On March 23-25, Canadian Horses appeared at the Northwest Horse Fair in Albany, Oregon for the 17th continuous year! The Northwest Horse Fair has been a major factor in re-establishing the Canadian Horse here in the northwestern U.S. (after an absence of more than a century), ever since we first appeared here in 2002 with the NW Cavalry Association. To date more than 40 Canadian Horses have appeared at the Fair. This year we continued showing the diversity in the breed, with one stallion, four mares, and three geldings; all colours (black, bay, chestnut, and palomino); heights from 14.2 to 16+ hands; ages from 9 months to 17 years; and a variety of disciplines.
Our Saturday demo was right between two headliner performances, which meant a big crowd. Our booth and aisle with 7 Canadian Horses in decorated stalls was one of the two most popular in the Horse Barn (along with the famous Black Pearl Fresians). Cold and rainy weather kept crowds down on Friday but on Saturday our aisle was packed much of the day. Our volunteers were kept busy answering questions! The horses were great breed ambassadors—most of them were quite friendly and welcoming to the constant stream of visitors. The youngest horse in our lineup, the 9 month old Canadian filly Electra, was a crowd favourite, always coming up to say hello.
The outdoor arena that we usually use for warmup was a lake due to heavy rains, so our horses literally had to go into the demos “cold.” As a result, a couple of them were a bit fresh and our Friday and Saturday demos didn’t go as smoothly as usual, yet we got lots of positive comments. No doubt because we have so much going on in our demos– driving, dressage, Cowboy Dressage, jumping/Working Equitation and Cavalry–that we noticed faults more than the public did. Visitors to our booth told us that they enjoyed the variety of disciplines/skills shown in our demos, and the historical information in our script. This year, we worked the history of the Canadian Horse in the U.S. into our script, to appeal to our American audience.
Kristina Eckert/Reindance Riding & Equestrian Services, also had her own booth on Stallion Row and showed the beautiful golden palomino stallion Amaro not only in our CHHAPS breed demo but also in the Stallion Showcase. Karen Bentley’s mare Manon was also in Working Equitation clinics. With daily breed demos, Stallion Showcase, and clinics, the Canadian Horse got plenty of exposure. And apparently we made a good impression, because the Canadian Horse demos were prominently mentioned in the NW Horse Fair’s post-event press release. The quality of our horses and the time and effort put into our displays and presentations made a great impression, and definitely won new fans for our beloved breed!
Below, our participants tell their own stories.
Our 2018 CHHAPS NW Horse Fair team (Horses and exhibitors):
- Canadian Farm Jerrycho Manon Karen Bentley (Driver), Kristina Eckert (Rider)
- Metistar Taj-Mahal Amaro Kristina Eckert
- LDR Poncho Wow-Factor Dawn Griffin-Garner
- Storybook Woodmont Yahtzee Trish White
- Marv-Ell’s Nikita Silk McKenzie Wong
- Storybook Kurt Una-Elite (“Luna”) Bett Kearl
- Cherry Creek Merit Rocco Ken Morris
- MLJ Royalty Electra Leona Jimenez
Photo: Trish White on Storybook Woodmont Yahtzee and Ken Morris (in cavalry uniform) on Cherry Creek Merit Rocco perform in Saturday’s breed demo at the Northwest Horse Fair.
Photo: Leona Jimenez and 9 month old filly, MLJ Royalty Electra in the breed demo. Leona writes: “I LOVE this baby. She took all new things in stride. It was her first outing without her momma and she even laid down to relax and sleep.”
Photo: Kristina Eckert and Metistar Taj-Mahal Amaro. The Canadian Horse appeared not only in the daily breed demos but Kristina and Amaro also performed in the Stallion showcase.
Photo: Kenzie Wong shows Marv-Ell’s Nikita Silk in-hand in the Saturday demo
Photos by Alise Lamoreaux, Dashing Tails Photography
“First my thanks go to Ken for all the work he has to do long before our event even happens. Despite a ‘successful’ back surgery last summer, this Expo made it incredibly clear how much help I now need in order to attend an event like this. Unfortunately, my planned helpers also had their own situations, and at the last minute the friends and family of CHAAPS members leapt to my help. Skylar Hunter came over to get half of my patio into the truck for the stallion booth, along with harness etc. My daughter Kristina and Dawn finished the rest the next morning. Trish White and her friend Pete sanitized the stalls for Manon and Wow Factor, and KC and Lennis’s granddaughters were willing to change Manon’s water, pick her stall, groom her, and give her LOTS of loves. Then I had help to get to hold Manon while I harnessed and hitched. (She did NOT want to stand still as she normally does). As part of our breed demo, I needed to do a complete tack change from driving harness to saddle and bridle for Kristina to demonstrate Working Equitation. (Big thanks to Rachel Thijssen who helped me with the tack changes!) Then to finish, I had help to get the cart back to the staging area. I am so used to being able to do this with the help of one person, but now there is NO WAY, I can do this without the help of a team! And I had just that. I am very grateful and humbled at everyone’s generosity in so many ways. Thank you EVERYONE. And the icing on the cake was our team’s performance on Sunday. Manon was not quite on her game on Friday and Saturday – but on Sunday she showed her style and so did everyone else. What more could I ask for…. WONDERFUL PEOPLE, WITH WONDERFUL HORSES!”
