The First Cold Day

September/October Sneak Peek

Coming soon to your mailbox and newsstand, I’m excited to preview the September/October issue for y’all here.

When I watched seasoned chuckwagon driver Chad Harden’s lead horse collapse and the subsequent pile-up of horses, humans and wheels during a heat of the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby on July 12, my heart leapt to my throat. Reviewing it on film, it was unimaginable the humans escaped injury, but fortunately they did. Three horses however, were lost; the Harden family and his barn subsequently devastated and heartbroken. Those immersed in the chuck racing circuit culture know and understand the level of care and love that goes into these animals, where horses are truly a part of the family.

Chad Harden racing at the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby. Photo by Deanna Buschert.

 Just three nights later on July 15, after the last heat of the races, 40-year veteran driver Grant Profit, sold his entire outfit including horses, during a retirement auction at the same barns Harden’s team had pulled out of three days before. A highlight of the sale was the right and left lead of Profit’s team – Forever Grand and Anglian Prince, a pair of former race horses. The 13-year-old Thoroughbreds sold for a combined $179,000 to another experienced driver, Kelly Sutherland. He later stated he felt the two horses who had been “barned together” for many years should stay together, illustrating the value these horses represent to their owners – not only in monetary means, but emotionally as well.

I spoke with Shelly Profit after the sale and she reiterated their devotion to their animals:

“All of our horses that we sold meant the world to us and we spent hours every day with them. Caring for them, feeding, brushing and training, each one of them have their own personalities and likes and dislikes. Even in the winter we would just go out in the pasture with them and they would all come up to us for a pet on the nose, and most of them loved peppermints and that was their treats. They were truly a part of our family, and we miss them dearly.”

A study on chuckwagon horses during races is currently in progress by a University of Calgary researcher who was on the scene at this year’s Rangeland Derby conducting a series of medical trials on the horses. Deanna Buschert’s piece, Scientific Experiment, reveals how that research may help not only chuckwagon horses, but other equine athletes as well.

Max Gibb is confident of the Balzac racetrack’s future. “It will make us the Woodbine of Western Canada,” he says. “And, it will be a big, big boost for horse racing.” Photo by Jessica Patterson

The remains of a track of another sort stands abandoned in a field northeast of Calgary. The Balzac racetrack was destined to restore and nurture the growth of horse racing in Alberta. Instead it dissolved into a field of unrealized dreams. Writer Jessica Patterson spent a good month researching the timeline of how this dream went down for her story, Field of Dreams. There is a faint hope the track will move forward, though on a much reduced scale and with mini-steps. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more.

When we came across this photo of Chantal Sutherland in a recent issue of Vanity Fair, we knew we had to include the Ontario born jockey in Jenn Webster’s feature piece, Generation Y Cowgirl. 

With numbers estimated as high as 70 million, Generation Y (those born 1981-1994) is the fastest growing segment of today’s workforce. This group of achievement-oriented individuals are both tech-savvy and conversely, uninterested in the fast track. They’ll gladly trade in the security of a job for a flexible work schedule and doing what they love. They are attention-cravers and motivated by praise and reassurance, whether by mentors or a much larger audience. Outside of the baby boomers, they are the most influential demographic group in our population. I love Jenn Webster’s interviews with four such incredibly driven females, including Chantal, in her story.

 This feature quickly came forward as the subject for this issue’s cover. Thanks to photographer Neville Palmer for his conceptualization of this cover shoot.

Also in this issue, Managing Editor, Dainya Sapergia, also takes a up close and personal look at the relatively underground sport of polocrosse.

Photo by Krista Kay.

Western Lifestyle Editor, Deanna Beckley, together with photographer, Krista Kay, put together an eight page Fall Fashion feature, which simply wowed us all.

Photo by Deanna Buschert.

Deanna Buschert and I enjoyed a positively lovely afternoon hanging out with this gal and her Corgi’s in her incredible western home, and I was able to write about it in my feature, Western Retreat. 

With show season in full swing we covered some of the very many events already completed, took a look at the Calgary Stampede’s Cowboy Challenge champion Jim Anderson’s favorite bit and kicked off a new regular feature, Show Ready, this issue showcasing must-have items every reiner has on their list.

