Skijordue

 

STORY & PHOTOS BY JENN WEBSTER

It’s official. Canadians might have a slight obsession with Skijoring. Because if Skijordue held on February 11, 2017 at the Calgary Polo Club was any indication, the concept just grew in popularity with hundreds of stoked fans in the country. Which later translated to thousands of photos, videos and all kinds of media coverage going viral across the globe.

By all accounts, Skijordue 2017, brought to us by the Alberta Skijor Socierty (check out the hashtag, #ASS) was an epic cocktail of speed, snow and horsepower. More than 600 people showed up to witness three events run over the course of the day; circuit, long jump and sprint.

Inside the polo cantina, a culinary delight of cheese fondue and adult bevvies were on hand, plus the grilling of more 300 Spolumbos Sausages wrapped in fresh baked Continental Rolls were available on the outside grills. Western Horse Review was proud to sponsor the day and as we predicted, Skijordue 2017 was the not-be-missed extreme sporting event of the year!

Congratulations to Sam and Graham Mitchell of Millarville, AB, and all the people behind the scenes who came together to put on such a fantastical day.

Make no mistake, this was a badass affair – with a hearty-serving of mind-boggling equine athleticism and skier mayhem at every glance.

There were also several moments of elation and pure greatness.

And if that weren’t enough, Skijordue might become the social and fashion event of the year too. Everything from the spandex and neon styles wonderfully anachronistic of the 80s, to fur and fringe of the modern West, were on display.

 

But one of our distinctly favorite parts of the event was the fact that people of all equestrian disciplines were brought together at Skijordue. Jumpers, team penners, polo players, ropers, trail riders, reiners, etc. alike, came to try out something new and as a result, benefited the Prairie Sky Equine Assisted Therapy Association.

It was a perfect day.

Stay tuned to the March/April issue of Western Horse Review for full coverage of the day!

Skijordue 2017

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

There is an event happening in southern Alberta this February 11, that is more anticipated than the current blast of snow we’re receiving. With fast ponies, plus skiers or snowboarders looking for their next thrill, Skijordue 2017 promises to be the not-be-missed extreme sporting event of the year!

Held at the Calgary Polo Club and in support of the Prairie Sky Equine Assisted Therapy Association, Skijordue will feature sprint and circuit races, plus a long jump. Oh and there will be jaw-dropping trick riding stunts performed by Alanna Nolan and Western Horse Review’s own Sally Bishop!

There will also be Yodelling & Alphorn performance from members of the astonishing Yodel Club Heimattreu – Jodlerklub Heimattreu, Calgary Canada

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Gates open at 10:30am. Races start at 11:00am sharp.

Flaunt your fanciest furs & glammest glasses to win the most Stylish Spectator prize package from uber-chic modern western boutique Cody & Sioux!

Inside the Calgary Polo Club Cantina there will be a patio and heaters, bonfires, a Race Commentator, DJ and Cheese Fondue, Bratwurst & Beverage concession (*cash only*). PLUS! Freestyle ski/board exhibitions.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Your $5, (cash only please), grants you entry plus a bunch of door prize draws throughout the day, so keep your ticket close & your ears open!  DJ G will be spinning mad techno yodelling mixes to get the patio dance floor bumpin’. This is set to be the most exciting snow-equine-fromage event of the season!

IT’S SNOWING, SO COME CHECK IT OUT!

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

So much awesomeness coming together, here’s some of what the Alberta Skijoring Society #ASS has got lined up for you:

*FAAAAST horses & ninja skiers from far & wide.
*Groovy tunes & goofy door prize draws from DJ Graham Mitchell
*Entertaining erudite race commentary from the incomparable Alan Leys
*Jaw dropping trick riding from stunners Alanna Nolan & Sally Bishop
*Yodelling & Alphorn performance from members of the astonishing Yodel Club Heimattreu – Jodlerklub Heimattreu, Calgary Canada
*Epic images from Chad Rowbotham Photography
*Rad video coverage from Atomic10 Inc.
*Proficient paramedics Courtney Isbister & Radar Goddard
*Handsome handy marshalling by Dace Cochlan & Dave Callaway
*Judicious judging by Tracy Thorbjornsen & Anne Thompson

