DOC WEST – Steel Dusts

Illustration by Dave Elston.

Doc West returns with his sage advice for the lost and lonely gunsel.

Q. Doc, an old-timer friend sometimes refers to my Quarter Horse herd as a band of “Steel Dusts.” What does he mean by this term? 


A. There was a time where the horses that we call today, Quarter Horses, were known simply and generically as Steel Dusts. In the mid to late 1800’s most westerners referred to “speedy, low, stocky, well built, well-muscled, and high spirited” horses as Steel Dusts or Steel Dusters or Steel Dust horses. It was the horse everyone wanted when the West was still the West and the horse was still the horse. Steel Dusts were versatile, friendly, tough, cowy, and best of all, they were fast. They were as equally coveted by jockeys running a quarter mile on a dirt track outside of Dallas as they were by the cow puncher running a thousand longhorns up to the Canadian border. The genesis of the ‘steel dust’ prototype is said to trace its roots to the legendary stallion Steel Dust of which little is known, but sufficiently augmented by cowboy lore as to enjoy a prodigious and loyal following in the Quarter Horse world.

It is believed that Steel Dust was foaled in and around 1845 in Kentucky although Missouri, Tennessee and Texas are also possibilities. He was the son of Harry Bluff, the son of Short’s Whip by Big Nance – a Thoroughbred who traced her lineage back to the legendary Thoroughbred, Sir Archy. He was taken to Texas as a yearling or two-year-old and matured, by the most reliable accounts, into a blood bay stallion of 15 hands and 1,200 pounds, (although other sources reported he was as compact as 14.2 hands up to a rangy 16). The only point of minutia on Steel Dust of any consensus was his blinding speed – one old timer stated that Steel Dust could run a quarter of a mile in 22 seconds “any time” (keep in mind modern day racing Quarter Horses are running the 440 in about 21 seconds). Mares were brought in by prominent racing breeders from hundreds of miles away to breed to the equine phenomenon for a chance to catch lightning in a bottle.

Texas cowboys whose palate was not satisfied by riding hardy but ratty mustang types, brought in their cow pony mares to improve the stature of their stock. By the later part of the 1800s Steel Dust’s lineage was so ubiquitous in the then emerging Quarter Horse breed that many just referred to the “heavily muscled horse, marked with small ears, a big jaw, remarkable intelligence and lightening speed up to a quarter of a mile,” as Steel Dusts. By the early 1900s many great Quarter Horse sires would trace their bloodlines once if not several times to Steel Dust – the horse Peter McCue and his son Hickory Bill (the sire of the famous King Ranch foundation breeding stallion “Old Sorrel”) had significant Steel Dust lineage, as did many other bloodlines such as Billy, Cold Deck and Rondo. In fact, as recent as the 1930s so many lines of Quarter Horses were traceable to Steel Dust that breeder Jack Caseman wrote an article for the Western Horseman magazine titled “Why a Steel Dust Stud Book?” in support of the registry which would ultimately become the American Quarter Horse Association.

Today, with the passing of time, the moniker “Steel Dust” has fallen from common usage as the Quarter Horse has continued to mature as a breed. Competitive events such as reining, cutting and pleasure have further evolved (some might argue devolved) the Quarter Horse into a specialist that over time falls further and further away from that gritty, jack-of-all-trades which could cut a cow in the morning and run a race match after dinner. To your question, the reference to your herd as a band of “Steel Dusts” from an old timer can be nothing short of a compliment, an admiration of equine specimens built to the Steel Dust prototype – low, powerful and fast; and perhaps at the same time it’s a pining of sorts, for that West which existed once, where a man only had one horse but needed one horse – and that horse ran through time like Pegasus unshackled.

Have a question about western culture burning in your back pocket? We welcome you to direct it to Doc West at editorial@westernhorsereview.com.

Champions Performing Like Champions

Photo by Billie-Jean Duff.

Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association.

