Future Stars 2013


This past weekend in Claresholm, Alberta, featured the 5th rendition of the Cowtown Derby. Obviously the best cow horses in the country come to contend at this spectacular event and the best cowboys and cowgirls try their luck at obtaining one of the show\’s fine offering of buckles and prizes.

But for me, this year my heart was completely taken by a different kind of class. Don\’t get me wrong – I love watching my husband compete. And trying my own hand in one of the non-pro classes is a favorite pastime as well.

However, this weekend the Future Stars class was my biggest highlight. It\’s a class designed to get kids into the show pen at young ages. I\’ve watched it since we first starting competing at Cowtown Derby – it\’s adorable. Entrants must perform a very modified pattern consisting of two circles and two spins in each direction. They can ride on their own. Or they can ride their own horses while mom or dad leads. Or they can sit in front of mom or dad.

Here, Ronnie Swales and her young son show us how to get it done!


My hubby and I had not planned to enter our children in this class but since they were with us, at the very last minute we opted in. With 20 minutes to prepare and at the age of two, our children were entered into their first horse show on the weekend. But since they\’re still too little to ride on their own just yet, Dad gave them a bit of help:


As you can see, our son was not a big fan of the spin maneuver…


Our daughter on the other hand, loved every second of it…

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I was the crazy parent in the crowd screaming loudly for my family. But apparently I wasn\’t the only person affected by the whole experience of having horse show children this weekend.


Our friend and a fellow professional trainer, Cody McArthur of Turner Valley, Alberta, had this to say:

\”Interestingly, my biggest take home from the Cowtown Derby has nothing to do with horses. With all those little kids there this past weekend, it amazed me how they are all being raised just a little bit differently than one another. They all have their own little set of rights and wrongs. They all have their own little perceptions. They all have their own little context window that they perceive their own life through.

So very interesting how we all grow up much the same… but different.\”

Here Cody helps his three-year-son along in the class:


The look on young McArthur\’s face is priceless. Pure joy. And it goes without saying that his buckle is fabulous…


Going through the pictures (which were fantastically snapped by Natalie Jackman) after the event was pure bliss for me too. Although, the final photo of all the children in their award shot was accompanied by a moment of complete hysteria. Following their patterns, all of the kids were awarded with a prize bag and asked to smile for the camera.

That worked well for child #1, #2 and #3.

My two were more much more concerned with important business. Their goodies…


3 thoughts on “Future Stars 2013”

  1. Auntie Sherry

    Just precious! So wonderful to see families share their love of riding with one another. The photos were excellent – great article as usual Jenn!

  2. Debora Baird

    Love the pictures of the little ones in the ring – never too young. My son won his first two trophies when he was 26 months old on his own little palomino pony. You could have heard a pin drop in the Caroline Arena when he rode in – as back in those days the class was for age 6 and under. He won the halter class AND the riding class. That was a long time ago – he is now 37 years old!

  3. Engaging account of the kids showing. The photos are just priceless. This brightened my whole day! Just loved it. Thanks for sharing.

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