Tie-Down Roping and Barrel Horse Stock Awards

Tie-Down Roping

Barrel Horse

horse of the year

with the most heart


Ripn Lady (Ripp)

Owned by Curtis Cassidy, Donalda, Alta

Owned by Carman Pozzobon, Savona, B.C

   Stick. It’s not the most flattering name in the world, but rodeo fans and competitors alike all know the champion horse. Nearly two decades ago, the gelding picked up the moniker of his original owner, Dale Butterwick. Eventually, Curtis Cassidy bought Stick back in 2010, and the horse promptly won Tie-Down Rope Horse of the Year.

“His parents were registered but Stick never was,” explains Cassidy. No matter. As breeders and trainers say, papers indicate potential, they don’t guarantee it. It’s the training, the riders, the athleticism and not surprisingly, the attitude, that focuses attention on one animal out of a slew of talent on the Canadian rodeo scene.

“It’s pretty impressive that everybody voted him Horse of the Year again,” says Cassidy. “He has overcome a lot. Last year at Ponoka he pulled all the ligaments and tendons in his front legs. We just got him back last winter. Two years before that he had a “flapper” issue in his throat [arytenoid chondritis — an infection and severe swelling and/or closing of the larynx, causing suffocation]. He almost died. Luckily, we caught it, got him to the vet and they saved him. He has had to overcome some challenges in his career.”

He is also still at the top of his game. Want to see some champion cowboys? Hang with Stick. A few who cashed cheques courtesy ofthe gelding includes Tyson Durfey, Rhen Richard, Keely Bonnett, Timber Moore, Ryle Smith, Al Bouchard, Morgan Grant, Kyle Lucas and of course, Cassidy himself.

Cassidy’s rep for keeping good horses going long past their “prime” is reaching legendary status, but he takes no credit for it. “They don’t all last that long but sometimes those special ones do. You have to care for them and have good vets, and you also have to have good riders and ride and train them well yourself so when you get to the rodeo, they can do their job.”
Watch for Stick at the CFR and at the WNFR in Las Vegas. — TM

   For the second year in a row, Carman’s great mare, Ripn Lady, a 2010 buckskin by Frenchs Hula Guy out of Bijou Betali x Eli Betastreakbetter, and better known as Ripp to her fans, has been awarded the coveted Barrel Horse with the Most Heart Award. “I didn’t know if she’d get it again,” says Pozzobon. “It was nice to get the call, but there are a few horses that have won it twice in a row.”

As countless timed-event veterans have said, it’s not the runs measured in seconds, it’s the thousands of road miles that wears a horse out. The smart money is on the riders who prioritize rest and restorative rehabilitation, and in the highly competitive barrel world, it’s a must for both horse and rider.

Today at eight years old, the 15.1hh buckskin mare is definitely living the good life. “I mainly stayed in Canada this year, so she wasn’t on the road as much,” says Pozzobon, “and I always find a nice grassy field for her when she’s off, so she can relax and reset her mind.”

Preventative therapy is also high on Pozzobon’s list for her great mare. “I take her to Coulee Equine a lot and she is looked after by three therapists — Tiffany Burn, Tracy Sharp and Roger Lewis, as well as Equine Fit. I use their salt water hydrotherapy to take any heat out of her legs, I use their water treadmill for steady conditioning of Ripp — and I love the infrared lights to help keep supple muscles for good flexibility and stride.” Pozzobon also takes good care of herself, knowing firsthand that in order to ask your horse to win you must be in a good place yourself, so for her, it’s chiropractic care and meditation.

Pozzobon has Ripp ready for her third appearance at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, and the distinctive mare quickly became one of the “faces” of professional rodeo.

“She always gives me 110 per cent, no matter what,” says Pozzobon. I’m so proud of her.” — TM

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