The Spirit of Champions

"Due to our new status as the North American Youth Reining gold medalists we signed a menu at Malon's ... we opted for it to be placed by Toby Keith's. We'll have to come back next year to see if it made it onto the wall!" - Nancy

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard that Canada literally rocked the podium in Kentucky at the North American Junior & Young Riders Championships last week. Not only did Team Alberta walk away with the Team Competition gold medals, this past Saturday, July 31, 2010, our country took the individual gold, silver AND bronze medals. At precisely 7:59 am, I received a text message alerting me of the wonderful news and via folks on My Stable Life, Facebook, etc., word spread like wild fire.

Nancy Pratch receives the individual gold medal.

Congratulations goes to Nancy Pratch from Alberta aboard Rooster Kicker for marking an incredible 215 to capture Gold in the Individual competition. Fellow Canadian, Darcy Wilson from Ontario and Miss Cielo Chex marked a 213.5 to slide into Silver and closing the medal race was Vanessa Strotman from British Columbia and her mount, Listos May Day Hobby with a 212.5 for Bronze.

Here are a couple more pics from Kentucky and some of Team Alberta’s behind-the-scenes action:

(L-R) Nancy Pratch, Chloe Beveridge, Kaylynn Malmberg and Sage Sapergia.

The fabulous Gary Boan.

Chloe: a girl with a killer outfit. I think I've seen this before somewhere...

Rooster Kicker has blood drawn for veterinarians to assess.

...And Kicker gets a pee test.

Chloe Beveridge, Kaylynn Malmberg and Sage Sapergia.

The girls got to enjoy other events occurring at the NAYRC including, Eventing. The eventers were fortunate enough to ride on the same course that is being prepared for the upcoming WEG.

What many readers may not know is that amongst the Gold Medal Team (Alberta), is a 19-year-old member who put forth a fantastic effort in Kentucky despite her current ongoing battle with brain cancer. In the true spirit of a champion, Kaylynn Malmberg helped to bring the gold medal to Canada all while dealing with a stress no person should ever have to face, let alone a young woman with so much talent and passion. Take a look at the following video clip done by a local Kentucky news crew and before I sign out for today, I’d like to leave you with the following quote:

“If children have the ability to ignore all odds and percentages, then maybe we can all learn from them.  When you think about it, what other choice is there but to hope?  We have two options, medically and emotionally:  give up, or fight like hell.”

~Lance Armstrong


Postcards From Kentucky – Day 3

Team Alberta with their championship ribbons, flowers and team sheets made by Equine Essentials - THANKS NOVA! - NAJYRC

My Stable Life and Western Horse Review were the first to report to you yesterday that Team Alberta at the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Kentucky, won gold medals in the Team Competition held July 29. Check out: Postcards From Kentucky – Day 2.

Said Kim Magnuson, mother of youth team member Chloe Beveridge and “groom extraordinare”, “It’s just so exciting! The girls all put in really good, solid runs. There were some tough contending teams here and the US had some nice runs, but in the end they didn’t add up to as much cumulatively. Team Alberta  beat 2 American teams in the process!”

Nancy Pratch, a member of Team Alberta and the highest scorer in Wednesday’s Welcome class revealed, “It has just been an AWE-some day. We are having a blast.”

Team Alberta listens to the Canadian National Anthem while standing atop the podium.

The Canadian flag is raised to the tallest height.

“The girls each got a championship sheet, big ribbons, flowers and a medal. And they got to do a couple of laps around the arena in celebration. They put their blankets on over their saddles and rode their victory laps – it was pretty cool!!” said Magnuson.

The girls enter the arena for the championship presentation.

Golf carts are a necessity to get around the park.... there are approximately 2,000 horses stabled on the ground with all the horse shows going on.

And here is the official Press Release:

The Alberta Reining Team won the gold medal on July 29 at the 2010 Adequan FEI North American Junior Young Rider Championships. Presented by Gotham North, these Championships are being held July 28–August 1 at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY, also the site of the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

From a start list of 20 competitors representing six regions throughout Canada and the United States, the Team from Alberta handily won the competition with a score of 629.5. The Team, comprised of Chloe Beveridge of Calgary, AB, Kaylynn Malmberg of Carseland, AB, Nancy Pratch of St. Paul, AB, and Sage Sapergia of Cochrane, AB, finished three points ahead of the USA-East Team. The bronze medal was awarded to the USA-West team with 622.

