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3 Canadians Among the 2017 AQHA Legacy Breeders

News Release: CQHA

2017 has been a very good year in terms of recognizing Canadian breeders of American Quarter Horses. This year, Gordon B. Mason of Killarney, Manitoba, Pat and Eddy Sparks of Taber, Alberta, and Donald A. Woitte of Clive, Alberta were invited to an AQHA Hall of Fame and Museum ceremony in Amarillo, Texas to accept their Breeder Legacy Awards for having registered at least one foal for 50 consecutive years. The Mason family was able to attend the ceremony Unfortunately the Sparks family and Woitte family were unable to attend due to health issues.

CQHA congratulates these pioneers in our industry and invites you to visit the history section of our website to view the Lists of Canadian AQHA Legacy Breeders over the years, in two categories: those who have registered foals for 50 consecutive years; and those who have registered foals for 50 cumulative years.

DONALD & IRENE WOITTE, CLIVE, AB, CA

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“The horse operation started as a hobby, but developed into a first-class business for my wife and myself,” he says. “We don’t have a large operation. It’s small compared to what most breeding operations are. At our peak, we ran about 45 horses a year – including about 20 broodmares – and now we’re down to about 15 horses, including eight broodmares. But we’ve done this a long time. We’ve bred about 800 mares during our 50 years in the business, some of them our own mares and some were outside mares.”

The Woittes call their operation Fintry Quarter Horses, named for a historic ranch that Don’s father cowboyed on near Kelowna, British Columbia. The first horse they registered under the name was Fintry Tom Cat, a 1967 sorrel stallion by Old Tom Cat. Horses that contributed to the Fintry program include Zella Hep, a 1954 mare by Leo’s full brother Tucson A that was out of Panita Lass by Little Joe The Wrangler, and she became the dam of AQHA Champion Jay Page and Leozella, a good show mare. Others were J A Bar Tango, a King Leo Bar mare who was the reserve junior performance mare in Alberta as a 4-year-old in 1972; and Fintry Miss Wimpy, Fintry Catechu Dan, Fintry Blue Ambrose and Fancy Partner, a Superior halter mare by Fintry Tom Cat who produced top-notch ranch horses.

Read more at the CQHA website: https://cqha.ca/history/legacy-breeders/18-cqha-history/132-legacy-breeders-woitte

PAT & EDDY SPARKS, TABER, AB, CA

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“When I first started attending rodeos in the late ‘40s, I was impressed by the horses that the timed-event cowboys were riding,” Eddy says. “They called them Texas Quarter Horses. Then, through the ‘50s, I broke and trained some of those horses for people who had acquired breeding stock from the States. A lot of those were by or descendants of Sleepy Cat, a son of Red Dog, that Jack Casement bred out of a Sheep mare. When I started calf roping at rodeos in the ‘50s, it was those kind of horses that I wanted to ride and use.”

Those horses also taught him what constitutes a really good horse.

“My ideal horse would be 15 or 15.1 hands, weighing around 1,100 pounds,” he says. “He has to have good withers and a short back, long shoulders and hips, a clean neck and a nice head with a big, soft eye. He should have good feet and legs, be low in the hocks with short cannons, with Size 0 shoes and well-rounded, dark hooves. Color is not really important, but I do not like too many white hooves.”

Read more at the CQHA Website: https://cqha.ca/history/legacy-breeders/18-cqha-history/131-legacy-breeders-sparks

GORDON B. MASON, KILLARNEY, MB, CA

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American Quarter Horses have long been a fixture in the lives of Gordon and Gladys Mason, pioneers of the American Quarter Horse industry in Canada.

The Masons established their farm when the breed’s popularity began to grow in their home province of Manitoba. At peak production, the Masons owned approximately 68 broodmares, a considerable growth from their 17-head herd in 1966. Since 2010, they have downsized significantly, and currently have one stallion and six broodmares.

Although the Masons stood 10 stallions during their 50 years of breeding, one sire – their first – was particularly influential in their program. Mr. Blackburn 49, a 1963 bay stallion by Poco Eagle and out of Lady Cowan by Blackburn, who was shown in halter and reining, laid the foundation for their operation, siring nearly 300 offspring.

