26 October 2010

Don't try this unless you know what you are doing!!

25 October 2010

Paradigm's First Reputation Mares

David Bailey ground driving Margarita & Cassie - 11 April 2010
Sometimes the good Lord allows you to realize a vision you've carried for most of a lifetime.  On Sunday, 11 April 2010, our vision to hook a team of Percherons became a reality.  As brood mares in the Paramount Percheron production string, these horses hadn't been harnessed for years. Neither had they ever been hitched together. Yet on this cool spring afternoon these two great mares recalled past training and stepped into the traces as if they had never been away.

Happy Hill Margarita is a tall black mare with tons of confidence and the need to lead.  She was born just south of the Canada/US border in Okanogan, Washington on Monday, 17 May 1993 out of Squaw Valley’s Ambrosia by South Valley Ha Ha. She’s a get up and go horse that we may try as the lead in a three horse Unicorn hitch.

B & L Hanson’s Cassandra is a big black mare with a small white star and a steady pull that makes her a wheel horse in our hitches.  She was born in Chatfield, Minnesota on Saturday, 08 June 1996 out of Lucille’s June Pride by MG’s Black Diamond. She has a wonderful disposition that makes her a joy to work with.  We hope to reunite her with her teammate Pam in the near future.

Pulling David's new Pioneer Cart
We’re collecting the history of these mares to add to our library so don’t be shy if you know a good story.  Just add your contact information to the comments area of this blog and we’ll give you a call.

We’ll be expanding our events schedule for 2011 so these mares and the rest of the team get a little more action.  Let us know if you have an event we should consider.

24 October 2010

Seasons change at ThunderRidge

Flowers lightly frosted
 We're thankful the neighbours were able to complete harvest in the past few weeks.  Indian Summer and the beautiful weather we have been enjoying is coming to a close. 

The frost has been harder for several mornings and now the forecast is for cooler weather and precipitation as we enter a new week.  Once again the intense pink we enjoy around the ranch from Janice's flowers comes to a natural end.  We're reminded it's time to check waterers and prepare the ranch for winter.

The barn needs to be reorganized so the sleighs are near at hand; outdoor furniture needs to be gathered and placed in the loft; water pumps need to be removed from the ponds; hay feeders need to be placed in each pen; and, the electric fences and chargers need to be gathered up.

In the tack room its time to check harness and set aside the pieces that require mending and cleaning over the winter.  Harrows, mowers, rototillers and other summer equipment must be stored away. The equipment yard needs a little attention to be ready for the snow and winds that will certainly come our way.

Down in the nesting areas and ponds most of the ducks are gone now.  In their place, new flights of geese land almost daily.  They stop to refresh and reprovision on their way south.  Under the full moon we see and hear the give and take of nature as coyotes prey upon the weak and with this nourishment prepare for the lean times of winter. 

A covey of partridges marches in formation across the now dead pastures.  Oblivious to the end of life all around them, they stop in the twilight to enjoy seeds that now are finally ripe enough for picking. 

One season comes to a close and another begins at ThunderRidge Ranch. 

21 October 2010

Goodbye Winston

Winston August 2010
More than 13 years ago Winston II came to live with us at ThunderRidge Ranch.  He was one of the smartest dogs we ever knew.  He loved working cattle, rounding up chickens and kids or just helping us fence.  We could stand on the top of the ridge and communicate with hand signals while he would round up the cattle and bring them to the feedlot. 

Winston thought sport was created for dogs not people. He played hockey, baseball, soccer, frisbee, touch tag, football and volleyball.  He loved to be in the middle of everything we did.  He was an aggressive member of the team and all of us have had the experience of the nips associated with playing for the other team.

Aaron's graduation pictures bear witness to the fact playing frisbee with Winston could be hard on a body.  The fat lip he sported in front of the camera came from trying to wrangle the frisbee away from a competitor who didn't quit.

He was a protector of women and children when we were in the bull business.  Even the oldest most cantankerous momma cow couldn't take Winston on her best day.  The bulls only respected two things, Winston and Buzzcut the donkey, either of which could put the run on even the most aggressive young prospect sire.

Yet for all of his strength and aggressiveness, Winston could be tender and sensitive.  Watching him gather the chickens each evening using his nose was a lesson in skill and patience.

