Calgary – If you’ve got a name like Imprint Totally Rich and Famous, you’d better bring the swagger when you step in the ring.
As one of 82 animals competing in the Canadian National Miniature Horse Show that ran Tuesday through Thursday at the Calgary Stampede, Rich (as he’s known) was in it to win it, channeling his inner “macho man” for the judges.
“He showed his heart out. I made a couple of mistakes, but overall, I am so proud of how we did,” said Sabrina Langner, Rich’s owner. The 19-year-old from Okotoks, Alta. showed her own horse at the Calgary Stampede for the first time, earning a respectable two ribbons in the three classes the duo entered.
While they may be small in stature — topping out at 34 inches tall maximum — these steeds are also mighty. Miniature horses are powerhouses originally bred for pulling carts in the coal mines of England and can pull up to three times their weight. Hunter/jumper, pleasure driving and obstacle are just some of the dozens of classes in the two separate American Miniature Horse Association-sanctioned shows that took place in the Northern Lights Arena and the Agrium Western Event Centre.
First Knight Striders Black Satin, owned by Holly Whyte and Bill Clark of Tomahawk, Alta. was awarded the Canadian National Supreme Halter Champion title at Thursday’s finale at the Northern Lights Arena, the third time the five-year-old mare has taken the honours.
“It’s in the blood,” Whyte said of Satin’s winning streak. The mare is out of three-time world champion First Knights Lord of the Rings, bred by KC and Stephani Pappas.
Horses are in Whyte’s blood. At one time, her grandmother had the largest Shetland pony herd in Canada and Whyte has loved horses since she was four years old. She showed large horses, but then it was time to move to minis. Now, she and Clark have 30 of them on their farm outside of Drayton Valley.
“I showed the big guys for many, many years. I just got older and the little guys appealed to me. They’ve got big horse mannerisms and conformation, just in a small package.”
Langner began her love affair with horses as a youngster as well. She was introduced to therapeutic riding at the age of eight to help with the impaired motor function that comes with having cerebral palsy. As a teen, Langner took up dressage, often referred to as “dancing on horseback.” After three years in the sport, she reached the level where she would be cantering, something she wasn’t comfortable with. Then she spotted what would be her next love.
“I want to do that!” she recalled thinking upon seeing a miniature horse competition. “It’s the perfection of it.”
Her mother, Sandy, and father, Stewart, back their daughter’s love of all things equine on their four-acre spread.
“It gives her self-confidence. We raised her to anything she wants to do,” Sandy said. But mom prefers the minis, of which they now have three with a fourth on the way next week. “I don’t have to worry about her when she goes to work with them by herself. When she was riding dressage, the horses were so big, and I worried about them stepping on her.”
For full results from the Canadian National Miniature Horse Show, please visit http://ag.calgarystampede.com/results.html
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates our western heritage, cultures and community spirit. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
See more at calgarystampede.com