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Country Luxe Life


Did you see this exquisite home featured in the September/October issue of Western Horse Review? If not, the issue is only on stands a little while longer! This creatively-designed home situated on a unique parcel of land offers up all the benefits of nature with a view of downtown Calgary, AB, while fitting immaculately into its rural setting.

The architectural style of this southern Albertan home is atypical of a conventional farmhouse, but upon arriving here, guests quickly embrace its inviting atmosphere with an easygoing sensibility. At over 4,800 square feet, this acreage situated in the county of rural Foothills M.D. (approximately 20 minutes south east of Calgary), features a tranquil retreat and views of the river below that will leave one breathless.


Finished with a red brick exterior, the bones of the home display their strength and timeless structure. As you follow the curves of the entrance, you discover there is a natural rhythm to the place that counter balances its large, interior space and never makes it feel overwhelming. Dramatic floor to ceiling windows in the main living area hold a cathedral style living room, complimented by a copper fireplace. The larger-than-life windows allow nature to be enjoyed from within as you will never miss a hawk soaring above, or deer passing through to the riverbed below. From here, there is also access to an expansive patio and comfortable, outdoor living space that adds to the relaxed, inviting atmosphere of the home. Plus, a view of the hot-tub below.

The dining room continues to maximize the vista with large windows that also pour light upon an expansive dining area. The chandelier above this room is rich with sparkle and dimension and serves as a piece of artwork, while offering an anchoring element to the space. The living area combined with the dining room is a large space you can feel cozy in, with lots of texture and intriguing interior touches, such as long bookcases (with a ladder) and a telescope for capturing the night sky.

In the kitchen, a six-burner gas stove, breakfast bar, dual islands with an extra sink and more than enough cupboard and pantry space, make it a chef’s or entertainer’s dream. However, with multiple zones for cooking, serving and eating, it also makes this kitchen a mother’s dream.

Near the heart of the home is a magnificently curved staircase, topped with wood steps to complement the hardwood floors. Contemporary railings and handrails complete the modern-looking design as it transports one to the upper level. At the top, an open-concept office featuring more hardwood and an open-beamed ceiling add visual interest to this floor. The walls containing the top half of the stairs form another curvy, fluid shape.

Boasting five bedrooms, four full bathrooms and one half-bath, the home is perfect for accommodating guests. Designed with unique curving walls, guest rooms provide individual charm and more pristine views of the outdoors. A large dressing area in the master bedroom adds interest and functionality and works well with shabby chic furnishings. With windows offering a near 180-degree perspective of Mother Nature, the master suite creates a peaceful retreat and escape from the outside world. An ensuite bathroom with dual sinks gives the master bedroom another perk.

Downstairs, a luxurious man-cave awaits with a full bar and recreation area. Bookended by a brick fireplace and spacious family seating area at one end, the downstairs level also features another relaxing abode. Whichever way you choose to turn in this luxurious western home, you’ll find peace and a slice of heaven with spa-like amenities in every corner. Its grand-estate-meets-relaxed-dwelling look, makes it feel right at home in the country.

Built in 1980 this large family home is durable enough to handle rural life. A front, automatic gate offers protection and security upon entrance to the property and large Evergreen trees provide a wind break in the driveway.

Outside, large paddocks with properly built and secured shelters make the property a comfortable home for equines as well. There are additionally miles of trails to be explored nearby with stunning views. Several box stalls, a cross-tie area plus a quaint tack room and cozy lounge area can all be found inside the heated barn. It’s the perfect place to slip off your muddy boots before dinner.

In all four seasons, this southern country home opens its arms to Mother Nature and feeds one’s soul. It’s comfortable, romantic and an ideal location to enjoy a tranquil rural existence. Or raise a family in the sweet, Alberta prairie air.

Presented by Kim Vink of RE/MAX First –


Meet CS Princess Jaden Holle

Western Horse Review sat down with the 2018 Calgary Stampede Royal Trio, Queen Lindsay Lockwood, Princess Jaden Holle, and Princess Jessica Wilson, to discuss their year as Royalty. The women reflect on their biggest moments, their most gratifying connections and what they hope to leave behind as their legacies as they prepare to hand off their crowns to the up-and-coming trio. The Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses competition is nearing soon and the 2019 trio will be crowned September 24.

2018 Calgary Stampede Princess Jaden Holle reflects on the wild ride that was her year as Royalty.

*Photos courtesy of Jaden Holle

What have been some of your most memorable experiences, since your reign as Princess began?

So many times this year I have had “I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening” moments. It is so hard to think of just one experience that stands out because time and time again I find myself in situations that are completely surreal. We have rubbed shoulders with some very inspirational and influential people and I’ve found myself in some places that I never thought I would be. Listening to astronauts and musicians and standing centre ice at the Flames Game or in the Canadian Embassy in Berlin have definitely made for some memorable experiences. However, when I think of the things I have gotten to do as a member of this trio, they are not always what comes to mind. The little interactions I have in unexpected moments are those that are really special, because they are just that: unexpected! I’ll always remember the looks of awe I get when I am able to tell a young girl that, ‘yes, I am a real princess’ or how it feels when the timid child at the back of the room surprises me with a hug on our way out. It is easy to cherish big moments because it is often apparent that a once-in-a-lifetime experience is happening. I wouldn’t change those surreal moments for anything, but I know that it is the small, seemingly insignificant encounters in between that really make my job special.

