Introducing WHR Boutique!

The WHR Neck Wrap in Turquoise, with black fringe is a stunning piece to add to your wardrobe.


It’s autumn, and staying warm and cozy outdoors is a necessity for every cowgirl who lives in Canada. However, staying warm and fashionable is now a thing, thanks in part to our newest venture – the WHR Boutique! You can check it out here.

The WHR Neck Wrap in Aqua, made from Chief Joseph Pendleton® blankets.


In the WHR Boutique, you’ll find an array of beautifully, hand-crafted neck wraps designed by WHR Staff and hand-made in Canada by Janine’s Custom Creations, exclusively for Western Horse Review. Crafted from real Pendleton® Blankets, or iconic Hudson’s Bay Point blankets (not labelled), or with other beautiful western blankets, these wraps are stylishly functional and look attractive with any style of outerwear.


The WHR Neck Wrap in Iconic Canadiana, with a red fleece inside lining and without fringe.


Light weight and lined with a fleece or sherpa material for comfort and warmth, they are the perfect way to give yourself more protection against the elements. With easy snap closures, they can also be worn over the shoulders or as a wrap.

The WHR wrap in Teal & Eggplant.

We think these wraps make the ultimate gift and are just in time for the chilly weather. With fringe or without, they are also the perfect way to dress up a denim jacket, or give a leather coat more of a cowgirl quality.

WHR Neck Wrap in Turquoise

The other beautiful aspect of these wraps is that when purchased, you are supporting true, local businesses. Hand-made and designed in Canada.

WHR Neck Wrap in Turquoise, with Burgundy and Tan Accents.


Now we have to introduce you to the talent bringing these beautiful pieces to life. Janine Stabner (of Janine’s Custom Creations), is a local Calgarian, born and raised. She has over 35 years of sewing and design experience and graduated design schools with top honors. She has worked alongside a number of top designers. In addition to this, Janine is also an official sponsor for the Calgary Stampede Royalty (Queen, and Princesses) and for The Calgary Stampede First Nations Princess. Those outfits you see on the Stampede Royalty on parade day come from Janine’s workshop – which continues to be her favorite place in the entire world. Drawing, design, creating, sewing and helping others bring their visions of design to life is what inspires her.

If you’re a fan of reality TV, you can catch Janine on October 7, on an episode of STITCHED, a fierce, television competition series that fuses jaw-dropping creations and big personalities from the world of North American fashion. The series matches wits and stitches in an epic fashion throw-down in three rounds. In every high-style-meets-high-stakes episode, four competitors face off in dramatically themed challenges with one designer eliminated each round. Facing the resident judges and a new guest judge per episode, designers create ambitious outfits inspired by unique materials and concepts under tight timelines. In the end, the top designer from each episode rises to the top with a couture-level creation that earns them the $10,000 prize.

The WHR Neck Wrap in Aqua, with Fringe.

We can’t wait to see who makes it to the final round! But for now, we are extremely proud to be affiliated with Janine’s Custom Creations in our newest venture. Stay tuned for other exciting products on the horizon of the WHR Boutique!

Try a Bit Before You Buy It!

There’s no question – top riders across the globe favour Tom Balding’s handcrafted bits and spurs. With Balding’s meticulous attention to detail, knowledge of the horse and high quality materials used to create his bits and spurs, it’s no wonder Balding’s company is a leader in the field. Fans include the National Reining Horse Association $5 Million Rider Andrea Fappani, National Cutting Horse Association Hall of Famer Phil Rapp, and National Reined Cow Horse Association Million-Dollar Rider Zane Davis, to name a few.

If you’ve ever considered purchasing a high quality bit, Tom Balding Bits & Spurs offers a wide variety of custom bit combinations. No matter what you are looking to attain from your horse’s performance, there’s a bit that will offer customized assistance. Tom Balding Bits & Spurs knows a high quality bit purchase requires the best educated decision possible; as it is an investment that will often last a lifetime. Which is why the company created the Trial Bit Service, offered to those who would like to try a mouthpiece before purchasing – to ensure they are comfortable with the function in relation to their riding style.

Photo by Jenn Webster.

Within the Trial Bit Service, clients are welcome to try up to three bits for two weeks. Additionally, the company tries to offer most combinations; however, because of the large number of possible combinations, clients may have to try a bit with a similar shank to the one requested. The only out of pocket expense you may incur are the shipping costs. For more information about this unique service, check out the Trial Bit website page here.

There are also multiple resources on the Tom Balding Bits & Spurs website available to help you select a mouthpiece and shank combination you might like to try. They include:

•  The Tom Balding blog.
•  The online catalog.
• The bit creator.
Sample buy-it-now-options.


When you are ready to request your trial bits give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call or message them with the desired mouthpiece and shank combinations. They look forward to getting you into the right bit for you and your horse. Request your trial bits today!

