Visit to Pieper Ranch

One of the places Clay and I always like to visit when we are in Oklahoma is the Pieper Ranch in Marietta, OK. We have got to know Dick and Brenda Pieper over the last few years and really appreciate their insight into the world of performance horses.

Both Dick and Brenda have an intense passion for the study of equine conformation and behavior. If you ever get a chance to visit their place, you’ll understand quickly as to why the Piepers’ vast knowledge for pedigrees and leading edge performance insight is highly sought after information.

Pieper Ranch is home to the legendary Playgun, a $6,900,000+ Dollar Sire and the Equi-Stat #9 Leading Cutting Sire.

Brenda and Playgun.

Playgun relaxing in his stall.

Today, Pieper Ranch, Inc. is one of the most beautiful and functional breeding and training facilities in the world. The buildings, which include a stallion and show horse barn, office, training/arrival barn, indoor arena, breeding barn, and mare motel are set in a scenic wooded environment. Several cutting pens, turnout traps and many pastures filled with large native oak, hickory and pecan trees provide a pleasant area for raising and training young prospects. Several creeks run through the ranch, adding to the quiet, peaceful atmosphere that the broodmares, foals and yearlings enjoy.

And if that weren’t impressive enough, the office at Pieper Ranch should catch your eye. With all of the iconic win pictures on the walls and trophies on the shelves…

The Pieper ranch office.

Yet, what I found incredibly impressive were the books that Brenda still keeps in her cupboards:

Honestly, if you want details from a 1986 auction held in Fort Worth, or a 1979 performance stock sale just ask Brenda. She can whip open her cupboards and pull out a book that details the high sellers, sale averages and her own notes about specific conformation traits or pedigrees that prospects possesed at that certain event. Back in the days before the internet, Brenda had to find ways to keep her own information so she could stay current with the trends and the times.

Her books are more than impressive… And take a look at this:

The AQHA Stud Registries – prior to the age of the internet.

The green hardcover books assuming a king-like position above the Pieper office are the original American Quarter Horse Association Stud Book and Registries. Also prior to the internet and computer datebase age, these books were published each year to help breeders research pedigrees and bloodlines. As there was no other formal way of keeping track of progeny lines, breeders would simply look up the bloodlines from these books and try to develop their magic crosses from their pages.

The funny thing is, I’m sure Brenda has most of this information in her head. She is an amazing horsewoman and if you ever get a chance to spend an hour with her, I promise you it will be time well spent!

2010 South Country Derby


There was snow on the ground and a lot of mud, but not one complaint was voiced during the South Country Derby held May 27-29 in Cardston, AB.

Competitors came from several provinces to try their reins in 24 open, non-pro and youth classes.


And inside the Agri-dome, the heat was on and spirits were high as horses slid and spun their way to reining greatness.

Even the judges Dan Mayer from Utah and Terry Berg from Las Vegas, Nevada, didn’t seem to mind the snow and bleak weather.

Thanks goes to Buck Nunn, manager of the Cardston Agridome, for all his hard work grooming the show ground and careful attention to show needs of contestants!

And of course, a BIG thank-you is in order to Linn Jensen, Trudy Tienkamp, Ron Anderson, Tim Whale, Phil & Sherry Menard, Dallas Pole and the entire SCD crew for all their hard work in putting this great event together for us once again.

Since the show was a pretty busy time for me (between helping Clay get his horses ready, then Danielle, then chores, then riding my own 2 mares and helping Clay again), I had no time for snapping any candid shots at this event.

Thankfully, Danielle had my back and grabbed my camera when she wasn’t showing her mount, Meradas Blu Starlite.

Unfortunately for me, that meant I was on the other end of the lens…

But she did snap some cool shots for My Stable Life. Here are a few behind-the-scenes pics from the warm-up ring…


This is the back of one of the sweetest show shirts we’ve ever seen:

And here are 2 characters who regularly have to be separated… They get into too much trouble otherwise.

I’ll be back soon with champion pictures and results. Stay tuned to My Stable Life!

She Told a Friend Who Told a Friend

LADIES AND THEIR HORSEPOWER


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.

Chimney Rock Road

Today I thought I’d introduce you to a few members of my family. This is my husband Clay along with his father, Tony Webster. This is where my husband gets his sense of humor. And his bad pun jokes… That apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in this case. In fact, I think it plunked right down at the roots and didn’t even roll.