More than once I have been struggling under a tractor or some other piece of equipment absolutely frustrated with a situation.  Winston seemed to know just when to lick my face or lie down beside me.  As if to say, 'I don't do repairs, but I can support you with the presence of a good friend'.

In later years, like many Border Collies, he grew to hate thunder, but even that was something of value - we met the new neighbours, we tested the PetLynx recovery system and travelled down roads we otherwise wouldn't have visited.  

Four or five years ago he was run completely over by the New Holland 8160.  I held him in my arms as I waited for Aaron to bring down the truck.  We decided to make him comfortable in the horse stall until the others came home.  He surprised us by making a full recovery.

Over the years he had to put up with the various strays and befriended animals that Lisa brought home.  I'm sure he always thought Ben, our Great Pyrenes, was dumber than a sack of hammers when it came to working cattle or ducking under an electric fence. But he never laughed or sneared when invariably Ben would ruin the cattle move or have a shocking experience.

When Tiarus came along Winston put up with the disrespectful antics of a puppy.  One that even now can't manage to jump into the back of a truck.  And he tolerated the various cats that came our way.

It was an unintended kick by one of the Percheron mares last Monday that finally brought his life to an end.  But the memory of Winston will live on in our hearts and in our stories. 

Goodbye Winston. Thank you for the patience, the commitment and the love you had for all of us!

11 October 2010

Alberta Children benefit from Pumpkins & Percherons

Pictures & Story by Larry

It was all hands on deck for the annual Pumpkin Festival at the Blue Grass Nursery and Sod Farm near Balzac.  The gig started with an appearance for Blue Grass on the morning show of Global TV which meant mustering at 07:00.  Once the TV appearance was complete, the horses were unhooked and had a rest period until the guests started arriving at 11:00.

The morning show feature was successful and together with balmy fall weather attracted a steady stream of cars to the gate.  The gate admission and 10% of everything sold by Blue Grass was donated to the Alberta Children's Hospital.

Features of the day included the horse drawn wagon rides, the petting zoo, baked goods and market garden items from Fairview Colony [our Hutterite neighbours], Alberta BBQ, face painting, pumpkin carving and the giant pumpkin drop.

By 13:30 hrs all the parking lots were full and cars were being parked along the service road as well as back in the construction area.  Thousands attended and contributed to the cause. 

Jason, Val, Eathan and Levi Bexson along with Kacey Ferguson crewed the Percheron horses from Legacy Stables and wagon from Paradigm Corporation.  Here are some of the pictures:

07:30 Hrs - the Big Boys hooked, waiting for Global, holding onto Tim's for dear life!

Lookin' good first thing in the morning

Still waiting, thought we might as well take a promotional picture for Highway Services the Case dealer next door.

Local TV celebrity, Astrid Kuhn, shoots a horse segment for Global TV's breakfast show.  It was worth the wait and brought hundreds out to the event!

Setting up for the Pumpkin festival's main attraction - the pumpkin drop!   What does 700lbs of pumpkin landing on a car look like??


Pumpkin released with pyrotechnical pizzaz! These guys did a great job.

Pumpkin landed!  Car flattened!  Pieces of pumpkin everywhere!

15:45 hrs - Everybody tired, mission accomplished, client happy!

10 October 2010

The story of a Shire named Jada

Story by Larry, Pictures by Janice

A beautiful sunny weekend and warm temperatures created a welcome backdrop for the Wild Rose Draft Horse Association's 2010 Alberta Futurity Show in Olds last weekend.  We thought you might like to see what goes on behind the scenes to bring a 2 year old filly through the show.  Here's the story of Gladwin Jubliee Jada and the Bexson family from Legacy Stables.  It turned out to be a great way to celebrate our 34th anniversary, on Saturday, 02 October 2010.

Seems like a lot of things start at the washrack.  Jason is washing Jada's feet.  Gosh that used hay is hard to get out!

Ever wonder how they make the feathers on the big horses so fluffy?  A little sawdust in the right place seems to get the job done.

Remember Mom slickin' your hair and wiping your nose before Sunday School??

Whatever isn't white after the washrack gets a little corn starch to brighten things up.

Looking pretty good.  Hope the Judge agrees.

Jada standing at the head of the line.
Mr. Bruce Roy the announcer

Walking back to the barn with a first on halter!

