Greg Paranich

Ranchers show off horsemanship at cowboy challenge

Competitors of the Canadian Cowboy Challenge had a different set of hurdles to jump through at the Calnash Ag Event Centre.

Competitors of the Canadian Cowboy Challenge had a different set of hurdles to jump through last Sunday, Aug. 30 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre.

The competition is unlike most rodeo events, which are usually more action-packed. Rather than hold on tightly to a bucking bronco, competitors must make their way through a course and navigate several challenges in a certain length of time with their horse.

Co-organizer Verna Pohl said riders introduce their horse to new and strange obstacles that would normally be a difficulty for them. “The purpose of it is to gain your horse’s trust in you to know that you’re not going to put them into a dangerous situation.”

Some of the obstacles on the course included a teeter totter, a noisy obstacle and a curtain for them to walk through. Riders had several minutes to go through the course and collect a Maple Leaf flag before the buzzer.

“The teeter totter is probably one of the challenging ones because they step up onto a ramp and it moves,” said Pohl.

Depending on the division of competition, riders have different challenges for the teeter totter. The more experienced riders must walk on the ramp and then reverse off it while the newer competitors are directed to walk forward over the ramp.

One obstacle, opening and closing a gate provides horses with a task they may normally have to be part of on a ranch or on the pasture.

This is the second year of the challenge in Ponoka and Pohl’s hope is for riders to ride away with the satisfaction that their horse trusts them more. She said the Canadian Cowboy Challenge is held around the province and riders can take part in different events.

There were several categories at the challenge:

· Older than Dirt, 55 years and older

· Shooting Sprouts, 10 years and under

· Novice, 10 to 17 years

· Non-pro, for riders that don’t receive money as trainers or other areas in the equine industry

· Professionals

· Bucking Crazies, for the experienced rider but inexperienced horse

For riders considering taking part in a challenge, Pohl suggests they start with simple obstacles at home to get their horses used to the task and then checking out a challenge.

The event was hosted by the Ponoka Agricultural Society.

The results are as follows:

Results for Cowboy Challenge

Shooting Sprouts

1st – Kash Stevens – Snap

2nd – Addison Mckinney – Champ


1st – Shannon Jorgensen – Talent

2nd Alana Eaton – George

Buckin Crazies

1st – Janet Goltz – Sugar

2nd – Janet Goltz – Jazzy


1st – Shannon Jorgensen – Talent

2nd – Alana Eaton – George

Non Pro

1st – Judy MacKenzie – Casey

2nd – Robert Barbour – Doc

Older Than Dirt

1st – Lori Dyberg – Tazz

2nd – Judy Mackenzie – Casey


1st – Andrea Muhlbach – Page


2nd – Robert Barbour – Doc

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