Horse magic with Jonathan Field and Friends

Jonathan Field – Tapping into an ancient approach to the human-horse relationship, Jonathan works to spread his message of observance, patience and understanding…

So begins this beautiful excerpt from his half hour documentary “Harmony with Horses”.

This weekend, you can experience Jonathan’s extraordinary horsemanship at the Jonathan Field and Friends International Horsemanship Conference in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

Jonathan Fields_1Today, Jonathan gave a special presentation to 28 Grade 5 Stampede School students. “I want to show the kids that if we can learn to communicate with horses, we can do incredible things,” he said.

Jonathan and the children went through the differences between humans and horses: the position of our eyes and ears. Humans communicate verbally, horses through body language. The fact that horses are a prey species and therefore care deeply about being safe. All of these things, he explained, are important to fully understanding a horse.

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He explained horse herd mentality and how every herd has a natural hierarchy. “This will be a herd of six–five horses and me.” Jonathan, in his demonstration, would get the herd to work together, with himself as the leader. So that free wheeling horses, Jonathan Fields_3would become one. Jonathan Fields_4Watching Jonathan with the horses is nothing short of enchanting and the conference this weekend is the first of its kind. You can still get tickets here.

Special Delivery: Canuck bucks hit the coast

When cowboys know the Calgary Stampede’s legendary bucking stock is coming to the party, they come prepared to walk away with a pocketful of cash.

Even amongst the Stampede’s strong stable of stars, Special Delivery stands a head above the herd. This powerful and spirited stallion is renowned amongst the bareback cowboys for his consistency and reliability to bring the buck when it matters. Son of many-time CFR and NFR qualifier mare Z-38 Zippy Delivery, sired by six-time world champion Grated Coconut, Special Delivery was named the 2012 Canadian Bareback Horse of the Year and has been a CFR and NFR qualifier of note.

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Special Delivery (pictured above CS2014)  has been proving this again on the rodeo trails that lead through Oregon, Washington and into B.C.’s interior. He paired up with Steven Peebles to rock out an 87-point ride to win the bareback championship at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo in Hermiston Oregon on August 9th. After resting up, Special Delivery did a rare switch-hit into the saddle bronc event at Canby, Oregon, scoring an 84-point ride with Joaquin Rael.

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As strong as Special Delivery was, another Stampede horse took the top ride in Canby’s saddle bronc event. Lynx Mountain (pictured above CS2014) had her way with Isaac Diaz to score 88 points to win the championship.

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Simply Marvellous was also utterly that this past weekend at the Kitsap Stampede in Bremerton, Washington, with virtually vertical bucks that cowboy Dusty Hausauer just couldn’t keep up with, as seen in this picture (above).

Special Delivery and his fellow stars are now bouncing between Armstrong BC and Ellensberg. Special Delivery bucks Wednesday night in Armstrong, then takes a short jaunt up the highway for a starring role in the Ellensburg final round on Monday. He’ll have some bovine company for the trip, since 10 of the Stampede’s top bulls are scheduled to amp up the excitement at Ellensberg’s PRCA Extreme Bull event this coming Saturday night and the rodeo’s final round on the Monday. Amongst the toughest will be I’m a Gangsta and Low Life, two of the Stampede’s bucking stock that instill the most respect and fear amongst bull riders.

More to come on how those showdowns play out in the coming days and weeks, as the Stampede stock continues to stamp their brand across the northwest part of the continent.

 

The Summer of the Wild Warriors that Deliver

This may be the Chinese Year of the Horse, but so far it’s been a summer of the “wild warrior delivery” from the Calgary Stampede’s bucking stock at various Canadian rodeos throughout the summer.

Two horses from the famed “Warrior” lineage took the top prizes early in the season. Born from mare Fearless Warrior by legendary sire Grated Coconut, full brother and sister Tiger Warrior and Stampede Warrior have been tearing up the circuit.