*Venue vistas with SNOW from Gordon Ross Remax

*Truck-Truck viewing experience extravaganza with uber host JR Cox of The Shooting Edge Inc & William Evans Canada

*Prizes prizes PRIZES!!! From: Little Monkey Metal Works, Smithbilt Hats Inc., SS Chaps, Bar T5 Agra Services, Country Living and Garden Centre, Monod Sports, LTD, Sporting Life, Cody & Sioux, Western Specialties, Cam Clark Ford, Water’s Edge Pub, Jane’s, Coffee shop, delicous food and fine art, Sweetgrass Deli & Eatery, Wild Rose Brewery, Knaughty Nets & Pets, Chuckwagon Cafe

Kamloops Cowboy Festival Celebrates 20 Years

Lots-on-stage

By Guest Blogger, Debbie MacRae

The Kamloops Cowboy Festival held annually in Kamloops, BC, celebrated its 20th anniversary this past March 17-20. The festival stuck to its roots, bringing back many of the same fabulous entertainers who have brought the sparkle to this musical feast and story-telling celebration for two decades. Having attended the 20th anniversary, an overwhelming appreciation of BC’s Cowboy culture emerged from the experience. Here are a few highlights from the 2016 event. We also pay tribute to the minds behind the magic.

2oth Anniversary poster collection.

2oth Anniversary poster collection.

Over a span of twenty years, with organizational ideology which included the likes of Connie and Butch Falk, Linda and Mike Puhallo, Hugh and Billie McLennan, Frank Gleeson and innumerable others, the concept of an enduring festival which would immortalize the cowboy heritage has become an iconic reality.

No festival is complete without the entertainers and competitors – the musicians and artists who showcase their ideas, manifest their lyrics into songs, and accompany their vocals with instrumentation. Without the entertainers and artists, there would be no Art Show or Rising Star Showcase.

Art-show

Behind the scenes are the numerous contributions that bring this event to light. There’s the poster and pin design and development: the production of event pins are done by Laurie Artiss out of Vancouver, BC. There’s also the coordination of over 80 volunteers with hundreds of collective hours of service and dedication.

Sassy Six-Gun. An event volunteer.

Sassy Six-Gun Shooter. An event volunteer.

Shuttle drivers such as Sassy Six Gun, who dress the part, provide the service, sacrifice the hours, and ensure a memorable experience for entertainers and attendees. Volunteers like Red Allan, Trade Show Manager and his wife, Helen Allan, volunteer coordinator whose selflessness ensure a seamless experience; pushing carts, arranging the space and making endless phone calls for support.

Ruscheinsky---Rising-Star-winner

Jason Ruscheinsky – Rising Star winner.

The Guitar donated by Lee’s Music epitomizes the junction of western heritage with an illustration of First Nations totem artwork and cowboy persona. The Keeper of the West Award is provided in the form of a Sterling Silver Belt Buckle awarded to the entertainer with the best new song or poem reflecting the Festival’s mandate. The Joe Marten Memorial Award is offered for the Preservation of Cowboy Heritage in BC.

NEWSilent-Auction---20th-Anniversary-Guitar

The Silent Auction 20th Anniversary Guitar.

We recognize contributors to the Silent Auction, which funds are directed to ongoing financing of expenses; and the judges, without whose efforts the competition would not have merit; whose talents and voices echo the experience of their own cowboy contribution.

In the words of entertainer Tim Hus, “Being a judge is easy – until you try it… As an entertainer, people judge you. It’s a paradigm when you become the judge.”

Sound-man

Scott from Lee’s Music is a 31-year-old sound man with a Master’s Degree. Organizer, Kathy McMillan has said “…if it wasn’t for these guys, the festival could not succeed.”

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Then there is the competition. This year the scores were incredibly close – with some judges awarding scores for one artist, and another scoring equal points for a competitor, creating a unique sense of competition and accomplishment.