Team Alberta gets their picture taken with their mothers.

The Ontario Reining Team which consists of Lyndsay Kloster of Newmarket, ON, Darcy Wilson of Goodwood, ON, and Lane Wilson of Goodwood, ON, finished just out of medal contention in fourth with 620. Fifth place went to the Combined Team from Quebec/British Columbia. Laurianne Gagnon-Duval of St. Augustine de Desmaures, QC, Gabrielle Martel of Repentigny, QC, and Vanessa Strotmann of Salmon Arm, BC, earned a score of 618. Rounding out the top six was Megan Robinson of Dufresne, MB, Christine Simpson of Winnipeg, MB, Kylie Wasiuta of Winnipeg, MB, and Kelsey Wiens of Winnipeg, MB, of the Manitoba Team that posted a score of 608.5.

Vet drug testing was done randomly in competition horses.

“The Team competition was a very tight, exciting display of power and horsemanship,” said Wendy Dyer, who is the Chef d’équipe for all four Canadian teams. “The scores were so close it was incredible. Everyone did their best and showed their maturity and skill.”

The riders from the Team competition go forward to the Individual Final competition, which will be held on Saturday, July 31.

Complete results are available at


A 4-H Experience

For the first year in six, this family is taking a break from 4-H. Which has been wonderful, for accomplishing activities such as cooking supper and doing laundry. But we sure miss the gang, and particularly the highlight of the year – the Regionals!

So, while Wee and Teenager were not a part of the show this year, I had a chance to drive up and spend a couple of hours at the show, where it was held at the Olds Agriculture Society grounds last weekend.

As I do every year, I brought a number of back issues of the magazine to give away to the participants. Typically, they are on the table for about, oh, 40 seconds. The 4-Her’s seem to love the opportunity to pick up the free issues and I love the fact that kids still read!

To me there is nothing more beautiful than kids and horses. Or, in this case, young adult and horse.

Parents can still take care of business.

Great friends are made through the 4-H experience.

Helmets are encouraged, but not mandatory.

It’s a horse show – hurry up and wait!

The new barn at the Olds Agriculture Society grounds is light and airy and meets up with the arena at one end.

Even in +28°C weather, this barn stays cool, comfortable and for the most part, pest-free.

We all love the natural light and the height, and I’m sure the horses do as well.

The 4-H version of a personalized license plate doubles well as a stall plaque.

The ever popular most-far-out slinky is an informal, but hotly contested annual debate.

Horses of all shapes, sizes, colors and speckles are represented from the very small. . .

. . . to the large and nerdy.

From speckled. . .

. . . . to bespeckled.

4-H’ers take great pride in the care of their horses.

And are encouraged to care for their animals, for the most part, independently, even if it means a step stool..

Great job!

The popular diamond, or continental braid.

Hey, it’s my favorite Fjord. Back again.

I know. . . I missed you too.

You did alright, bud!

Command Central for the Millarville Club.

As I shot this photo, a sweet little gal informed me this mare is “the only pregnant horse at the show!”

Just before trail class.

A quick touch-up.

I took many more photos at the show and have posted them on the Western Horse Review Facebook Fan Page. Have a look if you have the chance and let me know if I caught you – photographically that is. Remember to become a fan while you’re there, to receive the heads-up on great new contests, coupon specials, magazine articles, show results and much more.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this look at a great 4-H experience!

Committing the pattern to memory.

Postcards From Kentucky

Early morning in the airport.

Here they are folks! The young ladies who are representing Canada in reining at the North American Young Rider Championships, being held right now in Kentucky. Here are Chloe Beveridge’s texts and emails thus far:

July 22 – 7:35:54 PM

Alright! Well as of now, we dropped Cash off at Terri-Lee’s stable so she can drive them up Saturday am and start the trek down to Kentucky! I’m flying out on Monday at 7 am :( SO early haha

July 26 – 6:05 AM

Hey Jenn! Waiting in the airport now. Woke up at 3:30 to get here :( Flight leaves at 7:08 on the dot!

