My 15-year-old son got hitched through the classified ads in The Western Producer.
To tell the whole story, I must start at the beginning. My son and I took the draft horse driving course at the Olds College, in Olds, Alta., and he was hooked immediately.
After the first evening of the course, the instructor came to me and said my son was extremely talented and he would like him to join him on the road as his junior driver.
I said it could not interfere with his schooling, but I was the wrong person to ask. He proceeded to ask my son Kelby and the rest is history.
Kelby went on to drive in the Denver stock show later that year and took first place in an adult team competition against 15 other competitors.
That summer, he showed draft horses in Olds, Calgary and a few other shows around Alberta. He was hooked, but he wanted to have his own team and that’s where The Producer came in.
We had been receiving The Producer after a friend was done with his copy. In the classified ads we found the first of his Percheron horses.
It was a long drive to Saskatchewan to pick up Blue and Belle, his first hitch team. Blue and Belle are definitely show horses but they have also enriched his life on the farm.
They have done a lot of different chores around the farm, from hay rack to parade dress on July 1.
The draft horse bug spread in our family to Kelby’s sister and myself, with an interest from my wife as well. She has a great respect for their size and would prefer to stay at arm’s length.
Kelby went on to purchase a pregnant mare from the instructor of the course, who he continued to work for at many shows throughout Canada and the U.S.
His pregnant mare, Cookie, gave birth one day after school after it had arrived at Brian and Colleen Coleman’s (the instructor’s) place. Kelby had received a call from a foal alert that was stitched into the mare.
A bouncing baby girl was born to Kelby, which was named Lacey. The start of his second 4-H project began, Cookie being the previous year’s project.
As a result of the birth, Cookie could not go to 4-H on Parade, which was scheduled for the week after she foaled.
The 4-H club let Kelby substitute a new horse. He went on to compete with his sister, the filly Oprah.
Moving ahead in time, Kelby showed and drove for several big breeders around the U.S. and Canada. He showed for Bill Prins from Fort Saskatchewan and Curt Wilder from Linden, Washington, and for Jackson Fork Ranch out of Bondurant, Wyoming.
The experience has made him an amazing young man who aspires to become a veterinarian. He is in his third year of college taking pre vet classes.
This year he has gone on the show circuit with his own banner.
He was at the Olds Draft Horse Classic and did quite well with the horse he brought. He went on to Calgary Stampede and helped with a gentleman from California.
He is booked to take a horse to the Vermilion, Alta., draft show and compete in several classes.
Kelby has a way with these horses, and he has broke them to drive as well as ride. He teaches them more than most people do. Lacey can bow, she can be led anywhere by placing your hand on her chin and backs up by tugging on her tail.
Kelby has a great respect for the word “whoa” and it is not used lightly. When he says “whoa” he expects a stop and freeze. This is a must if something happens and the horse must be held still.
Kelby has certainly been changed by one little ad in the classified section of your paper. He definitely got hitched through your paper. He and our family will be forever changed by the experience.
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