Cowboy-Church

Cowboy Church.

Pastor Don Maione has been an integral part of the festival as he has so willingly offered his Calvary Church to performers; not only to showcase their talents, but also to share their collective appreciation for the gifts which have been bestowed upon them. Pastor Don approached the festival and said, ‘You have a need, and we have a facility.’

Thompson-River-Boots

Trade-showThe cooks, the chefs, the attendants in concessions, the hostesses, and the chef in the breakfast bar – all contribute to make the Kamloops Cowboy Festival a memorable and unique appreciation of cowboy heritage – in a modern day environment. This year there were 48 booths and 4 tables in the trade show, all collectively marketing their innovations, decorations, and presentations. Everyone in attendance captures the Cowboy image in its best light and preserves that light to enhance the awareness of the urbanite; in song, word, color and deed.

“Cowboys are gentlemen,” to echo Leslie Ross. “We need to carry on the message of the Cowboy ways.”

on-stage
Gary Fjellgaard laments, “Whatever happened to my heroes? They don’t make ‘em like they did in ’44. But they were there when I needed them. I wish they’d all come back again, cuz I don’t have no heroes anymore…”

The heroes are the ones behind the scenes, the ones we don’t thank everyday – but we should; the minds behind the magic, like Mark and Kathy McMillan, who work on their ranch from dawn to dusk, and then pick up their pens and their pencils, their guitars and strings, and telephones and work the magic so that we can appreciate and preserve what some of us take for granted; the Cowboy heritage of the last frontier, in beautiful British Columbia.

 

Skijoring the Blues Away

In a Canadian winter, it’s often difficult to break the “winter cycle.” You know, go to work or school, come home, watch TV. It’s often so cold outside that it’s difficult to summon the motivation one needs to get outside and reap some much needed Vitamin D.

That is of course, unless you are a horse person. Horse people must go outside. Even when we really don’t want to…

We often find ourselves engaged in winter activities, even if it only involves the simplest task of feeding horses or doing chores. Oh, there are so many benefits of horse ownership!

And here’s another one for you – Skijoring.

According to Wikipedia, Skijoring is a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word “skikjøring” meaning, ski driving.

Here in Canada, Skijoring is a darn good way to spend a snowy day. And, beat the winter blues.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

So how does one simply, skijor?

In my barn, we figured you pretty much… just got outside and did it.

One fine winter day, some neighbours, friends and I decided to find out what it takes. With the Rocky Mountains as our backdrop, a mild winter temperature hovering around -5 degrees C and zero windchill, we met in the middle of a pristine cow pasture (retired for the season). There were no gopher holes to worry about, but there was a fresh layer of powdery snow waiting for our arrival.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

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What does it take to skijor? While we weren’t entirely sure, we knew good-minded horses were the key. Our darling neighbour Caroline, brought out her awesome little gelding named “Webster” and our friend Murray brought two mounts, “Prairie” and “Rocket.” All three were absolute super stars.

Murray and his horse, Rocket. Photo by Jenn Webster.

Murray and his horse, Rocket. Photo by Jenn Webster.

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All three horses had been used extensively for roping and were extremely seasoned mounts. They ran barefoot in the pasture. However, according to some Skijoring associations, many horses wear studded ice shoes.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

 

We were successful in having the horses pull a sled. The kids loved it!

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

 

 

And the burning question I had was – could one snowboard behind a horse?

Boarding-WEB

I learned that yes. You can! And it’s a good time too, because a board glides along easily behind a loping horse.

Just don’t catch an edge.

Or a frozen cowpie…

Snowboard-WEB

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When the horses really got going, the sled went along at a pretty good clip. This is where the token “cowboy hat” came in handy. It could protect one’s face from the flying snow of the horse’s hooves.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

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Next time we’re gonna try it with a warm bonfire to greet us at the end. And a whole bunch of marshmallows to roast.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

 

What a way to make some Canadian memories!