July 26 – 6:40 PM

Sittin in Kentucky, and I loveee their accents. It’s very hot and extremely humid — really good!!

Sage Sapergia setting up stalls and filling in required information.

July 26, 2010 9:23 PM

Hey Jenn,

All is well in Kentucky. The weather is soooooo nice – hot and humid. The horses had some troubles and were dehydrated so they’ve been getting water and electrolytes administered  by a vet through a hose in the nose (I forget what it’s called).

The vet who checked horses as they came off the trailer. With the hot and humid weather that our horses were not used to, some of them were easily dehydrated. There were a few who came down with fevers afterwards, so we had to monitor them closely in the following hours.

We had an early morning and it’s a late night, went for dinner at Cracker Barrel which was a funny restaurant and we ate like kings for under $20 – I’m sure it helps be being under 21 so we can’t buy the $7 drinks here :P

Lots of breaks - IT'S HOT & HUMID!

That’s about all that’s new, we are doing the “jog” to check if the horses are sound to show tomorrow and will be checking temperatures on all 4 horses every 4 hours. Nancy and Val will be doing the 3 am check and mom and I will be doing 6 am. Gotta love them horses!

Packing into the truck to get around the grounds... we later traded in the truck full of 13 people for two golf carts.

Hauling Shavings... managed to put 20 bales between two wheel barrows.... isn't there a game that involves stacking?

Setting up fans to cool the horses as fast as possible when they got off the trailer was important.

OH and this is officially horse heaven amaaazing fields with green grass and 4 railed fences so their heads don’t fit between – which is exactly what Cash needs.

But I’m off to sleep, take care!
– Chloe

Hangin' out in the practice pen.

Sage Sapergia about to enter the trot test. Numbers have to be worn with horses at all time. Horses don't exit the stalls without a number on and supervision from a steward.

Oops this happened before the trot test... icing legs.

Doctor Burwash was instrumental in examining Jog horses in all disciplines.

Our boys (horses) were all looking spiffy.

Getting our horses moving and grazing was prescribed by the vet to aid in balancing our horses back out after such a long drive.

Team Meeting and drawing for positions in Wednesday Welcome Class. A chance for riders and horses to show in the arena and get familiar with procedures.

After a hard day.

Signing loot bags to give to the other teams.

Shiner's inspection, very alert.

The trot test is done on hard ground.

Horses & Literacy

Happy Canada Day everybody! I hope you are all enjoying our country’s birthday. The Queen arrived on Parliament Hill today, wearing a red dress and a white hat bearing a red flower. The Saskatchewan Roughriders will take to the field at 5 pm CST today. And many of us will celebrate the occasion with fireworks and bar-be-qued burgers with friends. Of course, it’s hard to completely take the day off when you have horses. There are always chores to be done, no matter if it’s Christmas, your birthday or a stat holiday.

Knowing this, my lovely husband scooted me off to the city last night for a few hours for dinner and a movie. Other than for shows or really special occasions (such as my brother’s wedding), it’s difficult to get away from the farm sometimes. Both Clay and I knew that going into this lifestyle, and we signed up anyways.

Amazingly enough, I was able to acquire a couple of Eclipse movie tickets last night. The joys of living in a small(er) Canadian city mean that it is possible to procure tickets on the opening night of an anticipated block buster.

And I have to say, the movie was fantastic! Plus, Eclipse was drastically more “guy friendly” than the first two Twilight movies. Thank goodness for my poor husband – yes, I did drag him to Twilight and New Moon. (Happy wife, happy life! He says he’s the head of the family: but I’m the neck that controls the head…!)

The movie was packed with witty one-liners: although somewhat awkward, Bella’s father, Charlie, always has great quips when it comes to the best of his intentions for his daughter. And tension between Edward and Jacob makes for some pretty funny comedy.

Did I expect anything less than a fantastic performance from Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner? No, but I was a teeny bit worried the third motion picture installment in the Twilight series might not live up to the hype.

