Canadian Cutting Horse Finals

Open Champion Dustin Gonnet riding My Own San Lena owned by Al and Ria Gerla with an aggregate of 293.5.

This spring the Canadian Cutting Horse Association (CCHA) hosted the third annual Canadian National Championship Finals at the Cow Palace in Olds, Alberta. The show featured the top five competitors from each affiliate association (BCCHA, ACHA, SCHA and MCHA) based on points earned at CCHA approved shows. The show ran April 9, 10 & 11th and despite the unexpected freak snowstorm, did well to feature the best of the best in Canadian cutting horse talent.

This year, cutting horse trainer Dustin Gonnet of Cayley, Alberta stole the show, winning the Open Championship, the Open Reserve Championship and the $10,000 Novice Horse Championship. In the Open, Gonnet rode My Own San Lena to victory with a remarkable total aggregate score of 293.5, earning $1,564. This mare, owned by Al and Ria Gerla of Busby, Alberta, has been a strong competitor in the Canadian cutting horse circuit for a number of years.  Last year at the 2008 Canadian National Finals, My Own San Lena and owner Al Gerla tied for the $20,000 Non-Pro Championship and won the $10,000 Novice Horse/Non-Pro Championship.

Gonnet, who has worked with her only a short time, knows she is “a really good mare. She’s got tons of expression on a cow and is electric when it comes to [the show pen].”  Now in her 8-year-old year she continues to be a well rounded horse, capable of competing in the Open, Non Pro and the Youth divisions; a unique attribute for any cutting horse.  With plans to secure the Open Championship in Canada this year, the pair is certainly on the right track.

Gonnet claimed the Open reserve championship aboard Dandy Lil Freck, a mare owned by Wayne and Linda Meekin of Alcomdale, Alberta.  The pair scored a solid total aggregate score of 291, to win $1,242.  Dandy Lil Freck has been in training with Gonnet since her 2-year-old year and last year as a 6-year-old, the pair was very successful in the aged event circuit, winning the 5/6 year old Open Championship at the Canadian Superstakes.  The mare has “tons of look on a cow and a cool style of working” says Gonnet, who adds “She is fun to show and to ride.”

Enjoy these shots from the show and read the full story in the June issue of Western Horse Review.

Non-Pro Scott Wardley riding Smart Little Koolio with an aggregate of 286.

3000 Novice Horse Champion Clint Christianson riding Rio Smart Hickory owned by Greg Grills scoring 291.5.

$15,000 Nov Horse Non-Pro Champion Sandy Reid riding Instants Bucks with an aggregate score of 289.

$5,000 Novice Horse Non-Pro Champion Dawn Hanson riding Quick Pepcid scoring 290.5.

$50,000 Amateur Champion Neil Shanks riding Call Me Smurf with an aggregate of 290.5.

$20,000 Non-Pro Champion Monica Heintz riding Pepino Boon with an aggregate score of 286.5.

$10,000 Amateur Champion Tony Piattelli riding Fairlea Hickory Pep with an aggregate score of 287.

$2,000 Limit Rider Champion Kelly Park riding High Power Pepto owned by Bill and Elaine Speight scoring an aggregate of 290.5.

Sr Youth Champion Madison Sawchuk riding CD Whirl with an aggregate of 289.

Jr Youth Champion Carly Christianson riding Bob Playin owned by Deb Harrison-steel with an aggregate of 292.

~ story by Sara Gallow. Photos by Bob Magrath

$10,000 Novice Horse Champion Dustin Gonnet riding Lizzys Play Girl owned by Rob Leman scoring 294.

Living the Life

The Alberta Team Cattle Penning Association began their 2010 season April 17/18 at the Thorsby Arena. See the story in the June issue of Western Horse Review. Photos by Bonnie Romanuik.

April 17 Open class winners Benny Wurz, Bonna Labrecque and Lucille Chisan.