In just a few hours, Canadian Professional Rodeo’s champions will be crowned. And CFR ‘45 – the first in Red Deer, Canada – will come to a close. Two cowboys who will be in the spotlight on Championship Sunday are 2016 World Champions and reigning Canadian Champions, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler. The talented duo have placed in every round and tied for first in two of them to put $32,400 in each man’s pocket to date. Both Simpson and Buhler and co-round winners, Clay Ullery and Riley Warren, posted 4.0 second runs – the fastest time of the week.

“The cow that we drew tonight didn’t have the best track record, but it looked really good on the video from the first two times that it went.” Simpson noted. “I just tried to see my start. The round was shaping up to be really fast with three runs prior to us of 4.3 and I knew we’d have to speed it up a bit tonight to stay in the money. We were able to make a good solid run and things just worked out.”

Heading into the final performance, Simpson and Buhler are first overall and first in the aggregate with an overall time of 27.2 seconds on five head.

Another roper who is enjoying a productive and profitable week is Carstairs, Alberta cowboy, Kyle Lucas. The five-time CFR qualifier started slowly, finishing out of the money on night number one, but since then has been on his game with a first, a second and a pair of thirds to move him to first in the aggregate (41.5 seconds on five head). The $25,920 Lucas has earned this week has him $4,700 ahead of two-time Canadian Champion and 2013 World Champ, Shane Hanchey, of Sulphur, Louisiana.

“I had a few mishaps in the first three rounds on my part,” shared Lucas, “that I feel were kind of rookie mistakes. I was  letting the nerves get to me but I was able to set those aside for the next few rounds. I should have been better tonight as well, but I’ll be thankful for third.”

Tight races are the order of the day in the remaining events as well.

In the bareback riding, three-time Canadian Champion, Jake Vold, remains in the overall lead with Dublin, Texas cowboy, Richmond Champion, and Ky Marshall of Bowden, AB tucked just behind him in second and third respectively.

Ponoka, Alberta’s Wacey Finkbeiner is the only man who’s five for five in the bull riding. The second generation athlete holds a $4,700 lead on fellow Ponoka resident, Zane Lambert. However, Finkbeiner leads the aggregate with Lambert sitting in fourth.

Hermiston, Oregon barrel racer, Callahan Crossley, has put together the most lucrative CFR week to date with $47,250 in earnings. With three first place finishes and two seconds, the three time CFR qualifier (and former runner up for a Canadian title) has vaulted from fourth place at the start of the week, to first with a comfortable $12,000 lead over second place cowgirl, Taylor Manning.

Scott Guenthner of Provost, Alberta saw his season lead evaporate during the early rounds of this CFR, but has rebounded with a first and a split of second in the last two rounds to climb back into the driver’s seat heading into Sunday. $15,000 back of Guenthner is Fort St. John, BC dogger Stephen Culling.

And in the saddle bronc riding, 2016 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott (Nanton, AB) holds a razor thin lead of $200 over second place man, Zeke Thurston. Third place cowboy, Jake Watson, is also in the conversation. While Watson is $15,000 in arrears of Elliott and Thurston, Watson sits first in the aggregate while Elliott holds down third place and Thurston is back in sixth.

The Champions in all seven events will be determined Sunday afternoon, November 4 at the Enmax Centrium, Westerner Park in Red Deer. If you are unable to be there in person, sign up to follow the action on FloRodeo’s Live Stream or tune into CFCW 840 Radio. And look for complete results at rodeocanada.com

Round Five Summary

• Bareback riding round winners: Orin Larsen – 87 points on Big Stone Rodeo’s Mayhem

Overall bareback riding leader: Jake Vold

Aggregate leader: Orin Larsen

 

• Steer wrestling round winner: Craig Weisgerber – 3.5 seconds

Overall steer wrestling leader: Scott Guenthner

Aggregate leader: Dallas Frank

 

• Team roping round winners: (tie) Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler and Clay Ullery/Riley Warren – 4.0 seconds

Overall team roping overall leaders: Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler

Aggregate leaders: Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler

 

• Saddle bronc riding round winner: Zeke Thurston – 84.5 points on Kesler Rodeo’s Navajo Sun

