EQUI-BUSINESS – True Life Stories of Success

Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

Last month on the Equi-Business blog, we talked about obtaining financial lending in pursuit of an equine property goal. We began with the reality that the equine business is a challenging industry for traditional banks to provide financial support. For young people with the goal of creating a business in the horse industry, the lifestyle can be one filled with many rewards. Equine industries are also a good way of making a piece of land pay for itself – but none of it comes without proper planning, hard work and often, sacrifice.

Last year WHR spoke with some couples in the horse industry who faced the daunting task of obtaining financial support for a farm or ranch, to help elevate their horse businesses to the next level. Each faced their own hurdles as they went through the process.

Austin and Sara Seelhof and family.

Austin and Sara Seelhof run a successful reining horse training facility in Bottrel, Alberta. Austin focuses on training, showing and selling futurity and derby horses, and has a successful coaching program for non-professional riders. His wife, Sara, owns Be Better Equine Therapy which specializes in therapeutic thermal imaging for equine athletes. They are also the proud parents to three young children. Originally, Austin ran his burgeoning training business out of Lauder Ranch near Cochrane, AB, but the Seelhofs recognized the need to invest in more equity while growing their business and investing in their future.

In March 2017, the couple purchased a 50-acre property in Bottrel, Alberta that includes a house, a 110 x 220 arena, an existing barn and a shop. The property fit many of their requirements, including a wonderful school for their children nearby.

Austin says that when they began to think about properties he had originally wanted to buy land and build on it. They went through Farm Credit Canada (FCC), with the help of a great mortgage broker. However, the FCC was leery about financing a property that would need to be built upon and the Seelhof’s wouldn’t have been able to come up with a big enough down payment. The acreage they decided on was much easier to receive financing for through the FCC.

The FCC also had a “Young Farmers Loan” program at the time that liked to assist agriculturists under 40 in keeping their family in agriculture. The Seelhof’s had a solid business plan that showed steady growth in the last six years, as well as a side business in compressed hay that could be run from the property. The couple did look at other banks who offered good interest rates, but Austin says, “We chose Farm Credit because of their flexibility. You can stall payments, and we really felt like we were a person with them, not a number. They have different programs available so if you are having trouble paying, or you break your leg or something, they can be flexible and add payments on to the end if need be.”

Another added bonus of using FCC was that the lending institution would value the entire property, while many banks won’t value outbuildings in their property assessment. For the Seelhofs, this meant that their barn and arena wouldn’t be included in their loan – not ideal for a family who makes a living training horses.

Austin says, “One thing I wish I would’ve done sooner was to talk to a banker. My dad always said that you need a relationship with a banker, or an accountant or mortgage broker. At first it was really scary, but it was helpful to have a great mortgage broker to guide us.”

Alex Alves works a horse in the roundpen.

Alex and Sonja Alves operate Hat Creek Performance Horses on the Hat Creek Ranch in Wheatland County, 30 minutes east of Strathmore, Alberta. They offer horse training from colt starting to finishing, with access to cattle, pasture, trails and obstacles. As well as lessons, cowboy challenge and flag practice nights, Hat Creek also takes in horses for resale, all the while slowly building a breeding program on strong bloodlines. The Alves ranch has 80 acres of which 50 are hay crop and 30 are pasture. The Alves’ purchased the property on August 31, 2012 after the previous owners had moved six years prior. The property had a calving barn that was too low for horses, a complete corral system to run cattle, a shop, a craft shop that had been used to make saddles and an outdoor arena that had become overgrown. Despite small modifications, the Alves’ felt the property had potential and Hat Creek was ready for them to bring horses in immediately. It needed few upgrades for cattle. Another bonus was that, at the time, Alex was working towards getting his welding journeyman and B-Pressure and the shop was perfect for his set-up.

Alex and Sonja have three children. Alex grew up in the horse industry and immersed himself in various events. It was always a dream of his to be able to make a living training horses, however it didn’t always seem feasible which is why he became a welder as well.

By the end of 2015 they had built an indoor arena on their property and by 2016 they training was their full time profession.

The main building at Hat Creek Ranch (owned by Alex and Sonja Alves).