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Fiery stallion Tiger Warrior (pictured above at CS2014)led the charge at Ponoka on the July long weekend, taking the halter for the Saddle Bronc Horse of the Ponoka Stampede. He followed it up with strong performances during the Calgary Stampede, winning a first-place split with Heath Moss in Pool A then later teaming up with Cody Wright in the final 10 on Showdown Sunday.

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Tiger Warrior’s full sister Stampede Warrior (pictured above at CS2014) wowed the crowd and won the Saddle Bronc Horse of the Calgary Stampede. The mare showed her power on the Showdown Sunday’s Final Four performance, paired up with Canadian cowboy Dustin Flundra to score an 89 point ride that helped lift Dustin to his first-ever Calgary Stampede Championship win. Stampede Warrior has been astounding throughout the 2014 season, shattering the Rodeo Houston record with a virtually perfect 94-point ride with Cody DeMoss earlier in the spring.

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Wild Cherry (pictured above CS2013) brought the “wild” to the Curtis Glencross Invitation Rodeo event at the Daines Ranch near Innsifail this past weekend. Created by the Calgary Flames’ star forward, the event raised almost $200,000 for Ronald McDonald House and Hockey Alberta last year. This year, the Calgary Stampede bucking stock did their part to make the event a success for the cowboys and spectators alike. Wild Cherry, born from mare Flavoured Cherry and six-time world champion Grated Coconut, lived up to his championship lineage by carrying saddle bronc rider Sam Kelts to an 88-point ride, winning Kelts the rodeo and a new truck in the process. This is one of Wild Cherry’s first appearances on the rodeo circuit in 2014, sitting out for recovery from a foot surgery earlier in the spring. Now fully healed, this gelding showed he’s back on top of his game once again.

As the prairie rodeos wind down a bit, the Stampede’s best broncs and bulls hit the road for the coast, with a series of top-ranked pro rodeos throughout Washington, Oregon and B.C.’s interior.

4H Rodeo teaches the ropes to youngsters

Almost 70 young aspiring cowboys and cowgirls learned the ropes of their industry at the 17th annual Calgary Stampede Invitational 4H Rodeo this past weekend.

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The Stampede hosted the 4H students, aged nine to 20 years old, at the Agrium Western Event Centre on August 23 and 24, making this the first rodeo to be held in the new tailored livestock facility. The Stampede hosts the 4H Rodeo annually to give the youngsters a solid grounding in their sport, in rodeo production, livestock handling and animal care. Alongside the competition, the young rodeo competitors take part in educational sessions aimed at stepping up their game in all these topics and more.

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While rodeo is familiar, many of the events are not generally well-known in non-rodeo circles. Time events like thread-the-needle, pole-bending and goat-tying are the training grounds for younger athletes and their horses before graduating to tie-down roping and barrel racing.

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Learn more in this video interview from Global TV Morning News.

http://globalnews.ca/video/1523378/calgary-stampede-4h-rodeo

Post-Stampede Chill-out at the Ranch

With the Stampede done for another year, employees and volunteers are enjoying  much-needed downtime and quiet days.

So, too, do the bucking star horses that brought the Stampede rodeo to life. Five days after Final Sunday, I visited Stampede Ranch by Hanna. I was accompanying Gabriele, a photojournalist from Germany on a round-the-world tour to capture images and stories of horses in their most natural elements. An experienced rider and horse breeder, she marveled at the Stampede Ranch herd’s health, pride, natural herd social dynamics, and healthy curiousity about the people who came to visit them.

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Bucking horses from the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program enjoy  the most natural herd setting of any domesticated animals – with natural mixed ages herds raised on open pasture with minimal human contact beyond being halter-broken to receive regular medical treatment. Ranch-hands keep an eye on them, watching for injuries or illness and ensuring they get grain to supplement their grazing as needed. But otherwise, the herds generally roam unencumbered and freely across the ranch’s vast 23,000 acres and open skies.

When we arrived at Stampede Ranch, we hopped in the truck with ranch hand Trevor and drove to the expansive pasture where one part of the herd was relaxing – a mere 150 horses or so. There are another 450 in other pastures father afield, including the stallions, breeding mares and colts and bucking bulls that are kept separate from the general population.

