Competing in cutting horse competitions

My Stampede........I will never forget my trip to the Calgary Stampede as a teenager, wandering into the Big Top on a hot July day and watching my first cutting horse competition. I was fascinated by the intelligence of these horses and their communication with their riders, and wished that one day that I could ride one of those horses.

Little did I know that 10 years later, my path would cross with some wonderful people, who not only introduced me to cutting, but helped me to purchase my cutting horse and compete in the Alberta Cutting Horse Association.

I always had a horse for the summer at the family cabin west of Cochrane, but it was only after coming across the horse cutting competition at the stampede that I decided to take riding lessons.

It was then that I met Edna and Lionel Jackson who had a stable in Balzac and who offered me riding lessons. Thanks to the Jackson’s generosity, I was able to compete in local western shows and gymkhanas.

Lionel was also interested in cutting and decided to take a clinic at Olds College with well known trainer Bill Speight from Rocky Mountain House. I tagged along and was fortunate to participate as a turn back for the clinic.
By the end of the third day, Lionel and I had purchased a seasoned cutting horse, which we still have today at age 34 years old.

He competed on Tivio the first year and then I had my chance in 1995. After many lessons and time spent at the Speight family ranch and down the road with the Jacksons, I was the reserve 2000 ranch novice champion in 1995.
On that day, many years ago at the Stampede, I could have never imagined that I would far exceed my dream and actually own and compete in cutting.

Being raised in Calgary the Calgary Stampede has provided me the opportunity to learn about rural life and activities over the years and for that I am truly thankful.

Kathy Sokolan-Oblak