CFR ‘45 – Changes at the Top

Photo by Billie-Jean Duff.

The first three rounds of CFR ‘45 were not kind to Scott Guenthner. The 2018 season leader had seen his spot at the top of the Canadian standings slip away. It was time for a change.

“I was having the worst luck,” the Provost, AB cowboy admitted, “so I thought I’d switch everything up. I rode a different horse, had a different hazer and it went a lot better.

“I switched horses to “Tyson,” Curtis Cassidy’s horse. Curtis was really good about it even though there’s five guys riding him. (I’m going to be riding him at the NFR in Vegas too.) And Baillee Milan hazed for me. It felt awesome.”

The five-time Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier posted a 3.7 to win the round and jump back into contention for the Canadian title – which will be awarded Sunday afternoon. While Guenthner re-claimed the overall lead, he sits sixth in the aggregate and still has work to do. Among those who have a legitimate shot at the steer wrestling title at this point are Stephen Culling (who sits second overall and second in the aggregate), Tanner Milan (3rd overall and 3rd in the aggregate) and Dallas Frank who is 5th overall but leads the aggregate.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
Saddle bronc rider, Jake Watson, has been flying under the radar for much of the 2018 season… and the early rounds of this CFR. But tonight that changed.

“I had Lunatic Party of Outlaw Buckers and it couldn’t have gone any better,” the Hudson Hope, BC native stated. “Just a great horse… she goes out and does her job every time. I’ve been waiting quite a while to get on that horse.”

Watson posted his second 87-point score of the Finals to win round four and take home the first place cheque of $10,530. He moved to third overall ($12,000 back of leader, Clay Elliott). Watson, however, leads the lucrative aggregate while Elliott sits fourth and second place man, Zeke Thurston, fell to eight after a Friday night buck-off.

A number of other races also became more interesting as a result of Friday night’s performance. In the tie-down roping, Carstairs, AB roper, Kyle Lucas, took over the overall lead as well as moving to top spot in the aggregate with two rounds remaining.

Oregon barrel racer, Callahan Crossley, lengthened her lead by posting the fastest time of the rodeo to date (13.454 seconds) to win her third consecutive go-round. The three-time CFR qualifier remains first overall and leads the aggregate.

In the team roping event, Kasper Roy and Brady Tryan won the round for the second night in a row while Riley and Brady Minor cling to the overall lead just ahead of 2016 World Champions Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler who lead the aggregate.

Three-time Canadian bareback champion, Jake Vold, holds a $9000 lead over second place man Richmond Champion of Dublin, TX but Champion sits second in the aggregate. Vold is seventh and out of the aggregate standings for the moment.

And in the bull riding, Ponoka hand, Wacey Finkbeiner, continued his dominating performance at CFR ‘45 as he posted an 85-point score to win third – and more importantly – remain first in the aggregate. He is one of only two men to ride four bulls in four performances, the other being Cody Coverchuk of Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan.

While the 2018 novice champions were declared after performance three – Mason Helmeczi in the novice bareback and Cooper Thatcher in novice saddle bronc riding – the steer riding event wrapped up Friday.

Tristen Manning of Yellowhead County, AB, went four for four and won two rounds en route to the Canadian Steer Riding Championship.

Bull rider, Jacob Gardner, who grabbed a spot on the CFR bull riding roster when Brock Radford withdrew, claimed the 2018 All Around title by placing in rounds three and four.

And the Miss Rodeo Canada competition concluded Friday with the crowning of Jaden Holle as the 2019 queen.