In the distance you could see clumps of horses grazing. A few honks of the truck horn and the herd perked up and headed our way, lured by the promise of grain trailing from the truck with the push of a button. Soon the herd was strung out in a long looping line, munching contentedly.

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This herd included current bucking stars, up and comers, retired bucking horses, and horses that never made it on the rodeo circuit, but contribute as members of a healthy herd mixture of ages and temperaments.

We hopped out of the truck and snapped photos. At first the horses sidestepped around us. But as the grain was eaten and they began grazing, they all edged closer and closer, their curiousity about the newcomers in their midst overcoming their natural shyness. Soon we were surrounded by the curious gentle giants, nudging in closer to get a look at us, and in some cases, get a pet from us.

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Trevor rolled off the names of bucking stars – past and present, pointing out which horses had a bit more thoroughbred, quarter horse or heavy horse blood in the mix. There was the semi-retired Gin Neat, a name well-recognized in rodeo circles. I spoke a soft word and current bucking star Nightmare Rocket strode straight up to me for a cuddle. We’ve met before several times and he’s always eager to have his nose and cheeks petted, whether in the pasture or in the pens prepping for his performance. He was equally happy for a scratch and pat from Gabriele.

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There was Lynx Mountain and Loadstone Jade, two long-time stars who are still bucking strong and kicking cowboys into the dirt. Suddenly Loadstone Jade was right up close, curious and looking for a bit of a pet from Trevor, who was happy to oblige.

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With reluctance, we shook off the 100’s of horses and headed back to the pens to visit the bucking bulls, stallions and some of the new baby colts with their mares. Here, we opted to stay in the truck to avoid raising any maternal defensiveness, and simply marveled at the baby buckers from afar.

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Wistfully, we thanked Trevor for his time and headed back to town, pausing at the ranch gates to share stories of late greats such as Coconut Roll and Cindy Rocket, legendary Stampede bucking stars buried in this place of honour when age and declining health claimed them at last.

But they live on within the ever-increasing power, strength and pride we see in their offspring. What a rare treat to enjoy this peaceful day, photographing just a small slice of the wonderful, natural quality of life these incredible horses enjoy all year-round at the Stampede Ranch.

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Country’s new home in the City

Horses, cowboys and rural residents now have a custom-built, year-round home right in the heart of Calgary on Stampede Park.

The Calgary Stampede has officially opened the Agrium Western Event Centre – Canada’s premiere western event and agriculture education showcase. The building opened on Saturday, June 21, amid much fanfare of a community open house and a grand ribbon-cutting ceremony that featured federal Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel and Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Verlyn Olson.

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The ultra-modern 150,000 sq. ft. building features an extra-large 2,500-seat specialized arena for equine and western events, a multi-purpose exhibit hall, and a grand rotunda entry that double as a week-day classroom for a unique educational program on sustainable agriculture. The Agrium Centre becomes the new focal point of horse and agriculture-related activities at Stampede Park. Visitors will experience it first during the Stampede July 4 to 13, and with more experiences this year when a series of new horse shows and competitions fill the building throughout the fall season.

“The Calgary Stampede is a world-class event, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world,” Minister Olson said when addressing the crowd on Saturday. “As the largest facility of its kind in Canada, the new Agrium Western Event Centre will be an incredible venue for education, entertainment and to showcase our agriculture industry.”

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The Government of Canada and Government of Alberta each contributed $25 million towards the Agrium Centre as part of a series of recent agriculture infrastructure enhancements at Stampede Park that, together, cost $61.5 million. Agrium contributed as title sponsor of the building.

“We are thrilled that our partners shared in our vision of creating a world-class, year-round venue that connects urban and rural,” said Bob Thompson, President and Board chair of the Calgary Stampede. “This provides a gathering place for agriculture industries and associations, offers economic benefit to Calgary businesses, and ensures city residents have a regular connection to agriculture, horses and livestock all through the year.”