This is Clay and Tony along with the lovely Mrs. Webster. Or you can call her Ma Dame Debbie Webster.

Tony and Debbie live here. This is also where Clay and I were married…

Photo by Debbie Webster.

The Webster Ranch in  winter…

Photo by Debbie Webster.

And this is Tony and Debbie’s cool teepee…

Photo by Debbie Webster.

This is the gift Clay and I have brought back from Arizona for Tony and Debbie. Which they don’t know about yet, but probably will as soon as they see my blog…

The reason for the wine is because Tony and Debbie run a beautiful Bed & Breakfast called “Chimney Rock B & B” located on Chimney Rock Road in southern Alberta. Lat: 50.0964 Long: -114.2099 to be exact. The wine couldn’t have been more suitable. At the B & B, guests can stay in the “Room with a View,” the “Buckskin ‘n Blue” room or in the teepee.  Full, ranch-style breakfasts are included with the stay.

Guests are also invited to help with chores or have a cup of coffee and listen while Tony shares some stories of the Valley – most of which are actually true! But don’t let him tell you his “Dog Throat” tale… Trust me on this one!!

This is another of Debbie’s pictures:

And so is this:

Not only does Debbie have an eye for beauty in nature, Debbie is part of a group called “Dames on the Range” – Rural Women in Business. Their mission is to invite visitors to join them in the country and create landscape awareness, protect the western lifestyle and encourage rural appreciation.

If yer interested, here is a short video about the Dames…

For Our Entertainment

A couple of months ago our friends, the Mabbott family of ICE Quarter Horses in Halkirk, Alberta, came to see us. Clay and I were super excited – we always enjoy having compadres come to visit.

This is Darcy Mabbott.

This is Elliott, Darcy’s son.

This the Mabbott family, watching one of their horses in AQHA roping competition.

The Mabbotts are accomplished horse folk. Altogether, they have a herd of over 80 animals. Eldest daughter, Brittany, made the 2009 Canadian College Rodeo Finals in goat tying.

Youngest daughter, Tessa, made the 2009 Alberta highschool rodeo finals in pole bending.

And Elliott won the Central Alberta 4H Rodeo Hi-Point award in both 2008 and 2009.

They are an extremely sweet family – the kind of people you wish there were more of in this world. Various members of the Mabbott family come to visit us every once in a while, to check out the latest horsemanship wisdom in Clay’s noggin.

These are some of the sweethearts the Mabbotts brought along with them today.

But today, Elliott decides it’s time to teach Clay something. He pulls out his bullwhip. He proceeds to snap it.

My mare pulls back at the tie rail, where she is currently secured, (making the slip release knot of her lead rope extremely hard to undo). And once the commotion at the rail dies out, Elliott asks us if we have any spaghetti.

Um, sure…? Cooked or raw?

Raw. Very raw.

Okay Dad, don’t move…


Darcy! Don’t do it…!


Once Elliott has hit the spaghetti noodle the first time, he actually convinces his father to keep holding it out there – so he can try again with a smaller target!

And just in case you missed it the first time…

Sorry ladies – I have no idea if Elliott is single…

Jeremiah Watt's Canadian Saddle

The Jeremiah Watt saddle pictured in Western Horse Review May issue's Hooked on Horses is referred to as The Canadian as it was made by Watt for a long time family friend who lives in Manitoba.  This is a Wade saddle built on a Jeremiah Watt signature hand-made saddle tree, crafted on his ranch in Central California.The request was for a Wade saddle to fit heavy framed Quarter Horses, and crafted so a lady could get her hand onto a Wade type horn.

The saddle has a mix of 4X flowers up between basket stamping, a fine weave border, and a medium oil finish.

High karat gold monograms were added to the cantle concho because of the great basin style the lady liked so much. The Tame Rose carving done on The Canadian required Watt to make a few specialty carving tools to get the sharp ridges and edges onto each rose petal.

Writer Elise Dale from Saskatchewan interviewed renowned saddlemaker, bit maker, photographer and artisian Jeremiah Watt and found him gracious and highly knowledgeable.

“I valued the opportunity I had to speak to this pragmatic man. I received some fantastic information; and with his gracious nature he thanked me for the time we spent on a number of subjects,” said Dale.

She also called up her favorite quote of Watt's: “Books can paint the picture with words and poems set a stage with prose, but when reality, personal experience and appreciation become one, there are no words that can aptly describe the sunset that you have ridden home in, no prose can better describe the size of the Montana sky than the one you have ridden under.”