Read more at the CQHA Website: https://cqha.ca/history/legacy-breeders/18-cqha-history/130-legacy-breeders-mason

Photos provided by the breeders’ families, Northernhorse & AQHA
Text Content provided by AQHA

Olds College Launches New Equine Reproduction Program

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September 28, 2017, Olds, Alberta – Olds College is introducing a new one-of-a-kind certificate program dedicated to equine reproduction. Launching in fall 2018, applications will be accepted October 1, 2017 for the new Equine Reproduction Technician (ERT) certificate program.

The first of its kind in Canada, the new ERT program is an eight month blended learning certificate program aimed at providing graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in or operate an equine breeding facility. The program combines four months of online learning with four months of onsite, hands-on training.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to offer specialized training for people interested in equine reproduction,” explains Dr. Marion Anderson, Equine Science Instructor, and instructor for the new ERT program. “This program will allow anyone who wants to own, operate, or work in a breeding or foaling facility to gain the skills and experience necessary to be successful. It will also open doors for students in the Equine Science program, as they will have the opportunity to take the new ERT program to follow up their studies and become certified in equine reproduction.”

Students will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the mare and stallion, as well as breeding management, maximizing fertility, and managing infertility. They will also study the anatomy of early pregnancy, maximizing and caring for periparturient mares, the stages of parturition and the care of the neonatal foal. Students will have the opportunity to participant in the commercial breeding and foaling operation at the College.

“There are a number of benefits to offering this program in a blended online and on campus format,” explains Dalin Bullock, Dean of Animal Science and Horticulture at Olds College. “This format will allow working professionals to take the online courses at convenient times. It also means that their careers and personal lives are impacted for a shorter timeframe.”

Along with the launch of the ERT program, the College has also made significant changes to the existing Equine Science program. Students will now be accepted into the program as either English or Western riders. During the first year, all students will take the same courses that will include basic information on husbandry, science, barn management, farm equipment operation, and breeding, in addition to daily riding courses.

The second year of the program is designed to give students the opportunity to tailor the program to their own interests. In addition to required courses, students will now have the option of choosing from a variety of elective courses including advanced riding, starting and training young horses, coaching, therapeutic riding, rehabilitation therapy, foaling, and driving the draft horse. Students interested in additional training in reproduction can also take the ERT.

“The Equine Science program at Olds College has developed a reputation for being a national leader in hands on equine training,” explains Bullock. “Thanks to the reputation of our program, we have successfully attracted some of the best instructors in the industry. Dr. Marion Anderson will be instructing the ERT certificate program, while Wendy Johnston, Dwayne McArthur, Fallon Rice, and Joanne Wright, along with newcomers Tara Lambie and Shawn Seabrook will oversee the Equine Science program.”

Olds College is home to the Canadian Equine Centre of Innovation, and one of the largest breeding programs in North America. More information on the new ERT certificate and the Equine Science Program can be found at oldscollege.ca/programs.

For more information contact
Randy Butler, Communications Advisor

Corporate Communications & Marketing, Olds College
P: 403.505.7717 | M: 403.396.6548 | E: rbutler@oldscollege.ca

Experience more: oldscollege.ca

Ranch Country Horse Sale Results

The 13th annual Ranch Country Horse Sale was held on September 9th in Maple Creek, SK. It was a fun and successful day with many quality weanlings, prospects, and broke ranch and rope horses on offer.

The 27 broke horses averaged $6411, with the top five bringing $10,750.

The high seller this year was a 2012 dun AQHA gelding consigned by Seth Abrahamson. CD Diamond Jay had been used for everything on the ranch, and was handy to sort and doctor on. Thank you to CW Livestock for purchasing this nice gelding for $12,500.

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The average of the 27 weanlings also on offer was $1031, with the high seller being a black stud colt sired by Just Plain Rockin, offered by Ken and Marg Perrin, selling for $1900. Thank you to Calvin and Susan Siegle for giving this colt a great home.

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We would like to thank everyone – consignors, buyers, bidders, volunteers, and friends – for their support of our sale and we hope you had a great day, and we hope to see you next year!