April 17 #5 Class winners Kathy Thompson, Kristina Doblanko and Debbie Stewart.

April 17 #10 Class Winners Skylar Hanson, Ernie Wurz and Lucille Chisan.

April 17 #7 Class Winners Preston Fleming, Debbie Stewart and Murray Skippen.


Thorsby Team Penning

Placing /Riders/ Aggregate Time/Team Payout

Open Class

Sat. April 17, 2010

1) Lucille Chisan/Bonna Labrecque/Benny Wurz/1.1175/$1,382.54

2) Joan DeRudder/Gail Middagh/Ed Palsat/1.1448/$987.53

3) OJ Frankish/Len McCullough/Danny Smoole/1.1477/$790.02

Sun. April 18, 2010

1) Connie Bureau/Roger Bureau/Chris Smith/1.2242/ $1,431.05

2) Deana Edwards/Gerry Filewich/OJ Frankish /1.493/$1,022.18

3) Chris Smith/Corrine Smith/Danny Smoole /1.3364/$817.74

10 Class

Sat. April 17, 2010

1) Lucille Chisan/Skylar Hanson/Ernie Wurz/1.928/$1,311.19

2) Stacie Doyle/Deana Edwards/Carmon Reich /1.1799/$936.56

3) Kelly Feth/Len McCullough/Cody Yanosik/1.2368/$749.25

Sun. April 18, 2010

1) Gerry Filewich/Cody Yanosik/Lloyd Zelisko/1.1332/$1,311.19

2) Roger Bureau/Wendy Dwemychuk/Cody Yanosik/1.2375/$936.56

3) Deana Edwards/Andy Shepard/Marvin Wurz/1.2730/$749.25

7 Class

Sat. April 17, 2010

1) Preston Fleming/Murray Skippen/Debbie Stewart/1.2523/$1,800.70

2) Gary Babcook/Mandy Miller/Richard Miller/1.2687/$1,286.21

3) OJ Frankish/Debbie Stewart/Bruce Wade/1.2928/$1,028.97

Sun. April 18, 2010

1) Vic Abel/Dave Edwards/Jim Sheldon/1.3132/$1,765.73

2) Preston Fleming/Murray Skippen/Debbie Stewart/1.3367/$1,261.24

3) Doris Barsness/Ione Smoole/Grace Young/1.3638/$1,008.99

5 Class

Sat. April 17, 2010

1) Kristina Doblanko/Debbie Stewart/Kathy Thompson/1.2391/$681.82

2) Gary Babcook/Rick Meston/Robert Poissant/1.3787/$487.01

3) Michelle Barsness/Kathy Thompson/Lori Vestby/1.4460/$389.61

Sun. April 18, 2010

1) Sheilagh Chilibeck/Kezia Robinson/Terry Sargent/1.4140/$681.82

2) Steven Gilbert/Ken Gilmet/Brian Riehl/1.5890/$487.01

3) Dave Edwards/Jim Sheldon/Lori Vetsby/2.2016/$389.61

AQHA Data Reveals Breeding Trends


~ Heraclitus, early Greek philosopher

Photo by Cowgirl Creations

If you need to know where the modern western horse industry is headed, there is no more fitting marker, yardstick or demographic cruncher to give allegiance to than the American Quarter Horse Association. If you don’t believe me, take a moment and reflect upon the trends and changes that have come our way in the past 30 years. The influx of youth into the industry through the show circuits in the 70’s and 80s, the advent of baby boomers and their specific needs through the late 80s and into the next decade, followed by the surge of recreational riding in the 90’s, as that generation retired their show gear.

While the baby boomer generation drove most of these movements, the AQHA serviced those needs. Consider the AQHA Youth World Show, the Select Show and the association’s wildly popular Horseback Riding Program. The AQHA has nurtured every demographic trend which has found its way into the horse industry over the past four decades. It’s foreseen most of them.