After all, who hasn’t heard someone say, “the movie wasn’t as good as the book.” However the movie, finally released into theatres yesterday, did not disappoint.

And yes, I have read all of the books. I started the first one on a summer Sunday last year and finished the entire series (the fourth book alone was 758 pages), by the following Sunday. Author, Stephanie Meyer, had me hooked, lined and sinkered. (Okay, I know the spelling is wrong here – and the cliché isn’t even correct – but in this context, it seems to work better in the past tense!)

Of course, I still had work to do during the week but somehow I managed to find time to fit the reading in. During that time, we most unfortunately had a horse come back from colic surgery. Following her rehabilitation in her stall, she needed to be walked extensively each day. Clay gave that job to me.

This is how I finished all 4 books in a week:

What a rockin' outfit, eh?

Of course, it wasn’t without a little ribbing. If my friends and family weren’t chuckling about my bookworm tendencies that week, they definitely had a good laugh at my choice of footwear and outfit combination. I really didn’t care. The Twilight saga  is a beautiful story.

But that brings me to another point – one that I’d really like to impress upon you in today’s blog. Literacy. Recently I learned of a Florida program that uses horses to make reading fun for young children. For four years now, elementary students have been traveling to the Bergeron Rodeo Arena in Davie, Florida, to read to horses. The goal of the program is to get first graders reading as early as possible. In my opinion, it’s a brilliant concept.

As some teachers have discovered, kids are nervous to read in front of their peers and especially in front of the class, but reading to a horse garners all kinds of wonderful results. For more information or if you’d like to see the CBS video and story, check out:

Northern Trails Riding Club

There are localized horse clubs all over this country. Smaller clubs which offer a gamut of horse activities from rail classes to showmanship and halter to gymkhana.

In my neck of the woods I really appreciate these clubs for so many reasons. Take last weekend for instance.

Saturday morning.

8:00 a.m.

Me to Wee daughter: “Wee daughter, it’s a beautiful day out today. What would you like to do?”

“I’d like to take my pony to the horse show, mother.”

“Okay. . . .”

We quickly bathed and clipped pony, stocked the trailer and away we went.

This kind of spontaneity was only available to us for one reason. The Northern Trail Riding Club. The NTRC is a small, but vibrant horse club which has been operating around the southern Alberta region since 1982. The club’s motto is to “provide a venue for recreational riders to demonstrate their horsemanship skills, and to promote appreciation of riding and showing horses for riders of all abilities.”

Members range from 100 to 150 and the club offers four to five shows a year. Classes offered range from showmanship to halter to trail to all rail classes, a bit of hunter, and reining as well.

And, on this Saturday, they happened to be hosting a show at the Didsbury Ag Society grounds.

We made it in time for Wee to enter two classes – trail and horsemanship. And, I picked up the lawnmower on the way. How’s that for multi-tasking!

I’m always happy to get to an NTRC show, because I almost always run into someone I haven’t seen in ages, or at least, since last season. And, on this Saturday, someone I hadn’t seen for eight years!

Hi Melony! Before she moved out west, Melony showed on the Quarter Horse circuit in New Brunswick and is a family friend. Now she rides with trainer Pat Ross.

Waiting at the hitching ring.

NTRC may be a small club, but the quality of their judging is always sound. Here, judge Todd Bailey awaits the next rider.

If you happen to be a rider who prefers a helmet, you won’t feel out of place at an NTRC show.



Rail classes are a favorite at the NTRC shows.

Reiners have the opportunity to show their horses as well.

An NTRC show wouldn’t be an NTRC show without this character. He ensures we’re all on time, and have our reins just the right length.

Please note: You can find out all about the NTRC shows this summer at their website, They do offer drop-in class rates, which can be real handy if you decide you’d like to head out to the show after entries have closed. You do however, need to have an active Alberta Equestrian Federation membership to participate in any NTRC event. That can be arranged at the AEF website,

All the photographs above (with the exception of “Wee”), were taken by Deanna Buschert. Deanna is going to be attending and snapping a lot of photos at horse shows this summers, and I’m so pleased to be able to present her work in these posts and also from time to time, in Western Horse Review, the magazine.