Photos courtesy of Terri Mason.

Weaning – Nobody’s Favorite Event

Weaning time. There comes a time when it needs to be done. None of the participants look forward to this. The mares make you feel guilty. The babies make you worry that they will get too stressed and do “something stupid” like crawling over a fence or not eat. Stressful time for everyone. Even the other horses in the herd dislike it.

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This year we were ahead of the game. The babies had been “on feed” (eating the hay and oats they would be getting when weaned) for a few weeks now.  Things were going well.

We always have great intentions of bringing the babies in everyday and separating them from their moms for a few minutes and giving them some of the second cut hay and oats they will be dining on when weaned. Usually all the fall work intervenes.

This year Josie, our oldest broodmare was having trouble keeping weight on. All the rest were plenty fat so we knew it wasn’t a food issue. Hauled her to the vet and got 3 loose teeth removed. Apparent injury.

Of course she needed extra feed to get her weight back up. She was also nursing a colt who could use a little extra fat too. So every day we would bring Josie and Levi in to eat some extra calories, specifically the nice second cut hay and some oats that were already in stock in preparation for weaning, a bit of senior horse ration and some oil.

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Laredo and Lucy, the other colt and filly figured out in a day or two that they wanted in there too. Josie is the boss mare and would be standing at the gate in the morning with 3 foals. No other horses dared push too close to Josie in the corner so it was a simple matter of opening the gate and letting them in.

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So we did an amazing job of getting the babies used to their new diet this year and were feeling pretty good about weaning time. They had become independent, so independent in fact that they would come and visit if I was working in the barn without their moms. They were coming home from the pasture with other herd members than the broodmares. They were ready. The weather was about to change. Best to do this deed in good weather.

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Decided to put Josie and the babies in the weaning pen for a few days or as long as Josie wanted to be there. They hadn’t been in this pen since they were tiny babies in the spring.

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They raced about happily.

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They climbed the mountain.

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Checked later. Pretty quiet. Lucy and Laredo were answering their moms’ calls but really pretty calm. We were already labeling this one of the best weanings ever.

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Maybe I should have been suspicious when I saw Laredo was buddying up to his “foster” mom but it was nice that everyone was settled in so nicely.

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Checked at dawn. Pretty quiet.

Went to feed after breakfast. Very quiet. Except for the slurping noises as the two foals who don’t belong to Josie were having breakfast. Yup Lucy and Laredo were lined up on each side of Josie sucking away while her own colt Levi stood in the background. She looked really proud about how well she could look after all her charges.

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Just what the old, underweight mare needed. More babies sucking her. Well, luckily the babies spent a good part of their time this summer being babysat by the yearling Oreo. She is really good to them. They like her. Pretty sure she isn’t going to like them sucking on her so they will actually get weaned. She is moving in and Josie is moving out.

Josie is demanding that we put her back with the colts and we are carefully slinking around the yard so she doesn’t see us. I feel like a kidnapper. LOL

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Mongol Derby 2017

The Mongol Derby 2017, featured in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s longest and toughest horse race, got underway August 9th. This is the 9th Derby and it features 13 men and 29 women from eight countries riding 1000km across Mongolia on semi-wild horses.

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By the day before the final battle to the finish line:

Of the 42 strong field that set out, 35 are still going in the 2017 Mongol Derby, the world’s longest, and errr, did we mention, toughest, horse race at 1000 kms across the Mongolian steppe. Continue reading “Mongol Derby 2017”

An Old Man & An Old Horse

I was looking through some photos for a new header for Northernhorse today when I came upon some photos from last summer of Dave and Buzz.

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Although Dave probably wouldn’t be still riding horses were it not for my passion for doing so, he likes them a lot. And, because he has kept riding all these years (mostly to be nice to me), he still really enjoys going for a nice quiet ride across the pasture. That and the fact he still has Buzz.

He will watch and help when I am schooling a young horse in the riding ring or halter training a youngster but has no interest to work on such things himself.

Lead departures are irrelevant to Dave. He never lopes. He doesn’t want to lope. He could care less about a “head set” just that the horse keeps an eye out for gopher holes along the trail. Continue reading “An Old Man & An Old Horse”