Round Four Summary:
• Bareback riding round winners: (tie) Orin Larsen – 86.25 points on Calgary Stampede’s Xavier Joan and Jake Vold – 86.25 points on Outlaw Buckers’ American Thumper.
Overall bareback riding leader: Jake Vold
Aggregate leader: Clint Laye

• Steer wrestling round winner: Scott Guenthner – 3.7 seconds
Overall steer wrestling leader: Stephen Culling
Aggregate leader: Dallas Frank

• Team roping round winners: Brady Tryan/Kasper Roy – 4.6 seconds
Overall team roping overall leaders: Riley Minor/Brady Minor
Aggregate leaders: Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler

• Saddle bronc riding round winner: Jake Watson, 86 points on Outlaw Buckers’ Magic Carpet
Overall saddle bronc riding leader: Clay Elliott
Aggregate leader: Jake Watson

• Tie-down roping round winner: Kyle Lucas – 7.9 seconds
Overall and Aggregate tie-down roping leader: Kyle Lucas

• Ladies barrel racing round winner: Callahan Crossley – 13.454 seconds
Overall and Aggregate ladies barrel racing leader: Callahan Crossley

• Bull riding round winner: Jordan Hansen – 85.75 points on Girletz Rodeo’s Willy Wonka
Overall and Aggregate bull riding leader: Wacey Finkbeiner

• Steer riding round winner: Carter Sahli – 83 points
Steer Riding Champion: Tristen Manning

• Novice Bareback Riding Champion: Mason Helmeczi
• Novice Saddle Bronc Riding Champion: Cooper Thatcher

Saturday, November 3 will be a busy day at Westerner Park. The fifth performance of the Canadian Finals Rodeo runs Saturday, November 3 at 7:00 pm but earlier in the day (1:00 pm), fans can enjoy the Junior Canadian Finals Rodeo

CFR Ladies Fashion Show Highlights

Alicia Erickson, Miss Ponoka Stampede.

BY PIPER WHELAN

The snow didn’t keep anyone’s spirits down at this year’s edition of the Ladies of Canadian Professional Rodeo’s Luncheon and Fashion Show, and Western Horse Review was on hand to take part in the festivities. Held in conjunction with the 45th edition of the Canadian Finals Rodeo, this annual fundraiser warmed up a chilly Friday in Red Deer, Alberta. With a theme of “Ropes and Roses,” the sold-out event boasted a fun atmosphere, tons of desirable prizes up for grabs, and a performance by country artist Ryan Lindsay. Hosts Dennis Halstead and Jackie Rae Greening entertained the enthusiastic guests while promoting the spirit in which this fundraiser was founded.

Jaden Holle, the CBI Bull Riding Queen.

Over the course of its lifetime, the Luncheon and Fashion Show has raised more than $325,450 for the two organizations it supports, the CPRA Cowboy Benefit Fund and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team. The CPRA Cowboy Benefit Fund provides funds to CPRA members in the event of an injury, while the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team consists of a dedicated group of sports medicine professionals who volunteer their expertise on the rodeo circuit. Halstead spoke about the importance of both organizations, mentioning legendary pickup man Gary Rempel and bareback rider JR Vezain, both of whom were recently seriously injured, and the support that the rodeo community shows to those in similar situations.

Brittany Doyle, the Moose Mountain Rodeo Queen.

The fashion show also served as the final component of the 2019 Miss Rodeo Canada competition. Miss Rodeo Canada 2018 Brittany Chomistek and the six finalists competing to succeed her. lit up the runway with a variety of western-inspired styles. Several bright young CFR competitors, including the buzzworthy twins Taylor and Tristen Manning, barrel racer Justine Elliot, and saddle bronc riders Dawson Hay and Clay Elliott, also made appearances to model a number of classic and trendy looks.

Kaylee Billyboy, the Williams Lake Rodeo Queen.

Clothing was provided by Classic Rodeo Boutique of Nanton, AB, Lammle’s, Stetson, and Roper. Bright, warm tones for fall and winter dominated the runway. For the ladies, statement bags, intricately-tooled leather, fringe, and southwestern print jackets were featured, while the gentlemen sported classic outerwear and retro prints. The fashion show concluded with the six Miss Rodeo Canada contestants showing off their own styles with custom-made outfits.

Ashley Hygaard, Airdrie Pro Rodeo Princess.

There was an overwhelming sense of community in the sport of rodeo during this afternoon, and the cheers and laughs coming from the audience made it evident that this is one fundraiser you do not want to miss.