The Alves’ did hit some snags when attempting to purchase their property. Due to Hat Creek being 80 acres and set up mainly for cattle, agricultural lenders considered it a hobby farm. Other lenders saw it as an acreage and therefore, agricultural. So, as Sonja states, “It completely fell through the cracks of the lending world. Being that we were 25 and under at the time, lenders had no interest in lending us money. The next catch was that we had to have 20% down.”

Alex and Sonja had to put together a business plan, and present it to the Agricultural Financial Services Corporation (AFSC) who offered a great interest rate of 1.86%. In order to acquire financing, the plan had to show that it was possible to generate at least $15,000 in revenue off the property so that they could be considered agricultural.

“At the time we only had about 10% to put down, so we got a loan through my parents so we could have the down payment and purchase the property. We honestly had to find a back road to be able to purchase the property. We spent at least a month-and-a-half trying to find a way to get financed. It was a nightmare.” For the Alves’, Sonja says that there is a lot of advice for young couples, and some of it seems to be repetitive in nature.

“For us, I think it is important to remember that if you wanted it bad enough there will be a way, no matter how many doors get shut right in your face, there will be a back road open. At the end of the day, success can only be achieved one way and that is through hard work. Alex says it so well, ‘You never fail, it just gives you another chance to succeed.’”

When Equi-Business returns, we’ll start discussing the important and elements of a business plan. ’Til next time!

7th Annual SK Equine Expo

The 7th Annual Saskatchewan Equine Expo takes place February 15-18, 2018 at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon, SK. Together volunteers from Saskatchewan Horse Federation, the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, various equine breed groups and the staff of Prairieland Park work together to facilitate this annual event. The event presents equine related lectures, presentations, demonstrations, entertainment and opportunities focusing on the equine industry. As a participant or spectator, you can experience the newest in equine products, techniques and technology!

Tickets are on sale now and include the extravaganza, tradeshow, demonstrations and clinics. Tickets are available online and on the website: http://saskatchewanequineexpo.com/

Stay up to date with the schedule of events at: http://www.saskatchewanequineexpo.ca/events/

 

Realizing there was a need within the Saskatchewan horse industry for a quality event that showcased the newest technological advances, the latest developments in equine health, and a demonstration of horsemanship excellence, organizers created an event that is equally as entertaining as it is educational.

The Saskatchewan Equine Expo on February 15-18, will again celebrate the diversity of the equine industry with live demonstrations, breeds on display and outstanding horsemen and women. Make plans to be there, get your tickets today!

As an addendum to the event this year is the newly added, Off Track Thoroughbred Challenge. In this highly anticipated event, qualified trainers purchase a retired Thoroughbred racehorse and will spend six months to one year retraining it to compete in a variety of chosen disciplines at the 2019 Saskatchewan Equine Expo.

See you there!

www.saskatchewanequineexpo.com

Bounce Back Night for Canadian Cowboys

COURTESY OF THE CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

December 11, 2017

After a couple of sub-par nights, Team Canada bounced back with a strong performance in the fifth go-round of the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Five members of the nine-man Canadian contingent cashed cheques, making this easily their best night to date.

It was a case of saving the best for the last as two-time Canadian Steer Wrestling Champion, Tanner Milan, was 3.8 seconds on the last steer in the round to pick up his second go-round win and the $26,320 first place cheque. The win moved the Cochrane, Alberta man to 4th place in both the average and the world standings.

“I just have to keep running at it every night,” Milan noted. “I can’t back off. The horse I’m riding, Maverick who belongs to Tom Lewis, has been getting my feet on the ground really fast and I just have to stay aggressive.”

Ty Erickson, the Montana cowboy, continues to lead the world standings but Milan has moved to within $63,000 of the leader with five rounds and the all-important average still to be decided. Provost, Alberta bulldogger, Scott Guenthner checked in with a 6.6 second run and was out of the money. Guenthner sits in 10th place on the world leaderboard.

You know the pen of bareback horses is pretty sweet when 87.5 is good for only a 5/6 split. That was the case in go-round number five of the 2017 WNFR. Canadian cowboy Orin Larsen was that guy on this night as he matched up with Wilson Sanchez from the Hi Lo ProRodeo Company. The horse, born and raised near Rocky Mountain House, actually came from the Hollingsworth family of Eckville and to add to the intrigue, Larsen’s sister is married to a Hollingsworth. You know Central Alberta was cheering for the Manitoba man who is at his third WNFR. Larsen has placed in four of five rounds for over $56,000 won and sits in fifth place in both the average and the world standings.