Overall saddle bronc riding leader: Clay Elliott

Aggregate leader: Jake Watson

 

• Tie-down roping round winner: (tie) Logan Bird and Stetson Vest – 7.9 seconds

Overall and Aggregate tie-down roping leader: Kyle Lucas

 

• Ladies barrel racing round winner: Taylor Manning – 13.640

Overall and Aggregate ladies barrel racing leader: Callahan Crossley

 

• Bull riding round winner: Zane Lambert – 87.25 points on Vold Rodeo’s Blow Me Away

Overall and Aggregate bull riding leader: Wacey Finkbeiner

 

All Around Champion: Jacob Gardner

Steer Riding Champion: Tristen Manning

Novice Bareback Riding Champion: Mason Helmeczi

Novice Saddle Bronc Riding Champion: Cooper Thatcher

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.

 

 

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

 

The Grind Doesn’t Stop

Roy on an autumn, Alberta ride. Photo by Taylor Hillier Photography.

BY JENN WEBSTER

Bryn Roy, an Alberta boy who successfully made the journey from cowboy to professional linebacker, is many things.

He was drafted by the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League in 2012 and then played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016 and the Edmonton Eskimos in 2017. He grew up in a rodeo family, which naturally transitioned Roy into roping, and bulldogging in the competition arena. And he’s a down-home guy who can still remember the first horse he ever swung a leg over, an Appaloosa named Chief. But perhaps most notably for a 30-year-old cowboy of his merit, Roy is an inspiration for other young, Canadian athletes who may want to follow in his footsteps.

“I know how hard it is to be a high school kid coming out of Alberta, wanting to pursue an athletic career,” Roy states. “It makes it tough to go on. There’s a lot of good athletes here who don’t necessarily get the exposure they need.”

This past spring, Roy put together the Bryn Roy Southern Alberta Football Combine and the response was overwhelming for the event’s first year out of the gate. Seeing a need for a Canadian showcasing event that allowed potential football hopefuls to perform physical and mental tests in front of a panel of scouts, Roy brought 25 universities and schools together this past March. He expects more to join the ranks in 2019.

“I started calling different universities, I had schools all the way from Calgary to Texas who came to watch that day. A few kids got signed and got scholarships and are now focusing on the next level! I’m excited about it,” he explained. “I feel that we are at somewhat of a disadvantage up here, because we don’t have the same opportunities American athletes have. And it’s based off numbers alone,” Roy stated.

“From what I’ve seen and what I’ve been able to prove, the good players up here are just as good as the good American athletes – there’s just not as many of them.” Roy says much of his motivation for developing the combine was inspired by his own history. Determined to rewrite the books for a new wave of athletes coming up, he wanted to create a venue that brought out the “right kinds of eyes” for young potentials.

 

From Roy’s Instagram

 

“I wanted it so badly and eventually a way presented itself for me. But it took a lot of work and a little luck,” said Roy, who didn’t actually get to play organized football himself, until grade eight. In many ways, the odds were stacked against the rural Albertan to play professional football. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way and all the nights of watching football highlights, and days playing catch and running routes at rodeos grounds across North America eventually saw him become a collegiate athlete on scholarship. Now with 6 seasons under his belt in the CFL, Roy has a lot of experience he hopes to be able to share with others who want to tread a similar path.

“It’s fun to be able to try and help guys who want to do what I’ve done. The combine was my major emphasis of the spring.” For now, Roy is currently a free agent, which has afforded him the time it takes to put on such an event. Presently, he is already making plans for the 2019 combine, which will likely happen in February.

 

From Roy’s Instagram

 

“I would love to potentially play for the next three years – or I may never play again. That’s the side of sport that not everyone sees. It’s so far out of my control that I don’t even have a good answer for the question of my immediate future,” Roy said with honesty.

Until the next combine, Roy will busy himself training young athletes at Built Strong Athletics in Okotoks, AB, continue to work as a day hand on several different Alberta ranches, and fit some movie work in when he can. There’s also the call that came in yesterday – to see if he’d be interested to play in a European football league.

He’s got some thinking to do.