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Agrium’s President and CEO Chuck Magro also spoke at the Agrium Centre’s grand opening, underlining how the building houses a unique global education program created by the Stampede and Agrium. “We’re thrilled to be part of making the Agrium Western Event Centre a reality at the Calgary Stampede,” said Magro. “This is a place to celebrate agriculture and to learn about sustainable farming practices, through the Journey 2050 program, as we work to feed 9 billion people globally by 2050.”

Journey 2050 coaches grade seven students to explore how the world will feed itself sustainably in the year 2050. Up to 70 students will gather at the building’s rotunda each weekday to experience an interactive inquiry-based personal and computer program that shows the results and impacts of their virtual farming choices.

Guests of the grand opening event marveled at the building’s size and the great sight-lines from the open concourse and seating areas. The behind-the-scenes features of the building were a hit with horse-owners who recognize the animal-friendly features built into every aspect of the handling, warm-up and performance areas.

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“We are bringing the Arabian Horse Association’s Western Canadian show to Calgary because of this building,” Arabian Association representative Allison Mostowich told the crowd. “Our first priority is always our horses, and we can tell from the way this building was designed, animals are the Stampede’s top priority as well. We’re looking forward to being the first big event here after the Stampede (July 21-26).”

A current listing of the horse shows, competitions and championship events being hosted this year at the Agrium Centre can be found at www.calgarystampede.com/AgriumCentre. Many are new to Calgary, with several events created with this new facility’s capabilities in mind.

 

Spring fever for Stampede hotshot horses

After a blockbuster run through Texas earlier in the year, the Stampede Ranch bucking stock continues to make international headlines for their winning ways.

Last weekend in Lea Park, the horses enjoyed the show at one of Canada’s most beautiful rodeo settings – a lush green valley near Marwayne in Alberta’s east-central region. In the saddle bronc event, the highlight was the final round win by American cowboy Tyler Corrington, scoring 84 on the back of well-known Stampede star Sargeant Whitney. The Pro Rodeo website features Tyler and Sargeant Whitney in its weekly highlight. Read their story HERE.

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Sargeant Whitney is an eight-year-old gelding, out of a spirited mare named Frisky Whitney by Stampede stud Majestic Rocket. A seasoned roughstock star, Sargeant Whitney has been to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) and the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR), where he was also paired up with Corrington for a great ride.

Not to be outdone by the broncs, the Stampede’s bareback athletes upped the score a couple of notches, taking first and second in the final round.

Airdrie cowboy Russ Hallaby took top billing, scoring an 87 on one of the Stampede’s top stars – the formidable Special Delivery. This eight-year stallion earns a lot of respect both in and out of the arena, and was named Canadian Bareback Horse of the Year for 2012. See him in action in the video, below:

Stampede Reckless Margie took second fiddle by a tight margin, bucking out a score of 85.5 with Clint Laye from Cadogan, Alberta. The nine-year-old mare, out of well-known mare Erotic Margie by legendary Grated Coconut, emerged as a strong star on the pro rodeo circuit early on. She took time off of her athletic career to foal some new colts for the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program. Reckless Margie is now back and showing motherhood hasn’t slowed her down in the arena.

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Reckless Margie, Special Delivery, Sargeant Whitney and the other Stampede champs are looking forward to the rest of the season, including putting on a show in their home turf at the Calgary Stampede in a few weeks’ time.

 

Calving Season on OH Ranch

It’s calving season again at the OH Ranch. We learned a lot from last year and have applied those learnings this year which is making calving season much smoother this time around.

This year, we turned the bulls out about a month later, so we haven’t had calves born in -22 degree weather. When a calf is born in those temperatures a lot of them will freeze their ears.

To prepare for calving season this year, our foreman Rob built a hot box—a plywood box with a mesh floor heated by a ceramic heater– for the calves. If a calf is born in extremely cold weather, we bring them in from pasture, put them in the hot box to dry off and get their circulation going. Then we get them back to their mothers. It’s important they get the first drink of colostrum from the mother, which contains natural antibiotics for the calf.

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We also purchased a portable wind fence and calf shelters. Calves can lie down in a straw bed in the calf shelter to get out of the elements and mom can find protection behind the fence.