Carnero Vaquero

IanProfile

Ian Tyson. (photo by Karyn Scott Drake)

“Way out West, on the lonesome trail, where a man and his horse seldom ever fail, they ride the range, from sun to sun, for a cowboy’s work is never done,” sings cowboy music troubadour, Ian Tyson in Doney Gal, a traditional cowboy ballad, and sweet lead-in to Tyson’s newly released Carnero Vaquero.

If it rings of an ancient ballad, it is, with Irish-Scottish roots, he explains, during an interview for my feature about him and a cast of his favorite horses in the next issue of Western Horse Review.

“The great cowboy songs all are. You see, those people mainly came from Tennessee and Kentucky, after the Civil War, Scots-Irish mostly. And they adapted them. Doney Gal’s kind of a mystery, because it wasn’t from that Charles Goodnight cattle driving period. Those boys couldn’t have mares on the drives. So it was all geldings, no mares. Doney Gal is from the earliest of times, and usually refers to a woman. Maybe it somehow slipped over to be a horse.”

So, it’s a metaphor?

“Yes, a metaphoric thing. But it’s a beautiful song; I love that song. I asked Catherine Marx to come up from Tennessee and play on it, and she just totally smoked it. She’s superb; she just knows what to do.”

There aren’t many who can match Tyson for authenticity. Just as Charlie Russell – who Tyson admittedly still idolizes – more than a century earlier, painted and understood that his work would be essential depictions of the last of a way of life in the West, so Tyson understands that what he writes and sings about represents the last of his generation’s West, with another reinvented version, constructed by “downtown cowboys” in big hats and fancy trucks, just over the rise.

He points to Will James, the master of the phenomena, a Quebec wannabe who reinvented himself as a cowboy of the West. His 1984 tribute to James is included in this collection.

I love Tyson’s approach to song writing, for it’s often a strange brew of old and new, such as in Jughound Ronnie, composed with Calgary writer and musician Kris Demeanor. He casts the character of an unfaithful wife who leaves her babies at home with the nanny, and returns her “high heeled boots made of embroidered leather” and “white Escalade,” to her husband, in favour of running off with her lover, all an adaptation from Woodie Guthrie’s, Gypsy Davy, and can be trailed further back in time to Raggle Taggle Gypsy, a traditional Scottish folk song.

“There are many, many variants of it,” Tyson explains. “In all the versions, and they go back, way back, she never comes back to the babies, and none of them are his. You’d think there’d be variations of these old songs, but no, not with Gypsy Davy.”

Call it a few centuries old, but I love Ian’s “oil and gas” version of it.

Ballads such as the telling Wolves No Longer Sing, co-written with his longtime friend, Tom Russell show he has no interest in mellowing out his disappearing West message as he sets into his 80th decade on this earth.

 

Now the old man sold his horses, and his children sold the ranch,

And there’s roads all through that valley, where his ponies used to dance,

The dry wind sings a lonesome tune, a longing for the Spring,

And love no longer matters, and the wolves no longer sing.

 

The Old Man sold his kingdom for a song,

What’s happened to the music? Where have the wild ones gone?

 

Not that it’s all parabolic fire and brimstone in this collection. There’s The Flood, also co-written with Demeanor, which speaks to the Alberta floods of 2013, but also feels metaphoric of other, perhaps all, things lost, as well as Cottonwood Canyon, which has been picked up as an environmental ode.

It’s fitting it all came together at the stone house, a mile or so up the road from his ranch, and it could be said, on the edge of the passing West, a spectacle he told me he never quite expected to see in his lifetime.

The other day I stepped into the truck and flicked on Outlaw Country radio, to hear Cottonwood Canyon playing. Neat. I couldn’t help thinking how Tyson, just like his West, has reinvented himself from his Ian and Sylvia days to an important canon of solo work. Lucky for us.

Be sure to check out my piece with Ian Tyson in Western Horse Review. You can’t miss the issue – he’s on the cover.

Horses a Lifelong Passion

Story and Photos By Lauren McGougan

Joanne and Jerry Wilson’s boarding stable just east of Calgary is home to 17 horses. The stable is run by Jerry and Joanne Wilson, two people who have a true passion and love for animals, especially horses.