Can you please tell us about your experience applying to become part of the trio?

I always knew that it was a dream of mine to be a part of the Royal Trio, which is exactly what made applying so daunting. What if I wasn’t successful and it was a dream left unfulfilled? As scary as the potential for failure was, I knew that not trying at all would be worse. This years’ competition was actually my second time running to be a part of the trio. My first experience only solidified my desire to be a Queen or Princess one day. So not only was it daunting to think about failing in general, but it was almost more daunting to think that I might put in so much hard work only to be unsuccessful for a second time. The competition (both times) was incredibly challenging yet incredibly rewarding. I was overcome with self-doubt, fear and frustration, but I was also forced to be proud of myself for all of the obstacles I was overcoming. When I was finally crowned and all of my hard work paid off, I could hardly believe it. I felt so proud of myself for holding onto a dream and having the courage to try for it. I don’t think it sunk in for a week that I was actually part of the trio!

How has this experience changed your life?

I always say that this experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best ways possible. Rather than walking into a room of strangers and feeling intimidated, I now feel a sense of excitement about all of the lived experiences and stories there are to share. I feel less dependent on my phone and get excited about the possibility of connecting with people! I have also developed such a deep sense of pride in Calgary this year. We really do have a unique culture of hospitality in this city and it’s so much fun to be able to share that. Because of this experience, I am a more confident woman and a prouder Canadian.

A younger Holle, who perhaps always knew she was destined to be a princess.

The royal trio are often role models for the younger generation, what is one thing you would like to pass on to these children that look up to you now?

I would encourage young people to be present! Turning off the screens really opens up a whole new world. There is so much to learn from nature and from people and the only way to really take advantage of that is by being totally and completely attentive to what (and who!) is around you. I have learned so much this year by leaving my phone at home!

Can you please tell us about your royal horse?

I ride Snoopy! Snoopy is a fourteen year-old quarter horse gelding. He joined the Royalty program in 2010 and after 8 years, he knows his job very well! He is a palomino and a retired movie horse. He can be seen on some of the early seasons of Heartland. Him and Kansas actually used to be doubles for each other in the movies because they look a lot alike. Snoopy is a spicy boy who loves to run. He gets really excited about grand entry and even knows the lyrics to “Oh Canada!” I have learned a lot about how attentive our horses are to our moods and to our body language through my partnership with Snoopy. He is been the most willing horse and the best teammate to me. He sometimes has a mind of his own, but he keeps me smiling and I feel so lucky I got to ride him this year. I will have a hard time giving him up as he has taken such good care of me.

Have there been any obstacles you’ve had to overcome this year that you would like to share?

I have had to overcome the need to be perfect and to compare myself to others. While I always try to be the very best ambassador possible for the Calgary Stampede, there are inevitably times when it feels that I could have better expressed myself, ridden better, or just simply have been better! I have learned to let those things go. I constantly strive to improve myself, but I also know that I am human and sometimes humans make mistakes! It is our attitude and how we deal with our shortcomings that really matter. Being in a trio, I have learned to rejoice in the skills and the gifts of my two teammates and embrace what I bring to the table. I have learned be proud of the way I am made, inside and out. The three of us next to one another are as different as they come. Even though we cannot borrow each other’s wranglers, that doesn’t make us feel any less beautiful or worthy to wear that iconic crown on our hats. Everybody and every body is beautiful and I hope people can see that when they look at my trio, which comes in small, medium, and large, as we lovingly joke about ourselves.

The Royalty’s gorgeous leathers were created by Janine’s Custom Creations, and are a favourite outfit of Holle’s.

What have been your favourite outfits so far?

We are lucky to have some amazing sponsors and we have a lot of beautiful outfits for every occasion. However, one of my personal favourites are our turquoise and brown leathers that Janine Stabner, of Janine’s Custom Creations, custom-made for us. They have beautiful hand-cut flowers on them. I feel confident and elegant when I put on these leathers and I really feel that I am a part of a legacy that is so much bigger than myself. These leathers remind me of the agricultural history Calgary is built upon, and the strong women of rodeo who have come before me. Wearing these leathers really makes me stand a little taller and and hold my head a little higher. As a young girl, I imagined myself wearing something like these leathers. So, when I put them on, it represents a dream becoming reality. I feel connected to the women who have paved this road for me, and I feel hopeful that I can inspire others to be strong, proud, and courageous in pursuing their dreams.

What will you be most sad to say goodbye to when you pass on your crown?

This year I have cultivated some beautiful friendships. I have gained three new best friends in Lindsay, Jessica and Cieran, the other members of this years Stampede Royalty. I know that we will be friends for life. However, I will be sad that we won’t be seeing each other on a daily basis. I will miss seeing all of the people regularly who have supported and encouraged me in this role, and I will miss the opportunity to make connections with people I probably wouldn’t otherwise have the occasion to meet! However, I know that through this I have joined a family that I will always be a part of—reigning Princess or not! Although things are sure to change for me when I pass on my crown, I know the Stampede family will always be there for me and there is an incredible group of Stampede sisters in the alumni that will be ready and willing to accept me with open arms.

What is your best tip or advice to the ladies that will be vying for the 2019 titles?