Which is why, when the AQHA releases data, those of us who are invested in the western horse industry, tend to pay attention. At the 2010 AQHA Convention in Kissimee, Florida, the AQHA shared with its members, for the first time ever, stallion breeding numbers. That made me sit up. As I looked through the report, the data revealed some interesting trends to come.

Trent Taylor, AQHA treasurer and executive director of operations, noted the 30 years of registration data the AQHA reviewed showed a classic Economics 101 supply-demand curve.

Interpreting these trends also becomes somewhat of a history lesson, as Taylor pointed out that the supply-demand inclines and declines can be directly attributed to the repeal of the favorable equine tax law in the 1980s; oil prices that hit highs in 1981 and 2007, and lows in 1988, 1994 and 1998; stock market record highs from the late 199s to 2007; and the closing of horse slaughter plants in 2007.

“There are also other factors that affected the supply and demand of our horses,” Taylor added, “including implementation of the AQHA Incentive Fund and the Racing Challenge, alliances formed with other equine organizations, pari-mutuel wagering, and registration rule changes such as embryo transfers, the use of cooled and frozen semen, the registration of multiple embryo foals and the repeal of the white rule.”

Taylor also believes that the trends point out that members of the industry must uphold quality selective breeding standards.

“There are opportunities to the thoughtful breeder who can look to the future,” Taylor added. “We must accept the changing world we are all living in. And yes, we face many challenges as an industry, but there are also many opportunities for the organization and the individual that is willing to invest in a horse that has brought us to this point and will take us into the future.”

“This is the first time we have reported our stallion breeding numbers in this nature,” said AQHA Executive Vice President Don Treadway Jr. “Historically, we have reported registrations completed during the year. That includes weanlings to 4-year-olds. To gain a different perspective and look for trends, we looked at the number of registered foals by foaling year in hope of giving our members more information to make decisions.”

“Our purpose in doing this is to provide as much information as possible, in a timely manner, so our members can make knowledgeable breeding decisions based on accurate statistics,” Treadway added. “After reviewing these reports, breeders have the opportunity to analyze future markets for prospective foals with more information than they have previously had available.”

Here are some of the slides from the presentation:

In early 2008, when it was obvious that the United States economy was beginning to tank, business owners began taking a good, hard look at their numbers. AQHA was no different. The AQHA Executive Committee, along with the AQHA Investment Oversight Committee and members of the AQHA staff looked at past American Quarter Horse industry trends, hoping those examples would help them predict when the economy might start climbing back out of the hole it fell into.

In 2009, AQHA’s completed registrations for American Quarter Horses of any age totaled 112,005.

To view the entire Powerpoint presentation, go to

To view the 2009 AQHA Annual Report with more statistical data, visit You can also find the 2008 and 2007 Annual Reports at the link.

Schmersal is an NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider

The National Reining Horse Association proudly congratulates its newest NRHA Two Million Dollar Rider (unofficial) – Craig Schmersal. Schmersal won the Seminole Hard Rock Reining Classic Level 4 Open Derby Championship aboard San Juan Ranch’s (John and Brenda Stephenson) Whizs Katrina in Tampa, Florida. Schmersal also piloted Peppy Superboom to a sixth place finish in the open derby. His combined earnings on multiple horses at the event bring his lifetime earnings to more than $2,003,400.

In the world of Reining, only two competitors have earned in excess of two million dollars in official NRHA earnings, Shawn Flarida and Tim McQuay. Schmersal is unofficially among those elite NRHA Two Million Dollar Riders.

