to defend and protect, Lt. Colebourn was forced to make an emotional decision to find a home for her at the London Zoo when his regiment was sent to fight in France.

Harry Colebourn and Winnie. The Fort Garry Horse Museum and Archives.

Harry would often visit Winnie while on leave. His intention was to take her back to Canada with him to the Assiniboine Zoo in Winnipeg at the end of the war, not realizing it would be four long years before the First World War would come to an end.

Fortunately for Harry, and more so for Winnie, she became a celebrity bruin at the London Zoo, with her amazing personality and gentle demeanour. The zoo-keepers even allowed children to play inside the confines of her pen, bringing a breath of fresh air, and a symbol of hope for those children living in the shadow of a frightening war.

As she grew more and more popular with the children, now Captain, Harry Colebourn resolved to donate her to the London Zoo as a gesture of thanks for the care Winnie had received during her stay. In 1919, the Zoo held a dedication ceremony and erected a plaque dedicated to Captain Harry Colebourn of the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps for donating her.One of the more frequent visitors to the zoo, who often entered Winnie’s cage to feed her condensed milk, was a young lad by the name of Christopher Robin Milne. His interest and enjoyment in visiting Winnie would result in his father’s publication of the well-known children’s classic, Winnie-the-Pooh.

Winnie was an inspiration and a symbol of hope for London’s children of the war, as well as a diversion and a source of entertainment for those servicemen dedicated to the Canadian Army Veterinary Corps.

Lt. Colebourn was a visionary in his own right – with the vision to ensure that Winnie should not be maintained in a life of imprisonment – and with the clarity of vision that comes with realizing that moral support can come from the most unusual of sources.

As we approach the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War 1, we remember also, the sacrifice of the animal soldiers and mascots who supported our troops.

Roll of Honour

They shall grow not old
As we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
Nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun
And in the morning
We will remember them.

A memorial panel inside McGregor Armoury in Winnipeg, hosts the Roll of Honour for the Fort Garry Horse. The Regiment was formed in 1912, and this memorial commemorates the servicemen who dedicated their lives to service during both the peace time and the war.