Santaquin, Utah cowboy, Mason Clements, won the round with an 89 point ride while Tim O’Connell maintained his big lead at the top of the standings. Jake Vold whose 85 score wasn’t quite enough to get into the money, has dropped back to fourth place in the world standings behind the seemingly unstoppable Tim O’Connell, Richmond Champion and Tanner Aus.

You knew it was just a matter of time for Jeremy Buhler. And tonight was the time. The defending world champion and his WNFR partner, Arizona header, Tom Richards. posted a 4.0 to catch a 3/4 split in the round and a pair of $13,326 cheques. It was the first qualified time and the first payday for the duo that was thrown together when Buhler’s longtime partner Levi Simpson just missed qualifying for this year’s WNFR. Erich Rogers and Cory Petska split the round with Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill. The 3.9 second result took Rogers and Petska, the Arizona superstars, to a narrow lead in the world standings.

Things finally went the way Canadian saddle bronc riding fans thought they’d go right from the start as the reigning world champion, Zeke Thurston and 2017 Canadian Champion, Layton Green were part of a fifth go-round 2/3/4 split. Both cowboys cashed cheques for $15,794 and for Thurston it meant he was able to gain a little ground on the season leader, Jacobs Crawley.

The Big valley, Alberta 23 year-old’s ride on Wound Up, the 2017 Saddle Bronc of the Year, enabled him to climb back into second place in the world standings ahead of CoBurn Bradshaw, the third place man who leads the all-important average. For Green, the Meeting Creek, Alberta man, it was his first cheque of this – his first WNFR. The third Canadian, 2016 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott finished out of the money in the go round with an 80-point ride. C5 Rodeo’s Double D won the Rank Horse of the Night award as he parted company with Jake Wright before the eight second horn.

Tie Down Roper, Marty Yates, turned in the fastest run of this WNFR at 7.0 seconds flat for the go-round win with season leader Tuf Cooper just one tick back at 7.1. It was a critical run for Cooper as he was able to put some space between him and second place man, Marcos Costa, and Trevor Brazile who had been closing fast on the leader and now sits third. Costa, the Brazilian roper, leads the average with Trevor Brazile second and Cooper right behind. Cooper’s run tonight also tightened the race for the All-Around title where he and brother-in-law, Brazile, are duking it out as well with Brazile holding a $47,000 lead over Cooper.

And in the barrel race, Colorado cowgirl, Ivy Conrado and four time Canadian Champion, Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, South Dakota split the round, both with 13.59 runs. Season leader, Tiany Schuster, had her fastest run of the Finals with a 13.90 but for the fifth night in a row, was out of the money. Schuster who sits 6th in the average has to be feeling the heat just a little as three or four cowgirls are all mounting a charge at the Krum, Texas cowgirl who was so dominant throughout the regular season.

2016 Canadian Bull Riding Champion, Jordan Hansen, of Calgary bucked off a tough outlaw called Crime Boss from Universal Rodeo. The result leaves Hansen at 1 for 5 at the midway point of the rodeo. Meanwhile Sage Steele Kimzey is starting to distance himself from the field as he pursues a fourth consecutive title. Kimzey, who hails from Strong City, Texas, rode Beutler and Son’s Shootin’ Stars to 89 points and the round win. He sits second in the average to fellow-Texan, Trey Benton III who bucked off for the first time on Monday night.

Roasted Game Hen with Sundried Fruit Stuffing

The weather has been unseasonably nice for winter in Canada recently so we decided to prep the Western Horse Review kitchen and get ready for the upcoming Christmas season, while hosting an outdoor dinner party for our friends. This year we have been lucky to have the opportunity to learn a few things from chef, Mike Edgar. And on a day with no wind, we literally invited our guests up from riding to sit and enjoy a meal. Here, Chef Edgar shows us how to prepare a delicious dinner of roasted game hens with sundried fruit stuffing, brandy cider glaze and grilled vegetables.

Be forewarned – this may become you’re new favorite Christmas tradition!

Roasted Game Hen with Sundried Fruit Stuffing

*Serves 6 People

Hen:

3 Cornish hens

3 sprigs fresh rosemary

3 cloves garlic

1 lemon sliced

Salt

Pepper

1 cup cider

METHOD: Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Stuff each hen with rosemary, 1 clove of garlic, and 2 slices of lemon. Season the skin with salt and pepper. Put hens in roasting pan, place on the middle rack and reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Cook for an hour and 20 minutes. Baste the birds every 15 minutes with apple cider.

