Brickers provides youths some small horse play
Stampede: Tyler Steel shows well at Calgary Stampede
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Jul 16, 2014 11:08 am
A Highwood Mustang blew by his competition in a miniature roadster at the Calgary Stampede last week.
Fourteen-year-old Tyler Steel from Blackie won the youth roadster competition at the Canadian National Miniature Horse Show last week at the Calgary Stampede. He was driving Imprint Dusty’s Denim Blues (Blue).
“Roadster is when you do not walk, you might yourself trot the whole time,” said Steel. “Blue really likes to go fast. He loves trotting.”
Blue is a 14-year-old, 32-inch-high horse from Bricker Farms in Blackie. He is a former Canadian champion and his gentle spirit made him a perfect fit for Tyler, a relatively new driver, said Pat Bricker.
“He is a safe horse – he’s not going to hurt him,” Bricker said. “I’m all about safety, especially when the kids are involved.”
Don’t let size fool you. Blue gives Steel, a linebacker and hook for the Highwood Mustangs, plenty to handle.
“Blue would have had no trouble at all pulling Tyler,” Bricker said. “They are a lot tougher than people give them credit for.”
Steel more than held his own at the Calgary competition.
“Tyler did really well,” Bricker said. “The hand cues that the horse knows, Tyler just has to work on them a bit more.”
Steel and Blue finished third in the youth obstacle driving competition on Thursday. Blue’s one flaw is, like any speedster, he wants to go forward, not backwards.
“He does like the obstacles but he doesn’t like backing up,” Tyler said. “I just have to continue practicing a lot.”
Blue reared a bit was backing up, but he and Tyler were nearly flawless going through the cones, getting one wheel of their carriage between two planks other obstacles.
The final obstacle has Steel in the middle of a circle. With Steel in the centre of the circle, Blue must pivot himself and the carriage 360 degrees. Steel gently taps blue with a light stick to get Blue going.
“I do have to work on the pivoting part, but Blue is really good,” he said.
Steel began working with miniature horses about two years ago at the Brickers’ farm.
“My sisters got involved with the Brickers and then I got involved about two years ago,” Steel said. “I found out I liked working with the horses and it gives me something to do.”
A bond has been established between him and Blue.
“He’s got a different personality - he’s more of a daredevil,” Tyler said. “He likes to do different stuff than the other horses. He knows who I am. He will come to me when I grab a halter... I had fun today. I have fun every day when I am with the horses.”
Having youths like Steel and others work with the horses is all part of the program at Bricker Farms
“We get our horses out there and the kids do the showing for us,” Bricker said. “They clean out the stalls for us in exchange for showing the horses.”
The Brickers, Pat and Barry, got into breeding and showing miniature horses after selling their cattle in 2003.
“We had all these corrals and nothing to put in them,” Pat said. “We were looking for miniature donkeys and we went to this farm that had both miniature donkeys and horses and we fell in love with the horses.
“I have loved horses my whole life, but we were getting to old for the big ones.”
They now have 30 horses.
“They are like Lay’s potato chips, you can’t just have one,” she said.
The Brickers also have more than one Steel showing horses in Calgary. Tyler’s sister Aurora and Cassandra were involved at the Calgary Stampede.
Cassandra finished first in the costume competition when she was decked out in Tyler’s football uniform and Blue was a four-legged cheerleader.
The Brickers will continue to help youths with miniature horses. They are part of the Western Canadian Miniature Horse Club, which is sponsoring the Youth Incentive Program (YIP). The program gets youths interested in miniature horses. There is also a price for a miniature horse to a youth every year.
For more information about YIP go to www.wcmhcyip.com
For more information about the Bricker Farm go to www.brickerfarms.com