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We’ve also made changes to calving grounds. This year we are calving on the east side of Steer  flats and as the cows calve we move pairs the  west side  of the flat and then once the calves are old enough we move the pairs to Home Coulee.

So far, 161 calves have been born and we have 47 to go. No major problems to date, so the season is off to a good start.

Agrium Western Event Centre: Information of Interest

After years of planning, 22 months of construction and much anticipation, the keys to Agrium Western Event Centre have now been turned over to the Calgary Stampede.

Our team’s hard work continues to install equipment, commission, clean and prepare the building for our human and animal guests. The building will open with a flourish with a ribbon cutting ceremony and community open house on Saturday, June 21 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Plan to join us in celebrating one of the largest projects in the Stampede’s history.

As we await an inside view, we would like to share some information of interest:

Overall:
-The building took 22 months to build. Sod-turning was July of 2012, completion May 2014.
-The building construction was completed about one month ahead of schedule.
-More than 3,700 cubic metres of concrete were used in its construction.

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-The barrel-vaulted curved trusses span 200 feet across.
-The seating for the arena’s 2,500 guests is more steeply pitched than most, allowing guests to wear cowboy hats without blocking views of those seated behind.
-For added comfort, the arena’s seats are wider than industry standard seats.
-Guests can enjoy a view of the action from any spot on the open concourse, such as while waiting for food at the concessions.
-The arena features five VIP suites with preferred seating, separate washrooms for VIP guests and hosting rooms that offer views of both the arena and the racetrack.

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Rotunda:
 -The rotunda doubles as a classroom for Agrium’s Journey 2050 program – an inquiry-based education program on agricultural sustainability.
-The magnificent rotunda was designed to echo the shape of grain silos.
-Two-hundred-year-old reclaimed wood featured on the wall alongside the rotunda’s escalators was sourced from a former grain elevator.
-The rotunda’s custom floor tiles depict a map of the globe:

  • The tile was cut using a waterjet cutter in Italy. The dark chocolate tile (land) and beige tile (water) were cut as individual pieces and then put together like a puzzle.
  • Each of the five foot by five foot tiles weighs about 70 pounds.
  • This is the largest tile that the manufacturer has ever cut and the largest tile that our tile contractor has ever installed.

Animal-friendly features:
-The ground floor animal areas feature performance-grade dirt or slip-resistant rough concrete flooring on a level surface with no steps or changes in elevation.
-Six-foot-high solid arena walls improve animal and competitor safety, and eliminate visual distractions for animals during competition or performance.
-The larger 250’ x 125’ arena performance floor reduces the need for hard braking during events such as show jumping, creating opportunities for more diverse events to be hosted.
-Under-the-stand holding pens with a traffic lane around keeps animal and foot traffic flowing and herds in place.
-A secondary show-ring or warm-up arena with performance dirt is standard in the adjacent Exhibition Hall, meaning streamlined warm-up, no cold muscles and better performance potential for animals.
-Outside roof overhangs on the south and east portions of the building offer sun and rain protection for herds stalled in outdoor livestock pens.
-Direct access from participant entrance to animal stalls in the Agriculture Building reduces animals crossing traffic.

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Stampede horse shatters arena record in Houston

The Calgary Stampede’s star horses are stamping out their brand all over Texas this season, and none more so than Stampede Warrior. After a string of championship-winning rides already, Stampede Warrior set a new arena record of an astounding 94 points at Rodeo Houston this past Saturday.

Paired with veteran saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss of Louisiana, Stampede Warrior kicked out a fierce and powerful performance with her signature change-up moves. This sharp mare knows how to put on a show, and her kicks and performances grow stronger and stronger with each time out of the chutes since swapping from the bareback to the saddle bronc event this season. DeMoss was up to the challenge, meeting her moves with expert form. Together, the pairing scored an unbelievable 94 points, shattering the previous Houston arena record believed to be 91. Click HERE to view this historic ride on the Rodeo Houston website.

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(Above) Stampede Warrior and Cody DeMoss shatter the arena record at Rodeo Houston this past weekend. Photo courtesy Rodeo Houston.

