Apache – 1966 – 09/09/99
Apache and I were both volunteers for the Calgary Handicap Riding Association in the 80’s. When the program lost their government funding, they offered to give me Apache. I was so excited but at the same time was saying to myself – what does he eat. Apache was the best horse for someone like me who knew nothing. He helped build my confidence and definitely kept me out of trouble on more than one occasion. At the ripe old age of 33, he had run out of teeth and had to be euthanized. My wish would be that every beginner finds their “Apache”.

Muskat – 1984 – 06/17/08
Muskat was a lovely little flea bitten gray Arabian that I found advertised for free in the Bargain Finder in 1998. I know Arabs usually get a bad rap but I think it is because they are often smarter than their owners. Muskat was a reliable go to for friends and family who weren’t horse people. He and Peppy were the best of friends and when Muskat died suddenly of colic in 2008, it became obviously apparent that Peppy grieved.

Peppy San Poco – 06/12/83 - 10/30/09
Peppy San Poco was a gorgeous, spirited quarter horse the colour of a new copper penny. Peppy was highly energetic, dominant, aloof, and fearful – a challenging combination of personality traits for sure. Gord rode Peppy for many years in the Calgary Stampede Parade and many miles in the mountains but Peppy was rarely relaxed about it. It wasn’t until after Gord had retired Peppy that we started learning about the natural horsemanship philosophy. We have often said that we wish we had a “do over” with regard to Peppy – he would have been a much happier horse.

Gordie’s Favourite Dream (aka Nugget) – 05/03/00 - 07/18/12
A fellow we knew purchased Nugget while on a historical cattle drive down at CFB Suffield. Nugget was a stunning 4 year old black quarter horse that had only 1 speck of white on his bottom lip. Each spring Nugget would become dangerous and unpredictable and put his owner in the hospital. Nugget would then be sent to a trainer for a refresher and the trainers would recommend euthanizing him. I, on the other hand never had trouble with Nugget so after a couple years, I bought him and he became my primary riding horse. It took me a couple of years of owning him to recognize it was the early spring “high sugar” green grass that was making Nugget unmanageable but the rest of the year he was awesome. At the age of 10 Nugget developed arthritis in his front pasterns and after two years of trying various remedies, I made the painful decision to put him down at the all too young age of 12. I believe it was a combination of starting him as a two year old; and the conformation flaw of having very short straight pasterns.

Outback Jack – (aka Applejack) 03/16/92 – 01/06/16
Jack was the first horse I ever purchased, back in 1996, after retiring Apache. He was always the first horse to greet you at the gate; and was my guinea pig for much of my learning over the years. From carriage driving to barefoot trimming – Jack was always the one who stood patiently for hours while I learned and practiced whatever I was learning at the time. He was that friendly, patient, good ole’ boy that instilled confidence in beginners. After making a horrible mistake of using Grant McKinnon to trim teeth, Jack’s teeth took a nosedive and the last 3 years of his life we fed him mash twice a day. During those last years, Lisa was his person and cared for him right until the day we made the painful decision to euthanize him.

Cudas Dandy Fritz (aka Dexter) 04/22/06 – 03/05/16
Dexter had a troubled start and had become very skeptical of people. For some reason I was compelled to go meet him in the frigid month of January 2011. I found Dexter to be friendly and curious but definitely wary and could no longer be caught. Instinctively, I sat on the ground in his pasture and once I became small and demanded nothing from him, Dexter quickly came over and caught me. It only took a couple more visits to get him haltered and once I got him home, we never looked back. Considering his owner didn’t think he would ever be ridable, let alone reliable, Dexter exceeded my expectations and became my primary riding horse. He would even lay down to let me get on. Tragically, during a seemingly innocent demonstration, Dexter slipped in our barn and hit his head so hard on the asphalt that he never regained consciousness. To this day, I refer to Dexter as my heart horse as there was just a little something extra special between me and that little chestnut horse.