Band City AQHA Show, Moose Jaw, SK

Today, I thought I might share a couple of shots I took at the Band City AQHA Show held in Moose Jaw, SK, this past May long weekend.

Bev Neuman and crew and the Saskatchewan Quarter Horse Association put in a ton of hard work to ensure competitors were looked after and had a fun event in which to contend.

Offering classes in trail, western pleasure, horsemanship, lead line, and reining, etc. this show has something for everyone.

On Monday, the event even hosted National Reining Horse Association classes for reiners.

Of course, Vicki Braun of Beechy, SK, and her crew of talented riders were there to give me a run for my money…

AND… on this weekend, Vicki celebrated her 50th birthday!

I found it particularly amusing when the western pleasure horses walked past my little reiner, Selena…

And speaking of Selena – my little brat mare pulled a “bridleless” routine on me in the middle of the warm-up for Monday’s NRHA Non-Pro. I can honestly say, this has never happened to me before. Once Selena realized she was completely uninhibited by a headstall, or mere a rein around her neck, the brat took off in the middle of a very busy warm-up pen…!

Apparently, Selena has been watching too many Stacy Westfall videos. I’m just very thankful no one had a camera… Lol

Battle in the Saddle

Trainer and competitor Brad Pedersen at last year's NCHA World Series stop at the Calgary Stampede Cutting. Photo courtesy of James Hudyma.

Although it would require a serious commitment in travel hours for any cutter, the 2010 Mercuria National Cutting Horse Association of Cutting is an exciting string of competition held in world-class arenas, and often, in conjunction with venues which at the same time, host a variety of recreational opportunities.

The World Series of Cutting is a series of eight events across the United States and Canada that draws the world’s best Open cutting horses and Non-Pro riders. Each of the World Series shows offers $25,000 in added money to both the Open and Non-Pro events. Every finalist cashes a cheque and the crowd-pleasing format helps bring cutting to new audiences all across North America.

Battle in the Saddle, the country’s newest equine event has been selected as a tour stop in the National Cutting Horse Association’s Mercuria World Series of Cutting.

“The Mercuria/NCHA World Series showcases the sport’s best seasoned horses, and attracts tens of thousands of fans,” said Jeff Hooper, Executive Director of the National Cutting Horse Association. “We are excited to add a tour stop to Battle in the Saddle, itself a unique event in our industry.”

The Mercuria/NCHA World Series of Cutting began its 2010 tour in February at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo and then made a visit to the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo in March. From there, the tour hit the Breeder’s Invitational May 15 and 16, and continues on to the following locations:

June 24-26 – Reno Rodeo, Reno, Nevada

July 5-7 – Battle in the Saddle, Oklahoma City

July 11-15 – Calgary Stampede, Calgary, Alberta

September 16-18 – El Rancho Futurity, Rancho Murieta, California

October 7-9 – All American Quarter Horse Congress, Columbus, Ohio

Battle in the Saddle was announced last November in Oklahoma City and is an exciting new competition owned by State Fair Park and managed by AQHA. The competition will take place July 5-10. Battle in the Saddle is open to all breeds and will feature $130,000 in added money for an estimated $300,000 in total purses. Cutting, reining, roping and working cow horse classes will be recognized as AQHA special events. All breeds are welcome but Quarter Horses competing will receive AQHA points. The ranch horse competition is open to all ranches that meet the criteria of the AQHA-Bayer Best Remuda Award.

Roping events will be recognized by the American Rope Horse Futurity Association and follow ARHFA rules. Horses competing in the cutting will receive National Cutting Horse Association recognition. Ancillary reining classes will be approved by the National Reining Horse Association and NRHA affiliate Oklahoma Reining Horse Association. The National Reined Cow Horse Association will be involved as well.

Adding to the excitement of the competition, the selection trial for the United States Reining Team that will be representing the United States at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games will take place during Battle in the Saddle. See who will join the U.S. Equestrian Team as reining members to go for the gold at the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games,

Battle in the Saddle will be held in conjunction with AQHA’s Youth World Cup, a team competition between youth from 17 nations scheduled to attend. In addition to the exciting equine competition in the arena, Battle in the Saddle will also feature a trade show. Other special events are also being planned to be held during the competition.

State Fair Park in Oklahoma City, often referred to as “The Horse Show Capital of the World,” is a premier equine facility that annually hosts the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show, the National Reining Horse Association Futurity and Derby, the U.S. Team Roping Championships, the International Finals Rodeo and many other major equine events. With more than $70 million in recent renovations and stalls available for 3,000 horses, State Fair Park has become the go-to destination for top-tier equine competitions and events.