My biggest piece of advice would be to go for it! Have a positive attitude and consider everything an opportunity to learn. Also, cultivate friendships with the other girls! We all know that competitions are stressful and being judged is stressful, so you may as well bond with the people that know exactly what you are going through. Helping the other ladies and being friendly to them is not going to hinder your performance in any way, if anything it will leave you feeling empowered and energized to go through the competition. It will also help if you are crowned to know that you have already started a friendship with the people you are about to spend a significant amount of time with! My practical advice for the competition is that there is only so much you can control, so practice those things and let everything else go. Don’t dwell on your mistakes and always keep a smile on your face! We are all cheering you on and are proud of you no matter the outcome. Being crowned doesn’t take courage, but putting yourself out there does. So, congratulations! You are already a winner.

Holle says that becoming a Calgary Stampede Princess has made her a stronger, more confident woman, and a prouder Canadian.

Style Report, from the Calgary Stampede

Gingham tie-up shirt by Wrangler $54.95; Charlie 1 Horse hat (Gold Digger) $99.95. All provided by Lammle’s Western Wear and Tack. Turquoise provided by The Lost American Art Gallery. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

From pancakes to mini-donuts, to bulls and the midway – there are so many great things we can rely on the Calgary Stampede to deliver. And if there’s one thing we can guarantee to start conversations, it’s the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’s spirited display of fashion. With the Canadian summer heat at its peak and a 10-day party that envelopes the city in all its chic western glory, the Stampede is the perfect outlet to bust out your fringe and denim. Not only that, anything #westernfashion is truly the distinctive outfit you’ve been looking for to make your Instagram pop!

With help from Jenna MacMillan of Lammle’s Western Wear and Tack, we’ve rounded up the top 7 western fashion trends seen at the year’s Calgary Stampede:

A Smithbilt hat with pencil roll. Photo by Callaghan Creative Co.


Bold hats like this Natural – Cowgirl Outlaw ($89.95)) from Charlie 1 Horse and Lammle’s Western Wear and Tack were a big deal this Stampede. Turquoise provided by The Lost American Art Gallery. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

1. Accessorize. If there’s anything this year’s Stampede taught us, it was the response of the masses to accessories! Hats were the number #1 desired item, with hats from Charlie 1 Horse flying out the doors of Lammles’ newest exclusive LWW Collection. Flat brim hats were strong, but flat-brimmed hats with a hat band and a pencil roll were THE Hat of the Stampede. People were also drawn to palm leaf styles, or any hat with a pop of color. Burgundy, bold firehouse red, exotic royal blue or anything fun and different in lids were high in demand this year. This included incorporating traditional western emblems in the brim design as well; things like a feather inlay or other fun carved leather details.

Rock & Roll Cowgirl Lace Cover-up $64.95; Ariat Denim shorts $79.95, all from Lammle’s Western Wear and Tack. Turquoise provided by The Lost American Art Gallery. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

2. Anything romantic. Interest remains in maxi-style dresses. Perhaps it was the summer heat but the Stampede saw a step away from traditional button up western blouses, to a move towards anything flow-y or Bohemian in design. A looser fit was much more on-trend than the traditional button-up style of blouses the Stampede is accustomed to seeing.

Kimes Ranch Jeans. Photo by Callaghan Creative Co.

3. High waist lines. While it’s safe to say that Ladies fashion was kind of all over the place this year, it’s exciting to realize the general public is finally embracing the “western side” of fashion and couture. High-waisted skirts and jeans are very popular in brands such as Wrangler right now. And the fact that companies like Wrangler and Ariat are making shorts is a trend being met with great enthusiasm. A full bottom fit (riding cut or the lower cut,) in brands such as Kimes Ranch Jeans are for certain, a strong (raw denim) trend. In regular denim other suppliers are really stepping it up in the stretch. It’s no longer about heavily-embellished pockets and seams – the trend now is more about how jeans fit and stretch. Especially in Ariat! Wrangler is going away from stitching on the pocket and finding more ways to play up the simplicity of the ‘W.’ In fact, they’re really embracing the W and showcasing the patch. It’s no longer about where we can put all the “glitz.” Denim is more streamlined and classic now.

Painted ponies wild rag, black $49.95; from Lammle’s Western Wear and Tack. Turquoise provided by The Lost American Art Gallery.  Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

4. Wild Rags. We saw a lot of people interested in vintage print wild rags this year. Super fun bold patterns are being embraced there.

Silver arrow necklace with earrings (not pictured) $29.95; Turquoise feather necklace $24.95, from Lammle’s Western Wear and Tack.  Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

5. Affordable turquoise. We found a lot of success with turquoise that was affordable. Price point is a big deal. It might not have been a true squash-bottom but anything that is crafted to look like one is hot right now.

6. Obviously, Boots. Boots and the Calgary Stampede are synonymous. The fun, turquoise styles from Lane boots were a big hit. Boots that don’t incorporate as much “sparkle” as styles used to reflect but instead rich stitching and higher quality leather are very in right now. The classic brown boot that fits higher on the leg is not going anywhere. Also, fun patterns like the serape prints from Ariat were popular. Same with anything that incorporated a bandana print into the shaft of the boot or serape pattern on the shoe.

Charlie 1 Horse Hat (Grey – Old Hag) $169.95, provided by Lammle’s Western Wear and Tack. Boots provided by Classic Rodeo Boutique. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

7. Embroidered Boots. Embroidery on boots deserves its own mention. Boots with floral or paisley embroidery were all on-trend, big time this year.