“We have been living here for 33 years now,” says Joanne, who retired as the manager of the geriatrics unit at Country Club Pet Resort eight years ago.

The property is home to 17 horses, four of which the Wilson’s own. The rest are boarded horses, with the majority of the owners living in Calgary.

Joanne and Jerry have been Alberta Equestrian Federation members since the organization was founded in 1978.

“The whole organization is just great. They are so easy to deal with and they are so nice. They can answer any question that you may have,” Joanne explains.

The Wilson’s have a long history with a multitude of equine organizations.

They have stood honorable guard at Spruce Meadows for 22 years, have been members of Fun Country Riders since it was founded in 1979 and have participated in a multitude of gymkhana and show events.

To continue reading this article and to see more photos, look for the Summer issue of Alberta Bits magazine, released end of May.  

A look at the Wilson's herd.

A look at the Wilson’s herd.

Joanne and Jerry Wilson, with cat Tiger and dog Lady.

Joanne and Jerry Wilson, with cat Tiger and dog Lady.

Peer Recognition – Dr. Wayne Burwash

Distinguished-Service-Award-2On January 10, 2015, at the 33rd annual Horse Breeders and Owners Conference, the Horse Industry Association of Alberta (HIAA) proudly presented the Distinguished Service Award to Dr. Wayne Burwash in recognition of his lasting influence and contributions to the equine industry in the province.

Dr. Burwash grew up on a mixed dairy farm in Balzac, Alberta. He graduated with distinction from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) from their first graduating class in 1969 and, after an internship, joined The Animal Clinic in 1970. Early in his career, he was the first to do Commercial Embryo Transfer in Canada with Bob Church from the University of Calgary. In 1977, the clinic split up from being a mixed practice and Dr. Burwash decided to open his own clinic specializing in equine: Burwash Equine Services.

Along with his clinical duties at the practice, he served as a mentor for other veterinarians including Dr. Claude Piche, who is now a leading diabetes researcher in humans and Dr. Gayle Trotter, who was the head of surgery at Colorado State University. Since 1980, Dr. Burwash has been the President Veterinary Commission of all international competitions at Spruce Meadows. His success as a veterinarian has led to accolades such as being named Veterinarian of the Year by the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association in 2000 and the Communicators Award in 2004. Burwash Equine Services have been a part of the Distributed Veterinary Learning Community with the University of Calgary, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine since its inception.

Burwash-1-2

However, his leadership in the Alberta horse industry is not limited to the veterinary profession. Dr. Burwash was a founder of the Alberta Quarter Horse Breeders Group, helping to establish quality horse sales locally as well as internationally by marketing Alberta-bred horses to Europe. As a producer of American Quarter Horses for over four decades, he has been a leading breeder for the Alberta Horse Improvement Program, breeding champions such as Kilomax, Lopin Foran Invite, and Soo Good. Dr. Burwash has served on the executive and on numerous committees, within leading organizations such as the AQHA, ABVMA, Equine Canada, FEI, AAEP, and at the local equine colleges. He has demonstrated exemplary leadership in equine welfare, breed improvement, and research.

HIAA President, Jean Kruse, states, “Dr. Wayne Burwash truly fits the definition of what it means to offer distinguished service. His contributions to the equine industry past and present have not just been based in Alberta but globally. I’m thrilled that he was chosen as this year’s recipient and is definitely a worthy member of this exclusive club.”

The first Alberta Horse Industry Distinguished Service Award was presented at the 2000 Horse Breeders and Owners Conference to Bill Collins. Since then the outstanding recipients have included: 2001 – Marg and Ron Southern; 2002 – Hans Hansma; 2003 – Joe Selinger; 2004 – Bruce Roy; 2005 – Dave Robson; 2006 – Dr. David Reid; 2007 – John Scott; 2008 – Doug Milligan; and in 2009 – Eldon Bienert and Peggy McDonald.