For more information, or to enter, visit

She Told a Friend Who Told a Friend


It all began with two gals who owned motorcycles in 2001.

It soon grew to be 10 women of varying ages and backgrounds who owned motorcycles too.

Those 10 became the Spokes Sisters-a Calgary Women’s Motorcycle Group, cruising around raising money for breast cancer research. Over five years; through annual rides through Banff and the interior of British Columbia, magic shows, downtown raffles, Denim Days At Work and Poker Runs, the group raised over $65,000 for research. No small amount.

Then, in 2005, whilst cheering her husband on from the stands at the Canadian National Team Penning Finals, Angela Pipe, co-founder of the Spokes Sisters asked team penner, Jennifer Baldwin about having the Spokes Sisters become involved (in an organizational capacity) with a ladies team penning fundraiser, as there wasn’t much riding or fundraising to be done for the Spokes Sisters over the winter.

“There isn’t one”, replied Baldwin.

Seriously, no ladies team penning. No fundraising opportunity. Nada.

Between the two, that day, on the Canadian Nationals Team Penning official program, the names of lady penners who might be interested in participating were jotted down. From that a penning committee was established which included lady bikers and lady penners.

Not wishing to deny their menfolk the opportunity to be involved, ten “Pink Stallions” were chosen – a handful of husbands who would “pretty up the place’ in tuxedoes and bow ties. Aren’t they pretty!

A goal of raising $5,000 was targeted.

On March 25th, 2006, the inaugural Ladies Only Team Penning was held at the Okotoks Agri-Plex.

The Committee learned that one of the gals who would be coming down from Edmonton for the event was fighting breast cancer. Her name was Maxine. The event was called Horsepower to the Max in her honor and the goal of $5,000 was surpassed with a total of $27,624 raised that day.

Since that incredible beginning, the event has grown from 50 women penners to a firm 87. The number has remained low to allow for a day that’s fun filled but still ends early enough to allow for other life commitments. The Spokes Sisters have remained involved in the day and The Pink Stallions are still in place. The Stallions hold not only the herd for the ladies, but also hold their own Stallion Penning at $100 a man, which is often raised to $1,000 and more over a matter of minutes.

The rest of the funds are raised through registration fees, a silent auction, cow and herd sponsorships, and a calcutta.

“The generosity of the team penning community never fails to humble me, and not just with their cheque books but also with their generous gift of time. I think I’m in love with over 200 people! The penning committee has evolved over the years, as has the Spokes Sisters but I am always in awe of the women who have been and are still involved. How often have we all come up with an idea and it goes nowhere. With this bunch of women it doesn’t fade away – it goes places!” says Pipe.

The money raised over the past four events has benefitted not just breast cancer research but has also been put to use for tangible items for the Grace Women’s Centre in Calgary.  Much needed and expensive equipment such as a biopsy bed, blanket warmers, surgical lighting, surgical equipment and a colposcope have been purchased.

A lunch room was also transformed into a Quiet Room. Here, women and their physicians can meet privately with their spouses and family members in an environment, outside of the typically cold examination rooms, to discuss diagnoses and treatments. Imagine, for a minute, what a difference that could make in a person’s life.

Last year not just funds were donated as 13-year-old hockey player and Flames fan Liam Greer donated over 12 inches of his hair to help make wigs for cancer patients. It seemed only fitting to have those locks shorn by former Calgary Flame Paul Kruse! Liam’s mum, Tovah Place was talked into snipping off her lengthy locks too.

This year on Saturday, June 12th, it’s Horsepower for Life once again, and the fundraising goal for 2010 is $40,000, which will buy four examination beds for the Grace Hospital. These beds are both mobile and adaptable and can meet the needs of women who are physically challenged or who are over 250 pounds to ensure they receive a vaginal examination with both ease and dignity.

To date almost $200,000 has been raised by women and their varied horsepower.

And it all started with two gals on motorcycles. And two gals with big hearts and great determination, at a National Penning Final!

For more information on how you can donate to this very worthy cause, run so efficiently and selflessly by these amazing women, contact Angela Pipe at [email protected] or give her a call at (403) 816-7655.

Trainer’s Challenge Results


(left to right) Judges Bob Kaufman, Ron Hoffman and Stan Jacobs join clinicians Ken McNabb, Brent Trout and Tom Forehand after the Trainer’s Challenge finals. Photo credit: The Mane Event

“The Trainer’s Challenge is such a great opportunity for us to come together and learn from each other,” Ken McNabb said after receiving his trophy from Diane Anderson of Tymarc Art Studio. “It’s not about winning or losing, because when we can learn together we really all become winners.”

