New Equine Events for Calgary Stampede

Arabian Horse Association Region 17 Championship covers every aspect of Arabian horse use and competition, from reining to English Pleasure, and Western to Arabic dress. Photo by Tex Cam.

Arabian Horse Association Region 17 Championship covers every aspect of Arabian horse use and competition, from reining to English Pleasure, and Western to Arabic dress. Photo by Tex Cam.

For year-round excitement, just add horsepower! The Calgary Stampede is thrilled to welcome four major horse events to their new home, the nearly-constructed Agrium Western Event Centre. Each event will draw new participants and visitors to the heart of Calgary from across Western Canada to enjoy top horses and riders in action. Collectively, the events will add to the reputation of Stampede Park as a year-round gathering place.

When we embarked on this journey to build Canada’s premiere agriculture showcase space, these are the types of events we envisioned – big national and international shows that will connect the country to the city and draw guests to Calgary,” says Max Fritz, director of agriculture and western events for the Stampede. “We designed the building to meet their needs and to create exceptional experiences for participants, animals and guests.”

The following four events have signed multi-year agreements with the Stampede to host their major shows and competitions at the Agrium Western Event Centre:

Arabian Horse Association Region 17 Championships

July 21 – 26, 2014

Arabian Horse Association Region 17’s Western Canadian Championships in July will draw up to 500 Arabian horse entries from across the West and even some U.S. competitors. This spectator-friendly event showcases these beautiful horses and riders in the full spectrum of event disciplines. Website: http://www.region17.com/

Team Roping Canada, Canadian Finals

September 26 – 28, 2014

Expecting 1,200 to 1,400 teams and up to 2,500 spectators, Team Roping Canada’s Canadian Finals will feature ropers of all ages, from eight to 80 years old. This is the culmination of their association’s season, which spans the summer months and features professional, open, amateur, junior and shoot-out classes. Website: http://www.teamropingcanada.com/index.htm#

Canadian Team Cattle Penning Association National Finals

October 9 – 14, 2014

The National Finals for the Canadian Team Cattle Penning Association brings together to up to 1,200 teams of three each, and an estimated 2,500 spectators to fill the stands and cheer them on. Competitors in this championship event come from across Western Canada and many U.S. states, including California, Montana, Texas, Oklahoma and Washington, all in the hunt for an estimated $285,000 in prize money. Website: http://canadianpenning.com

Royal West, produced by Rocky Mountain Show Jumping

October 23 – November 1, 2014

The Royal West is an all-new 10-day multi-breed show, offering Western Canadian riders an alternative, and prelude to the Royal Show in Toronto. Royal West will feature a division for international show jumpers, national hunter/jumper classes, hackney and heavy horse classes, and a multitude of other events including indoor eventing, terrier racing, barrel racing and even mutton-busting. Website: http://rmshowjumping.com/

Jordan Dodds  and Heeler Clark McCarroll team up to showcase the fast-paced sport of team roping in the summer of 2013. Photo by Mike Copeman, courtesy of Calgary Stampede.

Jordan Dodds and Heeler Clark McCarroll team up to showcase the fast-paced sport of team roping in the summer of 2013. Photo by Mike Copeman, courtesy of Calgary Stampede.

Agrium Western Event Centre

Agriculture is at the heart of the Calgary Stampede and the expansion activities underway with the Agrium Western Event Centre will provide a new focal point for agricultural events on Stampede Park.

One of the largest projects in our 100-year history, the Agrium Western Event Centre is a state-of-the-art facility for western events and agriculture education, exhibition and industry in southern Alberta. Designed to form a lasting connection between urban and rural communities, it will host an engaging, globally-focused educational program called Journey 2050, and it will play a central role in making the Calgary Stampede a year-round gathering place.