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Stampede brings the Big Bucks to inaugural All-American

When it comes to big bucks in rodeo, a $1.1 million payday to a single cowboy is pretty much as big as it gets. When it comes to big bucks from the rough-stock, Calgary Stampede’s horses, particularly its mares, brought a lot of exciting horsepower to the party.

March 2 was an exciting day for the pro rodeo world with the launch of the inaugural All-American Rodeo, a unique event that drew 60,000 people to the football stadium in Arlington, Texas for a one-day showdown rodeo. The Calgary Stampede was invited to bring its best bucking horses, with 14 horses giving strong performances to help cowboys earn a lot of cash.

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(Above) Stampede Warrior makes headlines carrying Wade Sundell to the saddle bronc championship at the inaugural All-American Rodeo in Texas.

Cowboys vying for $100,000 purses in each event were invited by either being the top 10 in the world, or through lead-up qualifying events. The cowboys who got there the hard way were eligible for a $1 million bonus should they defy the odds to win.

And that’s just what bareback rider Richard Champion did, with the help of Stampede horse T-17 Twin Cherry. Richie drew Twin Cherry in the opening round, and this powerful young Calgary mare gave him a ride to the money round, scoring a strong 85 to get him to the final four shoot-out round. One more strong ride won the day, and Richie left Arlington with $1.1 million more green in his jeans.

Another $100,000 was won on the backs of a pair of Stampede mares in the saddle bronc event. One of the world’s top cowboys, Wade Sundell, drew Stampede’s Lynx Mountain in the long round, topping the round with a 90-point ride to earn his way in to the final four shoot-out round. There, he drew Stampede Warrior, another Stampede mare who just swapped from bareback event into the saddle bronc pen a few weeks ago. The pairing topped the board with an outstanding 92-point ride to win Wade the $100,000 purse.

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(Above) Stampede Warrior and Wade Sundell score a 92-point ride to win the saddle bronc championship at the All-American.

Another Stampede rising star launched her name into fame in the saddle bronc event. Texas Cherry was selected as one of four horses to compete in the final round alongside Stampede Warrior, a huge nod of confidence given the calibre of rough stock from across North America at the event. Two jumps and one of the world’s top cowboys hit the dirt, making 60,000 folks in the stands sit up and take note that this young buck is one to watch. Texas Cherry carries high expectations in the rodeo world to begin with, as the daughter of Flavoured Cherry and Grated Coconut, two legendary bucking horses that are now retired into its Born to Buck breeding program on Stampede Ranch by Hanna, Alberta. She will be one to watch as the 2014 season unfolds.

Looking forward to more great performances from Stampede’s champion horses as they shift their focus to Houston later this month.

 

 

Texas-sized Stampede stars dominate in San Antonio

After 14 nights of exciting rodeo action at the San Antonio Pro Rodeo, only 20 bareback and saddle bronc cowboys and roughstock horses qualified for the final championship round for Saturday, Feb 22. Of those 20 horses, 11 were selected from the Calgary Stampede’s herd, an outstanding feat considering how many stock contractors showcased their best stock during the two-week rodeo.

Of the Stampede stars, none shone so brightly as champion stallion S-83 Special Delivery, who was voted the Bareback Horse of the San Antonio Rodeo, adding to his already impressive list of championships.The son of the most decorated bareback horse of all time, Grated Coconut,  and many-time CFR and NFR qualifier mare Zippy Delivery, Special Delivery has already been named the Canadian Bareback Horse of the Year in 2012 and the Calgary Stampede Bareback Horse of the Year in 2013. His performance in San Antonio continues to build his own legend, outlined in this 2013 feature video.

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(Above) Special Delivery delivered a championship-winning 88-point ride for Steven Peebles in the bareback event at San Antonio

Special Delivery paired up with Oregon cowboy Steven Peebles, who arrived at the championship round in first place but needed  a strong ride to secure that. Stampede Delivery more than delivered the goods, offering a challenging powerful ride with his signature switch-up moves. Steven stuck it out, scoring 88 points to secure his championship.