 

 

Brandy Cider Glaze:

1 L apple cider

1 cup brandy

2 tablespoons tomato paste

Pinch of salt

Handful of fresh thyme.

METHOD: Put all ingredients in a sauce pan and reduce on medium heat until it reaches a syrup like consistency and strain.

 

Grilled vegetables:

2 sweet potato sliced in ½ inch rounds

2 pints Cocktail tomatoes

2 yellow zucchini cut in half

2 green zucchini cut in half

METHOD: Toss all vegetables with olive oil, salt and pepper, grill until tender.

 

Stuffing:

1 baguette diced

2 carrots grated

1 onion diced

2 stalks celery sliced

1 cup dry apricot sliced

1 cup sundried cranberry

2 cloves garlic chopped

1 tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon pepper

½ cup chopped parsley

2 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

¼ cup brandy

¼ cup white wine

1/4 cup 35% whipping cream

METHOD: In a large frying pan sauté carrot, onion, celery, garlic, thyme, salt and pepper until the vegetables are tender, add the sundried fruit, continue cooking for 2 minutes, deglaze the pan with the wine, brandy and cream. Allow the mixture to reduce by half. In a large bowl mix the cubed bread and the hot vegetable, fruit mixture together, when cooled add the chopped parsley. Transfer to a oven safe dish. Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. For 10 minutes.

CHEF’S BIO:

Mike Edgar graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology in the Culinary Arts. He stayed in Calgary, AB working at some of the city’s top restaurants. In 2007, he opened his own restaurant in Calgary’s east end. After eight years of being a chef there, Edgar decided to take a step back and left the industry to spend more time with his son. His son has now expressed an interest in learning his father’s skills and in horses simultaneously.

EQUI-BUSINESS Preparation is Key

Traditional loans may be difficult for new equine operations to obtain these days, but not impossible. Especially when collateral that is not specifically horses, is offered.

BY JENN WEBSTER

Enthusiasm is important when planning a business in the horse industry, but preparation is critical. Let’s face it, lenders look at the borrowers in the equine industry on a case-by-case basis. It is a challenging industry for traditional banks to provide financing to, for two main reasons. Firstly, the horse business is specialized; if the primary operator were to have something unfortunate happen, a ranch can easily go under without someone else capable of stepping up to that level of expertise. Secondly, let’s face it; people who loves horses are sometimes not so great at running a business.

Having faced both of these hurdles plus numerous more, this blog has longtime been a goal of mine to bring to fruition. For young people dreaming of creating a life and a business in the horse industry, the daunting task of following through with those targets can be met with opposition at every turn. That’s why optimism is important – but strategic planning is what will keep you alive.

In this blog we’ll discuss things like business plans, risk management, home security and the various ways obtaining your dream of being in the horse business can be done. We’ll talk to real people who have “opted in” to the lifestyle and the future by investing in equine properties – and we’ll learn how they make it work any way they can.

If you’re wondering what makes me an authority to speak on such a topic – I’m not. However, alongside my husband I have owned two successful equine properties in my lifetime. The first one was in partnership with several other people. The second one is the operation we currently own ourselves, reside upon and the place where are raising our family. We run a training, breeding and boarding operation, are stallion owners and own Western Horse Review, Canada’s largest western riding and culture magazine. We have garnered a fair amount of experience in our 20+ years together in the horse industry. (And did I mention? Till Debt Do Us Part is my favorite TV show? I know, I know, everyone thinks I’m ridiculous… but I find it fascinating. Honestly, money management is a very useful skill when it comes to being an entrepreneur).

On that note, the one thing I have learned is that there is no straight line to success in the horse industry. Banks do not always look at horses as “tangible assets.” However, if you are lucky enough to have a good lender who does see the value in your equine assets, you will have to put yourself in their shoes if you want to achieve any sort of financing.