See more of Watt's work on his website at www.ranch2arena.com and pick up the May issue on stands now, and enjoy Elise's interview with Watt.

Oden Cattle Company

This is Mike Oden of Oden Cattle Company. You can probably tell, Mike is quite a character. Here he offered to “pose” for me.

Oden cattle company is a unique operation in that it is one of the remaining ranches that still relies heavily on horses to get the work done each day. With ranches in Northern Arizona and North Eastern New Mexico, Oden Cattle Company has the capacity to run 1,400 to 1,500 mama cows: therefore, the proper term in the industry for what Oden Cattle Co. does is “Cow Calf Operator.”

Here's a close-up of Mike's Arizona boots.

In order to graze this many cows, Mike needs a lot of land. At Oden Cattle Co. there are about 100,000 acres or 156 square miles of land. They gather cows two-three times per year for branding, weaning, and shipping, or just to move them from one pasture to another. That’s why they have such a big need for horses.

Horses at Oden Cattle Co. all wear the 7Up brand.

Mike, along with his wife and head book keeper, Jamie, are crucial elements to the operation. They also have two children –  Abigail is now 6 and Sam is 12. Sam won 10th place in the 2009 AQHYA in Oklahoma City in heading, aboard Topless Valentine.

Last year was Sam’s first world show and he continues to do well with his horses. Sam loves to play all sports but roping is his passion and he has even started to win some money doing it!

Sam (left) and Mike (right) get ready to rope together.

The other cool aspect about Oden Cattle Co. is their chuckwagon –  they honestly have an ol’ time wagon that can be rented for parties, weddings or reunions. However, you will have to do the cooking and hosting yourself! <smile>

Photo courtesy of Oden Cattle Co.

The Odens are neat people. They have an impressive herd of horses and place a big emphasis on their mares. For that matter, they place a lot of emphasis on their heifers as well.

“In order to raise good calves you need a good bull, but most important is the cow. Same goes for horses,” Mike says.

If you want to check out more about this notable operation check out www.odencattlecompany.com

Photo courtesy of Oden Cattle Co.

Our Day With A Cow Horse Legend

Today we got to hang out with cow horse icon, Kevin Stallings. In addition to providing us with training information, he also showed us around his home and training facility in Tuscon, Arizona.

Have you ever wondered what the inside of a living legend’s house looks like? Keep in mind, this is only one set of buckles to be found here...

Kevin has a medley of credentials too numerous to list. But to summarize, let’s just say that he is an NRCHA Open Hackamore National Champion, NRCHA Open Bridle World Champion, and NSHA Open Bridle Champion.

Kevin, as he is about to climb into his 2009 NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity Open Bridle Championship saddle. He trains colts from start to finish and work with riders in several areas; cow horse, roping, cutting and reining.

I love the way the Stallings’ decorated their mantle!!

In 2004, Kevin earned 3rd place in the Worlds Greatest Horseman Competition aboard his great stallion, NMSU Truckin Chex (also known as “Elvis”).

The Runaway Creek Outstanding Bridle Mare Award. An exquisite trophy Kevin won for riding the high scoring mare of the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity’s Open Bridle Class.

He is additionally an NRCHA-carded judge and garnered his background with the help of Ray Hunt and Tom Dorrance.

Kevin’s wife, Karen is equally as accomplished. Karen was the 2008 AQHA World Show Amateur Champion, the 2008 NSHA Non-Pro Bridle Extravaganza Champion and the 2007 NRCHA Non-Pro Bridle World Champion. Stallings Cow Horses operate out of Banderlero Ranch, just minutes outside of Tuscon. The facility is a fantastic wonderland of horse activity and was partially designed by Kevin.

Aboard a stunning liver chestnut stallion, Kevin showed us just how it easy it is (for him<smile>) to properly work a cow and maintain a position of working advantage. “I always want my horse to turn first, then go towards the cow. I absolutely need him to turn, before I will kick him forward towards a cow.”

In that respect, Kevin’s goal is always to stop the cow and then turn with the cow.

“I always say to people, try driving the cow as opposed to ‘rating’ it. Once you change your mindset about how you are working a cow – from rating to driving – you will have much more success for boxing and going down the fence,” Kevin says.