Forecasting. While we’re all loving the summer dresses right now, fall fashion we predict, will be all about great ponchos and rich wool coats this year. And we’re seeing a ton of bell sleeves! I’m talking bell sleeves on everything from a fun button-up shirt to a 3/4 length baseball tee. This is how much we might see in the trends coming around. And as for colors, certainly the mustard yellow is here to say. If you’re not on board with it now, we’re going see mustard everywhere next year.

An Interview with Cieran Starlight

How the 2018 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess is breaking barriers and maintaining the ethos of Stampede.


If you haven’t picked up a copy of the May/June Western Horse Review, you need to – soon! In this issue, we had the opportunity to photograph and interview Cieran Starlight, the 2018 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess. Lending her photography talent, was Shelby Simmonds of Twisted Tree Photography. There were so many amazing photos taken at this shoot and since it’s not always possible to fit everything onto the printed pages of a magazine, we simply had to showcase them here. Here too, is an excerpt of the interview.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Cieran Starlight is a fresh face in a heavy conversation about Indigenous awareness.

Raised traditionally, Starlight hails from the Tsuu T’ina First Nations. She represents the tribes of Treaty 7 (Siksika, Tsuu T’ina, Stoney, Piikani and Kainai Nations), Indian Village and the Calgary Stampede as the 2018 Indian Princess. It’s a commitment of colossal proportions and one that requires large shoulders. As Princess, Starlight will attend numerous events during her reign (more than there are days in the year), and educate the people she meets about the vibrant First Nations culture.

The name of her title will be questioned.

That fact alone should make the general public realize that upon winning her crown, Starlight won herself a very important role in promoting Indigenous richness – not a beauty pageant.

Starlight in her white, satin fancy dress, colourful shawl, and other breathtaking, cultural regalia. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

However, it doesn’t hurt that she has the kindest eyes, a genuinely beautiful smile and flawless skin either.

Growing up around the Calgary Stampede teepee owners, Starlight is well educated about the history of the Indian Village. Her family has been part of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth since 1912. She comes from a long line of Starlight performers who year after year, stay in the Village for the duration of Stampede’s 10 days answering questions for tourists, performing in Rope Square, and participating in mini pow-wows. She even worked one summer stint as an interpretative guide. It’s possible Starlight’s transition into the Indian Princess role, was a birth right bestowed on her by the universe.

There may be no more genuinely authentic person to represent First Nations peoples and their Stampede traditions at the moment than Starlight. Her challenge – one shared by a younger generation that has inherited the after effects of a cultural trauma – is how to encourage a better understanding of Aboriginal Peoples and how to keep that difficult conversation relevant for the future.

“I am not offended to be called the Indian Princess. I’m okay with it. It’s beaded into my crown. People have just used it in such an offensive way to Natives in the past,” Starlight says. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Luckily, for many of her adventures as Princess, Starlight is accompanied by chaperone Holly Fortier, who is a Cree/Dene from Ft. McKay First Nation, Alberta, and was also born in Treaty 7 Territory. Fortier has travelled the county conducting cultural sensitivity workshops to literally thousands of people, through her Nisto Consulting business. Fortier is in the ripple-effect generation of Indigenous people who suffered first-hand from Canada’s Residential School policies as her own mother was taken from her family at an early age. She has her own story and has carved out her own powerful role in the world by helping others adopt a respectful comprehension of Indigenous awareness.

Together and separately, both Starlight and Fortier are a spiritual force we can’t help but embrace. They are the winds carrying change.

“I’m so happy that I get to be a voice and not just a face,” Starlight tells us afterwards.

Starlight’s custom Princess buckle and a jingle dress she created herself. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

In the interview, we talk about the history of the Calgary Stampede, Guy Weadick and the positive relations between the Stampede and the Treaty 7 First Nations people. We also talk about the Indigenous name controversy. It’s an enlightening conversation to which, we are privileged to have Fortier’s guidance on the subject.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

We also discover the many talents Starlight possesses: she often makes her own jingle or fancy dresses and shawls to compete in traditional dance. One of her favorite tasks as the Princess are her days spent with the Happy Trails organization – a monthly event during her reign that requires all of the Stampede Royalty to meet at Senior Citizen homes and spend time with the residents.

“We sing old songs and do live performances for them,” Starlight grins. “Sometimes they want to sing along with us so we’ll find the page in their songbooks for them too. Things like that.”

She often tries to wear her yellow jingle dress on these visits because she knows many of the seniors need their spirits lifted. “I do a healing dance for them. A lot of the older ladies want to touch the jingles afterwards – they’re so cute. And it’s so nice if you can bring a smile to their face,” she says.


Starlight curbs the chill of the winter temperatures, in a Pendleton Night Dance Robe blanket. Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

“My role as Princess is to try and break down barriers and help people understand – this is about more than just a title. The Calgary Stampede is run on volunteers. The Royalty programs are youth development programs that help young women learn to speak publicly and build their confidence. I’m trying to educate people about my culture. We all have different dialects of language and different traditions that we practice. A word is not what I’m focusing on – it’s the Treaty 7 and the Calgary Stampede as a whole.” – Cieran Starlight.

