Category Archives: Equine

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

YEE-HAAAW! TORONTO JOURNALISTS COWBOY-UP TO LAUNCH THE CALGARY STAMPEDE’S 2016 MEDIA CAMPAIGN

Last night I had an absolute blast with the folks from the CALGARY STAMPEDE and their local PR reps, Immedia PR at the Boots & Bourbon Saloon on Queen St East. All us city-slicker media types had a hoot’n’hollering good time pressing the flesh with all the cowboys, rodeo queens, the beautiful and charming Indian Princess and marketing representatives of the “greatest show on earth” taking place out west this July. 20160428_174224So nice to be greeted at the front door by such pretty cowgirls (above) who were all well-versed in the history of Canada’s premiere outdoor western festival. I brought along my singer/songwriter friend Laura Rock (www.lrockmusic.com) who immediately became a fan of country music!!20160428_180430The drinks and food were simply outstanding! The catering was handled by Good Son Restaurant as well as Boots & Bourbon’s own team, and the mouthwatering BBQ treats would satisfy even the most jaded old trail hand. They were all served by the cutest waitresses and bartenders. Ladies, you looked after us so well, thank you, and the massive buffalo cheesy balls (2nd pic) were incredible….yummmmmm20160428_183007 20160428_180159(0) 20160428_180007Lots of great photo opps with all the Stampede celebs and mgmn’t….here I’m flanked by (LtoR) bullrider Kynan Vine plus dancer, language keeper, traditional storyteller and cultural presenter Treffrey Deerfoot and chuck wagoneer extraordinaire Mark Sutherland.20160428_181118I participated in the event social media challenge, hashtagging all my Instagram pics and videos…whew, that was exhausting, but I was thrilled to see Likes and Follows from as far away as Texas, Florida, California and even Mexico!20160428_175935I was particularly excited to see that a Ft. Worth boot designer liked this pic I snapped of our lovely Indian Princess’s stunning hand-tooled boots…what do you think of them?20160428_194116Even shots of the Boots & Bourbon interior garnered lots of social media attention…20160428_17452220160428_183032We were all a little nervous about seeing the mechanical bull set up…no, don’t make me get on. I wouldn’t last 2 seconds let alone 8, especially after a couple of drinks…yikes!  Fortunately it disappeared before the intro’s and official announcements were made. Whew!20160428_182933Everyone was excited to hear the entertainment line-up at this year’s Stampede, especially these folks from Budweiser who were particularly impressed with the announcement of Aaron Pritchett as one of the musical guests.20160428_192212 20160428_192446The entertainment was provided by The Washboard Union band who had everyone up on the dancefloor…20160428_193319

I followed (stalked?) sponsor Jonathan Welsh of Banff Trail Riders through the crowd….great jacket!20160428_193449I then ran into one of my fave reality TV hosts Kevin Brauch (formerly The Thirsty Traveller, from back when reality tv really was fun and entertaining!). Kevin (below) had received his souvenir white Stetson earlier and had spent time “decorating” it for the event….LOL20160428_184853 20160428_185433…and I loved all the cowgirl fashion. When I was little, all I wanted to be when I grew up was a cowgirl. These ladies are lucky to be living MY life…grrrrr20160428_182257 20160428_182304After all the western fun, food and friendship, Laura and I rode the rails (subway rails, that is) home. I’m sure we scared a few fellow riders with our antics. LOL!!

20160428_200842 20160428_200915And when I walked in my front door I just had to share my adventure with my own western compadres….20160428_202336 20160428_202422Check out some of the goodies in my gift bag…20160428_202642Thank you to EVERYONE involved in presenting such a fun media launch. If you’ve never been to the Calgary Stampede before, this is the year to go. All details can be found at www.CalgaryStampede.com and please visit their sponsor sites, too.

Banff trail Riders  www.horseback.com

Alberta’s group of Fairmont Hotels:  www.Fairmont.com 

Boots & Bourbon Saloon: www.bootsbourbon.com

The Washboard Union band: www.thewashboardunion.com/

Jelly Modern Donuts:  www.jellymoderndoughnuts.com

Immedia PR: www.immediapr.com

Blog title photo courtesy of Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Shane Kuhn

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

Photo Credit: Chris Bolin/ Calgary Stampede

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh

Bruce Lawes- Partners (web file) SRGB watermarked

I WANNA BE A COWGIRL! ARTIST BRUCE K. LAWES COMPLETES ANOTHER STUNNING EQUINE PORTRAIT

Is this not the coolest cowgirl painting ever? Yes, this is a painting… not a photo. I must say it brought back many happy horsey memories of my own youth, spending hours in the saddle and in the barn with ponies and horses at the local riding stables back home in Australia.