“You can really school your cow during boxing with this mindset. You’re teaching your cow that when you step up to certain point, you want that cow to move forward. And you train him for going down then fence. You’re schooling the cow and getting your horse hooked up for going down the fence.”

The world calibre trainer continues, “Then if you continue to think about ‘driving’ a cow down the fence, you can almost turn it from behind. You can see when the cow is about to make a decision about changing direction, because it is raising its neck. That’s when you should quit riding and get your horse on its hocks – or land on his butt.” (Landing on the horse’s butt is a good thing – what Kevin is referring to is simply the act of the horse slamming on the brakes.)

“Drive, drive, drive and when you see that cow toss its head, land on your horse’s rear end.

“Drive him and stop. Once you can do that, you’re ready to go down the fence.”


For more information about Kevin Stallings, check out www.StallingsCowHorses.com

And next week, I’ll take you for a tour of Bandalero Ranch!

2010 Rodeo Legends Announced

The Canadian Rodeo Historical Association (CRHA) has announced the Ranchman’s Legendary Achievement Award recipients for 2010. The honoured cowboys are Brian Whitlow, DC Lund and Allan Currier. They will each be recognized by the CRHA at separate rodeos this summer, which will be announced in an upcoming issue Canadian Rodeo News.

Brian Whitlow

Brian “Red” Whitlow competed at his first rodeo at the age of 11 in his hometown of Cremona, Alta. Although he would later try his hand at a number of events in the amateur circuit, Whitlow’s early experiences in the steer riding paved the way for his career, and he began to focus on bull riding. His first pro rodeo was at Lacombe, Alta. in 1965. Two years later, Whitlow attended Lawrence “Hutch” Hutchison’s bull riding school in Kamloops, B.C. He also attended a bull fighting school around the same time, and was employed in that position for a time, but figured he could make more money in a weekend of bull riding and decided to concentrate on his favourite roughstock event. The athlete went on to win the 1967 Permit Award, and even took a crack at the All-Around by adding steer wrestling to his professional events. He never did win that Canadian championship, but for Whitlow, rodeoing was about the challenge, and even though winning was great, the companionship of his fellow contestants was what really kept this cowboy going down the road. Whitlow retired from rodeo in 1976 after a Harvey Northcott bull named Al Capone broke his leg twice in one season. But by that time, Whitlow and his wife Joy had three children and he decided to settle down and concentrate on farming, but still found time to judge.

Allan Currier

Eight-time Canadian cow milking champion Allan Currier (Czar, Alta.) was an active competitor for nearly two decades, and dominated the standings in his event for most of the 1980s. His first Canadian championship was in 1970. A rodeo fan as a kid, Currier didn’t get his start as an athlete until later on, when a guy working for him on his ranch commended his roping skills and invited him out onto the rodeo trail for a summer. He started practicing and then started going to rodeos, competing in the tie-down roping. Then someone suggested he test his skills in the cow milking. He jokes that he stopped roping calves and focused on cow milking “when I started getting a little too slow to get… any money.” He also won the wild cow milking championship at the Calgary Stampede in 1970, 1982 and 1983, and won the Central Alberta Circuit championship eight times. Currier rodeoed professionally for the last time in 1987, the same year he claimed his eighth Canadian title.

DC Lund

DC Lund started rodeoing professionally in the 1950s, following a family tradition of involvement in the sport. He says he learned to rodeo “First by trial and error, then practice, then observation, then practice, then rodeo school, then practice, then more instruction, and more practice,” but cites his father, Clark Lund, as the person who really helped him get going. He worked all the events except bull riding, and was an especially strong contender in the steer wrestling and tie down roping. He was the 1965 Southern Alberta Rodeo Circuit steer wrestling winner, and won the All-Around in that same circuit in 1974. In 1967, Lund was one of two cowboys selected to represent Canada in a six-month tour of Australia as guests of the Australian Roughriders Association. 2009 Hall of Fame inductee Jim Clifford, was the other competing alongside Lund in the International Championship Rodeo series. Lund and his wife Patty sent regular updates into Canadian Rodeo News during the tour, chronicling the challenges they endured, their failures, their laughs, and winning championships in his and Clifford’s respective events. Back in Canada, Lund finished the season in the steer wrestling within the top five in 1972, 1973 and 1975. He was the steer wrestling representative on the CRCA board in 1974 and 1975. Lund was also a practicing veterinarian. He is now retired.

~ Courtesy the CPRA