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.

Horse Halloween Costumes

As found on Pinterest. Source

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

Check out this adorable M&Ms idea:

As found on Pinterest.

Or what about this astronaut:

As found on Pinterest.

Tinker Bell and Peter Pan:

As seen on Pinterest.

And the mini options are truly endless:

As seen on Pinterest

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

As seen on Pinterest

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

As seen on Pinterest

However, Captain Jack Sparrow is absolutely brilliant:

As seen on Pinterest

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

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

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.

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.

Brain Injuries & Mental Health Symposium

Leading Canadian equine organizations recently formed a consortium to increase awareness of Brain Injuries and Mental Health in the Canadian Equine Industry. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Spruce Meadows along with the therapeutic product innovator, Back on Track Canada and leaders from the sport and emergency medicine community, recently announced the formation of a national consortium committed to increasing concussion and mental health awareness across the Canadian equine industry. Leaders from the western and English riding communities have come together to design and initiate the delivery of Canada’s first Symposium on Brain Injury and Mental Health in the Canadian Equine Industry, slated for October 11th at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Alberta.

“It’s challenging to put a figure on just how many Canadians suffer from brain injuries,” says Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti, one of the country’s leading medical experts and educators on injury prevention and the Symposium’s keynote speaker. “They don’t all present for care, especially the milder it is. The trouble with a brain injury is that you don’t appear to be injured, (but) it is a leading cause of death.

Brain injuries affect thousands of Canadians annually — most especially those within the sports community — and potentially carry $10 million per patient in economic impact for the country, says the former President of the Canadian Medical Association and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. “There’s an ambulance, there are doctor visits and follow-ups, the person’s IQ may be impacted to the point where they’re unable to work,” he affirms. “Certainly, if its a youth, their parent will have to take time off from work. It can break up families and cause divorce.

“There’s a lifetime impact to brain injuries that add up.”

Prevention is the safest and most effective way to save lives, Dr. Francescutti continues. “The thing I ask all patients when treating for injury from an accident is, ‘did you think it would happen to you today?’ Accidents and injuries always happen when you least expect it.”

Symposium workshop leaders, speakers, and panelists are being drawn from a roster of recognized experts in the equine world. The one-day event is designed to equip participants with resources they can take back to their respective horse-riding communities and put into daily use. “We want to provide a toolbox of resources to all Canadian equine organizations, so they can better deal with the critical issue of rider health and wellness,” says Dr. Blaine Bugg, President of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team.

“Equestrian Canada (EC) is delighted to have been asked to be a part of the continuing conversation surrounding concussion awareness. Although there have been strides made, there is still a lot of work to be done to help athletes and their support teams, in all sports, be armed with the information they need. EC would like to thank the consortium’s founding members for making this Symposium possible,” says Jon Garner, Director of Sport with Equestrian Canada.

 

Back on Track has incorporated MIPS technology into their new line of horse-back riding helmets. Biomechanical specialists developed MIPS (which stands for Multi-directional Impact Protection System) at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. It has been scientifically proven to increase concussion safety greatly. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

The consortium’s founding members include Equestrian Canada, Spruce Meadows, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Med Team, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, Benson Concussion Institute Inc., Ty Pozzobon Foundation, Back on Track Canada and others.

“We are excited to bring together a diverse representation of the Canadian riding communities in this unprecedented initiative to improve rider safety and long-term mental health in our $13.5 billion industry,” says Tobi Simms CEO of Back on Track Canada.

All Canadian equine organizations will be invited to join the consortium to raise nationwide awareness of the prevention of brain injuries to riders, how to identify related mental health issues, and where to find appropriate resources to deal with them.

Visit www.botcanada.com for more information about the symposium check out: www.botcanada.com

 

Beauty in Chaos

“Take your life and make it the best story in the world. Don’t waste that opportunity.”

 

I’ll be honest. I’m currently sitting in my car composing my latest Publisher’s Note, watching my kids from afar in a bouncy castle at a birthday party. They’re having a ball. They’re safe. And the opportunity affords me a chance to truly be present in this moment of writing. That’s when a brutal thunderstorm rips in and threatens the bouncy castle’s very existence. The kids don’t want to abandon their fun. Time to shut my laptop, find their shoes and force them indoors.

The entire thing makes me laugh. As though it’s a euphemism of my current life.

Lightening and thunder roar – the kids would rather be blown away in a plastic toy than miss out on a moment of childhood joy.

Trying to balance the many facets of business while raising a family and maintaining some semblance of an extra-curricular life, is tough. Any mom-prenuer will tell you that. Aside from being “Mom” and owning a business, I also happen to have 50 horses in my backyard where my husband conducts his business. A calendar full of horse shows to keep up with and a house full of varied pets. (Have I told you about the leopard gecko and more recently, bunnies?)

There are other things too. Hashtag, Life

Sometimes I simply have to give myself permission to choose progress over perfection. No one can balance it all. There are months that pass without any time spent in the saddle. Times when the laundry pile goes untouched and is traded for late night shifts at my computer. Days when dry shampoo is the solution for picking up the kids on time. And afternoons when I have to skip soccer with my family, just so I can finish up my assignments.

I believe in working. I don’t think it makes me a lesser mother, or lesser in business. I think being a mother makes me try harder. I am better as an entrepreneur, because of my kids. As we live rurally, being an entrepreneur also allows me to contribute to the family income without leaving the farm. Best of all, I can authorize myself an afternoon off to volunteer at school or go watch a talent show where our daughter has advanced to the second round. Lord knows, I’ve probably logged 40+ hours over time in the last month leading up to a press date.

Still, there are days when I feel weary and worn out and surrounded by nothing but stress and deadlines. Then, there’s the mom guilt… I bet there isn’t a mom-preneur out there who can’t relate.

At times such as those, I draw strength from my family. The following quote popped up on my Insta feed the other day and it really struck a chord:

Love your damn life. Take pictures of everything. Tell people you love them. Talk to random strangers. Do things you’re scared to do. Screw it, because so many of us die and no one remembers a thing we did. Take your life and make it the best story in the world. Don’t waste that opportunity.

Love your damn life.

I do. And I will never apologize for taking too many pictures.

I’ve learned a lot in the last little while. There’s clarity in the haze. And there’s beauty in the chaos.

Just like all those precious children running barefoot from the bouncy castle.

– JW

A Country Easter

With (hypothetical) Spring in the air and Easter to celebrate this weekend, my kids and I needed some country-esque decorating inspiration. As such, we turned to Pinterest and found a few cool ideas we thought we’d share with you. After all, a snow storm outside plus time off school means this household needs a few crafts to keep everyone happy.

First up was a tablescape for our Easter dinner. With its peat moss and bunny features, this one from Nora Murphy Country House is a favorite:

Next up were the eggs. These ones caught our eyes…

As found on Pinterest

and the same with these…

As found on Pinterest

…or these are adorable.

As found on Pinterest

However in reality, this is more our style:

The Easter Bunny also has some work to do, to help the kids gather their eggs after the Easter egg hunt. This is an adorable idea for the little horse lovers in your lives!

Speaking of Easter egg hunts, I’ve always wanted to do this. Just not sure this is the year for it…

In whatever capacity you celebrate Easter, we hope you have a wonderful weekend!

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!