In the realm of horse health, don’t miss our Equine Practitioners Guide, showcasing a selection of the top professionals in the business. As well, we take a look at five favorite equine supplements, get yourself versed on how to recognize and understand lameness, and develop an understanding for why some two-year-olds are shod.

Photo by Larry Wong.

Writer Melissa Sword penned a fascinating piece on barrel racer Gaylene Buff, in her piece, Driven to Succeed. As you will read, this is a competitor with a hard working attitude and intense determination to succeed.

Finally, it’s sale time! Check out the best sales of this fall in our annual Fall Sale Guide. (Be sure you are subscribed to our e-newsletter feed to catch updates on these sales and heads up of late additions.)

We hope we’ve hit the right mix of horsemanship, western culture and style for y’all with this issue. I hope you love reading it, as much as we enjoyed building it.

It’s All About Lighting

While I’m not a high tech photographer, I do shoot as often as I can, and learn as much as I can wh

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en I have a speck of time. Last week I caught a quick blog post on using natural light at Digital Photography School, a photography tutorial site I’ve really come to rely on. Then on Sunday I was charged with taking “mugshots” of each of the members of Wee and Teenager’s 4H club; the content of the post led me to choose a whiteboard right by a window as the setting for the shots. I played around a bit with positioning myself, and found the optimum spot to be dead-on center in front of my wee subjects. The natural light flowing from the main-light of the window to the right resulted in a pretty progression of light to dark, leading to the soft-toned sculpted shots I ended with.

It was a great exercise in using natural light. Looking back through some of our photos, I noticed Teenager achieved a similar effect a few years ago when she shot this photo of Wee. The face is framed, softly bordered through the use of the natural light source shining in on the subject from the right side. Neat composition too, Teenager! Photographer Nicole Templeton of Crimson Chickadee Photography uses direct sunlight in this photo – which we incidentally featured in our Out West Mother’s Day tribute in the May/June issue – to create a sunshiny, bright frame around her subjects.

And then my eyes beheld this!

Dainya, managing editor of Western Horse Review recently shot this beauty of her daughter and pony in the late afternoon, a light she told me she loves to shoot in. “It gives a warmth like no other time of the day. I also love Alberta skies, and the way they reflect the light within the vast clouds.”

Her strategy: “With this shot, I got low to he ground to get the feeling that the light was pouring down. I wanted the sun to be present in the frame, but not so much that it washed out everything else, so I kept it in the distant corner. Shooting it in sepia really brings out the highlights and definition that is often lost in colour shots.”

All of that combined just happened to capture such a sweet moment. I’m in love with the softness and again, that light sculpting that little tiny frame of her daughter. Lovely.

Just one more.

Here, photographer Joan Davis uses not daylight, but moonlight to silhouette her subject in this shot which the Equine Photographers Network named their Photo of the Week.

As Direct Photography School teaches, “the great thing about natural light, is that there are virtually countless ways to direct it in this manner, depending on the position of the sun or the light source (if indoors) and of course on the position of yourself and your subject.”

Good points to remember when shooting in arenas and outside spaces. If you’d like to read the full DPS post catch it here: 5 Tips to Controlling Natural Light.

Meet the Photographer

Guest blogger, Deanna Beckley shares her experience organizing Western Horse Review’s annual fashion shoot.

Over the years we have had some amazing photographers take on the task of photographing the magazine’s fashion shoot, and have their beautiful work cover the pages of Western Horse Review.

This year is no different. We are so excited to have award winning photographer Krista Kay behind the lens for this year’s shoot.

Kirsta is pretty photogenic herself. Photo courtesy of Caitlyn Chapman Photography.

This isn’t the first time we have worked with Krista, in fact our March cover was taken by Krista.

Krista Kay’s photos have graced many covers and magazines over the years. She includes such icons as actress, Bo Derek and multimillionaire diamond magnate Charles Fipke in her photographic repertoire. Krista’s knowledge and experience come from over 15 years working in the fashion industry where she was shaped and moulded for her future behind the camera, making her the perfect candidate for the WHR fashion project. Her keen eye and acute sense of creating “mood” in a picture are Krista’s greatest attributes.