It's hard to be happy for Jada when somebody stole your tractor

Gladwin Jubilee Jada 2nd overall, 1st on halter, Alberta Futurity

We didn't have a chance to stay for the Wildrose potluck supper because of our dinner reservations in Airdrie.  Paro's delivered some great greek dining [Love their lamb] and a talented belly dancer to finish off a great day!

01 October 2010

September visitors enjoyed Paradigm Percherons

Visitors to the Paradigm Percheron blog were polled to measure their enjoyment of the content and pictures. There were 99 visitors to the blog in the first 15 days of blogging history and all of them were from Canada. Over 17% of blog visitors voted and 100% of those voting 'absolutely' enjoyed the blog.

Many of us have great memories of the big horses from fairs, parades and other experiences.  The October Paradigm Poll features an opportunity for visitors to show their preference for one of four draft breeds - Clydesdales, Belgians, Shires or Percherons. Who will top the list?? 

We'll report the results of this poll in November.  But take a moment to provide your vote. 

24 September 2010

Paradigm Percheron Changes Direction

The world of the big horse has had many challenges of late.  Early this year Janice and I came to a painful decision to change our program and work with older reputation horses that were becoming available.

On Saturday morning, 01 May 2010, we flew home from Ottawa late enough to miss the big Alberta snow storm but just in time to see our filly foal be the high seller in the Wild Rose Draft Horse Sale in Olds, Alberta.

Mr. Roy's comments about the filly tell it best:

The sale high, Paramount Major’s Mist, was a Percheron filly, foaled in 2008. Consigned by Larry and Janice Evans, Paradigm Corporation at Crossfield; she was bred by Dr. David Bailey, Paramount Percherons of Calgary. The buyer, Joe Rickett, Jackson Fork Ranch of Bondurant, WY, the founder of Ameritrade and owner of the Chicago Cubs, paid $5,200 for the exciting, black female. A last daughter of the Texas-bred sire, Lone Star Delreo Major, her dam, Paramount Avalon Mist, is by Shananagn Dragoneer. This filly has a future in America.

You can see the entire article in Horses All 

We are going to miss working with Colleen and Brian Coleman who fitted, trained and presented the filly for sale.  We have much to thank them for: The opportunity that Lisa and I had at their driving school in Olds; The patience they had for Janice and I as we learned the business; and, the introductions they provided to others in this industry.  We really have met some quality people.

While interest in shows is steady, other factors are challenging the heavy horse industry.  Against this backdrop, Paradigm saw an opportunity to provide reputation Percheron mares with a good retirement and brand clients with a constant supply of marketing content for internet and social media programs.

As we move forward with our new program we are pleased with our puchase of two mares from Paramount Percherons.  Margarita and Cassie have been on the ranch in Paramount's brood mare program, but are now pulling Paradigm's new Pioneer 3 Ton Classic Wagon.

Just like these mares, each horse we choose for this program will come from a reputation breeding program and blood lines that have history and a story to tell.  Modern technology will deliver the story of their performance history, their selection, their entrance to the program and their journey through each life episode at ThunderRidge Ranch.  We expect the 2011 Paradigm program will feature five registered Percheron mares.

In addition, ThunderRidge has client horses in supervised programs from other breeders.  All of this activity is featured in the story telling provided to Paradigm Percheron clients.

Paradigm staff are recruited featuring where possible those that have invested in the draft horse business for generations.  Paradigm talent [drovers, event managers and speakers] have reputations that allows them to work and speak with authority.

This selection of good horses and great human resources brings together a potent team, to which Paradigm adds the best resources, training in public relations and regular exercises so the whole team is ready to deliver on the commitment to our clients.

It may take some time, but this amalgamation of professional and personal interests to create a 'reputation' program should be a great ride!

21 September 2010

Public appearances of the Paradigm Percherons

The local community parade is still one of the feature attractions of many community events.  Often times a service club or agricultural society is responsible for inviting participation in these events and a breakfast or BBQ is involved.  Paradigm welcomes the opportunity to be involved and to provide recognition for local brand clients at these events. 

An early start is mandatory.  Paradigm staff meet the crowd who traditionally show interest in watching the decorating, harnessing and hitching of the horses.  Paradigm staff enjoy the opportunity to visit with the crowd and bring forward a positive message for agriculture, Percheron horses 
and western heritage as well as sponsor messaging.  Client support for VIP's can be integrated with some of these appearances as well. If possible and convenient, the Paradigm staff may arrange to provide a Heritage Appreciation Ride for senior residents in local facilities after the parade is delivered.  Images and stories from the event are added to the online areas and local media are provided with contrent for their use so that  brand value in the local area is enhanced.