Until such time as he makes his decision however, he’s enjoying his time at home near Dalemead, AB, getting back to his roots.

“Once the the combine got wrapped up this spring, I was siting there trying to figure out what my next step was. I missed all the spring training and getting ready, as far as rodeoing goes. But I had a few young horses in the pasture that I had been riding, so I decided to get back to that a little,” he told. “There’s this palomino in the bunch that is my favourite – we call her Honey. she was a fun filly to start. We got going with her and eventually, I put her on the Heel-O-Matic,” Roy said.

“Now she’s a three-year-old and I’ve roped a few live steers with her, all the while, taking it pretty slow. I’ve since ranched off her a little and she has been awesome, right from the get-go.” Having talent to fall back on is a gift for which, many people can only wish. And while rodeo still holds its arms open to Roy – he wants to ensure he scores every last opportunity out of football at the same time.

“I put rodeo on the back-burner for so long and I’ve lived on the cusp of it. I’m still roping and throwing steers down at home – but you only can play football for so long. I’ve worked hard for that and I’m going to try and squeeze every last drop out of it that I can,” he said. Adding, “But that’s the beauty of the combine. As soon as my career is done, I can help the new generation.”

With the powerful forces of football and rodeo pulling him in either direction, the decision of which path to choose at this point in his life ain’t easy. Yet luckily for him, Roy has meaningful work on the horizon. And a few good horses waiting in the pasture.

 

For more information on the 2019 Bryn Roy Southern Alberta Football Combine, stay tuned to his personal Facebook page and Instagram @bryn_roy16.

Introducing WHR Boutique!

The WHR Neck Wrap in Turquoise, with black fringe is a stunning piece to add to your wardrobe.

 

It’s autumn, and staying warm and cozy outdoors is a necessity for every cowgirl who lives in Canada. However, staying warm and fashionable is now a thing, thanks in part to our newest venture – the WHR Boutique! You can check it out here.

The WHR Neck Wrap in Aqua, made from Chief Joseph Pendleton® blankets.

 

In the WHR Boutique, you’ll find an array of beautifully, hand-crafted neck wraps designed by WHR Staff and hand-made in Canada by Janine’s Custom Creations, exclusively for Western Horse Review. Crafted from real Pendleton® Blankets, or iconic Hudson’s Bay Point blankets (not labelled), or with other beautiful western blankets, these wraps are stylishly functional and look attractive with any style of outerwear.

 

The WHR Neck Wrap in Iconic Canadiana, with a red fleece inside lining and without fringe.

 

Light weight and lined with a fleece or sherpa material for comfort and warmth, they are the perfect way to give yourself more protection against the elements. With easy snap closures, they can also be worn over the shoulders or as a wrap.

The WHR wrap in Teal & Eggplant.

We think these wraps make the ultimate gift and are just in time for the chilly weather. With fringe or without, they are also the perfect way to dress up a denim jacket, or give a leather coat more of a cowgirl quality.

WHR Neck Wrap in Turquoise

The other beautiful aspect of these wraps is that when purchased, you are supporting true, local businesses. Hand-made and designed in Canada.

WHR Neck Wrap in Turquoise, with Burgundy and Tan Accents.

 

Now we have to introduce you to the talent bringing these beautiful pieces to life. Janine Stabner (of Janine’s Custom Creations), is a local Calgarian, born and raised. She has over 35 years of sewing and design experience and graduated design schools with top honors. She has worked alongside a number of top designers. In addition to this, Janine is also an official sponsor for the Calgary Stampede Royalty (Queen, and Princesses) and for The Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess. Those outfits you see on the Stampede Royalty on parade day come from Janine’s workshop – which continues to be her favorite place in the entire world. Drawing, design, creating, sewing and helping others bring their visions of design to life is what inspires her.

If you’re a fan of reality TV, you can catch Janine on October 7, on an episode of STITCHED, a fierce, television competition series that fuses jaw-dropping creations and big personalities from the world of North American fashion. The series matches wits and stitches in an epic fashion throw-down in three rounds. In every high-style-meets-high-stakes episode, four competitors face off in dramatically themed challenges with one designer eliminated each round. Facing the resident judges and a new guest judge per episode, designers create ambitious outfits inspired by unique materials and concepts under tight timelines. In the end, the top designer from each episode rises to the top with a couture-level creation that earns them the $10,000 prize.