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(Above) Lynx Mountain carries Jacobs Crawley to an 88-point ride in saddle bronc championship event at San Antonio

Not to overshadowed by her Stampede teammate, L-40 Lynx Mountain scored her own 88-point ride in the saddle bronc championship event in a pairing with Texas cowboy Jacobs Crawley. The powerful mare thrilled the crowd with her signature move, rearing up just as the chutes opened to give Jacobs a run for his money. This 13-year-old mare was named Canadian Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year in 2009 and is a favorite of cowboys because of her consistently powerful performances and docile nature before the chutes open.  See her in action in this 2013 feature video.

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(Above) Lynx Mountain thrills the crowd with her signature move, rearing up to explode out of the chutes in San Antonio.

Close behind in the Saddle Bronc championship round was Stampede’s newest switch-hitter, S-66 Stampede Warrior, who scored 87 points with Troy Crowser of South Dakota. Half-sister of Special Delivery, this emerging star mare and progeny of Grated Coconut has earned accolades in the bareback event for the past few years, including getting the nod for both the CFR and NFR in 2013. Stampede Warrior switched into the saddle bronc event where her strength, wily moves and competitive nature are proving just as high-scoring, opening up new avenues for this talented switch-hitter to shine. Check out her bareback reputation in this feature video.

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(Above) Former bareback  star Stampede Warrior shows her versatility, carrying Troy Crowser to an 87-point saddle bronc ride in San Antonio’s championship round.

After dominating the San Antonio Pro Rodeo’s championship roughstock events,  Calgary Stampede bucking horses are now shifting to new pastures and new challenges in San Angelo, Houston and Dallas over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more great news soon of Stampede stars stamping their brand on more Texas rodeos.

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 (Above) Stampede star roughstock relaxing in the pastures during their two-month-long snowbird stay in Texas for a series of pro rodeos.

 

 

 

Seeking Your Best Buds Horse Tales

There’s a reason Budweiser’s Puppy Love ad was the runaway hit of the unofficial advertisement show-down that is the Superbowl. The puppy’s determination to be with his Clydesdale horse friend and his horse buddies rescuing him from being adopted and taken away makes me giggle while tearing up, each and every time I watch it. Budweiser, an official sponsor of the Calgary Stampede, hit the ball out of the park on this one, our Stampede community and fellow horse-lovers agree.

Here at the Stampede, we think we could all use more Best Buds love stories, so we’re asking  folks to share their Best Buds Horse Tales with us. We’re looking for anyone with a story to tell about a unique horse you love, and the unexpected friend it loves. It may be a dog, a goat, a cow or even a duck. We’re hoping to hear more stories that make the heart swell with wonder over the sensitive and social nature of these wonderful animals.

For example, Troy Flad’s chuckwagon race horse Nipper just isn’t himself without his little buddy, Oops, the miniature horse in tow. So Troy ensures Oops and Nipper are together whenever he travels, keeping both of these best buds happy.

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If you know of a great story, share it with us at a new page within our My.Calgarystampede website, a site created in the centennial year as a repository for sharing great stories within the community. A Best Buds page has been added, and is waiting for your Best Buds Horse Tales.

Submissions can be emailed to mystampede@calgarystampede.com .

Check out the submission guidelines at http://my.calgarystampede.com/share-best-buds.html  or read the stories being submitted at http://my.calgarystampede.com/#best-buds

Looking forward to sharing more Best Buds Horse Love through-out 2014 and beyond.

 

What do you see when you see this picture?

Internationally famous counselor and speaker Dr. Wayne Dyer is famous for saying “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change” – his reminder to remain soft and open in how you view the world and to be open to changing your mindset.

This immediately came to my mind in relation the story of the well-loved dog that travels with his owners to the Stampede – a family that raises and shows draft horses. The horses are hitched up in a team of eight to parade at the Calgary Stampede each year. It’s a busy time with a lot of activity. This dog, like others, likes to nap. Like most dogs, he has a favorite spot. His favorite spot happens to be in a quiet stall atop fresh woodchips, undoubtedly scenting his slumbers with the woodsy smell of days spent romping through the trees on the ranch that is his home. Pretty darn good life for anyone – man or beast, wouldn’t you think?