Give Tom Balding Bits & Spurs a call at 307.672.8459 or visit them online at:


Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

Happy Mother’s Day!



With Mother’s Day just around the corner, Western Horse Review wanted to give you a hand selecting the right gift for the most important woman in your life. If you need a last minute gift idea, here are a selection of our favorite items, available online now. Show Mom how much she means to you with these great ideas!

Who doesn’t love a pair of new boots? These Aztec, All-Around Square Toe Boots, from Noble Outfitters, are perfect for the Mom on the go! With a tough, leather exterior and an interior with lightweight Physio Outsole, designed for ultimate comfort, they are perfect for the woman who’s always on the move.

$239. Check out: Noble Outfitters.

With all the hard work she does, the least you can do is ensure Mom’s horse is comfortable. “The Rancher” 5 Star Saddle Pad is the ideal gift! Designed for all those ropers and ranchers out there, this super thick 1-1/8” wool pad eliminates double padding and reduces cinching, excellent for long trial rides! Not a Roper or a Rancher? Not to worry! Visit the  – 5 Star Equine Products website for many other saddle pad options and disciplines to find the perfect gift for Mom. $263.95.

What defines a mother is the love and commitment she had for her children, whether they have two or four legs! Maybe it’s time to treat yourself by treating that 1,500lbs, lovable goof in your life with a brand new “Mesh Sheet” from Back On Track. Their amazing Welltex fabric, reflects the horse’s own natural body warmth creating a soothing thermal warmth – the horse will not get over heated, but the sheet allows sweating to relieve and loosen inflamed or sore muscles. It also helps increase blood circulation and speeds muscle recovery. It’s the closest thing to a good, old fashioned bear hug for your furry creature! Starting at $199.

This beautiful dark leather bridle with extensive silver buckles, conchos and accents is designed for the Cowgirl within you! Make Mom’s horse look fantastic – and by extension, you look fantastic – with this piece from HB Leather.

Complete Mom’s outfit with beautiful hand-made belts, bracelets and accessories from Noble Outfitters offers many mix-n-match options such as the Aztec bracelet and belt. Why not top it off with an Ombre headband? Perfect for those cold days in which she wants to ride and still look great! (Even though Mom always looks great, right?) $22.95-$69.99.

Finish Mom’s special day by treating her to an amazing culinary experience. Gaucho Brazilian BBQ is a one of a kind Brazilian Barbecue. Experience the original taste of Churrasco, an authentic barbecue style made famous by Gauchos – the cowboys of South America. Want to become the best husband ever? Obtain a gift certificate from Gauchos, offer to take care of the kids, and let her enjoy a night to herself with her friends instead! (If you are lucky enough, she might even brag about how good of a man you are!)
Located in Calgary and Canmore. To make a reservation or for more information visit Gaucho Brazilian BBQ online.

A Western Valentine


February 14. The annual romantic holiday. Did you forget? If so, fear not! We have some heart-warming ideas for the special cowgirl, loved one and little ones in your life.


This unique buckle from Tom Balding is custom crafted to order. The dots featured are a signature Tom Balding finish. Add a little flare to your cowgirl’s wardrobe by custom ordering it with her initials, or a brand and make this Valentine’s Day one she’ll never forget!



Here’s a handmade Valentine card for kids, created by Skip To My Lou which features a good pun! These Don’t Say Neigh Horse Valentines are so easy to put together for your child’s classmates. Add some cute horse figures from the dollar store and your child has an incredibly cute card to hand out.




These beautiful heart detailed chinks can be found on Western Horse Review’s Pinterest pages:

WHR Pinterest



The Cupid’s Arrow variety pack from 14 Hands Winery features a 3-bottle Red Blend that includes: a 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Washington State, a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley and a 2013 Merlot, Columbia Valley. This gift is perfect for the romantic holiday.



A set of hand-made horse shoe hearts crafted exclusively by Barbara Thoreson of BT Farrier services range are truly a unique way to say “I Love You.” 




A lava rack and leopard jasper bracelet with heart and arrow accent from Cactus n’ Sage boutique is delicate way to beautify your cowgirl’s wrist this Valentine’s Day.




Heritage Ranch near Red Deer, AB, offers all kinds of romance packages today and throughout the month. Their carriage/sleigh rides offer the unique experience of riding behind a team of powerful horses combined with beautiful woodland scenery. Combine your carriage or sleigh ride with a lunch or dinner from their great ranch style restaurant and you have the perfect day or evening out. Spoil your partner with romance with a private sleigh ride and 5-course dinner then, the roaring fire on their patio will help warm those willing to brave the cold!



This beautiful E.Garcia concho and heart shank bit with low port roller would make anyone’s heart soar this Valentine’s day!