The WHR Neck Wrap in Aqua, with Fringe.

We can’t wait to see who makes it to the final round! But for now, we are extremely proud to be affiliated with Janine’s Custom Creations in our newest venture. Stay tuned for other exciting products on the horizon of the WHR Boutique!

Make Our Flower Crown

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

 

The September/October issue of Western Horse Review featured a dainty little flower crown on one our horse models and since fall foliage is so beautiful, we’d thought we share our technique for making one! Collecting wild flowers or nature’s beauty of Autumn is something that you can really enjoy with friends or a loved one.

 

 

The first step is to pick your wild flowers, leaving long lengths of their stems to play with. Gathering flowers and foliage with a friend is always better than going it alone.

 

 

Once you’ve got an array of materials to work with, choose your first flower with a good stem – as this will be the one you build from. Gently split the stem in half to create a small hole (enough to fit another stem through) and stick the stem of your second flower through. Use the second flower’s stem to gently tie a knot to secure it to the stem of the first flower.

 

 

This is our friend Laura – putting together the crown you see on page 14 of the magazine. She was amazing – we pretty much threw the project at her that day. She nailed it.

 

 

Here is the progression of the flower crown, as Laura added more and more flowers. Essentially she would hold one flower in front of the other, wrap the stem under and around the other stem(s) and then back around itself, tying a bit of a knot to secure. Any stems that protruded in a strange way were simply trimmed as needed.

 

 

And finally, we were ready to place our flower crown which worked perfectly as a browband with a western headstall. Here’s our friend Amy, ensuring it sat perfectly on the old mare.

 

 

There are so many ways to enjoy the beauty of the outdoors. This simple craft was a perfect way to give an old mare a delicate look. It could be done with autumn leaves as well, ensuring a photoshoot enjoys all the blessings of the season.

Lessons in Liberty

Jim Anderson was recently featured on a television feature this past weekend. It’s all part of Equus: The Story of the Horse airing Sunday nights on The Nature of Things at 8 PM on CBC-TV. Photo by Jenn Webster.

STORY & PHOTOS BY JENN WEBSTER

Did you happen to catch Equus, Story of the Horse on CBC (The Nature of Things) this past Sunday on TV? In this beautiful documentary that will feature over three hours with anthropologist-turned-filmmaker Niobe Thompson, viewers are taken on an epic journey across 11 countries and back in time to the mysterious beginnings of thehorse-human relationship. Thompson also spends a day in the Canadian Rockies with our friend and  “extreme cowboy” Jimmy Anderson, a professional trainer who has many accolades to his name. Anderson has left the old idea of “breaking horses” behind and he showcases his concepts in the TV feature.

We’ve featured Jimmy in many issues of WHR before, but back in 2016 we had the opportunity to spend a whole day with him, his wife Andrea and their horses. On this very special day, we got an inside look at some of the very first steps in liberty training. As the equine world is constantly shifting, those lessons learned back in 2016 are still applicable today. A well balanced seat and effective discipline-specific skills are no longer the only pursuits of the western rider these days. With the desire to create an even deeper connection with their horses, many western aficionados have turned to liberty to enrich their horse-to-human communication.

Jim and Andrea Anderson.

In unrestrained, free environments accentuated by the absence of tack, a handler can take one’s horsemanship to a new level with liberty. It’s a discipline limited only by a handler’s imagination and it’s reached through a willing partnership.

With a collection of exercises from the 2014 Road to the Horse Champion, Jim Anderson that we’ll detail in a dual-part blog series, you too, can achieve a higher level of learning and ultimately, an increased state of “brokeness” with your horse. Upon closer inspection, you’ll realize that the underlying foundation of liberty is no different than that of any other discipline – it simply allows for a little more creativity upon execution.

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.)