Alicia Erickson, Miss Ponoka Stampede.

 

 

Trick Rider Extraordinaire: Noemy Coeurjoly

Coeurjoly’s specialty is Roman Riding, demonstrated here. Photo Credit: Birtz Photography

Noemy Coeurjoly appears fearless as she races around Quebec’s major rodeo, Festival Western de St-Tite for the opening act. Standing atop a paint horse, carrying the flag of the rodeo, sparks erupting from the top of the pole. You wouldn’t know from her appearance that this was her first season performing alone on the rodeo road, or that being a part of St-Tite has been one of her biggest dreams since she was a young girl. Western Horse Review sits down with Noemy Coeurjoly to talk trick riding, the skill of roman riding, and how a young girl from Quebec ended up in Nanton, AB, and is taking the world of speciality acts by storm.

How did you get started in trick riding?

It began with Sally Bishop, one of Canada’s top trick riding and stunt performers. Sally was in Quebec performing at the St-Tite Rodeo, we had a mutual friend that introduced us. I didn’t speak any English at the time. My goal when I was younger was always to learn English. The mutual friend translated for us and that’s how it all started. A few months later I had contacted her and she messaged me back telling me I could come out and help her on the road with the four horses she was using at performances at the time. So two days after my prom, my dad bought me a plane ticket and I met her in Cody, Wyoming. That was only the second time I had ever met Sally, she had that big of a heart that she told me to come on and we’d try to make it work and she would teach me

When did you start performing?

I have been doing roman riding and practicing with Sally for four year now but I didn’t start performing by myself, at rodeos and in front of crowds, until this last year. I live with Sally at her home in Nanton, so when I left Alberta for the first time and starting doing rodeos by myself it was stressful. I went to Quebec because I knew there was no specialty acts or trick riders performing. When I left Alberta I had one rodeo booked, I knew that if I got myself down there with my horses, I would probably end up booking more performances but I had to take that chance. After that first rodeo I was able to book performances at almost every weekend from there on.

It was definitely stressful at first, it was hard without my coach there but it went well, we just kept going to rodeos from June to September, and then I ended up getting to perform at St-Tite.

 

Noemy Coeurjoly performs during the opening act of St-Tite rodeo. Photo Credit: Birtz Photography
Tell me about St-Tite, it must be a significant rodeo for you having grown up in Quebec?

Performing at St. Tite was one of my big dreams. I told myself that I would do anything just to be a part of the show. This year I was a part of the opening, there was pyro and fires, and it was crazy, but it went very well.

Walk me through one of your performances?

In roman riding, I perform with two horses, so I have one foot on each of my horses. I generally start off by running two full laps at the lope on my horses. Then I do pole bending, I show the crowd my horses aren’t tied together. I do a fancy footwork pattern and jump my horses together. During the opening I also do a hippodrome where I am standing on one horse’s back carrying the Canadian flag.

What attracted me to roman riding was the adrenaline, it keeps you going. Sometimes it’s scary, you have to push yourself. The jump was the hardest thing to learn when I first started. I actually learned to jump with four horses and so when I started jumping two my balance just wasn’t the same. I also struggled a bit with the back-up when I started out, but now both maneuvers are a normal part of my performances!


What are you looking forward to next year?

I have in my head to build a fire jump and a pole with torches on top of it for next year. I am going to change a little bit of my fancy footwork and make my patterns faster. I also have another horse I am going to start using for my openings, which will be her first year doing rodeos.

What is your best advice for someone wanting to get into trick riding?

Even if you are scared you have to try it, and go for it. You have to get out of your comfort zone to be good at what you do. My advice for kids that are starting out in trick riding would be to follow your dreams, never stop, it’s possible, you just have to make it happen.


What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?

I don’t have an exact piece of advice but Sally would always push me harder than I thought I was able too. Sometimes I would be in my head about a trick, thinking I can’t do it, but Sally would make me, she would make me practice so I could get better and stronger so I could perform better.

You can follow Noemy’s adventures on her Facebook page – Noemy Coeurjoly – Roman Riding

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