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Bontje Clinic Rider - Cracker Jack & Kallecia Welsh

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   October 30, 2013 13:53



I used to be a dancer!  At the age of eight all the makeup, hair, and costumes led my Mom to the statement “why don’t you quit this dance and take up horseback riding”.  Who can turn down an opportunity like that……… off to summer riding camp my brother Brodie and I went!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  One whole week of learning about tack, horse anatomy, what to feed them, how to care for them, and the smell of them – I was hooked!

My first horse was a rental pony from Madison Wilkening.  A pinto pony with an attitude named “Bandit”.  He was boarded at High Country Quarters in Drayton Valley where I took my initial riding instruction with Sabrina Bablitz.  Bandit and I were together for two years doing flatwork and jumping.  His quirky little attitude always made going to the barn interesting.  In May 2007, my parents bought me Cracker Jack from Henri and Laurie DeGroot.  He was a 7 year old 16.2 HH Hanoverian Thoroughbred and it was love at first sight.  He had incredible ground manners but only 10 rides on his back (not the best parental decision!)  So began the adventure of Cracker and Kallecia.

My first riding instructor took an immediate disliking to Cracker and his hissy fits – not the horses fault I now realize.  Ute Miller from Bashaw then started coming to the barn every three-four weeks or when her Paramedic career allowed her to give lessons.  We were riding casually just for fun, but as I progressed and Cracker progressed I became more interested in Dressage so we started with the basics.  Cracker and I did not progress a lot during the first while together, but we had a great bond.     

During the summer of 2010 I decided I was going to become an Eventer and went to a riding camp with Sandra Donelly in Canmore, AB.  We had a great week of arena jumping, dressage work and cross country jumping.  Three weeks later we went to Amberlea Meadows in Red Deer for our first event.  We had a blast.  Cracker and I both loved the cross-country run, our stadium jumping needed some work but we excelled in the Dressage with a score of 81.  I was always intrigued by all the different movements of Dressage since I watched the Olympics and like every little girl I dream of someday being there!

The summer of 2011 my family moved from Drayton Valley to Olds Alberta and we were introduced to Jack and Linda Johnson at Peaceful Valley Stables.  Linda was helping me with my riding and suggested that I might be interested in trying some lessons with Gordon Dalshaug.  The spring of 2012, training was going great and I was entertaining entering some dressage shows when all those thoughts came to a screeching halt – Cracker coliced!

Dr. Mike Scott from Moore & Company Vet Clinic in Balzac Alberta put his survival chances at about 20% but donned his lucky operating cap and thank goodness for small miracles.  Three weeks of nothing but school and sitting in the stall at the vet clinic and Cracker was moved back to Peace Valley Stables where he was treated like a Prince and the spring/ summer of 2012 to recover.  We started back with some slow trail rides and have gradually worked our way back to good conditioning.  Our skills have grown immensely working with Gordon.  Together, we have been able to get Cracker to a place where I was once told would be impossible.  Our goal is to make the 2014 Canadian Dressage Team and compete at the 2014 North American Junior/Young Rider Championships.

Cracker is my best friend and we trust each other which I believe makes a good team.  When we’re together I’m “On Cloud Nine”!


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