Circle J Wins Again!

CALGARY STAMPEDE CANADIAN NATIONAL MINIATURE HORSE SHOW

 

Lord Sterling Cup Champion – Circle J Zachary & Circle J Dezigner Genes – Charlene Gale, Cochrane, AB

Reserve Champion – The Governor & The General – Peter/Terry Holt, Morinville, AB

 

CANADIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONS

Canadian National Pleasure Driving Champion – HCM Warpaint Feelin’ Groovy – Louise/Kim Locke, Calgary, AB

Reserve Champion – Enchanted Acres Shadow Fax – Christine Tilleman, Airdrie, AB

Supreme Halter Horse Champion – First Knights Platinum Princes – K. C. Pappas, Calgary, AB

Senior Mare Champion – First Knights Platinum Princes – K. C. Pappas, Calgary, AB

Reserve Champion – Visa Valleys Gold N Reflection – Holly Whyte, Tomahawk, AB

Roadster Champion – HCM Warpaint Feelin’ Groovy – Louise/Kim Locke, Calgary, AB

Reserve Champion – Enchanted Acres Shadow Fax – Christine Tilleman, Airdrie, AB

Senior Stallion Champion – San Sujos Midnight Wrangler – Lena McMurtry, Saanichton, BC

Reserve Champion – Lucky Four Santafe Beau Bey – Kaycee Lunde, Airdrie, AB

Junior Stallion Champion – First Knight Shot of Champagne – K. C. Pappas, Calgary, AB

Reserve Champion – Imprint Phantoms Fancy Red – K. C. Pappas, Calgary, AB

Senior Gelding Champion – Circle J Champs Li’l Chief – Louise/Kim Locke, Calgary, AB

Reserve Champion – San Sujos Midnight Butero – Lena McMurtry, Saanichton, BC

Junior Mare Champion – First Knights Southern Belle – K. C. Pappas, Calgary, AB

Reserve Champion – Holwill Wow That Was A Surprise – Holly Whyte, Tomahawk, AB

Photo By The Calgary Stampede

Photo By The Calgary Stampede

Calgary – For Charlene Gale, showing and winning with miniature horses is something between a habit and a family tradition. After driving Circle J Zachary and Circle J Dezigner Genes to yet another Lord Sterling Cup, Charlene admitted she couldn’t remember how many times she’s won it. “Quite a few times,” is her guess.

Charlene’s father, Merv Giles, started the miniature program at his Circle J Ranch near Cochrane in 1981. “By about 1982 or ’83, Dad was chair of the Miniature Horse Committee at the Calgary Stampede,” she
recalls. “There’s been one of us on the committee ever since.” Giles was also responsible for persuading Lord Sterling, whose wife and daughter showed miniature horses back in the UK, to sponsor the multiple hitch class at the Stampede.

The Circle J program isn’t as big as it was, but there are still just under 40 miniature horses on the ranch. Charlene and her daughter Kendra Gale are responsible for breeding, training and showing and can point to a respectable number of successful show horses that can boast of Circle J bloodlines.

Miniature horses are indeed a separate breed, not midget versions of other breeds. The little beauties are descended from the pit ponies that were used in mines, deliberately bred to be small to fit into the narrow confines of the mines of a couple of centuries ago. Today’s miniatures are somewhat different from their ancestor, since the original pit ponies were a much stockier horse, almost like a miniature heavy horse. Modern-day miniature horses are shown different ways, some are led around obstacles and over jumps, while others pull scale carts and wagons.

Some miniature horses display an early aptitude for being driven, Charlene says, and are introduced to the idea when they are two year-olds. “Depending on how well-developed they are, we might possibly put them on a cart as a three year-old and do some driving.” Maturity is a benefit, though, and she points out, “On our show string here this weekend, the youngest horse is 15.”

Showing and driving is still fun for her, Charlene admits, adding, “Sometimes, when you’re going to bed after midnight and getting up at 4:30am to get back in here to feed the horses, you question it. On a day down here when it’s over 30 degrees and humid, if you didn’t love it, you wouldn’t be here.”