Alberta Whisky Cake

It’s becoming increasingly prevalent to consider source (local) and company (niche) in our world. In a sense, our western culture has perhaps always leaned more towards a high standard of craftsmanship, than an overload of cheap trappings. We cherish one well-made bit crafted from a local artisan, over 10 made overseas. A pair of chaps so beautifully constructed they must be passed on from mother to daughter. And so on.

I’ve as much as possible refined and practiced the same criteria in my kitchen and lifestyle. I’d rather have less, and enjoy quality than stack up on bulk buys of ridiculously processed foods.

awckamlaAll part of why I never grow tired of this friend, and her consistently positive mind and joy of life.

It took baker Kamla McGonigal of Calgary, Alberta, four years to perfect her recipe. Determination, baby, that’s what it took. The fourth generation Calgary native wanted to use whisky, locally distilled at Highwood Distiller’s, from grain at nearby farms as one of the main ingredients in her delectable cakes. Finally after countless hours over an oven, McGonigal developed one of the best tasting and most unique baked-goods available to those with discerning palates – the Alberta Whisky Cake.

awcwhiskeycakeboxUsing only the finest locally-sourced ingredients, Alberta Whisky Cakes offer a seductive flavor. You will be able to smell it’s sweet, distinct goodness before you will ever taste it, but as whisky advocates know – this is a desirable trait.

awcradioSo, as I’m working through my Christmas list of gift-giving and thank-you’s – both personal and corporate, Alberta Whisky Cakes in their delightful western-styled packaging are a top pick. The beautiful bundts are simple to order, and because of the dense, whisky intinction, keep well through shipping and into the Christmas season.

Find Alberta Whisky Cake on Facebook or, here.

New Case IH Line of Rain Boots


Case IH Boots


Case IH recently introduced their brand-new collection of pink rain boots for toddlers, girls and women and we jumped at the opportunity to test them out!

“After the success of our red rain boots for boys, we teamed up again with our footwear licensee Eastman Footwear to create a collection of boots that women and girls could wear in a variety of settings,” said Sarah Pickett, Licensing and Merchandising Manager with Case IH.

And that’s precisely what drew me to these awesome boots. With a pair of agriculture-immersed children, I have found it relatively easy to purchase tractor apparel for boys. But finding equivalent tractor gear for our daughter has sometimes proven difficult.

Case IH Boots


Our kids literally squealed when we received their new boots – a pink pair for her. A red pair for him. Since that day the twins have pretty much worn them everywhere. My kids cannot avoid puddles, so I was pretty happy to have those boots as well! Around here, you never know what the terrain near the barn might bring, nor what the weather will offer. But even on sunny days, my kids prefer to wear their Case IH boots:

Case IH BootsWhether they are playing in the arena waiting for their Dad, at the horse show or in the mud (where Mom really reaps the benefits of these rain boots,) if they’ve got the choice you can bet my kids will reach for their Case IH rubber boots first.

Case IH rain boots

The toddler boots feature the Case IH logo and the character Fern Farmall. They come available in sizes 7 to 13 and girls size 1. All children’s boots are made with thick treads for maximum traction and loop handles to allow small children to pull them on with ease – this is an absolute must-have in toddler rain boots, if you ask me.

Case IH toddler boots.


The boots also come in adorable boxes too, so if you’re like us – with no shortage of LEGO or small toys hanging around – the boxes are ideal to use for storing items. I realized my kids weren’t going to let me send the boxes out of the house when they pulled them back out of our recycling bin, so I figured I could put them to good use elsewhere anyways.

Case IH Boots


The women’s and girls’ boots in the collection come in the color very pink camo and are available in full sizes 7 to 10. All women’s boots feature premium comfort, patterned lining; a reflective black seam for safety; and an adjustable buckle for a custom fit.


To order Case IH rain boots, visit or see your nearest Case IH dealer.

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!






4 Weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

It’s only a few days until the beginning of December, and at the log house, the preoccupation with Christmas decorating has come into full swing. Here’s how it goes: tubs of ornaments, glass balls, antiques and rustic stuff is hauled out of storage – we ponder it all and then take to the outdoors to cut the boughs, dig up the pinecones, wrestle pots, pails from their frozen beds and retrieve the well rusted horseshoes from the fences they’ve been resting on all summer and fall. Then we mix it all together to create our own version of country Christmas. Along the way, we create a few ornaments and greenery arrangements to give to friends. Because of their western touches, these often turn out to be some of my most loved gifts.

This year I’ve been gathering inspiration all year at the Western Christmas board at the magazine’s Pinterest page. Here’s a bit of inspiration for you.

4weeksbootarrangementIn the boot genre, try filling an old pair with greenery and a few ornaments . . .

4weeksccbootAttach a boot to a door or wall, fill it with decorations and greenery.

4weeksbootlightsOr, drape a string of lights, in and around a pair and set on a ledge. . .