1) Karen Bentley drives Canadian Farm Jerrycho Manon in the initial part of our demo, in a drill with horses under saddle
2) … and after a quick tack change, her daughter Kristina shows Manon in Working Equitation in the same demo!
“I first discovered and fell in love with the Canadian Horse at the Northwest Horse Fair & Expo several years ago. At the time, I never imagined I would actually own a Canadian Horse or even be participating in breed demos with the CHHAPS team. However, this all became a reality when I purchased my first Canadian horse (Reindance Randy Contessa) and showed her in hand as a 2 year old at the 2017 Horse Expo. I was so amazed at the dedication and the passion that the team had for the Canadian Horses that when I was asked to be a rider in the 2018 Horse Expo, I simply could not pass up the opportunity! This came with a new set of challenges, but it was a challenge I gratefully accepted in order to help promote the Canadian horse! Of course, everyone on the team was super knowledgeable and supportive which gave me the confidence to do my best. I would like to thank Kristina Eckert & Vanessa Ulmer for allowing me to ride LDR Poncho Wow-Factor in this year’s expo. Wow is an amazing Canadian who challenged me as a rider but also helped me improve as well. I think the opportunity I had to work with and ride Wow will help me in the future for when my own filly is started under saddle. For that, I am honored to have ridden a talented horse like her. I would also like to thank the rest of the CHHAPS team for another amazing year at expo and I hope that there will be many more to come!“
–Dawn Griffin-Garner (Rhoads)
1) Dawn and Wow-Factor in our Saturday demo
“I wanted to thank the Oregon/Washington CHHAPS Demo Team and our wonderful helpers for a GREAT job at the Northwest Horse Fair in Albany, Oregon! Not only for all their hard work preparing for the Horse Fair and performing admirably in a high stress environment (thanks to cold and very rainy weather, we had NO outdoor warmup area to use before our demos started) but all the other things that go into putting on our daily demos and staffing our booth: exhibit transport and setup, takedown, ground crewing, night watch, staffing the booth, and spending countless hours talking to the public! The Canadian Horse attracts great people, and this year was no exception.
We couldn’t have done it without our helpers, including Kathleen and Lennis Robinson, Don and Jennie McGregor, and Trisha White’s friend Pete! Trish not only performed in the demos but kept us all supplied with hot beverages and food throughout the day and night. And thanks as always to CHHAPS for their generous sponsorship of our booth.
And I have to give special props to our newest team member Bett Kearl, who not only performed with her mare Luna (Una-Elite) in public for the first time, but seemed to spend all day on her feet talking to hundreds of visitors. She stepped in late in the game when another horse had to cancel, and I really appreciate the trust she put in me at the trainings, as I introduced Luna to group drill and flying the tarp. It was a little bittersweet for me because my beloved mare Priceless, whom I lost in 2014, used to fly the tarp in our demos, but it felt good that another brave little mare has stepped into her shoes.”
Photo: Luna (Storybook Una-Elite) ridden by Bett Kearl and Rocco (Cherry Creek Merit Rocco) ridden by Ken Morris fly the tarp
“I’ve taken my 10-year-old Canadian mare, Storybook Kurt Una-Elite (Luna), to a variety of venues – trail riding in the local woods, to the high-desert for a weekend of trail riding, to a fancy dressage barn for two days of showing, and to two Buck Brannaman clinics held locally. All were such fun! This year as a 63-year-old owner/rider I took Luna to our first Northwest Horse Expo in Albany, Oregon.
Instead of sleeping in her quiet, dark paddock with her miniature horse friend nearby, she spent three nights in a stall with continual light in a barn with dozens of other horses, including stallions. Our row of stalls was immediately adjacent to the bleachers of one of the arena venues. The speakers were close by, the clapping of the audience was jarring, and the multitudes of visitors to our stall aisle to see the horses and our booth was non-stop on Saturday.
Luna handled it all like a champ. During our breed presentation, Luna paired up with her new best buddy, Rocco, ridden by Ken Morris. Our talent was flying a tarp (Ken and I each held a corner of the tarp as we moved). Luna only had previous experience walking across a tarp, but with only a few weeks of practice with it over-head, she gave it her all. That didn’t mean she was unperturbed, but it does mean she tried really hard. The audience and group excitement made it a challenge. With guidance from our intrepid leader, Ken, I encouraged her tries, and ignored her fearful responses. By the third day, she even flew the tarp in front of the audience like a pro.
As the visitors wandered through our aisle to admire our group, I shared what I’ve learned over the past five years about Canadian Horses. I also learned a lot from the spectators, including how maple syrup is harvested (sometimes horses were involved) and processed.
Luna and I have become such a team trusting in each other, we now have one more experience to show that our trust is not misplaced.”