The Agrium Western Event Centre will be the new home for agricultural events on Stampede Park, hosting both regional and international competition, convention rodeos, and trade shows. The facility will include a 250’x150′ ft. show floor and 31,250 sq. ft. of clear-span space. It will also feature a 20,000 sq. ft. multipurpose hall, designed for competition, warm-up, trade shows, or exhibitions, as well as a magnificent 8,000 sq. ft. rotunda and entranceway.

Cattle Penning National Championships are returning to downtown Calgary each October at the nearly-completed Agrium Western Event Centre at Stampede Park. Photo courtesy of Calgary Stampede.

Cattle Penning National Championships are returning to downtown Calgary each October at the nearly-completed Agrium Western Event Centre at Stampede Park. Photo courtesy of Calgary Stampede.

Features in brief

250′ x 125′ Show Arena:

– Large arena for events that require the space, such show jumping, dressage and barrel racing, or to run simultaneous events within the same arena

– Allows events like team penning plenty of arena performance area with staging space alongside

– Arena seating for 3,200 including VIP suites, and stands with the right pitch for spectators wearing cowboy hats

– Concourse is fully open to main arena, ensuring great sight-lines throughout while accessing food and exhibits

20,000 sq. ft. Multi-purpose hall:

– Offers warm-up arena adjacent to main performance arena, can be used for smaller separate events or trade shows to accompany arena events

– Enables smaller events to stage their shows at the Agrium Western Event Centre and then grow their events to the size that merit booking the large arena

Animal-friendly features:

– livestock pens and traffic areas under stands instead of through performance arena

– adjacent multi-purpose warm-up arena with performance dirt and same-level ground throughout for optimal livestock and horse footing

– outside building roof overhangs to protect penned livestock from sun and rain

– direct access for participants and livestock to barn stalls through a no-traffic area

– Links with other Stampede developments to serve participants, including new bigger tunnel to infield livestock trailer parking, 1,200 additional stalls, RV Parking with amenities and improved Christie Bridge back entrance

Scheduled for completion before the 2014 10-day Stampede, the Agrium Western Event Centre will be an important milestone in the Calgary Stampede’s vision of becoming a world-class, year-round gathering place. The key sponsor, Agrium, along with the governments of Alberta and Canada, has been instrumental in helping the Stampede elevate its agriculture and outreach programs by creating this world-class facility.

Education will play a pivotal role in the legacy of the Agrium Western Event Centre. The building’s rotunda will be the home of the Journey 2050 program – an inquiry-based educational experience for Calgary-and-area middle school children. This world-class program will challenge students to sustainably feed the world’s nine billion people by 2050 in a fun and interactive way.

Show jumping returns to the heart of Calgary after a 30-year absence. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping.

Show jumping returns to the heart of Calgary after a 30-year absence. Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping.

One of the most ambitious capital projects in the Stampede’s history, the Agrium Western Event Centre is an ultra-modern centerpiece for western events and agriculture education, exhibition and industry in southern Alberta. Slated to open in June of 2014, it is unique in Canada, creating 150,000 square feet of dedicated livestock-friendly space. The building’s key sponsor, Agrium, along with the governments of Alberta and Canada, has been instrumental in helping the Stampede elevate its agriculture and outreach programs by creating this world-class facility.

We’re thrilled to preview these four exciting horse events that will bring this building to life year-round. We’re looking forward to securing other major livestock and horse shows,” says Fritz. “Our ultimate goal is that regional residents, tourists and guests can enjoy western events, horses and livestock in the heart of Calgary most weeks of the year.”

Lorne Robertson of the Arabian Horse Association Region 17 says having a specialized agricultural arena in a major destination city will help grow their event. “Our Arabian horse championships are very colourful, elegant and formal events. Our horses are our primary focus, and our riders and trainers have confidence in the top- notch footing and facilities that have been custom-designed for the best care of our horses,” says Robertson. “We’re also hearing excitement from members because Calgary is a great destination city and they’re planning site-seeing activities around their visit.”