Internationally renowned artist Bruce K. Lawes has just completed this 18″ x 13″ oil on linen painting of a girl and her horse titled “Partners” in time for The Great American West art show and sale at the Settlers West Gallery in Tucson, AZ. taking place Nov. 21st.  http://www.settlerswest.com/html/gaw.html

So if you need to feed that inner cowgirl (or boy) soul, check out Bruce’s brand new website for more details of this and other horse paintings. “Partners” will soon be available for sale as a Limited Edition print – but why not sign up for Bruce’s e-newsletter and you could actually WIN a print of “Partners” or other Limited Edition prints (see samples below) as Bruce will be drawing a name each month from his subscription list to win a Limited Edition print of your choice, valued at US$195.00.   http://bklawesart.com/a-pryor-engagement gypsy-blu-sunrise in-the-ready

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Bruce Lawes- On a Cloud

AWARD-WINNING ARTIST BRUCE K. LAWES LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE WITH GREAT PRINT GIVE-AWAY

Congratulations to Bruce K. Lawes who has just launched a gorgeous new website via the US-based Fine Art Studio Online (FASO), artists’ web template company.  http://bklawesart.com/

I’ve worked with Bruce over the past 2 years and have witnessed his portfolio expand with commissioned portraits of beloved horses, commemorative Civil War scenes and historic re-imagining, canvases capturing African endangered species, stunning fall and winter landscapes….but this little cowgirl is always pulled towards his horses – the shaggy mustangs, the fancy dressage steeds, and the craggy rugged western range themes. the-power-of-one close-encounters

marmot-basin-on-high master-of-his-domain a-pryor-engagement paint-over-timeI asked Bruce to share his experience using FASO to launch his new website with my readers as I know there are a lot of painters and sculptors out there whose own sites need a serious upgrade in order to compete in the highly volatile art markets around the world, and here is what he said…..

Your new site looks absolutely stunning, Bruce – can you tell me about FASO and how easy it was to use/upload (as a non-tech person)?  I’m very pleased with the new website as I feel it’s easy to navigate and shows the art in my portfolio very well, and it offers e-commerce for my prints. FASO is dedicated to artists’ websites and truly assists the artist to showcase an exceptional representation of their work with ease and at a very reasonable price. The initial setup is a long process of uploading image after image, however, the individual process is made so easy to upload and place in each collection. If you have any problems FASO’s superb customer service techs are not only prompt, knowledgeable and courteous, they are available almost 24/7!shades-of-blues-and-graysHow important is it for artists to have a site that looks current and “responsive” (readable on smartphones & tablets as well as computers) and offers interactive elements like sales and newsletters?  For any artist, their website is paramount to their success. The ability to carry around your portfolio on your cell phone is invaluable. I’ve had many situations in casual settings where an opportunity to show potential collectors/buyers your work presents itself and out comes the cell phone. You never know who may be interested at any time. For those who know my work, the ability the website has to send out my monthly newsletter allows me to share my journey with my collectors on a more personal level. In fact, if you sign up to receive my e-newsletter “Bruce’s Monthly Palette”, you could be eligible to win a Limited Edition print of your choice valued at US$195.00. Each month, I will randomly pick a name from the list of subscribers and that lucky person will receive a print as a special thank you for joining my online gallery. Below are just a few of the Limited Edition prints from which you may choose.12113537_10156151524280154_2167750672140814310_oSince uploading all the pictures and text content, how much more can you do with your new site than before?  The new site not only allows me to do all that I’ve already mentioned but also the ability to merge with my Facebook and other social media networks plus enter monthly FASO art contests where winners are introduced to FASO’s email list of over 50,000 art enthusiasts! Overall I could not be happier.custer-before-the-storm

As Bruce says, FASO is a great website creation & promotional service for artists of any level and having worked with Bruce on his new website, I, too, can recommend their ease of use and their patient, caring customer service (great for non-techies like myself). So if you’re an artist looking to create a more competitive sexy site, you MUST visit http://faso.com/

And don’t forget to visit Bruce’s website and sign up for his monthly e-newsletter…you could be the next WINNER of a Limited Edition print. FYI: Bruce does not share your contact info with 3rd parties.

http://bklawesart.com/

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CALL FOR ENTRIES: URBAN GALLERY TO HOST EQUINE PHOTOGRAPHY SHOW DURING NEXT YEAR’S “CONTACT PHOTO FESTIVAL”.