Schermsal, an NRHA Professional, has competed in NRHA events since 1988. The Overbrook, Oklahoma resident has moved through the NRHA ranks over the years starting with his first show as a youth in Pennsylvania. He quickly became a name in the industry. Some of Schmersal’s major NRHA achievements include:

1994 – NRHA Open and Limited Open World Champion on Cee Blair Sailor owned by David Connor

1994 – NRHA Novice Horse Open Reserve World Champion on My Ways Nicki owned by Ann Mucaria

1996 – NRHA Open Reserve World Champion on Side Smoke owned by Ginger Bishop Kingston (Schmersal)

1996 – AQHA Senior Reining World Champion riding Side Smoke owned by Ginger Bishop Kingston (Schmersal)

2001 – NRBC Open Reserve Champion riding B S Syndicate’s Tidal Wave Jack

2002 – Team USA member – Gold Medalist at FEI World Equestrian Games on B S Syndicate‘s Tidal Wave Jack

2003 – NRHA Derby Open Reserve Champion on Commanders Nic owned by Craig and Ginger Schmersal

2004 – NRHA Derby Open Champion on Commanders Nic owned by Craig and Ginger Schmersal

2005 – FEI World Reining Masters CRI-A Open Champion on B S Syndicate’s Tidal Wave Jack

2005 – NRHA Million Dollar Rider

2008 – CRI-A Open USEF National Champion riding Mr Dual Rey owned by Holly Casey

2008 – Top 20 Professionals Second Place Year End Earnings
Incorporated in 1966, the National Reining Horse Association is the governing body of the sport of Reining. NRHA, with their International Headquarters in Oklahoma City, is responsible for promoting the sport of Reining and working to ensure the highest standards of competition. To learn more about the NRHA, its programs and family of corporate partners, visit

Saskatchewan Paint Horse Club news


Harvest of Colors Youth Class 2009

As I write my very first newsletter, my clothing is covered in horse hair, my eyes are itchy and I wonder how 90% of the shedding always ends up on or close to my nose.  Spring is here on the calendar, not so much in person on the day I am writing this, but a hopeful forecast is in today’s weather.   Pastures are starting to welcome new additions and I hope you all share pictures of this years foal crop. So with new beginnings we move forward excited for 2010.  This year the SPHC is back on track with monthly newsletters, and has anyone checked out our new and improved  All the information you need including up coming shows, a what’s new page, and a great classifieds page were members can list horses or show clothing.  Great place to shop as well so check it out.

Our first show of the season will be held in Lloyd May 22, 23rd 2010 and the Harvest of Colors Saskatoon will be September 25, 26th, 2010. Don’t forget to get your SPHC membership BEFORE your first class at the Lloydminster Spring Show.  Points only start to accumulate for show and year-end awards after you have obtained your membership. Check out our Show roster.  We are offering Nervous Novice classes for us new riders or riders who have not yet earned points, lots of fun and a way for some of us to find a comfortable start.  Speaking of fun, the Youth committee has lots of new fresh fun idea’s planned for this year, I can tell you all to plan for a stall decorating class, and I hope we can fit in a costume class but we will keep you updated.  Speaking of updating, you can now find the Saskatchewan Paint Horse Youth on facebook. 127 fans and growing it is a great place to receive quick updates, post your own comments, share idea’s on what you would like to see at upcoming shows, and we love to see pictures and news about you and your horse.  This fan page is open to all young and the young of heart, but we also now have a Saskatchewan Paint horse club web site for all our members to join that offers the same venue as they youth page does.

So now that the shedding process has begun, and horse and riders train for the upcoming season I would like to tell you about an exciting opportunity for our SPHC youth, and all equine youth of Saskatchewan. SHPC will again be sponsoring a High Point Paint Horse, for our members at the Youth Equestrian Summer Games on August 20th, 21st and 22nd.  The show will be the same 3rd weekend in August as it has been in past years, but a new Location Moose Jaw with a bigger and better format. Keep an eye on the Saskatchewan Horse Federation Web site and the Saskatchewan 4-H web site for information as it becomes available.  We would love to see a huge number of youth come to this show and color the ring.

That’s about it for this time, I look forward to hearing from you to share news or events with me to include with my next Newsletter in June, don’t forget to add pictures. You can send them to [email protected]

~ Tammy Cooper