To read more of this exclusive interview, order your subscription today at:

Reflections of the Ride


Photo by Krista Kay

Eighteen years ago on a late summer’s afternoon, I stood at the sleek concrete counter in the kitchen of my friend and business mentor, David, and poured a set of Caesars on the steel grey surface; the Calgary steak house-invented variety, made with vodka, clamato juice, spices and a few dashes of hot sauce, the wet rim of the glass dipped in celery salt, and finally garnished with olives and a pickled asparagus stem. His home was in Britannia, an upscale neighbourhood of Calgary built and still inhabited by a high culture of movers and shakers of the West. With modernist architecture, powerful ties to the historical West, and home to some of the province’s boldest thinkers – just a few doors down, the leader of the former Reform Party of Canada was searing a couple of steaks on his barbecue – Britannia symbolizes the individuality, self-reliance and affluence that followed the 1947 Leduc crude oil discovery in the province.

My mentor was the consummate archetype of the quintessential rags to riches westerner narrative, having shaped up a sizable commercial construction fiefdom from a humble, if not penury start. As a still somewhat freshly minted magazine publisher, I found myself pointing the nose of my truck often to his corner of the West, inhaling the common sense acumens he belched out: Throwing yourself at it harder won’t magically make it successful, kid. (In reference to an ill thought-out new publication we kicked off). You gotta think about creating a demand, don’t wait for it! (This translated to a more viable trade publication we were lucky enough to bring in to our fold). Take a loan if you must, never lease, unless you like lining someone else’s pockets. (A practical observation that led to owning our own office space).

Somehow, being there, in that scene, listening to him reminded me that some things could and must be cooked up from scratch, and that these things were sometimes the most worthwhile, and that possibly, anything was possible. Back then, the fear of failure was potent within me, and after a week of pounding my head against it, I often craved a stiff reminder – in the form of Caesars and Davidisms – to that notion.

On this night we sat on the front porch, with our faces to the West watching the sun set into the Rocky Mountains, the peaks glowing peach-golden and the layers of range nightshades of bruised aubergines and blues. We clinked our glasses and picked the food out of our drinks, my dusty white dually that David liked to poke fun at, parked on the street in front of us reminding me – amid the curbside appeal of the resident Beamers – of a shy and big-hipped country girl at the debutante ball. We chatted about business and life, our usual small talk. I was idly musing over an intern hiring decision I had the weekend to mull over. I had narrowed the field down to two – I liked one over the other, but I worried my preference was overloaded. “She has her schoolwork, a part-time job and she’s a polo groom. I like her, David, but I mean, she’s already buried. Don’t you think?”

He shot out the classic old-school counsel I loved him for: If you want to get something done, give it to someone busy. It’s as simple as that, kiddo.

And so I hired Jennifer Schneider MacRae. After a successful internship, and completing her Equine Sciences Business Management diploma at Olds College, she came on fulltime as assistant editor, and rose up through the masthead (mag-speak for that ego-column of contributors and staff that falls in the first few pages of an issue). In the manner of a heady young filly she grew each year just a little bit more, coming into herself as a writer and finally, evolving into a real thinker of the western horse industry. She stepped back for a break, married a man the rest of us at the magazine collectively and wholeheartedly endorsed–trainer Clay Webster–and a few years later, made her own little contribution to the western world, a bright set of twins. She’s been Managing Editor for the past several years, and last week, we signed the papers that completed the sale of the magazine to Western Performance Publishing. Clay and Jennifer Webster now own Western Horse Review.

The truth is it feels much more like a succession plan, than a sale. Working with the Western Horse Review team has always been a privilege. I can’t begin to name people, there were simply too many, and we were all a part of the publication’s energy and chronicle. Over the years, we penned the stories of so many horses and people. We wholeheartedly went to bat for all the nuances of diversity in the western way of life. We championed the diamonds in the rough and heralded the grittiest competitors. We honored the builders and paid our sincere tributes to those who left our midst.

Sometimes I felt a little like the girl in the dually back in Britannia, a curious observer parting the tall grasses and peering into the backyards of a world I was still just beginning to comprehend the true significance of. Over the years of studying the people of the West, I gradually pieced together for myself just how unique and extraordinary our western culture, amid this open space and endless sky, and the horse central to it, truly is.

Throughout my tenure, I kept a single piece of paper stuck to the inside of my desk drawer, on it the quote of an editor I idolized–Tina Brown: Always have something–be it a little or a big piece–in each issue that shocks your readership. That advice seeded some of our most poignant pieces. We didn’t always follow conventional magazine rules. We rather evolved into a set of our own, and frankly sometimes did just what we wanted, harboring a sort of quiet confidence in our ability to read the horse industry, and the magazine’s readership. I’ll admit it didn’t always fly with everyone. When we wrote about Canadian equine slaughter plants, readers renounced their subscriptions, wrote vehement letters, and called us irresponsible and swayed. We raised the ire of a particular eastern-based national equine association, when we leaked the news of their national horse identification plot, intended to be shoved down the throats (my words) of all Canadian horse owners. We mustered up our attitude, calling it a money-grab and un-western, likening it to the now infamous gun registry. We like to think the floodgate of protesting response was at least a teeny bit culpable for the stalling and eventual decline of the program.

These journalistic perks nurtured our creativity, but on an everyday basis it was a nose to grindstone attitude that finished off and sent to press each issue on deadline. It was a lot more about sweat and tears than it was about glory, but then the magazine also became simply a part of our extended families, on our kitchen counters, discussed late at night across the wavelengths, tossed into the mix of our everyday lives.

Western Horse Review now has a sagacious and dedicated new publisher. I can’t wait to witness what Jenn and her team will scheme up and pursue. The western horse world is in a wildly interesting period of reinventing itself, out of necessity and driven by a new generation. I have no doubt the writing the WHR team will do in the future will eclipse anything we’ve done in the past, as it should.