My friends down at URBAN GALLERY (400 Queen St East, Toronto) are putting out a “call for submissions” for next year’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival (May 2016) so they’re looking for professional or semi-pro  photographers and emerging photographic artists to submit photos of horses, ponies, donkeys, mules…even zebras!…for next year’s city-wide festival.logoDeadline is Sept. 30th so hurry up and email Calvin at Urban Gallery (urbangalleryart1@gmail.com) for fest info and eligibility. Am sure you can do better than my efforts (below)…LOL

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Bruce Lawes- Lincoln sculpture in progress (smaller file) (1)

BRUCE K. LAWES RECREATES A MOMENT IN AMERICAN HISTORY WITH NEW LINCOLN PORTRAIT

I’ve had the honour of working closely with award-winning artist BRUCE K. LAWES for the past couple of years, helping raise awareness of his extraordinary talents, especially in the areas of equine portraiture and large scale Civil War historical re-imaginings.  His superb equine paintings are sought after by international art collectors and he has been commissioned for portraits by horse owners, breeders, mustang rescue groups, Olympic equestrians and racehorse trainers, as well as multi-national corporate clients.

Bruce Lawes- On a Cloud Bruce Lawes- With Grace

the Cloud portrait  Into the Light with BruceSince 2013, Bruce has attended the annual Battle of Gettysburg re-enactments each 4th of July long weekend, painting from his artist’s tent overlooking the battlefield. His work has been featured in both Union and Confederate-themed news as well as local Pennsylvania media, and last year he was featured in a CNN TV report on the 150th anniversary of the famous battle. His resulting portrait of a young Geo. Armstrong Custer (below) joining in the infamous Pickett’s Charge went to auction at the Coeur d’Alene auction of fine art in Reno, Nevada last July and quickly got snapped up by a Civil War art collector. Bruce’s other battlefield paintings have also done extremely well with Gettysburg aficionados.

Lawes_-_Custer__Before_the_Stormphoto 1Next month (on July 25th) Bruce’s work once again goes under the hammer at the Coeur d’Alene where his latest Civil War painting, A New Birth of Freedom (pictured below) a 50” x 40” oil on linen portrait of Abraham Lincoln pondering a brief speech he had just written to be delivered the next day at Gettysburg (now known as The Gettysburg Address), is anticipated to create quite the buzz in the American historical and museum communities.

A New Birth of Freedom - B.K.LawesI recently spoke with Bruce who told me about his creative process, the genesis of his Lincoln portrait and the prestigious endorsement he just received from leading Lincoln expert and award-winning author, Gabor Boritt*

What was you experience like last year at the Coeur d’Alene and what/who introduced your work to the prestigious auction?
BKL: As 2014 was my first time in this internationally renowned auction and, with a relatively untested subject matter for me (George Armstrong Custer) which I felt was done well, the unknown of whether anyone else felt the same was very nerve racking. When I first arrived in Reno, Nevada, the day before the auction and met the gallery and auction representatives, my worry vanished very quickly; they confirmed there had been a lot of interest in my painting and that the owner of the Texas Rangers baseball team was one notable individual who was going to be bidding on my painting.

Bruce Lawes- Custer composite of painting (1)Did the positive response to your Custer portrait inspire you to explore more historical re-imagining of Civil War milestones or personalities?
BKL: The response to Custer certainly made it desirable to explore other possible historical ideas for a painting that may intrigue a collector.

What first drew you to the Lincoln/Gettysburg Address subject?
BKL: My interest in Lincoln, as with many other people, is his persona and his accomplishments as the most revered President in American history. The significance of the date 2015 is that it represents the 150th anniversary of his assassination, and the Gettysburg Address being the most significant speech in the rebirth of America during the Civil War made it an important subject to paint.