Her passion for farm and ranch weddings, special occasion portraiture and people with their beloved equines are the driving inspiration to her limitless creativity.

Krista’s home base is the beautiful Westwold Valley nestled between Kamloops and Vernon in the heart of the Thompson Okanagan and where this year’s shoot will take place. Krista has also graciously opened up her home to us, allowing us to use it as a base for the models to get ready, outfit changes and hair and makeup.

On her days away from the camera, Krista and her husband Jarret train and ride roping horses. She loves gardening, landscaping and spending time with her dog Addy.

I can’t wait to meet Krista and collaborate on this year’s fashion project.

You can view Krista’s website here or “Like” her on Facebook at Krista Kay Photography for a chance to win free giveaways!

11 Weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

Last week, I kicked off my 12 Weeks ’till Christmas countdown. Or was it the week before? Technically, it might be a tad less than 11 weeks ’till Christmas. Everyone needs a Christmas tradition, apparently mine is trending to tardiness.

This week, I wanted to profile the gorgeous On The Trail Day Planners which photographer Kim Taylor, of Sliding U Photography releases every year. Kim puts forth an incredible body of work each year, profiling ranches and the cowboy way of life. The photos are poignant, gorgeous and unique.

Not only that, the day planner is simple and useful. I’ve been using them for nearly a decade now, a stack of all previous years in my storage files, quite invaluable if I need to confirm a date or event from years gone by.

It’s a Christmas gift almost anyone can use and will love. You can be from Toronto and love this day planner. It’s true. Torontonians will especially love pages such as this one, while they are in their cozy condos and houses, and we’re out forking hay and chipping the ice off waterers.

I’ve given them to young and old alike, kids adore them, older folks flip through them lovingly. There is something both contemporary and nostalgic about them, all at once. It may be the age of digital, but I still love the tactile quality of a printed journal.

You can order On The Trail day planners directly at Kim’s site or find them at your local tack store, they retail for $24.95. We do have a limited amount in stock at the Western Horse Review Store, however, egads, our online store is days away from launching so you can’t order from it quite yet . . . in the meantime, you could e-mail us at and we’ll get one to you.

Because I love these day planners so much, and because it’s a festive weekend of another sort, I’m giving one away! Just let me know what your Halloween plans are for the weekend in the Comment section below. Contest closes Friday, the 28th at midnight. Boo.

Likes of the Week

While we’re in the midst of final preparations on our new WordPress theme, as well as production of Nov/Dec issue of the magazine, I haven’t had a lot of time to spend on anything else. I’ll be back later in the week with my Christmas countdown, but in the meantime, here’s some things and links I’ve been enjoying and thought you might as well.

Up close and personal on a racehorse is possible and thrilling with EquiSight.

I enjoyed blogger Heather Anne, from Sealey Lake, Montana’s poignant musings about her grandfather. “He was a hard man, but romantic and nostalgic. He didn’t often come into your world, but if you made the effort to know him on his ground, he openly shared his wealth of knowledge on many topics.” Beautifully done, young gal, keep writing. Read it all here.

My continuing love affair with the Hipstamatic camera app on my iphone. Oh, the shots I’ve been able to capture, including my latest favorite, the vintage-like, textural feel of this shot of Wee.

Loving the definition of the new Cinemagraph technique – “an image that contains within itself a living moment that allows a glimpse of time to be experienced and preserved endlessly,” and intrigued with how this technique might be applied to equine photographs.

Finally, if you’re searching for a fall theme baking recipe, we whipped up these pumpkin spice muffins (with cream cheese frosting and decorated with a gooseberry) for an editorial meeting. Delicious.

Back to work!

Best Babies Photo Contest


We’ve loved receiving your submissions to Best Babies Photo Contest! This is the final set of shots for this year’s contest. Everyone who submitted will be automatically entered in our 2011 Best Babies contest and eligible to win our fantastic foaling welcome package, valued at $200. Our judges are deliberating and we’ll have a winner announced soon. Stay tuned!