It’s important to note a horse must first have an understanding of your cues while still haltered and on your line, before you can turn him loose. If not, your horse will not easily find the answer you’re hoping he’ll reach because he doesn’t understand. Once you’ve laid the foundation for him how to learn, your horse can be successful with liberty. In fact, you are setting him up for success by keeping him on line until he understands your cues 100 per cent.

PREPARING THE HORSE TO LEARN
“When we put any kind of contact or pressure to a horse, he will automatically look for a release or a reward,” says Anderson. “If the horse doesn’t know any better, when you first put pressure on him, his self-preservation kicks in. He will react with fight, flight, a kick or a bite. It’s only after we’ve first taught the horse how to learn and built a foundation for learning, that we can go towards liberty.”

Anderson explains that in order to prepare a horse for learning, a handler must first show the horse how to look for his reward.

“What’s important is that you set the foundation so when your horse is faced with a task, his self-preservation doesn’t kick in and we don’t create worry and fear within him,” the trainer says. “We don’t train for liberty through pressure and punishment – we train through reward.”

He clarifies that the horse will operate from its “self-preservation brain” or from its “thinking brain.” A handler aims to get the horse thinking from the latter so he’s always looking for a reward and not worried about pressure or punishment. After that, you can begin to incorporate body control into the training.

“It doesn’t matter which discipline you go to eventually, it’s all put together by several pieces of basic body control into one maneuver. An example of a higher degree of difficulty maneuver would be the lead change at liberty. In it, you’re asking the horse several things at once. But instead of the horse worrying, he has learned how to think his way through your instruction. You do this by starting with very little, simple things.”

Holding the lead in one hand, you want your horse to walk or trot in comfortable circles around you.

EXERCISE #1
Yielding the Hind Quarters
Working with the horse in a halter on the line and a Giddy-Up stick, the very first goal of liberty in Anderson’s program is to teach the horse how to yield his hindquarters. This exercise is twofold in that it teaches the horse how to physically move his hind end on your cue, but it also brings both of his eyes back to you as the handler – an essential component of liberty. When the horse has both of his eyes on you, he doesn’t have one eye looking out to the pasture.

“In liberty it’s not enough for the horse to be attentive and focused on us – we also need to be attentive and focused on him. With a horse, the focus leaves first and the feet follow. If we don’t have halter and shank attached to it, at liberty the horse can just leave. We have to focused and attentive on our horse, so we keep his focus. We need the ability to divert his attention back to us at any time. That way, we can also join his feet up to us even more,” Anderson explains.

“When the horse’s focus is on you 100 per cent, the join up and the bond between you and the horse becomes really strong. That’s the whole foundation of liberty,” he says.

Hold your Giddy-Up stick in the opposite hand, pointed away from the hindquarters until you are ready to move the hindquarters.

 

“When I want the horse to yield his hindquarters away from me, I hold my inside hand (the one holding the lead) up near his eye and direct my Giddy-Up stick towards his hind feet.” – Jim Anderson

“The goal is to get him to swing his hind end away even just one step, but the main key is to have him put both of his eyes on me as a result.” – Jim Anderson

 

When he does, I relax both my Giddy-Up stick and my focus and reach towards my horse to pet and reward him.

*NOTE: It’s important to note that there is a balance between yielding exercises and joining up. There’s a big difference in teaching a horse how to respond to the Giddy-Up stick, rather than running away from it. It’s normal in horsemanship to train horses to go forward or faster when we longe them – increased pressure from the stick means “go faster” or “move out.” In liberty, a handler must refine the concept with the horse somewhat and teach him that we will put pressure on him with the stick, but when the horse yields away from the pressure with confidence, he is rewarded. He’s still joined up with the handler and not reacting in flight mode. When the horse isn’t worried about pressure, we can finally take the halter off and he won’t leave. Utilizing a Giddy-Up stick should never indicate “leave the handler” to the horse. It’s only after we’ve established exercises like yielding the hindquarters plus other basic body control concepts, that we can then advance into more intermediate liberty concepts. Stay tuned for our next blog and until then – keep your halters on!