You were given a lot of assistance with the actual location for the painting – the David Wills home – can you tell me who supplied photos and narrative descriptions in order for you to place Lincoln in an authentic setting?
BKL: While consulting my friend J. David (JD) Petruzzi**, award winning Civil War author and historian, as to how to portray Lincoln in a unique authentic setting, we discussed the David Wills House (pictured below) where Lincoln stayed the night before delivering his Gettysburg Address. With the creative and historical minds working together, my decision was to paint him the day before the Address (this painting) and in a second painting showing him during the day of the Address (I’m currently working on that one). The problem that I was faced with was an authentic reference for the bedroom Lincoln stayed in at the Wills house. Fortunately, the house was designated as a museum and the whole house and surrounding buildings in the Square have been maintained as they were back in 1863. JD and his partner, Lincoln historian Cindy Mullins, being from Pennsylvania, they kindly offered to travel to Gettysburg and take reference photos of the bedroom with the guidance of my mental sketch or vision.

Wills House 3

You first sculpted a clay bust of the President in order to commence work – how did this help you? Can you explain your painting process?
BKL:  As the photography of the day was poor quality and in black and white, I decided to sculpt Lincoln’s bust in order to position him in a pose that best suited my idea and I could also cast the light source accurately to show where shadows would have fallen. I used this 3-D model just as if the President was there in front of me posing for a portrait.

photo 1 photo 2Will that bust also be for sale at a later date?
BKL: Originally I thought I may cast it in bronze but that has not been decided yet…

In your mind, who would be the ideal buyer of this Presidential portrait, and why?
BKL:  Ideally, I would like the buyer to be a public gallery in order to be seen by the masses so as to continue Lincoln’s legacy – that we may continue to learn from our past mistakes and successes.

museum 3Apart from this unique Lincoln painting, what other projects are you working on and at what upcoming shows and sales will your work be featured?
BKL:  I am presently working on my painting for the Jackson Hole, WY, auction (www.trailsidegalleries.com) that will be very different from the Lincoln project, as the subject matter this time is wildlife. Also, with the recent history being made with Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, one of my galleries wants me to paint all three jewels in the crown, so keep watching out for my next creation.

Bruce has received prestigious endorsements for his painting from two leading Lincoln experts :

“President Abraham Lincoln placed the finishing touches on his address on November 18, 1863, the evening before the dedication, while in this second floor bedroom of the David Wills home on Gettysburg’s town square.  Lincoln is depicted here at one window overlooking the square, deep in thought as he reviews his papers of simple yet forever poignant words that will come to represent America’s painful process of rebirth during the Civil War. Bruce Lawes’ marvelous and thought-provoking painting captures the beloved 16th president in a timeless way never achieved by any artist”. J. David Petruzzi, Award-winning Civil War author and historian

“Abraham Lincoln has been studied by historians for over a century and, not surprisingly, many choose to focus on the Gettysburg Address just as I did in my book, “The Gettysburg Gospel”.  On November 19th, 1863, there were thousands of people waiting to see and hear Lincoln. Some stayed up all night raising quite the ruckus. But in the morning, when the President looked from the Wills House where he stayed, he saw the respectful crowds. And today, in 2015, we have at last found a painter whose artistic skills and talent match that moment in history. Bravo, Bruce Lawes!”  Gabor S. Boritt, Emeritus, Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies, Director of Civil War Institute, Chairman of the Board of The Lincoln Prize

So readers, I encourage you to log on to the Coeur d’Alene website to see this year’s auction offerings (some are expected to sell for well over $1million) http://www.cdaartauction.com/ and please visit Bruce’s own site (currently being re-designed) at www.bklawesart.com   You can also follow Bruce on www.Facebook.com/BKLawesart

Bruce is represented in the U.S. by Settlers West Gallery http://www.settlerswest.com/(AZ) and Trailside Galleries http://www.trailsidegalleries.com/ (AZ & WY)

Good luck, Bruce, we can’t wait to hear how well Abraham Lincoln did in Reno!

