Deirdre Pickerell  and  Evergreen Gyco Montanna.  Photo: Cara Grimshaw

Deirdre Pickerell and Evergreen Gyco Montanna. Photo: Cara Grimshaw

When did you first discover horses? 

Although I rode a bit as a kid (e.g., summer trail rides) and always loved horses, I didn’t really “discover” them until later in life when my husband and I decided we wanted to buy a farm and have horses. It was a rather sudden, “we need to get out of the city” kind of decision; one that we have never regretted. We knew next to nothing but did know we wanted to have a rarer, more unique breed. We were blessed to have found Canadians.

When did you first meet Montana? 

We met Montanna when he was about 8 months old. We’d gone to a farm to see a 3 year old, but he had already sold. Similar to today, back then Canadians were in short supply, especially out west. We didn’t have a lot of options so, despite recognizing “green people shouldn’t have green horses” we bought all our horses as youngsters. Montanna came home when he was about 9 months old.

How long have you been training and competing with Montana? 

This should be an easy question, but there are so many layers that “it depends” is the best I can do; context is everything! Complicated horse + green rider has made for many challenging moments. However, I’d like to think we’ve both become the best versions of ourselves. Me especially . . . a more talented rider could likely have taken Montanna much farther. That’s okay though, the journey is what matters.

What is special about your partnership? 

Oh boy! I wish you could ask Montanna this; would so love to know what he’d say. I’d say what is most special is the hurdles we’ve overcome. Frankly, he terrified me when he was young; he got so big so fast and, when he “discovered girls” he got so difficult. We were too new to horses to understand how to manage it all. So, I didn’t ride him until he was about 6. We had some fantastic help so he was started and shown at local shows, including breed shows, by a local equestrian until I worked up the nerve to ride him myself. For all we’ve had to face, we’ve done it together, leading to something incredibly special. I’ll be forever grateful for all he has taught me.

 What has been your biggest challenge? 

Montanna is not an easy horse; he’s pressed his advantage many times, pushing me around and being the boss. At the same time, he’s needed a strong, confident, knowledgeable leader and I wasn’t always able to be that for him. We have been overcoming this challenge, growing a lot together, making each other better in the process.

What has been your biggest success? 

I’d like to think we haven’t had it yet. Montanna has forced me to be a better horsewoman, not just a good rider which was paramount, and I like to think Montanna is becoming the best he can be, due to our partnership. Stay tuned . . . you ain’t seen nothing yet.

 

Kimberley Beldham  and  Saguenay Eve Yukon Jospatriote aka "Patriote"

Kimberley Beldham and Saguenay Eve Yukon Jospatriote aka "Patriote"

When did you first discover horses?

I first discovered horses when I was 6 and living in Germany.  The neighbours down the road had Haflingers and Belgian work horses, and I remember being enamored with them.  I was constantly trying to lure them over to the stone wall fence with apples and desperately tried to throw a leg over - which I never succeeded in doing (probably for the best).  I started riding lessons when I was 8 years old - being raised in a military family we didn't have a lot of extra money, so I traded work at the barn for lessons.  I'm incredibly grateful I was able to "afford" horses in this way as it led me to fall in love not only with riding, but in caring for them.  I keep my horses at home and have been the sole caretaker for every horse I've owned.

When did you first meet Patriote? 

I met Patriote when he was 8.  He had recently been gelded and re-started to saddle.  I went to Canadream Farm and purchased a yearling colt who was sired by him.  MJ Proulx had just picked Patriote up from the trainer and asked if I wanted to take him for a spin.  I fell in love immediately and MJ decided to send him down to me in the US to show and sell.

How long have you been training and competing with Patriote? 

Since he was 8.  12 years!

What is special about your partnership? 

He's incredibly intuitive.  You think, he does.  He's easily the most comfortable horse for me to work, I trust him in every situation, he really is an extension of me.   I have literally done just about everything with him - just like my other Canadians, he's incredibly versatile and easy.

What has been your biggest challenge? 