4weekswreathWreaths provide a perfect attachable canvas for horseshoes, old tack and in this case, baler twine.

4weekshorseshoetreeHorseshoes find a great repurpose around here in wreaths, mantles and centrepieces, but here’s an idea we haven’t thought of yet, a horseshoe tree!

4weekshorseshoeornamentHorseshoe ornaments are easy to put together with a bit of glue and greenery.

4weeksbigornamentTake it one step further and create a bit ornament!

4weeksbwornamentEven I’m handy enough to bend old barb wire and turn it into a beautiful keepsake to attach to gifts or hang on the tree.

4weekslanternlightYou might need someone handy with electrical work to complete this project, stuff a string of lights into an old lantern and wire it up to warm up a front entrance or mud room.

4weekspoletreeA simple arrangement for a front gate or driveway.

4weeksrakeornamentRepurposing an old garden rake with pretty glass bulbs.

4weeksbarrelChristmas in a barrel with a Texas star touch.

4weekscalfpailOr, in an old pail – this one reminds me of the calf feeding pails we employed regularly at our farm.

4weekssimplearrangmenetOld containers hold so much character, and with a few candles and greenery make a beautiful and rustic centrepiece. For more ideas in this vein, have a look at this autumn centrepiece. 

4weekssmalltreearrangementSet a number of small containers together and stuff them with greenery from your shelter belt.

4weekswesternvignetteCreate an entire simple and soft coloured vignette with the simplest of items. Add lights.

4weekslariatwreathFinally, a lariat door wreath great for a barn or shop door.

For more western decorating ideas, visit the Western Christmas board at the Western Horse Review Pinterest Page. (You’ll also find the links for the sources for the photos I’ve employed here.)

4weekscavaliaAND – we’re giving away two tickets to Cavalia’s new production, Odysseo, soon to open in Vancouver, B.C.! All you have to do to be entered in the draw is comment below on what your favourite application of western, as depicted in the pictures above, is, or just mention one of your own.

To receive a double entry into the contest, just head over to the Western Horse Review Facebook Page, and enter there as well.

5 weeks ’till Christmas: Great Gift Ideas

One of the real gratifying perks of my job is the pleasure of meeting the western artists and artisans whose work I’ve admired from afar, as over the years, we’ve structured the content of the magazine to include more of a cultural bend and showcase the vibe of art and crafts in the western world. Consequently, the scope of my Christmas shopping list takes a considerable dabble into this, and we’re all the better for it, supporting our local economy, leaving a gentler footprint on the world, and often gifting pieces bound to become family treasures in the generations to come.

Here’s a few the interesting paths we’ve wandered down lately.

Though the Calgary floods temporarily closed The Van Ginkel Art Gallery – housed in one of the oldest buildings in historic Inglewood – the work of artist, Paul Van Ginkel can again be viewed in all of it’s breathtaking beauty, now that the gallery is open again.

See Paul’s Facebook page for a glimpse of what he’s been working on (horses!), and while you’re visiting be sure to purchase one of his calendars, illustrated with his work. Only $20 and 100% of the donations go to Calgary based charity HOPEthiopia (

The Van Ginkel Art Gallery has limited hours, be sure to check before you go.

Nanton, Alberta, western artist, Shannon Lawlor has a great Christmas idea – custom hand painted brands. Here’s a collage of several brands shown here on different colours of hide. Hand painted on 4″ x 4″ squares, they make a unique gift idea for those with brands of their own.

Artist Gena LaCoste brings the Living West to life through her watercolors – horses, cowboys and cowgirls, flowers and heifers, and other gorgeously interpreted western expressions. For your little ones, she’s reprinted her books, “Horses” and “Living in the West” just in time for Christmas giving. They are full colour, about 40 pages, 8 x 10 inch soft-cover books, brimming from cover to cover with Gena’s beautiful paintings.

A perennial favourite in the Western Horse Review offices, western photographer Kim Taylor’s 2014 day planner is just as perfect as every year preceding it. I’ve a stack of these in my office, and often find myself flipping back to find a date or notation I need from a previous year.

Wanda Whaley’s beautiful slate paintings continue to awe me. She also paints on buffalo hide, birch bark and clay, working with organic hand-made paints. It’s about as close to 50,000 years ago as art can be. Check out her new work here. 

Finally, add a little western Christmas music to your day, with the Jeremy Neal Willis CD, Remembering Christmas, available at the Horse Barn in Kamloops, B.C., and Cowboys Choice in Vernon, B.C., or on cdbaby.

Postscript: Thanks to everyone who participated in last week’s 6 Weeks to Christmas Contest. We have a winner: Missy Merrill-Davies, contact us at [email protected] by next Friday to retrieve your beautiful Paige Albrecht hand-crafted cowhide belt.