*Gabor S. Boritt, Emeritus
Robert C. Fluhrer Professor of Civil War Studies, Director of Civil War Institute and Chairman of the Board of The Lincoln Prize.
http://www.boritt.com/gaborboritt.htm
His newest book for young people: “The Will of God Prevails, Meditations on God and the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln”illustrated, $9.95 is available from Amazon.com

** J.David Petruzzi
http://jdpetruzzi.com/

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I TURN INTO “MUSTANG SALLY” AT HOTDOCS SCREENING OF “UNBRANDED”

I always wanted to be a cowgirl, ever since I watched my first Roy Rogers tv show. And I love it when I get a chance to live out my fantasies…like when I pretended to be Annie Oakley as a 5yr old, getting my first pony, or my visit to Fort Worth, TX in the 90’s where I hung out with rodeo cowboys and the real Texas Rangers (below).

Li'l sharp shooter Riding on her pony Texas Ranger in Ft.WorthOne of the joys of writing for The Rider, a Canadian equine newspaper is that I get to read books, listen to music and watch movies all about cowboys! Today I watched a brand new horsey documentary called UNBRANDED that was having its world premiere at the HotDocs Festival.   Talk about serious cowboy overload!

home-slider-slide-2This gloriously shot film features four young Texas cowboys: Jonny Fitzsimons, Tom Glover, Ben Thamer, and Ben Masters whose idea the mega-ride was and the leader of this once-in-a-lifetime adventure through several States starting at the US/Mexican border all the way up to the Canadian border.

“Unbranded” started with cheap tequila and greasy enchiladas in one of the few places in the world where you can find people crazy enough to ride a horse for thousands of miles—Texas A&M University. Ben Masters.

A camera crew mounted on horseback themselves followed the guys  through every laugh, every disagreement, every runaway horse incident and the occasional tear or two. Director & cinematographer Phill Baribeau (below) has delivered a superb piece of filmmaking, employing dynamic camera angles and overhead shots via drones that show the vast expanse of prairies & deserts, mountain pastures, cliff faces, rivers….and the Grand Canyon in ways few of us have or will ever see. And the mustangs made it over all of these!

home-slider-slide-5The long-standing conflict between the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), private ranchers, wild horse preservation societies and animal rights activists threads through the documentary, and the issues are dealt with by the filmmakers in a very balanced presentation. All sides of the argument for wild horse open ranges vs. cattle/sheep grazing rights, public access and recreational use of the land the cowboys ride through are shared. We learn about wild horse population stats, we hear intelligent opinions and logical options for land mgmn’t & usage via sympathetically inserted interviews, never losing the main storyline of the ride as we get to know the cowboys and each of their horses….and one cute little burro called Donquita.

UNBRANDED is currently looking for a North American theatrical distribution deal but those in Toronto can attend the final HotDocs screening on Sat. May 3rd @ 10:30am (see the HotDocs website for tickets) but you can see the trailer and meet the cowboys and their horses on the official website: http://unbrandedthefilm.com/

In the interim, here are some great pics I grabbed from today’s screening and watch for my film review in next month’s www.TheRider.com

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20150426_152801Above: the fimmakers were treated like rockstars after the screening with lots of new fans flocking to the front of the theatre, wanting to say howdy and get an autograph.

20150426_153916Above LtoR: director Baribeau, producer Dennis Aig and horse wrangler & cowboy poet Val Geissler pose for post-screening photo opps.  and below, are joined by cowboy star Ben Masters to frame their poster.

20150426_154004Below, I get hog-tied by Val as Ben, Phill and Dennis look on nervously, and Ben’s dad records the event for the family photo album.

20150426_153941 20150426_154139Follow UNBRANDED’s Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/unbrandedthefilm/

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GIDDY-UP AND DANCE! ODYSSEO HORSES MESMERIZE AT MEDIA DAY

Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the media preview of Cavalia’s “ODYSSEO” show featuring 70+ horses and dozens of riders, trainers and gymnasts performing under the big top down in Toronto’s portlands.

20150407_132204 20150407_132420We all crammed into the press area and pulled out cameras and spent 55 minutes clicking and rolling as the horses jumped, galloped, and danced to haunting live music, many horses working without reins or any sort of tack – it was amazing to watch how gently and calmly the trainers worked with them.

20150407_133420 20150407_133835(0) 20150407_134020There are many vignettes featuring medieval style dressage (above), and energetic cowboy rough-riding (below) demonstrated….

20150407_135340 20150407_135445 20150407_135703It was difficult to capture the fast galloping trick riders (above) but soon the mood changed once again….

20150407_140127 20150407_140145Wow….they filled the giant arena with water, turning the scene into a beautiful waterfall pool where the horses danced like 4-legged water sprites.