If you’re basing your business around “high-end” horses, this is considered a specialty market. For a lender to take security in your horses, it means if you default on your payments, your lender takes the security (your horses) as collateral to sell. However, a banker cannot readily go out and find a specific buyer to purchase the horse, nor do they likely have the connections to do so. In most cases they would simply want their money back for the debt outstanding. Therefore in that case, a banker would simply seize the asset and sell it at the nearest auction mart. Which is why the horse can’t be sold easily for $25,000 or valued as such in the banker’s eyes. When you get into higher end / specialty livestock markets, it takes more to shore up the equity required, versus what the banks could do.

There is no guaranteed path to securing financing for a horse business, but if there is one critical element to gaining approval it would highlighting the “business” aspects of you and your loan application. Banks loan money as an investment, with the expectation of getting repaid with interest. To that end most loan officers are unfamiliar with the horse industry, and a comprehensive business plan that educates while establishing the profitability of the activity is critical.

When we return with our Equi-Business blog series, we’ll analyze the parts of a successful business plan. (And I’m not just blowing smoke – I can tell you it’s successful, because I’ve used the same model three times!)

Until then, here is some forward thinking I’d like to leave you with. There may be a number of programs available to help you develop your idea or product. The assistance available to you depends on the type of service or product you are developing. Most financial assistance will not cover all your costs, so remember you will need to invest some of your own money into the project as well.

Secondly there are several things a financial lender will want to consider about you. These include:

• Character: The moral obligation of the borrower to pay his or her debts;
• Capacity to Pay: The ability of the borrower to pay the debt;
• Capital: The total of equity and debt in the business (a low debt-to-asset ratio suggests financial stability);
• Collateral: Assets owned by the borrower but promised to the lender to secure the debt (the lender retains a security interest in the collateral and can foreclose in case of a default; horses as collateral might be a problem);
• Conditions: Economic conditions, location, competition, and the health of the industry; and
• Confidence: A subjective decision–is the borrower trustworthy?

‘Till we meet again!

Eggs Benedict

There is honestly nothing we love more on a lazy Sunday morning, than the chance to sleep in and make Eggs Benedict for a late morning brunch. This recipe has been handed down to me and the Hollandaise sauce is truly what makes it – no packaged sauces around here!

The sauce is honestly the hardest part of the recipe, which is why I’ll focus mostly on that here. But let me tell you, when it all comes together on a perfectly poached egg, with two freshly cooked pieces of bacon and a nicely toasted English muffin, this is heaven on a Sunday!

 

Hollandaise Sauce

• 2 Eggs (separated)

• 1/2 Cup Sour Cream

• 1 Tbsp. Tarragon Vinegar

• 1 Tbsp. Lemon Juice

• Dash Tobasco Sauce

• 1/2 Tsp. Salt

• 1/4 lb. Butter

Separate the eggs and set aside the whites for other uses. Whip the yokes, sour cream, salt and liquids together until smooth and yellow. Pour into a small sauce or frying pan and stir on low heat. Do not allow sauce or frying pan and stir on low heat. Do not allow mixture to boil. Add butter in small amounts, stirring until it melts. Serve when hot. It is imperative the mixture does not boil because it will separate. If it does, whip it back together until smooth.

If you need some tips on poaching eggs, check out this site: The Spruce

The trick to bringing everything together at the same time is to ensure your bacon and sauce are made prior to toasting the English muffins and poaching the eggs. Once you’ve got your bacon and sauce made, set them aside. Then once your water is boiling, put your English muffins into toast and crack your eggs to poach at almost the same time.

When eggs are cooked, add a layer of bacon on top of a toasted muffin. Then add the poached egg on top and finish with generous dollop of Hollandaise sauce.

As an aside, this Hollandaise recipe can’t be beat over top of cooked asparagus, crab melts, or steak. Enjoy!

CFR Fashion Inspiration

If you’re headed to the Canadian Finals Rodeo next week, we’ve got some outfit inspiration for you! There’s no denying it’s the perfect venue to bring out the good stuff. We also know it can  be tricky to stay warm in a Canadian winter and look amazing at the same time. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered! No matter your preference – boho, traditional, vaquero, urban, haute couture, or gyspy – this blog aims to satisfy the cowgirl fashionista in all of us.

Layering is a big deal this year. As seen in this look by The Wacky Wagon Fashion, a turquoise kimono and tee are paired with strands of beautiful turquoise necklaces.

Cody & Sioux just brought in these perfect new poncho arrivals, just in time for a winter storm! Unlike a wrap, these cozy beauties slip over your head and promise to keep you warm and fashionable all evening long.