Nominations are accepted annually and given on merit of the nominations; candidates are evaluated based on significance of accomplishments, public benefit, industry credibility, and potential for continued contributions. The award is be presented to the nominee that has had the greatest impact on the growth and development of the horse industry in Alberta in one or more of the following areas: breeding, manufacturing, facilities, organization, education, auction sales, export sales, training people and horses, or communication.

Win Dinner With Amber Marshall

amber

Photo by Denise Grant.

Sometime in the spring of 2013, we undertook an ambitious endeavour and focused our editorial attention to the ernest task of finding 25 youth under the age of 25, who, in a nutshell, embodied and rang true to a modern Code of the West. We wanted young people who embraced independence, a love of the outdoor life, close connection to animals (in particular, horses), showed a fierce determination to follow their own path, buck convention, (and occasionally, conventional wisdom), and radiated all of these western measures of character through their daily lives.

As we worked our way down the long list, we were constantly reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exuded.

Included in that issue’s Top 25 Under 25 was the then 25-year-old Amber Marshall, star of the CBC hit television show, Heartland, a talented actress, who has managed to segue her passion for horses into a successful acting career.

Amber has been around horses as long as she can remember. She has been riding since a very young age and says that the two things she loves the most – acting and horses – have come together to create this dream role of Amy on the Heartland series.

In between filming and occupational commitments, Marshall lends her time and celebrity to a multitude of causes. Most recently she appeared with Niki Cammaert at Cowboys for Kingdom House, a fundraiser for special projects in Africa.

As Heartland films in Alberta, Marshall has made a home for herself on a small ranch outside of Calgary where she is surrounded by her many animals, including horses, dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, turkeys and Jerseys. She stays true to her western roots and honours the people and animals around her while enjoying great professional successes. Grounded and focused, she is well on her way to creating a fulfilled, enriched life.

Her latest venture is partnering with Rustic Ranch, a furniture, home decor and gift store, located just 10 minutes north of Cross Iron Mills Mall, in Airdrie, Alberta. Located on the Giles family farm, the unique store shares a 30,000 square foot showroom with Airdrie Trailer Sales and Decked Out Vinyl, and specializes in log, reclaimed and rustic furniture and decor.

I’m pleased to let you know Rustic Ranch is offering you an opportunity to win a VIP evening with Amber Marshall!

Ballots are available in the store, and entries close on December 31.

Take the opportunity to meet Amber on November 1 when she’ll be in the store for a signing from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Perfect timing as Rustic Ranch’s yearly clearance sale is Oct. 31 to Nov. 2.

In the meantime catch up with Amber Marshall at her site, and view Rustic Ranch’s latest offerings at here.

August in Photos

My Stable Life August in Pics

August. The month of horse shows and weddings. And ice bucket challenges, lol! I didn’t even have time to blink in the last 31 days. Our weekends ran nine-O. The first weekend was a horse show, followed by a wedding. Then a horse show, a wedding and finally, another horse show. However, it was a joyful, happy month and the two weddings I write about were for some of the most precious people in our lives. Here’s a photo summary of how August played out for me.

Breast Collar, My Stable Life

The beginning of August started with a horse show. It was my first time getting back into the pen after a 6- month hiatus. I love the cow horse folks and was happy to see them again. It was also lovely to feel the power of a cow horse underneath me again. Although I did have  a bit of a “hat issue” to start with…

K&C-Wedding

The following weekend was the wedding of some dear friends to us – Kirk Shaw and Crissy Santangelo. Kirk has been a beloved friend for many years, was the best man at our wedding and is also our farrier. Many of you may know Crissy as one of the hardworking gals behind the scenes of Silver Slate Arena (check out www.silverslatearena.com) Featuring a charming tiny white church, a long-stretch Hummer limo, black cowboy hats, hot pink dresses with cowgirl boots to match, horses for photos, and a fantastic gathering and pig roast at Silver Slate to celebrate with friends and family – this was one of the most beautiful western weddings I have ever had the pleasure of attending. Congrats to Kirk and Crissy and we wish you many blessings to come!