McNabb’s positive and encouraging attitude was evident throughout the weekend, and he kept this same mindset in the finals. “We’re on a time clock during the finals, but a horse doesn’t understand what that means,” he said during his ride. “So, you really have to take your time and hurry slowly. I’ve also got to make sure that I’m giving him as much as he’s giving me.”

Hurrying slowly paid off for McNabb and with his horse, Remedy, he completed all of the required elements of the finals in under the allotted time. “This is a really good horse,” he said. “He’s just giving me all the try in the world and in the end that’s all I can ask of him.”

Joining McNabb in the finals were Brent Trout of Alberta and Tom Forehand of Colorado. A strong relationship developed between the three trainers, as they learned from each other and spent time together between their training sessions. “It has been just amazing to work with trainers the calibre of Ken and Tom,” said Trout. “This Trainer’s Challenge has provided an incredible experience for me, and I feel very fortunate and very blessed to be here.”

Caption: Champion Ken McNabb (centre) with fellow clinicians Brent Trout (left) and Tom Forehand (right). Photo credit: The Mane Event

During the finals, Trout and his horse, Jose, didn’t complete all of the required elements, but Trout remained positive about the gelding. “Jose is a horse with real potential,” he said. “In any situation, even in a competition like this, you have to keep the training about the horse.”

For Trout, the most memorable moment of his work with Jose came during his final round pen session, when he rode the horse for the first time with the Olympic theme song “I Believe” playing over the speakers. “It was really a shared moment between me and Jose and about 1,600 other people,” he said. “People were emotionally connected with what was happening and how big of a moment that was. A lot of people were crying and some came up to me after and said how much that meant to them.”

Tom Forehand also had a positive experience during the Trainer’s Challenge. Riding his three-year-old gelding, Blue, Forehand was encouraged with his performance in the finals. “Blue did pretty good today,” he said after his round. “I knew that I wouldn’t try for the lope, but Blue did a lot of other things really well – he did the serpentine at a trot, he went over the bridge and he took the snaffle bit better than in any other session.”

The Trainer’s Challenge often provides unique connections between horse people, and this year was no different. Forehand’s horse, Blue, has been purchased by new owners, who will be sending the gelding to Trout for further training. “Blue will be going home with Brent, and it’ll be fantastic to see where he takes this gelding,” Forehand said.

At the conclusion of another successful Trainer’s Challenge, the feedback was positive. “The Mane Event is an incredible horse expo that’s filled with so many educated horse folks, it’s amazing,” Forehand said. “The organizers of the event are absolute sweethearts, and the trainers, clinicians and judges have all been just great. I feel very honoured and glad to have been here.”

For more information and 2011 dates visit The Mane Event.

Hershberger Performance Horse Sale

Clay and I attended the 5th Annual Hershberger Performance Horse Sale, held in Buckeye, AZ. And I have to tell you,  at this offering of 105 horses, I witnessed some very positive developments for our industry! As I wandered through the parking lot, I saw license plates from Washington, California, Oklahoma, Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, and I know there were also people from Hawaii present. Plus, I saw plates from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Dually impressive is the fact that the volume buyer came all the way from Montana!

Nikki Hershberger and the auctioneer.

The Hershberger family worked extremely hard to ensure both buyers and sellers were pleased with the results of the sale. Nikki Hershberger looked after the bids, while her husband, Jason ran from horse to sale horse (Hershbergers had several of their own consignments, which kept him very busy.)

Jason Hershberger.

And their sons, Gavin, Wyatt and Garrett were responsible to aid in the set up and cattle operations. Needless to say, it was a busy, busy day for the family.

Held at Buckeye Equestrian Center, this sale truly had something for everybody. It featured reiners, cow horses, cutters, barrels, head, heel and calf horses. Many of the offerings had top pedigrees, earnings and credentials in the show pen.

The Hershbergers ensured all prospects had a chance to show off their stuff, with a preview starting earlier that morning. Cutting and roping cattle were provided, as well as barrels and a chance for cow horses to go down the fence. In all, the opportunity gave sellers a good chance to get their horses working in front of a motivated, buying audience. In a down economy, it was very promising to observe this sale’s average at $6,985 and the Top Ten Average at $15,350.

High selling horse Hip #93, Jackies Double Chunk.