Savannah Sevens can seemingly do no wrong. This faux fur boa fling is the ultimate accessory. With its gorgeous variation in color and lined satin inside, it’s the perfect item to drape yourself fashionably in warmth. Shown styled with The Lonesome Dove hat, Tallon Necklace and Burke Necklace.

 

This adorable (and comfortable!) fleece “slouch” sweatshirt from Rodeo Tuff is feminine, cozy and versatile. It’s designed with an exceptionally plush fabrication, in a classic pullover fit with a wide neck that can be worn pulled off the shoulder.

 

Sweaters and tees with cheeky sayings are all the rage. Wear them on their own, or pair them with kimonos, denim jackets or dusters. This one from Tonic Equestrian will make you look fabulous no matter where you are and is an essential for any fashionable equestrian! This stylish, easy to wear top is designed to drape comfortably over the body with a wide neck and ribbed waist.

Mustard is the color of the year this year. If you’re looking for a dressier look this CFR, then a mustard colored duster is the way to go. We love this look from The Lace Cactus.

Denim on denim, plus an ivory silky faux fur vest by Dylan, literally warms our hearts on a chilly day! This is another look from Savannah Sevens, featuring a Ryan Micheal shirt and a puffer style vest by Dylan. Shown styled with The Doc Bar Wallet, Calhoun Earrings, Rogue River Necklace and The Bronc Buster shirt.

This look from Classic Rodeo in Nanton, AB, features a shirt from Double D Ranchwear, a Goldspring Hat, and Navajo Pearls.

Don’t let your CFR outfit planning be overwhelming this year. These looks will take you stylishly from day to night and keep you warm in the process. See you in Edmonton!

 

Shamrock Performance Horses

Tyler, Helen, Jaden and Rowdey Nowosad of Dewberry, AB.

BY GUEST AUTHOR, JESSI SELTE

Shamrock Performance horses owned and operated by Tyler and Helen Nowosad of Dewberry, Alberta, not only showed this years ABRA 1D champion horse, they also trained the DR Nick Bar Granddaughter, Raise The Gold Bar aka “Alley,” at the 2017 Canadian Barrel Horse Incentive Super Stakes held this past weekend in Ponoka, AB.

 

The dynamic duo of Alley and Helen made lasting impressions right from their first competition together in 2015, bringing home the Bohnet’s Barrel Barn Futurity Buckle. With a very successful 2015 season behind them, Alley needed a break as she suffered a wire cut that took her out of the 2016 racing season. Fully healed and well conditioned the team set their sights high for 2017. Long miles on the road did not deter, placing them at the top all spring and summer. August found them at the Alberta Barrel Racing Association Finals in Ponoka, Alberta. After multiple days and consistent runs they secured the 1D champion spot, and the championship saddle.

 

One of many buckles earned by Helen and Raise The Gold Bar.

Every success has a back-story and Helen and Tyler’s is one of hard work and determined nature. The quiet humble couple, live with their two children Jaden (11) and Rowdey (7), three dogs and numerous other barnyard animals just south of the Chuckwagon Capital of Canada in Dewberry, AB. They bought the ranch in November of 2007 and have since upgraded the property to be safe and functional for their broodmares and young stock.

One of the foals produced by the Nowosad family.

With mutual interest and involvement in College Rodeo and roping, Tyler and Helen found each other. Shortly after College Tyler, a welder by trade, focused his energy on taking care of his young family. Competition wouldn’t stay away long though. The young couple persevered through pedigree to find top performances horses. The first being, a DR Nick Bar mare, the horse that Helen developed her outstanding ability as a barrel racer. After much success with the DR Nick Bar line, and collecting four own daughters by the legendary stallion, this would be the start of their elite bred broodmare band. This includes Alley’s sensational Dam “Sweet Fleet Bar.” The DR Nick Bar horses have proven their athletic ability and superior mindsets time and time again.

The couple knew right from the start how important a solid proven foundation would be. Not only did the mares have to prove themselves, but the foals had to perform as well. That thought process led to the Nowosad’s obtaining their double-bred Peppy San badger stallion BSF Northern Boon, aka “Vegas” (Peptos Quick Pick x El Northern Dance).