Thank you, all of you, for being a part of a neat and bright magazine. In a sometimes frighteningly homogenized world, thank you for continuing to embrace the western code of independence, attitude, grit and identity we at the magazine have become so proud to align with. I know you’ll continue to enjoy the ride.

Later this afternoon, I will take the dogs out for a walk, down the blind road to and along the backside of a small lake south of my log house, this time of year noisy with Canadian geese and other waterfowl on the run south. Quite possibly, Jake the cow boss from the nearby Hutterite colony will pass by in his black Ford truck, and he’ll stop and we’ll talk a bit – cattle and hay prices, horse ailments, the new neighbors, the ever-encroaching city – the usual roadside topics. Invariably he’ll get around to the magazine – he’s a fervent reader, and in his unruffled way likes to let me know he’s keeping up – and comment on a story from the past issue. I’ll tell him I’ve passed it on, and I imagine his pragmatic response will be something along the line of, “well, you’re gonna miss that for a while, I guess you will.” Yes, I will, and in my mind then, as I have often, I’ll mentally acknowledge the debt owed to having been a part of such an incomparable journey.

Rodeos & Rhinestones

Surely at one time or another we’ve all been sweet on the charming young gals flying around the rodeo arena in their spangled outfits and accoutrements – the princesses and queens, all curls and smiles beneath their glitzy cowboy hats. Recently, at one of our fall editorial brainstorming sessions, we wondered what the real life of a rodeo queen might look like. Behind the scenes. And out of the public eye. 

And we thought, maybe, such a story might make a good story. A captivating story. Even an important story. We just needed the right queen to tell it. 

In Canada, Miss Rodeo Canada is chosen in mid-November, at Northlands Park in Edmonton, and timed with the pinnacle of Canada’s rodeo season, the Canadian Finals Rodeo.  This year, Katy Lucas – incidentally also named as one of Western Horse Review’s Top 25 Under 25 in 2013, and currently one of the magazine’s writers – won the honour of wearing the crown for the year.

We couldn’t have been more pleased with the choice. For we already knew Katy as a) an accomplished journalist; b) an ambitious and budding star in the rodeo world; c) a feisty soul unafraid to take on difficult subjects such as animal activism and other misconceptions of the horse world (don’t assume for a second Katy’s narrative will centre on bling and queen selfies); and, d) just the right combination of all of the above to take on the role of telling what it’s really like to be a rodeo queen for a year, and just how such a queen can make a difference in how the rest of the world views our western way of life. 

In a world increasingly populated with people disconnected with the agriculture way of life, and a lifestyle often misunderstood, judged and even attacked, we feel it’s never been a more important banner to wear. 

I’m excited. And, you reader, should be too. Stay tuned, it’s going to be a great ride. 

So, without further ado, here is the first edition of Katy’s blog. Look for future editions under her own blog banner, coming soon to this website. 

~ Ingrid Schulz

Secrets of a Rodeo Queen

Episode One

~ by Katy Lucas

Rodeo Queens are much more than a pretty face that can sit a horse. They have to wear an infinite number of hats, and from that necessity comes a great deal of stories to tell.

I was crowned Miss Rodeo Canada in November, and would love to share my experiences with you as they happen during my reign! Winning this title was truly a lifelong dream, I have been saying I was going to run since I was a toddler, and I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.

Rodeo queens will tell you that there’s more than the eye can see behind the flawless makeup and rhinestone covered outfits. So I’m pulling back the hazy curtain of hairspray to reveal the true life of a rodeo queen.

Rodeo Queen Secret Number One:

Rodeo-Queen-Secret-Photo-1There is no such thing as packing too much.

I once wore seven outfits in one day as a rodeo queen so there is nothing that gets left at home when I head to a queen event like the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. As you can see by the teetering tower behind me, my entire wardrobe made it to Vegas.

PS: I unloaded the truck and pulled that cart uphill into the hotel myself!

Rodeo Queen Secret Number Two:


Know your sponsors.

My dad laughs now when he tells the story of qualifying for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. His buddies were bugging him that he may have to take out a loan to pay the large entry fee for the finals, and dad, not realizing that fee was sponsored by Benny Binion, almost considered not going to the NFR!


So it pays to know the people out there that support you! Some of Miss Rodeo Canada’s major sponsors are Northlands Park, Wrangler, 790 CFCW, Dodge Ram, Roper Boots and more!

Rodeo Queen Secret Number Three:

Rodeo-Queen-Secret-Number-3.1Sharing clothes is a binding contract.

Just like a cowboy’s word is sealed with his handshake, rodeo queens loyally share their clothes.

Before I arrived in Vegas I had never met Miss Rodeo Oklahoma Teen, Elise Wade. Truthfully, I’d never even talked to her directly. But at the first event I walked in to at the MGM Grand, a young woman I’d never met before wildly ran across the room and embraced me like we were old friends that had been separated for a long period.

The reason? I had asked to borrow some clothes from her and she couldn’t wait to meet the girl from Canada that was going to carry her clothes into the famous Thomas and Mack arena.

On day two of our newfound relationship I started calling her my sister. Rhinestones are powerful binding agents…

Rodeo Queen Secret Number Four:

Rodeo-Queen-Secret-Number-4Be you!

Every queen is different and all of them have talents of their very own. I happened upon a roping dummy at the Wrangler giveaway room and I couldn’t resist spending at least a few minutes of my day roping!

