Horses a Lifelong Passion

Story and Photos By Lauren McGougan

Joanne and Jerry Wilson’s boarding stable just east of Calgary is home to 17 horses. The stable is run by Jerry and Joanne Wilson, two people who have a true passion and love for animals, especially horses.

“We have been living here for 33 years now,” says Joanne, who retired as the manager of the geriatrics unit at Country Club Pet Resort eight years ago.

The property is home to 17 horses, four of which the Wilson’s own. The rest are boarded horses, with the majority of the owners living in Calgary.

Joanne and Jerry have been Alberta Equestrian Federation members since the organization was founded in 1978.

“The whole organization is just great. They are so easy to deal with and they are so nice. They can answer any question that you may have,” Joanne explains.

The Wilson’s have a long history with a multitude of equine organizations.

They have stood honorable guard at Spruce Meadows for 22 years, have been members of Fun Country Riders since it was founded in 1979 and have participated in a multitude of gymkhana and show events.

To continue reading this article and to see more photos, look for the Summer issue of Alberta Bits magazine, released end of May.  

A look at the Wilson's herd.

A look at the Wilson’s herd.

Joanne and Jerry Wilson, with cat Tiger and dog Lady.

Joanne and Jerry Wilson, with cat Tiger and dog Lady.

Reining Team Announced

Through a rigorous selection process, the team representing Alberta in the upcoming Canadian Interprovincial Equestrian Championships (CIEC September 13 – 15) and held at Rocky Mountain Show Jumping, Calgary, Alberta, have been selected.

The CIEC is a sanctioned Equine Canada bronze competition and a collaborative event between the national and provincial/territorial sport organizations. It aims to develop the next generation of equestrian national and international champions and this year, Alberta is hosting the event.

The disciplines participating at the CIEC are dressage, jumping and reining – all Federation Equestre International (FEI) sports with both junior and senior participants.

”We are extremely proud of all our Team Alberta members that worked so hard over the past few months to secure a spot on Team Alberta,” says Les Oakes, Alberta Equestrian Federation President, “our selection committee had a difficult time reviewing all of the applications; everyone was very close to qualifying.” 

Back when teenager was jumping, we attended Rocky Mountain Show Jumping for the occasional show, and I can tell you it is an incredible venue. It was founded in 1997 by Canadian Equestrian Team member John Anderson, and just a few minutes south of Calgary, offers world-class facilities. Set against a backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, and all foothills and vibes of verdant, it is sure to be a magnificent stage for this prestigious competition.

While the jumping and dressage events are guaranteed to be an exciting watch, in the western world we’re most interested in the reining. And, most particularly, who made the team!

The Alberta Equestrian Federation has named the following team members.

Juniors are: Margaret Besuijen, Hythe, age 16 and Alexandra Hibberd, Calgary, age 14. Senior team members are: Nicole Flood, Whitecourt, age 27 and Janice Hepburn, Cochrane, age 53.

Alberta Reining Team coach Wendy Nelson. Photo by Cowgirl Creations.

Reining Coach, Wendy Nelson, Cochrane, is an award-winning certified Equine Canada High Performance Reining Coach under the new Equine Canada Competition Coach program and Master Evaluator for the Reining High Performance program. Nelson is also an accredited Equine Canada Reining Judge as well as a NRHA judge.

Chef d’Equipe for Team Alberta is Sharon Crawford. Sharon rides both western and english disciplines and has competed in dressage to 3rd Level. She currently rides at Kestrel Ridge Farm and was the groom for Jewels Vysniauska at the 2006 World Equestrian Games in Aachen, Germany. Sharon hosts and participates in Peter Campbell horsemanship clinics, including his ranch clinic in Wyoming every summer. Sharon is a Chartered Accountant.

That’s the Alberta roundup for you, but this event isn’t just about Alberta. Who made the team in your province? Let us know in the comment section below and good luck to all of the competitors!