This next key purchase, Vegas, started as a smooth moving yearling, who caught Tyler’s eye at an auction sale. Tyler had planned to sit on his hands that day, but couldn’t resist a bid. In 2014 the Nowosad’s started crossing Vegas with their DR Nick Bar daughters, and in no time fell in love with the cross. Vegas now is the primary stallion used at Shamrock Performance Horses.

The young stallion and Tyler shared their own success story this spring, when SR Vegas Got Lucky aka “Marley,” was sold to 2016 World Champion Header Levi Simpson. Marley, the first son of Vegas’, found his niche in team roping instead of barrel racing. This allowed Tyler to campaign his skills as a roper and trainer.

Versatility in the performance world can be a hard to achieve. Combining dominant race blood with outcross working cow horse lines, generates an opportunity for the Nowosad’s to utilize all of their abilities. This is very evident in the horses that they are now performing on. This foundation of strong genetics in pedigree will remain stable for years to come.

Jaden and Rowdey are also an integral part of the system. They expose, and challenge the young horses to adhere to the “younger generations” tasks. Further demonstrating the quality of mind produced through the outcross genetics.

With winter fast approaching the Nowosad’s are gearing up for 2018. Fully dedicated, each and every one of them contributes their time, effort and dollars to insuring the success of the program. Helen is currently taking the steps necessary to get Alley on the track to RFD TV’s American Rodeo Richest One Day Rodeo in the World, hosted in Texas February 2018.

The Canadian Barrel Horse Incentive Breeders Sale October 7, 2017 in Ponoka, Alberta, was a strong start to the new season. Where they had a yearling filly “Sweet Northern Nick” entered with her Super Stakes Certificate and selling as the reserve highest bid. This filly is eligible for the added incentive money if run at the CHBI Thanksgiving race in the future. This was the first available yearling horse to be sold out of the program.

However, that was not the end of the Nowosad’s success at the 2017 Thanksgiving weekend. “Alley” held up her end of the bargain as well. With the fastest times on day 1&2 of the CBHI Derby, Helen and Alley had the long wait of being the last run in the Short Go. Excitement coursed through the arena as the dynamic duo “peeled paint” on three exceptional barrels, not only to win, but also to set an arena record at Calnash Center, with a 16.824 sec run. Hard work pays off but does not start nor end in the arena.

The Nowosad family will be busy introducing their exciting young prospects to the training program. Their training program involves many aspects including gentle starts; to develop balance and minds, extensive exposure to kids, dogs and other animals; with consistent training by all four members. One training tip they take very seriously is giving their horses praise. By developing a strong horse/rider bond through praise, the Nowosad’s are able to establish a willing confident partner.

Helen credits mentor NFR qualifier Lee Ann Rust for elevating her confidence and refining the mechanics of the training program. Rust’s insightful instruction has greatly influenced Helen’s guidance of her daughter Jaden.

Tyler and Helen are very excited for the future of their program. As well as watching Jaden and Rowdey make an impression on the rodeo world. The Shamrock may be a symbol of luck, but it’s the dedication of this exceptional family that brings success to Shamrock Performance Horses.

Diary of a Wildfire Summer

A view of the smoke and fires near Easygo Ranch. Credit: Elli Meinert

Summer is generally a season to which most Canadians look forward. But for Lac La Hache, BC, resident Elli Meinert, 2017 was a summer she was glad to bid goodbye. Little did she know that when the province of British Columbia was about to experience one of its worst wildfire seasons in history, Meinert’s home was about to become a highly sought after evacuation zone.

“I remember that on July 6, I got my first Facebook message,” said Meinert. “It read, ‘Can I bring my herd over?’” she relayed. In addition to her own animals, Meinert ended up with 8 extra horses in her care that afternoon. Meinert owns and operates Easygo Ranch, an equine facility bordering a lake, in northern BC. As the events of the summer unfolded, the raging wildfires quickly sparked in several locations in close proximity to the ranch.

“During those early days in July we were watching the fire and there was smoke on the other side of the barn. We had had a fire in that direction 3-4 weeks before. We watched them hit it with retardant and it was gone. But this time, it was different,” she said.

“On July 7, I was by myself and all of a sudden there were water bombers flying right over the house. I phoned my hubby and asked him to come home. On Friday, I hauled horses for someone who was put on Order. And then while I was trying to load horses for someone else – we were put on Alert. I shoved the last horse I could fit in the trailer and went back home. Then the news started coming in. The 108 (a big settlement of houses nearby) were also put on Order.”