Roping is what makes me who I am, and I wasn’t afraid to show it.

Equine Photography

Photo by L.Haughton, Epona

Photo by L. Haughton, Epona.

Love pictures like the above? So do I!! Horses and beautiful photography. Whether you choose to embrace it on the walls of your home or keep a mental image of it forever in your mind, with beautiful imagery like this you just can’t go wrong.

“Photographers deal in things in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson.

I had the privilege of working on a special project this summer, one I would like to share with you. Introducing Western Horse Review’s Special Interest Publication – Equine Photography:

Equine photography book

Inside the covers of this special coffee table book, you can peruse a medley of photos – each a visual stunner, featuring the horse. Equine Photography profiles 19 photographers. Every one is a leader in their field and altogether, are some of the industry’s most talented equine photographers.

Within the pages, you’ll find beautiful photography like this:

Photo by

Photo by Nicole Wade Photography.


*And this:

Photo by

Photo by Billie-Jean Duff.


Can’t you almost feel yourself wrapped in mud and adrenaline in the above image?

And you’ll also find amazing pictures like this:


Tony Stromberg is an equine photographer with the ability to bring out the true essence of the horse, his authentic spirit, his strength and his archetypal nature. His images never show tack or saddles of any kind. Stromberg has found his niche (and subsequently, a large audience) in capturing the horse in his most essential form, at the deepest level of his being.

It is photographers like Stromberg and many talented others, who give Equine Photography an inexplicable edge. I can’t even put it into words… You simply have to flip the pages and let the horse imagery grace your eyes to understand.

Altogether, the stunning work inside makes this one, gorgeous coffee table book. Yet, what also sets this publication apart from all the others is its insider information and advice from each of the pros. From amateurs to seasoned professionals, Equine Photography offers how-to secrets for capturing the most alluring equine images on the back of your viewfinder.



Such celebrated photographers as Neville Palmer share their tips for embracing light to compose the best possible shots at rodeos:


Cheryl Smythe discusses all the little nuances of equine conformation, head shot and profile images that best help to market individual animals:

Image by Cheryl Smythe Photography.

Image by Cheryl Smythe Photography.


And Krista Kay talks about the beauty of women and horses. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, the picture below is enough said:

From Equine Glamour, to Immortalizing the Senior Horse, to photographing Western Weddings, this book has everything you could possibly imagine about photographing horses. Even I was surprised upon interviewing each of the photographers to realize that not one person spoke of the same thing – every photographer profiled had something very individual and unique to offer.

And yet the common denominator between each of them was the horse and the lifestyle unique to the passion that surrounds these beautiful animals.

Photo by Rob Kendrick

Photo by Rob Kendrick.

Robb Kendrick is a photographer who uses the latest high-tech gear but is partial to an old fashioned feel. Kendrick is one of the only photographers in the world who shoots Tintypes: a wet-plate process photographers used in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It gives his images an authentic, vintage feel and helps keep his technique alive. If you’re interested to see how Kendrick does it, check out this video from National Geographic:

Equine Photography even delves into the concept of Smartphone photography and features 12 of the most popular Photography Apps – and how they can be applied to equine photography.







*If you’re looking to perfect your portrait, learn essential digital photography techniques or for secrets on how to capture beautiful moments in western weddings, Equine Photography from Western Horse Review is the perfect book for you! Be sure to pick one up before they’re all gone! You can either visit the link here to order now, or check out your nearest Walmart, Rexall, Chapters or various other locations that carry Western Horse Review. Happy Reading! (And snapping!!)


Mother’s Day Giveaway



Today’s post is short and sweet and dedicated to my Mom. Because it was she who has fully believed in me from the very beginning. My mom was the one gave me the courage to fly towards a vocation with horses. She has been by my side countless numbers of times for a hug, a shoulder to cry on and a kind, inspiring word. Without my mom, I would have never had the courage to try.

I’m sure y’all have some amazing mothers too, so if you tell me about them, I promise I’ll have a pretty cool prize package for you at the end of this blog.

But in the meantime, here are a few other things I’m totally digging at the moment:

• Incubators were life-saving necessities for my premature babies, but for newborns without access, there’s Embrace. For 1% of the cost of a standard incubator, it’s already saved over 50,000 babies from hypothermia. Embrace is currently running a Mother’s Day campaign — make a donation in honor of your mom and save another mom’s new baby.

• Chardon-neigh? Caber-neigh?  With a Horse’s Glass in hand, you’re sure to be a hit at the next barn party, horse show, or the wine o’ clock with your fellow horse lover.

Maple Apple Bacon Waffles. A perfect Mother’s Day recipe. Let me reiterate – Maple. Apple. Bacon. Waffles. Need I say more?

• From visits to senior homes to the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School, the horses of Gentle Carousel  bring their love to where it is needed most.

• It may be better than any other grooming tool on the market for removing heavy winter coats. SleekEZ is a perfectly, unique Mother’s Day present for the lady who prefers horse equipment over flowers.

• I’m totally swooning over these adorable photos of Princess Z – Zenyatta’s first filly.

• Guns N Roses “Sweet Child O’ Mine” retooled as 1920 New Orleans Jazz.

Lunch Punches make food seriously fun. I’ve even been known to make a cute sandwich for myself here and there.