Photo by Judy Doiron.

I think all kids love cowgirl, Kelin Doiron. Mine certainly do! Photo by Judy Doiron.

Show-kids

The following weekend, we were right back at Silver Slate arena, but with horses this time. A number of other “horse show kids” were there as well and many of them contend in the Future Stars class – one of our all-time favorite divisions to watch.

Photo by Natalie Jackman, www.have-dog.com

Photo by Natalie Jackman, www.have-dog.com

Warm August weather provided an ideal chance to snap a few shots of our upcoming yearlings. Taking photos of youngsters is an exercise in patience but we’re certainly glad Natalie Jackman has the know-how and tolerance to work with us in this venture <smile.>

Calves

 

Almost immediately following that show, I’m sure you can guess… we hit the road for another wedding. This time, we headed for beautiful Kelowna, BC – to attend the wedding of my beautiful sister. Along the way, there are many fabulous tourist places to hit. This year, we stopped at D Duchman Dairy – a farm fresh dairy store that kids can delight in the animal interaction as much as they can the ice cream at the end! Featuring exotic animals like llamas, birds and goats, D Dutchman Dairy also offers a hands-on approach to their calf barn. We tried taking our kidlets over to the other animals but they kept running back to the calves! I guess, you just can’t beat an up-close and personal interaction with friendly Holsteins.

Albino Kangaroo

Our son petting an albino wallaby at Kangaroo Creek Farm in Kelowna, BC.

However, just when I thought we couldn’t top that experience, my sister took us to Kangaroo Creek Farm – a farm that been breeding kangaroos and wallabies for more than 20 years in Lake Country near Kelowna. This is an incredible experience – operated entirely on donations alone. Guests are invited to walk into the farm and see wallaroos (a type of kangaroo, not a cross between a wallaby and a kangaroo) and Bennett wallabies roaming about, freely amongst the people! The animals are so friendly and tame, kids and adults alike can walk right up to them and pet them or offer a treat provided by farm operators! The farm also features emu, peacocks, fancy chickens, goats, parrots, a baby albino wallaby (*see the albino mother my son is petting above), baby kangaroos and potbellied pigs. There are also a pair of capybara, the world’s larges rodent (up to 150 lbs.)

Baby-Kangaroo

 

And if you wait your turn, you can even have the chance to hold a baby kangaroo! This experience was worth posting a picture of myself (sans make-up) for…

Beach-chairs

We had one day of down time to visit with family and friends before the big day. But I definitely could have gone for a few more here… My sister Nicole and her husband choose a beautiful setting to host a wedding!

Next, it was on to the big day! Held at the historic Hotel Eldorado on the rooftop patio overlooking a marina, my baby sis and her new husband did a hilarious exchange of vows. My little family and I were truly honored to be a part of it and we watched with pride as she begins this new chapter in her life. The wedding was beautiful, the photos are insanely idyllic and the reception was all about the details. I should almost post a blog on that specifically <grin.> Congrats Nick and Jay – we love your dearly and thank-you for allowing us to be part of your special day!

Taylor

The drive to Kelowna also provided us the perfect opportunity to pick up the newest member to our animal family – meet “Taylor,” a miniature gray-dun Donkey. I’m sure there will be more adventures about this little guy to come.

Cow-nightThe day after we returned from my sister’s wedding (at 2:00 am, I might add,) we unloaded Taylor, doctored a colt that had become injured over the weekend and headed straight for bed. For the following evening, Clay was hosting a practice cow night for over 40 people at our place. Cow nights make for a busy schedule but a great opportunity to practice for upcoming events. On this particular evening, a crop duster was hard at work nearby. It’s that time of year.

Crop-Duster

As I’m sure you can guess, the very next weekend we were back showing horses at the Back On Track Snaffle Bit Futurity hosted by the Alberta Reined Cow Horse Association.

Phew! August was a busy month.

Photo by Natalie Jackman

My husband, Clay riding “Bob” in a powerful fence turn. Photo by Natalie Jackman, www.have-dog.com