The Calgary Stampede posted an image of this napping dog to its Facebook page on a cold Monday morning this January, with the caption “Hit like if this is how you feel this morning.”

What I see when I look at this image: a well-cared-for dog, wearing a bright and clean coat with a clean collar, who has found himself a quiet spot and a bed a fresh wood chips to snuggle up on and have a snooze. The door to this bright, clean stall is open. It’s obviously a horse stall (and an immaculate stall, at that!) The dog is free to come and go, but has found this to be a sweet quiet secret spot for a nap.

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Hundreds of people clicked “like”. However, I was surprised to see this image elicited a few critical comments, a sad reminder there are people who may see the world through rage-coloured glasses that do, indeed, change the things they look at.

I ask myself who could imagine this image depicts animal abuse or neglect anymore than a snapshot of solo dog napping on grass? Where is the basis for statements this depicts “a helpless animal confined from family and nature”? What reasonable person would shout “shame on the Stampede” “this photo is just sad” and say “this picture is just wrong”?

At the risk of being accused of wearing rose-coloured glasses, I am baffled at how anyone could choose to view this image that way. I choose to recognize the wisdom in Wayne Dyer’s words and pause to consider before jumping to conclusions. And I will dream wistfully of the smell of woodchips and a soft nap on a cold January morning.

 

 

 

Snowbird Bucking Horses

Twas the month before Texas and all through the pens,

All the horses were resting and frolicking with friends.

The halters were hung in the tack room with care

In the hopes that more titles would soon be there.

The broncs were relaxing and being well-fed

With dreams of tossing cowboys with each toss of their heads.

tossingcowboys

The holiday season was peaceful at the Stampede Ranch near Hanna, Alberta, where the herd of 600 horses is spread through various winter pastures and pens across the 22,000 acre ranch. A good blanket of snow bodes well for a good start to next year’s growing season and watering holes. Almost 75 mares are feasting and awaiting new foals in the spring. Young colts are growing up on the open range, free to run, buck, and learn from their elders as they are gradually introduced to halters, chutes and health checkups. The current stars of the pro rodeo circuit are enjoying some rest and relaxation in the off-season after posting incredible performances throughout 2013 across North America.

As the holiday season wraps up and folks get back to work, Stampede’s top bucking horses get back to work soon, too. But for these elite equine athletes, back to work means a return to warmer climates and green grass. Four dozen of the top bucking horses turn into snowbirds later this month, bound for the Texas rodeo run. Some 72 horses travel to Denver next weekend for the National Western pro rodeo, 48 of which then continue further south, bound for the sunshine of Texas. From late January to late March, these horses will be hanging out in the green pastures of the Lone Star State, with short shuttles to and from rodeo arenas for cameo performance appearances at big pro rodeos in San Antonio, San Angelo, Dallas and Houston.

Stampede Ranch 177

A new event shakes up the Texas routine for these snowbird bucking horses this year. Owing to the world-class strength and consistency of its Born to Buck breeding program, the Stampede has been invited to provide its top horse stars at an inaugural pro rodeo dubbed The American – a one-day, $1 million extravaganza rodeo being held in a football stadium in Arlington, Texas. This blow-out rodeo showcase could attract as many as 100,000 fans in a single day, putting Stampede’s best horses in the spotlight on the biggest stage of their careers.

This Texas circuit marks the first stage in a series of rodeos Stampede stock performs at this year. With a roster of hundreds of active pro rodeo bucking horses carefully managed to compete no more than about 10 times in a year, the Calgary Stampede showcases its stock at more than 120 performances in a year. Its stock trailers log more than 140,000 km annually (more than three times around the globe!). This all requires careful planning for the top care and comfort of our stock, welcoming pastures along the way, precise paperwork for crossing borders, and even a good understanding of preferred horse travel buddies.

kenrehill

We look forward to keeping up to date on the adventures and triumphs of Stampede’s top bucking stars as the season progresses.