So, stay tuned for what promises to be a great summer of equine activities.

Future Stars

Future Stars coming at'chya from the Cowtown Derby & Stockhorse Show. Pic by Heather Baumgardner.

One of the highlights of the Cowtown Derby & Stockhorse Show held in Claresholm, Alberta this past June 4-6 was the Future Stars class, which featured the young riders of our industry to be.

Jaycee Palmer. Pic by Heather Baumgardner.

Young cowgirls and cowboys jumped aboard some great horses and put them through the paces of modified reined and cow work.

Falyn Thomson. Pic by Heather Pic by Heather Baumgardner.

Of course, all contestants were winners in this class. And their parents rode away with proud smiles.

Hailey Palmer. Pic by Heather Baumgardner.

However society as a whole can benefit from children who are involved with horses. Horses teach kids about responsibility, goals and discipline. They also teach young boys and girls how to assert themselves in this big world. And if you ask me, there’s nothing more adorable than a good-hearted horse cinched up in a saddle with short stirrups.

It’s a Boy!

This itsy bitsy sorrel beauty arrived at our log house, as these precious packages tend to do, early in the morning. Last Tuesday to be precise. Exactly two days after we had Teenager’s volleyball teammates out from the city for a Sunday picnic, and for which we had, quite politely I thought, asked mommy mare to kindly have baby present for.

Of course she didn’t listen. Do they ever?

Well, never mind that. Don’t think for a second we’re not grateful for a healthy foal, no matter the arrival time. The first few hours were tense as I wasn’t certain baby was receiving the much needed colostrum. Call me paranoid but she didn’t exactly seem to be, well, greedy enough. Of course, I have a lot of experience in this, having been around for the initial hours of so many foals prior to this baby.

One, to be precise.

It’s true, I may have been stressing about nothing, but that’s the way of mothers. It’s how our world goes round. We stress, we consult, we go for a walk, we’re happy. Until the next time. To alleviate my worrisome mind, I checked back at Jenn’s post at My Stable Life about that very same subject – foals and colostrum – and found it extremely helpful. Particularly in formulating a back-up plan if the situation really did go south.

Which it didn’t.

Baby makes seven at the log house. Our own horses, that is. We also periodically look after two or three others. But for myself, and my daughters – Teenager and Wee – we number one Paint Horse gelding, two Quarter Horse geldings, one Quarter Horse mare, new baby, and two ponies of unknown heritage – though Teenager and I have strong reason to believe one may have escaped from a Russian circus.

That’s all I can say about that.

But I have so much more to tell you about all of these horse/human equations in the following months. Stay tuned!

Forever Friends & Family

Clay and our nephew, Logan.

I think one of the greatest aspects of the western lifestyle are the friends you make along the way…

Patti James waves hello while Deanne Swales watches over her two boys.

And the opportunities this life presents to be with family…

During the trip Clay and I made back to Alberta to attend 2 shows (Cowtown Derby and the Reining Alberta Spring Classic), we were extremely lucky to also be afforded the opportunity to catch up with many beloved friends and family.

Some of the Webster family members. (L-R) Debbie & Tony Webster (Clay's dad), Mike (Clay's brother), Logan, Ryley & Angie Webster. They all came to cheer Clay on in Claresholm.

On this same trip Clay and I were incredibly lucky to catch up with our friends Kim Magnuson and her daughter, Chloe, just as their mare gave birth to a filly they had patiently been waiting for. It was a special moment and from this picture, you can tell there are 3 proud mothers instead of only 1…

A life with horses is sometimes challenging as it puts a heavy demand on your schedule and many responsibilities on your daily to-do list. However, the western lifestyle features the common bond of the horse which brings people together all over the world and our way of living promotes a great amount of family time.

Grandpa Tony takes his grandsons over to see the cows.

And even if we don’t have our own children yet, Clay and I like to try and share this great life with the youngest members of our family at every opportunity.

Clay and our oldest nephew, Ryley.

Unfortunately, not all of them are as taken with the horses as we are. But we’ll keep working on it!

Our niece Payton isn't so sure horses are her thing...