KR Blacklord Nahabi

2011 Bay Colt, KR Blacklord Nahabi, By WRA Moniet Schatan Idn Nahabi x Blacklady Shaqila, Karma Ridge Arabians, Thorsby AB, Photo By Sonja Auramenko.

JD Blackberry Neat

2011 Colt, JD Blackberry Neat, By Jac Daniels Neat x Julies Genuine Step (Wimpys Little Step), Carberry MB, Photo by Silverado’s Colt Company

2011 Filly, Nu Lady Bee Great, sired by Jac Daniels Neat x BC Nu Peppy Cash (Nu Chex To Cash), Carberry MB, Photo by the Silverado Colt Company

JD Neat N Shiney

2011 Filly, JD Neat N Shiney (aka Charley), By Jac Daniels Neat x Ima Shining Sparkle (Shining Spark), Carberry MB, Photo by the Silverado Colt Company.

2011 Miniature Filly, Gigit, located just south of Saskatoon, Owned by Heidi Petrar, by Dara Black

Lakoda Chic Filly

2011 Filly, by Lakota Chic x Freedoms Barry Lou, Briercrest, Sask, Photo by Karen Knox

Best of Babies 2011

2011 Bay Colt, By a Holsteiner Stallion x Thoroughbred Mare, Beaulieu Stables, Quebec, Photo by Tena Petkovic

1963 Canada Championship Rodeo

My friend, Tom Bishop sent me this photo a bit back.

Isn’t it great.

I love it, but naturally, I don’t have an inkling of who might be in it. Neither did Tom, though he thought perhaps there are “some Vold’s” in it.

Tom and his sister, Sally Bishop are third-generation horsepeople, involved in the entertainment business. This family tradition began in the late 1880’s when Tom and Sally’s grandfather, as a young boy, witnessed Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in Newcastle, England, and the seed of an obsession with the Wild West was planted.

Today, Tom runs Tom Bishop’s 4B Ranch Productions, based in Ontario, a company which has been involved in many film and television productions, and in this modern age, puts together a great Wild West show for events.

I had the fortune to meet Sally Bishop years ago, and for a number of years she authored a rider fitness column for Western Horse Review. She’s an incredible talent, amazing trick rider, and has carved a niche for herself in the entertainment business as well with her company, Sure Shot Productions.

Sally is a gal who pushes the envelope with style, and incredible horsemanship. This video perfectly illustrates that point.

Nerves of steel, this one.

Sally performed for some time with the extraordinary Cavalia . . . which, by the way, is soon to come to Canada! More on that later.

Tom and Sally Bishop are incredible horsepeople, and great stewards of the western lifestyle and riding culture. Check them out sometime!

And, in the meantime, let us know if you recognize anyone in that photo.

A Blue Day

I went out this morning to snap a few pictures. I knew I had already missed the best light of the day, but I wanted to catch the mugo pines around the log house, which had overnight become completely weighted down with the heavy snow. I hope they’ll spring back to their former selves.

The color blue permeated every photo I took today. I didn’t bother manipulating these shots in Photoshop. Hey, it’s blue here. That’s today. I can’t do a thing about it. It happens.

I hope it’s not permanent.

I pray it’s not permanent.

It might rub off on me.

Apparently it wasn’t only blue at my house. In my e-mail box this morning were these photos from Barbara Degelman. . . .

. . . taken yesterday during a snowstorm near Touchwood Hills south of Wynyard, Saskatchewan.

Sometimes, I really have to wonder why we live where we live. It’s crazy cold today! Frigid. There’s got to be somewhere in the world, where our horses aren’t covered in frost and snow four months of the year. Like Arizona. Or, Costa Rica. Horses reside there, don’t they?

Why do I do this to myself?

And then the answer presents itself.

The response lies here in the beauty of a few frost laden strands of horsehair in a birdhouse.

The view of my yard from my bedroom window at first light after a fresh snowfall. Or, as last night, the ambient light cast by the three-quarter moon across the pasture.

There’s something about these images that get me everytime.

And finally, because my weanling, Ollie, retains his hold on the cutting edge of fashion, color co-ordinating to suit the hue of the day.

And, thereby making my day.

I just love this guy.

By this time next year, I expect he’ll be blogging about the next big thing.

Stay tuned.