• Carla Webb of Abbotsford, B.C., was sworn in as Police Constable 1777 and walked Vancouver’s city beat for 13 years. Now fronting her Empowered Through Horses program, Webb helps young girls deal with serious issues ranging from bullies, to low self-confidence and a myriad of troubles in between. Webb may be one of Canada’s best kept secrets – and the kind of woman you want your daughter to meet.

• Ride, travel, dance in beautiful boots designed with hidden pockets for your cell phone, passport and more. Elizabeth Anne Shoes was recently on Dragon’s Den and I am excited to see the outcome!

Odysseo. We will be going to this amazing production for the second time this month. With Imax screens and an abundance of equine talent, this is an event you don’t want to miss!

And speaking of Odysseo…. I have 2 tickets to give away to the event in Calgary, to one lucky winner. Simply enter into the comments below, a note about how your Mom helped you pursue your horse dreams. Or if you are a “horsey” Mom yourself, perhaps you want to tell us what gift you’d love to receive for Mother’s Day! Either way, we will be doing a random drawing of all the comments submitted near the end of the week. Good luck!






Horse Showing With Kids

Cartoon by Dave Elston.

Cartoon by Dave Elston.

Bring your family along with you on the journey. Don’t feel like you’re somehow shortchanging them. They’re going to have a different experience than other kids do, but it’s not necessarily a lesser experience. You have to stop judging yourself by other people’s standards. Let go of the guilt and embrace the messiness of what you’re doing.” – Arlene Dickinson

I came across this quote in an article recently, stated by my favorite Dragon.

And I thought, “Wow! I can’t believe how applicable this quote is to being a horse show mom!”

For the purpose of this blog, by “horse show mom,” I’m not referring to the super-heroines who haul their kids to 4H and Pony Club and various other shows on the weekends. Toting grooming supplies, and helmets, and lawn chairs, and kids and their ponies to the competition ring. You ladies, are an entirely different group of super humans and my hat goes off to you! I’m just not quite there yet because my children are only 3.

So by “horse show moms” I’m referring to the ladies who – with children in tow – still get themselves out to the show arena in pursuit of their various disciplines and goals.

When my husband first approached me with the idea of getting back to the show pen last year, I thought he was crazy. I’d been out of the scene for so long, I couldn’t even remember what my saddle felt like. And then, I was overtaken by a hint of excitement.

How wonderful it would be to get my body back in shape after the hiatus of having children! It had been three years since I last showed competitively but how fabulous it would feel to once again run down for a sliding stop – that feeling comparable to a freight train melting into the ground at a breakneck speed… And the exhilaration of putting my mount face to face with a cow and mirroring its every move with great velocity. Reining. Cow Horse. Whatever. It would be so great to ride again!

Soon after, however,  those excited feelings were quickly replaced by anxiety and guilt.

“How can I possibly drag our children to horse shows, for me?” I thought. “They wouldn’t enjoy one minute of it…”

It’s one thing to go watch their Daddy at shows – but it would quite another for me, the Mother, to be in the arena this time as well. Especially since I would be out riding my horse and not including either of our twins in my fun. They love to ride horses! But our kids would have to wait on the sidelines until I was finished. There would likely be tears.

What if someone had a diaper that needed to be changed?

What if they ran to play under the bleachers?

What if they came back with gum… from under the bleachers??

Since my husband and I don’t have the luxury of a nanny and babysitters have been somewhat hard to secure (especially during shows), we would have to do things the old fashioned way. We’d have to take our kids with us and work together to get it done. And since we don’t own living quarters AND my hubby would also be coaching several clients during the same shows I would be riding in, we’d have to plan ahead, pack several key items, and basically just be prepared to take whatever the horse show days handed to us, in stride.

If I was serious about getting on a horse again, there would be no doubt – it would be difficult. But not impossible.


After a year of showing again, there are several things I’ve learned. They go something like this:

• If you’ve got young children – from the toys, to the diaper bags, to the changes of clothes necessary when your kids become little dirt-balls from playing in an arena corner – lots of “stuff” must accompany you to the show arena. Get used to it. It is what is and although some people might give you a raised eyebrow here or there, having a content child on the sidelines is extremely helpful when you are trying to show. You likely have enough emotion to deal with in terms of show nerves.

• Show concessions get old really fast, so a cooler packed full of healthy foods that your kids are used to eating goes a long way.

• The long nights and early mornings in the barn sometimes make for sick kids. It happens. And when you’re out of the comfort zone of your house, having a family affected by the flu or something else is heartbreaking. Travel insurance (for when attending shows outside of Canada) is a must.  Children’s Advil, Polysporin, band-aids, a thermometer and soft, comforting blankets are additional don’t-leave-home-without items.

• There are so many great people involved in western performance horse sports that if you’re struggling, either with a kid, a horse, a pattern… someone will likely step up and help you. Heck, I’ve even had some ladies change a diaper, without so much as a word from me. If someone offers you help, take it.

How do you fit a set of twins on a horse?

How do you fit a set of twins on a horse?

When I made the decision to enter the show pen last year, I thought I was embarking on a fool’s mission. So did others, I know. Last year was a journey that saw Clay and I in shows spanning two provinces, working long hours, and climaxing with an intense trip to Texas. But in the end, I was so completely proud of what we had accomplished and the fact that we had done it as a family.

Stay tuned to My Stable Life! In honor of Mother’s Day this month, I will return with more installments of Horse Showing With Kids, with tips on what to pack, ideas for handling long road trips and advice from my trainer and (tor)mentor husband <grin> for mental focus in the pen.