The unique features of the Agrium Western Event Centre convinced John Anderson of Rocky Mountain Show Jumping that Calgary is the right location for his show. Anderson is launching an all-new, ambitious 10-day show jumping and horse extravaganza in late October of 2014, called Royal West. Designed to provide Western Canadian show jumpers a prelude or alternative to the Toronto-based Royal Show, Royal West will showcase hunter-jumper classes plus a full spectrum of other events such as barrel racing, heavy horse shows and terrier racing.

I’ve always wanted to do something like this. Now this large arena and all the dedicated facilities make it possible,” says Anderson, who explains show jumping requires more space than standard arenas would provide, with careful attention to proper footing and warm-up areas.

Size and specialized facilities drew the Canadian Team Cattle Penning Association back to the Stampede after several years in other venues. Their championships finals draw up to 1,200 team entries with many as 2,500 spectators in the stands.

Agrium Western Event Centre is an ideal set-up for us,” says Kent Hillard, vice-president of the association. “Adjacent warm-up and staging spaces ensure the horses and riders can warm up, stand by to watch cattle and then jump into the action fully warmed up. The livestock stalls for pens of cattle right under the stands make for quick transitions between pens. The audience is going to love this modern arena because they can see the action from anywhere, even on the concourse, and won’t have to take their cowboy hats off sitting in the stands.”

Art Gallais, manager of Team Roping Canada, likens the Agrium Western Event Centre to the top facilities in Las Vegas where the world roping series are held. He says the building design is not only ideal for smooth operation of his event, but he adds the open concourse and VIP suites in the arena allows for valuable sponsorship exposure and experiences, which will help attract more sponsors to grow Team Roping Canada’s National Finals.

About the Calgary Stampede

As we enter our second century, the Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme: We’re Greatest Together, we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.

Halter Showing Tips – 2

Part two of a series on showing at halter. Read the first segment here. 

This series by judge Mark Sheridan will help people who are showing their horses in halter competition. The new class of Performance Halter has hit most of the breeds over the last few years. In addition, versatility ranch classes and various competitions require showing your horse at Halter for breed and open shows and there has been a major increase in people exhibiting their horses in Halter and Conformation classes. The tips in this five-part series will help make your experience in Halter more enjoyable and more competitive. Most importantly, it will give you the tools that will make it easier for the judges to place you closer to the top of the class.

Correct position to walk to a judge.

On the class procedures it is extremely important to walk your horse to the judge. So often, when an exhibitor walks to the judge, the judge has to step to his left to see the horse track because the exhibitor walks straight to the judge putting the horse a few feet to the judge’s left. It is important for the judge to see the horse track at the walk and trot, and if he cannot see them track correctly, he will have to either re-track the horse or move into position to see the horse track. In most of the breed and open shows there will be a cone where the exhibitors should track toward at the trot and then make a left turn, showing the judge the profile view at the trot giving him the opportunity to evaluate the horse’s movement and to detect any unsoundness. If you make a nice sharp turn and continue with your trot to the left and then line up under the direction of the ring steward, it allows the judge to properly assess your horse.

Completely improper. Make sure that your horse is broke to trot and leads well, and able to make the sharp turns and make it easy for us to judge him.

This leads to two more important tips, the first one being: make sure that your horse is broke to trot and leads well, and able to make the sharp turns and make it easy for us to judge him. Keep in mind that if a judge cannot adequately view and inspect your horse, he must place them accordingly. It doesn’t matter if it’s a first time weekend horse show or a five-time World Champion halter horse at the World Show; if we can not properly view and judge them, they have to be placed with that in mind. Years ago, halter horses could bounce around, kick out and misbehave and still win, but those days are long gone. It is important to train your Halter Horse just like you would a Performance Horse. Make sure that you set your horse up every day or as often as possible. The best way to do this is to set them up, or square them up, when you take them out of the stall, and again when you are finished working with them before you put them back into the stall or paddock. Horses are creatures of habit, and if you do your homework and practice often, they will square up fast and correctly at the show all the time. Get your horse broke to set up without handling his feet and legs. It’s fine to help them learn where their legs are supposed to be with your hands when setting up while first teaching them, but work to get them to set up without handling their legs at the show. I have a simple theory when teaching horses to square up; I teach them to start with the outside right hind first, then the hind left, then the front feet last. Remember to adjust their weight accordingly to be able to move their feet.  If they are leaning on a leg, they will not be able to move that particular leg. Horses are easy to train, if you just do your homework, be consistent, and spend the time.

