From my window seat, my eyes followed along as a river laced its way through the quilted patchwork of the Canadian prairies. I was flying to Winnipeg, Manitoba en-route to the Bar K Ranch, where I was scheduled to do a three-day horsemanship clinic.
I was traveling with the lovely Janet Werstroh we all know from the head offices of “Horses… Naturally” with Jay O’Jay in Calgary Alberta. Yes, Janet was truly excited about leaving the city behind and immersing herself into the lifestyle of a 16,000-acre working cattle ranch. And may I add; a ranch that is very well known for its foundation bred quarter horses and breeding program. Click here to check out their website.
I was impressed with the natural ease with which Janet calmly turned off the buzz of urban living, allowing herself to fall into the day-to-day routines of this working ranch. Let me put it to you this way; her jeans were dirtier than mine at the end of each day and I don’t think she even noticed.
Just in case you’re wondering! Janet was traveling with me mainly because she was going to be taking photographs of all the different aspects of the clinic; including all the participants, their horse and whatever else she had time for. I was amazed; in three days Janet took over 1800 images! Now she has the tedious task of editing, sorting and burning selected images onto CD discs to send out to all those who made requests. My bet is that the next time she travels with me, the amount of photos taken will be considerably less.
The images attached to this blog are Janet’s, so if you like them please drop her a line and let her know. We will also be adding more of her images throughout the web site – see if you can identify them.
As we disembarked from the airplane and headed over to pick up our baggage, the anticipation of getting to the Bar K Ranch caused me to tingle with excitement. I truly was looking forward to meeting up with all the people and all the horses that would be taking part in this spring tune-up clinic.
There she was, I spotted her right away! Susan Kopec was waiting for us at the bottom of the escalator. And as we made our way over to her with the mounds of baggage we were packing, I could feel the warmth of her welcome reaching out to us from across the room. I could tell this was going to be a good clinic!
From their family owned and operated Bar K Ranch, Susan and her husband David Kopec were my clinic hosts for what was being officially named the “Spring Tune-Up Clinic”. Their hospitality was second to none. I even got to stay in an attached cabin to the main house with lots of room to spread out my traveling gear and relax.
David and Susan had all the bases covered, right from a portable round pen set up in the indoor arena, a quality sound system, bleachers for the spectators and, they even had the parents of local 4H kids cooking up great lunches.
Right from trailer parking, camp sites, stabling and portable toilets, nothing was overlooked. Heck, they even had an evening trail ride planed for those who cared to join in. We actually rode home under the light of a full moon – hard to beat!
In my humble opinion, being aware of the needs of others is a good thing, but doing something about it deserves to be commended.
“Win a Colt”! For five bucks you could buy a ticket in an effort to raise money for the “Riding for the Disabled”. The Bar K Ranch donated the newborn foal for this draw, but the interesting part was that there were approximately 52 foals to choose from. That’s right, there were 52 brood mares in their foaling pasture and every morning of the clinic, there was sure to be the cutest newborn baby found standing along side its mother.
Monique, a clinic participant, won the contest draw and when I saw her last, she was still walking amongst all those newborns scratching her head. A bit confusing for sure – good luck with your decision Monique!
Staying with David and Susan at the Bar K Ranch was an exceptional experience for me. I think the intentions behind all we do in life speak louder than any words and are a direct reflection of our integrity and self worth. I hope they know how much I appreciated those days I spent in Winnipeg, and that I can’t wait to return again in the fall.