The high seller was Hip #93, Jackies Double Chunk, a gorgeous gray gelding sired by Tee J Double Jackie, selling for $24,500. Two sale horses were destined for sunnier weather afterwards on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. Hips #22 and #51 were sold to Daryl Medeiros for $18,700 and $15,000 respectively. Both of these geldings were well-bred and presented superbly on sale day. Hip #22 was a son of Pepto Taz, with an Open Performance ROM and the 2009 Arizona State Champion Heeling and Heeling horse.

Hip #22, Tazzle Dazzle.

Two important points I noted at this sale, on the subject of the industry: 1) Grade horses sold very well, and; 2) there was a big demand for kid’s horses.

Personally, I was very impressed with the bids that grade horses brought. For example, Hip #25, a 2003 grade gelding, sold for $2,500. This horse has been used in the feedyard and was a seasoned heel horse, and was a prime example why good using horses have value. If they’re trained and offer a skill to someone, grade horses are valuable.

Hip #2, "Frosty."

Case in point, take Hip #2 “Frosty,” for example. Here was a 1997, grade, gray gelding that was also a finished head horse. Fast, sharp and 100% sound. Frosty brought a bid of $8,800. And this was only the beginning of the sale…

However, the highlight of my day was watching a young girl raise her hand on a 2001 pony gelding. Eagerly, she would wait for permission from her grandfather and when she had it, hold her number up high on Hip #16, also known as “Gunner.”

When it was clear that they were the successful bidders, the young granddaughter ran full tilt to her new mount and climbed aboard. Everyone in the crowd was as excited as she was, for the acquisition of this new pony.

And the pony goes to Montana!

I had a chance to speak with the grandfather, Mr. Southworth of Lewistown, Montana, who was accompanied by not one, but three of his granddaughters to the sale. He told me he had built a ranch for his grandchildren to enjoy in Montana, and was at the Hershberger Sale to find mounts suitable for each of them. My next question to the kind man was, “Are you looking to adopt any more grandkids? Cause if so, I’m interested!!”

Mr. Southworth and some of his granddaughters, along with one of the ponies they took book to Montana.

For more sale highlights, check out

Jousting in Germany

One of the highlights of my recent trip to Germany included an unexpected side trip to a medieval jousting festival. We discovered this event as it happened to be just a few kilometers from our hotel. It was a beautiful afternoon and we had a few hours free, so we decided to walk down to the festival. Coming up over the hill upon it, I was awed by the setting, as the medieval tent village was nestled in a small valley with a backdrop of a castle or “burg” dating from the Middle Ages.

Inside the village were throngs of people – from all classes . . . and centuries.

Photo by Daniel Dunbar

Even the kids got into the act.

In addition to the main event of jousting, the festival featured a Mittelaltermarket with many stands selling medieval fashion, food and trinkets.

At 99 euros, this dress would have been a great buy. After the festival, you can wear it to your year-end awards banquet.

Anyone thinking freestyle reining?

A falconery booth.

Candles for your next dinner party. Or, witching.

Speaking of dinner parties. . .

Actually, the food was amazing, albeit a little out of the ordinary. Caramels made the old-fashioned way, dried fruits and vegetables, spices, herbs, a fish market, fresh baked bread, complimented with mead (a wine made with honey dating back to the middle ages), and of course, the German standard, beer gardens.

Yes, it translates to flea market . . .

My daughter and her cousin carefully consider the jewelry stand, featuring many medieval pieces.

Of course, the main event was the jousting, and while the afternoon schedule featured more of a set of games on horseback, as opposed to riders jousting against each other A Knight’s Tale style, we still found it thrilling to watch.

In these games, individual jousters compete against each other at high speeds whilst performing skills such as knocking helmets off poles, piercing rings set in a row and slicing an apple on the throughway. I gathered these afternoon games were fashioned for amateur and novice riders and their horses. Similar to our horse sports they serve as an entry point whereby to hone skills, technique and gain experience in the arena, with the final destination the more ardent man to man (or, woman to woman!) jousting, which is typically scheduled as the showcase evening event.

Remarkably similar to modern day horse events, the deciding factor of success or failure often lies in the horse’s desire to perform at particularly crucial moments. Such as when one is scheduled to be galloping in full armor and glory down the arena.

It’s the crowd, it’s the noise, it’s that barbecued, yeewwh, pig at the other end of the arena . . . I’m just not going there.

Fine, I will do it, however, in protest, I’m keeping my eyes closed.

Just a personal observation, but on this day it appeared the frauleins held the upper hand.

Like any other horse show, we headed down to the “barns” to get our fix of barn smells and petting horses. Look, a medieval fly mask.