20150407_140815 20150407_140910 20150407_1409273 years ago, I attended Odysseo when the show first came to town. But on Tuesday, I still got the chills watching these breathtaking beasties charge around, perfectly choreographed. Congratulations to Artistic Director Normand Latourelle for maintaining such a high standard of professionalism and inspiration. And bravo to all the creative team, the riders and trainers, the musicians and the beautiful vocalist who brought the “middle earth” vibe,  and those astounding gymnasts who jumped, bounced, climbed around the arena with such energy and gusto.

20150407_141402 20150407_141424Equine artist, Bruce K. Lawes (http://bklawesart.com/) came with me to shoot additional photos and he was in horse heaven!

20150407_143154 20150407_143513 20150407_143225 20150407_143211Local horsewoman, Amanda from Mississauga, rode in the show, too. (below)

20150407_142245And here’s the amazing trainer who worked with 12 “free” horses earlier in the show.

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20150407_133219So if you love horses, if you enjoy theatre, if you’re passionate about dance – you MUST visit ODYSSEO while it’s here in Toronto. The show has already been extended for another two weeks so check your newspapers or visit their website for show times and ticket information: http://cavalia.net/en/odysseo/tickets-info/toronto-can

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I GOT MY GIDDY-UP GOING & WENT TO CAN-AM HORSE EXPO!

A beautiful, sunny Good Friday dawned early as I headed up to the Markham Fairgrounds north of Toronto to hang with all the horsies, courtesy of publisher Barry Finn (pictured below) of The Rider newspaper and Barnmice.com. The annual Can-Am Equine Expo features stars from the horse world such as horse-whisperer Guy McLean (my Aussie mate) and his four-legged friends, Amber Marshall, star of Canada’s most successful teen/young adult TV series Heartland  and the Encore Trick Riders along with leading clinicians and champion equestrians.

20150403_112349 20150403_111611 20150403_111036Needless to say, one has to start the day off with a fully tummy so I grabbed a bacon, egg & cheese sandwich from the friendly folks in the show cafe (below).

20150403_100158I started off walking thru the various vendor barns and met up with old friends from The Edge (below) http://theedgeup.ca/index.html a super blue-green algae supplement that promotes wellness & nutrition.

20150403_102359 20150403_102407Also ran into Sarah Bohan from KOOL Designs who makes fashionable & functional totes, purses, wallets (pictured below) from recycled animal feed bags. http://on.fb.me/1FrKTDD

20150403_103739 20150403_103806 20150403_103812I hit the Dirt Road Denim store pretty darn quick for western fashions and bling…boy those cowgirls know their sparklies!  http://www.dirtroaddenim.com/

20150403_100236 20150403_100659I was suddenly blinded by the Bling It Girls booth (below) with lots of shiny conchos, earrings, belts & buckles. Annie Oakley would be proud! http://blingitgirls.com/

20150403_101626 20150403_101639 20150403_101643Wanna get your boots buffed? Best place is the Leather Better crew who did such a great job, I was tempted to ship them ALL my boots and shoes.

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The ladies “manning” the booth at Equine Guelph (www.EquineGuelph.ca) were happy to pose for a few snaps, especially as they have a new horse health tracker App to promote to all horse owners. And if you see a horse in distress or being abused, they encourage you to call the OSPCA hotline: 310-SPCA or report online at www.ontariospca.ca

20150403_100759 20150403_100902The Ontario Equine Federation (below) was well represented, too, and they gave away copies of their wonderful magazine, Whoa!  https://horse.on.ca/

20150403_101316 20150403_101322We all love farmers, right? Without them, we wouldn’t eat and neither would our wee beastie companions. Check out the Ontario Federation of Agriculture website and support Ontario farm families.  http://ofa.on.ca/

20150403_101433Speaking of good works, the ladies from the Cdn Breast Cancer Foundation handed out Easter treats to the crowds coming thru the entrance, along with information.