To be on “Alert” means officials in the province have advised residents to be ready, in case they must leave. You can leave but you can’t come back. Highways were only open to whatever evacuation route officials deemed safe to travel at the time.

To be on “Evacuation Order” means you have to leave.

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

“At that point, we weren’t just trying to look after our horses or other peoples’ horses – we were making beds for people. My Step-Dad, my neighbours – where else did they have to go? You can’t go to a hotel with two Jack Russells and cats and stuff,” Meinert stated. “So we got really efficient with the dog shuffle (because not all the animals got along). We took in a few extra people and more animals.”

On July 7, Meinert admits they all thought about leaving because the closest fire was too close for comfort. “I had trailers lined up, but soon we realized we couldn’t leave because they closed the highway.”

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

After that, another 15 horses arrived so Easygo’s tally came in at 35. “Some of the owners were stuck on the other side of road blocks. There was an orphan from the SPCA that came. We were looking after them all, full time,” she said.

The human residents of Easygo Ranch were also stuck on a 6-kms travel radius during those days. They were permitted to move around in the radius, but no farther.

“We could go to our gas station corner store, which was good but they quickly ran out of supplies. We were all put on rations: one loaf of bread and one jug of milk per household. It was stupid.

“After chores each day we would all meet up in front of the barn to decide who was cooking dinner that night. One night we had just finished and the power went out. I just wanted a shower… We spent this whole time prepping in case the fire did come to the ranch. We tried to make the place as fireproof as we could. But that night it was distressing. We’d look to the south west and you could see a plume of smoke from the 100 Mile fire. To the north west there was another huge fire from the Chilcotin. And in the north east there was the fire from Williams Lake. We were all just standing there and discussing what we were going to do and then all this smoke started drifting in from across the lake.”

Credit: Elli Meinert

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“I really wasn’t going to leave unless we could take all the horses,” she explained. “We could only take 12 horses and there were clearly more than that.”

Thankfully Easygo Ranch already had great fire suppression systems in place before summer started. These included a dry well located close tot the barn, the lake that could be pumped out of, and an indoor arena with amazing water hoses and generators for power.

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

 

 

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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However there were other things Meinert learned about in the face of a crisis that also helped ride out the storm.

“Val Detweiller used to work in forestry and she contacted me. She was a huge help with her information. She gave me ideas like placing a tarp over the manure pile, to prevent it from catching a spark. We also set up panels in the outdoor arena in case something happened to the barn and I would have to get all the horses outside. The good thing was, Easygo has lots of grass and open areas with sand breaks and driveways in between things. In the worst case scenario, we may have had a massive grass fire but I still think we could have saved our animals. That was my number one priority. Of course, I was also concerned for our own safety – but let the buildings burn if they must.”

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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The group at Easygo Ranch knew that if a fire did come to their doorstep, they would not be able to force it back. Luckily, during those days in July, the fires gave them quite a scare but didn’t progress to the point of destruction for the ranch.

Yet, little did the group at Easygo realize – this would only be the first wave of fires to threaten the area that summer.

“After the first scare, many horses did go home. We only had one group of horses who were owned by people who had all their fences burned down, etc. So they couldn’t return as quickly as the rest.

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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“But then, the second wave of fire evacuations began. We went down to nine horses and then I personally helped evacuate another boarding facility – again. All of a sudden we were back up to 22 horses…”

In the second round, Meinert was able to plan far enough ahead so the second round of horses came in with their own feed. This was a lifesaver for Easygo Ranch, because in the first bout of fires – feed went fast and there was no time, nor opportunity to replenish supplies.

“I fed everyone in the first round but in the second wave, we knew we were going to run out of feed. This time it was like, ‘If you can, please bring your own feed!’”

As July turned to August and finally September, a bit of relief was sighed when officials finally announced the fire situation was under control. Everyone who was housed at Easygo Ranch during the summer fared well.

 

CREDIT: Elli Meinert

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Still, it’s not a situation Meinert ever wants to endure again. “Honestly, I hope to never see something like that in my lifetime again. It never needs to happen again,” she states.

A nighttime view of one of the fires that threatened Easygo Ranch during the summer of 2017. CREDIT: Elli Meinert