Would you like the world to know how great your Canadian Horse is, but you believe that your horse can never win a ribbon or a trophy because you don’t like to compete in horse shows? Or maybe you just compete for fun, because you haven’t the time to train hard enough to win? If you’re one of those people who’ve resigned yourself to never having an award to show for all you’ve accomplished with your Canadian Horse, give the CHHAPS Versatility Award Program a chance to prove you wrong.

At a CHHAPS recreational trail ride. Yvonne on Merit and Gilbert on Gina

The CHHAPS Versatility Award Program gives you points just for trying. Whether you enter Western, English, Driving, Games or Conformation classes at any horse show, you can earn points toward a CHHAPS Versatility Award. You say you don’t show at all, but you do belong to a club and go on their trail rides or join them for Gymkhana days? There are points for those activities, too. Do you ever go on a trail ride or a poker ride to raise money for a cause like the Children’s Wish Foundation? Do you show your Canadian Horse off at an information booth or in a “demo”? More points! Do you take lessons with him or take part in a clinic, does he help with rounding up cattle or other ranch work, or has your Canadian sired a foal or given birth to one? You guessed it! More points.

Stan Field and Bob Campbell using Gus for a packing demo.

The Canadian Horse Heritage & Preservation Society (CHHAPS) developed the Versatility Award Program because the club realized that while many Canadian Horse owners enjoyed their horses in a variety of non-competitive ways, they received little recognition for their efforts at breed promotion compared to those who competed in and won at shows. Canadians are prized for their versatility; they have many aptitudes and abilities and are often able to switch with ease from one activity to another. These versatile horses are ambassadors for the Canadian breed, and CHHAPS feels that they should be recognized for their efforts. The Versatility Award recognizes both the broad spectrum of capabilities of our members’ horses and their contribution to breed promotion.

Points may be earned in four main categories. Sample activities are listed on the CHHAPS website, but the lists of activities in each category are not exclusive. Points can be earned for:

  • Public appearances / Promotional events
  • Competitive activities
  • Non-competitive activities
  • Work related and personal activities

Once a year an owner (or lessee) records the horse’s points on an easy-to-use form and submits the form to the CHHAPS Award Programs registrar. Points NEVER expire and they stay with the horse if someone else later owns or leases him. They just keep adding up until the horse qualifies for a certificate (50 pts), a Bronze Medal (100 pts), or a Silver (250 pts). To earn a Gold (500 pts) or Platinum (1000 pts) medal, in order to demonstrate complete versatility a horse will have to be driven as well as ridden. The awards are announced each year at the CHHAPS AGM in October, and are presented in person or mailed to the winners.

A horse is eligible to participate in the Versatility Award Program if it is a purebred Canadian Horse and registered with the Canadian Livestock Records Corp. (Partbred Canadian Horses are also eligible if they have at least one registered Canadian Horse parent, and are registered with the CAN ID program. For more information on the CAN ID program, see the Canadian Livestock Records site: http://www.clrc.ca/equinecanid.shtml.) The horse owner/lessee must also be a current member of the Canadian Horse Heritage & Preservation Society (CHHAPS).

For complete information on the Versatility Award Program, check out the Versatility Awards page on the CHHAPS website. If you think the program is for you, sign up for a one-time fee of just $25. You can download the form and mail in a check or you can register online with PayPal. It’s easy and it’s fun, and gives you something to work toward with your Canadian Horse.

Come join the list of CHHAPS members who have worked their way up through the levels. No one has yet earned the Platinum Versatility Award. Will you be the first?

Note:  A huge thank you to CHHAPS members Susan Arthur and Lois Shaw for all their hard work in developing and maintaining the CHHAPS award programs, and putting together this article. For those of you who love to compete, the CHHAPS Performance Award program will be featured in a future post.


Past Versatility Award recipients up to Sept 2014 (highest level attained only)

Platinum: (none)

Ranch D-5 Vulcain Gamine with Richard Arthur
Cedar Hill Nimrod Luca with Robert Shannon and various riders
Delavoye Heros Phenom with Julie Hickie

Roval Xno Fancy with Jim and Yvonne Hillsden
Tanglewood Billy Molson with Alice Bourassa
BX Eloi Pretty Penny with Suzie Barrio

Hemi Noireau Fée-Lyne with Jim and Yvonne Hillsden
Cherry Creek Danzon Gina with Ruth Donald and Gilbert Roy
Gaudali Black Gyco with  Jen Waterston
L’Angelus Fardoche National with Betty Baxter
D D D-Cromwell Nico with Linda Flato
Hidden Meadow Adanac Nugget with Michelle Liggett
Bromont Loupin Prince with Betty Baxter
Willow View Dawn Nikko with Lois Shaw
Berthiaume Kurt Praline with John Hartley and various riders

It's Official: Status CRITICAL for the Canadian Horse
Member Profile: Double Diamond Canadians