Completely improper. Do not put your lead behind your back and reach back to set up a leg.

The second important tip is to make sure that you space your horse with enough room to make it easy for the judge to walk around him. This cuts down on the chance of horses kicking and, more importantly, allows the judge to have enough space to get a good view of your horse from the front and back. Use common sense; in a stallion class, for example, one must obviously give more room between the horses for safety issues. In a smaller arena the ring steward will most likely instruct you where to line up. Always keep in mind: To place your horse we must be able to see your horse. A pet peeve of mine that is relevant to these two tips is to make sure that you do not put your lead behind your back and reach back to set up a leg. This always drives me nuts! We all have our likes and dislikes, but this one is very improper and very unsafe.

Halter Showing Tips

This series by judge Mark Sheridan will help people who are showing their horses in halter competition. The new class of Performance Halter has hit most of the breeds over the last few years. In addition, versatility ranch classes and various competitions require showing your horse at Halter for breed and open shows and there has been a major increase in people exhibiting their horses in Halter and Conformation classes. The tips in this five-part series will help make your experience in Halter more enjoyable and more competitive. Most importantly, it will give you the tools that will make it easier for the judges to place you closer to the top of the class.

Correct halter fit and snap placement.

One thing to keep in mind is that the halter class is usually in the morning. It is a great way to make a positive first impression with the judge. You want what you show to the judge to say, “Look at me and my horse close up; see that we are the best in the class and you are going to be seeing a lot more of us throughout the day.”  This starts with a smile and a confident look. Seeing a person having fun and enjoying what they are doing has a positive effect on other people, and in this case, the judges. Do your best to make a positive and confident impression on the judges and try to get in the arena first if there is not a work order. If there is a work order for the class, make sure that you are ready to go when it is your time to enter the arena.

Correct halter fit and chain length.

Reading your rule book in detail, and knowing all of the rules is one of the most important things that exhibitors can do to help their chances of success. Every breed association or club will have the rules that will be enforced regarding lip chains, class procedures, and how the class will be judged. There are many rules that change from year to year, and judges are required to keep up on the rules. Class procedures are important, and make sure to always give the ring stewards, and gate people the courtesy that they deserve. Many of the show staff are volunteers or underpaid but provide an invaluable service to the shows; they deserve respect from exhibitors, judges, and everyone involved.

Know your equipment rules, and make certain that your halter and leads are properly adjusted and fitted to your horse. Make sure that your halter is pulled up and fitted so that it is not hanging loose on your horse’s head.  I see this at every show that I judge on quite a few horses and it makes me want to walk up and tighten up the halter myself so that the horse’s head looks better. It is fine to have halters on a little loose at home when you get a horse out of the stall to saddle them up, but when showing at halter it is important to snug them up and create that clean look. I also want to note that the chains need to be sturdy chains and not the smaller chains that I often see that look like chains one would use to walk their dog. It is not so important that the halter has an abundance of silver, but that it fits well. We are judging your horse, not the halter. Just make sure that your halter is clean, well made, and fits your horse properly. Do your research and find companies or saddle makers that specialize in quality hand made show halters.  The well- fitted halter on a horse is just as important as how well your hat is shaped.

~ Mark Sheridan

www.marksheridanqh.com

Look for the next four editions of Halter Showing Tips to be released for the next consecutive Monday mornings.