Eventually, we had to head back across the moat and return to our hotel, but we really loved our afternoon at the jousting, and securing our horse-fix so far from home. I didn’t realize what a vibrant sub-culture exists surrounding the Middle Ages and the sport of jousting.

Here’s a short video of the Kaltenberg, Germany jousting event which gives a huge insight into the intensity of the sport.

Jousting Tournament in Kaltenberg, Germany

2010 Cactus Classic

So I know it’s over and done with, but I thought you might like to see some of the sights caught at this year’s Cactus Classic Open Derby. Micheal Berg and Outta Dough marked a 227 to win the Open & Int. Open Derby divisions at the Cactus Classic, held March 6 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

At the 2010 rendition of the show held this past March 3-7 at Westworld Park, over $100,000 was awarded to reining competitors.

Outta Dough owned by Dorothy Queen of Whitesboro, Texas and rode by Michael Berg marked a smoking 227 to win the coveted Open and Int. Open Derbies. The bay horse is sired by Gallo Del Cielo and out of Dough Olena (by Doc O’Lena). Altogether they took home a cheque worth $15,669.

Canada had some excellent representation. Christa Turel of Olds, Alberta, and her red dun mount, BMD Smart Whiz scored a respectable 218.5 in the Ltd. and Int. Open Derbies. Samantha Griffin of De Winton, Alberta, rode Dun Playin Tag (Whiz N Tag Chex x Brennas Dunit Fancy x Hollywood Dun It) and marked a 221 to earn the reserve championship in the Non-Pro division. Together they earned $3,780.

Shawna Sapergia of Calgary, Alberta, showed Its Wimpys Turn and Sammie Little Step, both owned by Outrider Ranch. Outfitted in the most detailed and color-coordinated show outfits, she was beautiful as always.

The Cactus Reining Classic is a NRHA “A” rated event.

And participants from all over the United States and Canada attend each year. Some amazing runs are put together in the show’s five-day span: it makes for some good watching!

My friend Marcy Ver Meer and the stallion, Gunners Special Nite put together a fantastic 225.5 in the derby.

And trends for the year are often showcased at this event. Here, Andrea Fappani showed off his gorgeous mounts and their equally as stunning locks. Banded manes are something I’ve never seen in reining competition before.

If you’re in Scottsdale next March, be sure to check this show out! Hosted in the valley of the sun, the 2010 Cactus Classic is a reining feast for the eyes.

2010 Scottsdale Arabian Show

Did you know that according to Archbishop James Ussher, prelate of Ireland, the world was created on Saturday, October 9, 4004 B.C.E?

Neither did I.

Did you also know that the Arabian horse is the world’s oldest purebred animal?

I didn’t know that one either.

But I learned them both after attending the 2010 Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show.

Held this past February 11-21, the show celebrated its 55th Anniversary this year. Granted there were several wet days – it was a rainy February for the Scottsdale, AZ, but host facility, Westworld Park is equipped to handle all kinds of weather. And there was no denying, Arabian horses attending this event were turned out in high glam fashion. So I thought I would share a few pictures that I snapped at the event.

Once again, the show featured an Arabian and Half-Arabian Reining Futurity Classic and a Platinum Performance Liberty Class.

And the Scottsdale Arabian Show brings in excess of $33 Million to the local economy during its ten-day stint.

Statistically, the Arabian horse public outspends other area visitors two to one, during the show.

And total prize money awarded to competitors, who come from every state and more than a dozen countries around the world, is over $1 Million.

And if that doesn’t impress you, the Arabian stall decorations should…

From yearlings in halter, to costume classes, to sidesaddle to reining events, this show has it all.

And it’s definitely a place to go if you want to see beautiful and talented horses.

2010 AZ Sun Circuit

It’s over for this year but I thought I would share with you, some neat pictures I had a chance to snap at the 2010 Arizona Sun Circuit.

Jason Hershberger giving a pep talk to son, Wyatt prior to youth roping.

Held at Westworld in Scottsdale, AZ, the annual event is a fabulous circuit of AQHA Shows. Here, you can obtain the most AQHA points possible in one place, than you can at any other single circuit in the world.

Featuring 8 AQHA Shows, the AZ Sun Circuit truly offers something for everyone.

The shopping is fantastic! And yes, I behaved myself. It probably had a lot to do with the fact that my husband made me give up my credit cards when he heard I was heading towards the trade show…

“But Hon, I swear! I’m just going over to take pictures!”

Randy Paul caught in a smoking stop. He marked a 74 on this ride.

Clay visits with Bob Avila.

This show offers everything from showmanship, to western riding, to cow horse, to jumping and driving. Plus much more.

Don’t you just love horse shows?