Our biggest challenge was over coming "Non-Warmblood" stereotypes in the dressage ring. Patriote could put in a perfect test and score in the 60s. It was very frustrating. The subjective nature and politics surrounding the sport are what lead me to leave it. However, things are improving and Canadians competing now are starting to get the recognition they deserve. For me, the Canadians have proven to be superior mounted archery horses, possessing both a natural smooth canter and level-headedness.

What has been your biggest success? 

My greatest success with Patriote has been the attention he has brought to the breed.  MJ had wonderful foresight to know that having a horse competing in open competitions in the US would be a great highlight for the breed.  She trusted in our partnership and was incredible to work with.  Sadly, she's no longer breeding Canadians, as she produced some of the best offspring.  I have been fortunate to own or import for sale several of Patriote's progeny and current own his final foal "AsUWish".  It's been highly rewarding to be involved in our heritage breed, especially as a Canadian living in the US.  Having a little piece of home with me is wonderful.  I now own three Canadians and no other horses.  High point awards and accolades aside, my greatest success has just been in helping people learn about the breed and exploring the world on the backs of my beautiful boys.  

 

Storybook Prince-2 Xyder,  owned and ridden by  Callie Englund , Photo: MGO Photography. Team Silver 2018 NAYC. Third 2018 American Eventing Championships Preliminary Level.

Storybook Prince-2 Xyder, owned and ridden by Callie Englund, Photo: MGO Photography. Team Silver 2018 NAYC. Third 2018 American Eventing Championships Preliminary Level.

When did you first discover horses?

I first discovered horses when I was 9 years old when my mom started leasing a horse at a barn. My mom grew up riding horses but I grew up in the sitting. My mom wanted to start riding again and started leasing a horse at a barn that I then started to take lessons at!.

When did you first meet Xyder? 

I first met Xyder July of 2014. We had gone down to Storybook Horse Farm in Yoncolla OR to try two 4yo canadian horses but one was a stallion and since I was 11 at the time we tried the gelding, Xyder first. I immediately fell in love with him and knew he was the one and I didn't even want to ride the other horse because Xyder was perfect. He was then shipped down to me 2 weeks later as a 12th birthday present!

How long have you been training and competing with Xyder? 

Xyder and I have been together for 5 years almost. We did our first recognized three day event in May 2015. It both of ours first ever recognized and we have been competing together ever since.

What is special about your partnership? 

Xyder and I have grown up together and learned the ropes of eventing together. Everyone thought my mom was crazy for buying her 12yo daughter a 4yo green horse but from the beginning he was always level headed and we just clicked. In eventing you have to have a good partnership with your horse and trust each other, especially for the upper levels. As Xyder and I moved up the levels, our trust got even stronger. Because he is not the typical upper level event horse, with his pony strides and short compact body with no thoroughbred blood in him, it would be impossible to compete at this level without the trust Xyder and I have. This had created a special partnership that has made us successful in upper level eventing.

What has been your biggest challenge? 

Along the way Xyder received a lot of doubt of his ability because of his size and build – he’s a compact 15.1hh light draft build typical of the Canadian breed. We had some people wanting him to go like a taller, leaner horse and not the horse I had which made competing more difficult and frustrating. I soon learned that it was all about riding the horse you have and it immensely improved our performance. It was difficult for me sometimes when I felt like no one really believed in us but we broke that barrier.

What has been your biggest success? 

Our overall biggest success was qualifying and competing at the 2018 North American Youth Championships in Kalispell, MT. This is also known as the Jr. Olympics of eventing. This was an important success for me because we worked harder than we ever had trying to qualify. Xyder and I went down to Temecula, CA to work for and with Tamie Smith. At the beginning the shows weren't going as well as I had hoped and I started to doubt if we were going to be able to do it. But with lots of hard work we got our 4 qualifying preliminaries and completed the CCI* (now called CCI**-L) at Twin Rivers in April 2018 only adding 1.2 time penalites to our dressage score making it qualifying for NAYC and the highest placed young rider. Then we were lucky enough to represent area vii at NAYC where Xyder tried his heart out! We are currently planning on heading back to Rebecca Farms this year to be on the 2019 NAYC CCI**-L team!