20150403_101832 20150403_101843Did you know Cavalia is bringing back its stunning Odysseo show to Toronto? I’ll be covering media day events next Tuesday so you can read more on my blog next week. http://www.cavalia.net/en/odysseo

20150403_102016I met the lovely lady from the Horse Country Campground, a 5,000 acre wilderness property in the Ottawa Valley that offers riding vacations, camping and trail rides. She told me all about the tons of choices and great family-friendly prices so check their website for all the horsey things you and your family can enjoy there. www.horsecountrycampground.com

20150403_102612I then met my new BFFs, Deb and Danielle (below) from Pony Express Girls, Canada’s only equine-themed subscription service that delivers a box of hand picked premium products for you & your pony every month. You can spoil your horse with items from the best grooming products to gourmet treats plus goodies for humans, too!  http://www.ponyexpressgirls.ca/

20150403_102901 20150403_102908 20150403_103453The PEGs were kind enough to give me one of their sample boxes which included a great grooming brush, a pair of horsey socks (cashmere ones, too!), a big pack of apple treats that I passed on to a young friend who had just acquired a new pony (and she squealed with delight saying her new stable mate just loves apples), also there was a pretty silver purse charm, a fabulous avocado-based hand lotion “for barn hands” (it worked immediately on my dry winter elbows) plus a stunning, silky dark blue scarf decorated with cute red foxes. Thank you, D&D.

20150403_102441 20150403_102454The Country Girl Canada booth was hosted by the cutest young ladies (below) who were so enthusiastic about their fashions and accessories.  http://on.fb.me/1GT3n1C  Don’t ya just love ’em?

20150403_104032 20150403_104048As many of you know, I’m a big supporter of local artists but this one really amazed me – horse painters. Yes, actual horses painting on board and canvas. Wow!

20150403_104505 20150403_104617_001 20150403_104515Winsong Farm hosted a whole herd of painters and I found one horse, Kai, in the barn hard at work painting another masterpiece (below)  www.winsongfarm.com

20150403_110755 20150403_110841 20150403_110808RODEO! Yeehaaa….I love rodeo and I used to do promotions with the Ontario Rodeo Assoc. back in the 90’s. Great to reconnect and say howdy. www.ORArodeo.com

20150403_104957 20150403_105011The talented sculptor, Ann Clifford, displayed many of her beautifully cast “trophy” pieces and well as showcasing illustrations of her large format corporate and commissioned pieces (below)  www.acliffordsculpture.com

20150403_105818If you enjoy the sport of kings, here’s Racing Under Saddle Ontario – below. Check the website for races near you  www.rusontario.com

20150403_105924 20150403_105931Now into the barns and main show ring to watch Guy McLean, horse whisperer extraordinaire! probably the most popular special guest at the show; as I walked around the ring, I heard all sorts of ooo’s, aaah’s and complimentary comments from the audience. Nice to know my Aussie mate’s horsemanship is so well received and appreciated. He’s a great ambassador for horses and DownUnder  http://www.guymcleanusatour.com/

20150403_111249 20150403_111611 20150403_120211 20150403_120301Check out some of the breeds showcased today…gorgeous horses…I so want one but I doubt I could pee-pad train a Clydesdale for my downtown apartment, eh? LOL. First, here’s a miniature horse going thru his paces, and a Clydesdale called Spencer who was so gentle and sweet.

20150403_112745 20150403_113251 20150403_113320Then the Icelandic horses…wish I had their hair! www.onicehorsefarm.ca

20150403_113359Then the Kiger mustang (below)  www.clearviewkigers.com

20150403_113640And a horse who possesses the best blonde mane in the barn, the Rocky Mountain Gaited Horse  http://www.bonnieviewfarms.ca/

20150403_113944 20150403_115556 20150403_115540So it was time to make my way back into the vendor barns to hang out with The Rider and promote the subscription show special ($25/yr) – anyone signing up during Can-Am is entered into a draw for 2 Gold tickets to Odysseo valued at $250 (wow!) or a bucket o’ books valued at around $150. If you go to the show, you MUST visit The Rider booth (#222) and subscribe – you could win! Here’s Barry with Kelley (top pic) and with realtor Michael Webb, who specializes in prestige rural property sales (www.michaelstuartwebb.com) – he had a special promo insert in this double issue of the newspaper. Then I snapped John (bottom photo) chatting to our friendly neighbour.

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20150403_102504What a fun and exhausting day, hangin’ with the horsey set. Thanks to John for being my taxi this morning, and to Barry for making sure I was safely deposited at the subway for my return trip back to the big city. And thanks to all the horses for welcoming me with whinnnies, neighs and snorts.

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The family-friendly show runs throughout the Easter weekend http://canamequine.com/