It is possible to incorporate, staff ride-a-longs, client loyalty programs and even junior education/achievement programs into some of these appearances.  Paradigm staff work to ensure that the client brand is presented positively, respectfully and with sensitivity to the clients, prospective clients and communities where your brand lives.

When appropriate, Paradigm attempts to win the hitch category and prize money of these events parades.  The ribbons remain the property of Paradigm but can be displayed for a period of time by the brand client or an affiliate.  Prize money is donated to a worthy community cause jointly in the name of the client and Paradigm.

A public appearance of the Paradigm Percherons may be something you would like to consider - Contact 403.921.5900

20 September 2010

What Paradigm provides its clients

Paradigm provides a vehicle that augments client brand value programs by leveraging ‘real world’ horse activities to develop stories and images that keep the client customers and prospective customers returning to the online [virtual] community we build. The return on investment is measured by metrics that brand clients may already measure and some they may not. Specifically brand clients can expect the following deliverables:
  1. Increased interest from prospective customers who do not know the  brand or branded services
  2. Increased interest in the brand from existing customers
  3. Increased levels of public trust and consumer confidence
  4. Increased levels of goodwill with staff, vendors and affiliates
  5. Richer, deeper brand experience with the history and majesty of the Percheron
  6. Increased levels of brand loyalty
  7. Access to a broader range of opportunities for promoting brand services

The images and story lines of the Paradigm Percherons feature the following themes:


Paradigm clients are provided with content to build their online community and increased access to potential customers in the 'real-world' communities where their brand lives. 
Contact Paradigm if you would like to discuss a Percheron program for your brand 403.921.5900

19 September 2010

Why Paradigm is focused on the Percheron

My first memory of a horse is 'Mac', a big old draft horse on Grandpa Evans farm.  Mac pulled the stoneboat through the stable to pick up the cow manure and he gave me hours of 'riding' pleasure in the orchard.  Mac made it so that since I was a small boy, the sight of a big draft horse brought a sense of excitement.

Over the years the black and grey Percheron horse captured my attention and as I began to dream of a day when I might once again have draft horses around me it was these horses I thought of most.  Finally in 2007, Janice and I were in a position to look at alternatives and we began to investigate draft horses.  Bringing Percherons back to the Crossfield property also seemed right because it continued a tradition of using Percherons started by Ron James and his family.

Although the Percheron draft horse comes from the Perche Valley area of northern France where it was developed for military and agricultural activities, in 1909, the Percheron became entwined with the history of Alberta. George Lane, one of the founding fathers and early an entrepreneur in this province, brought the Percheron breed to the Bar U Ranch south of Longview Alberta. From this location, Lane and his colleagues developed the largest herd of Percheron mares in the world and established a program that delivered genetics and draft horses to fuel agriculture and industrial development across North America.

Lane also helped establish programs to recognize the Percheron draft horse in agriculture and industry. These programs eventually culminated in the formation of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede. It is noteworthy that the Percheron horse has been continuously exhibited in Calgary for more than 100 years.

It was at the 2008 Calgary Stampede that Janice and I connected with Dr. David Bailey, of Paramount Percherons.  David was looking for additional pasture for his brood mares and that is how Paradigm first became connected with Percheron horses.

Today, the arrival of a black or gray Percheron team in the arena or parade still engenders a high level of excitement and a positive emotional response from virtually every demographic. Recent market research conducted for the Calgary Stampede shows the ‘big’ horses have one of the highest interest ratings of any attraction. In the past, marketing opportunities involving the big horses were limited to signage on a show wagon or the side of the Horse Pull team and only the largest and most capable brand holders could consider taking a hitch on the road.  In fact, during the past decade, the relationship between cost and the brand value [visual impressions] generated  by these programs has become less and less appealing.

The developing requirement for a compelling Internet presence has cast new light upon this situation. Now Paradigm can provide  subject matter expertise and innovative methods to harness the positive emotional energy and history of Percheron horses for a brand so the Internet presence of each client is strengthened and the brand equity is sustained both now and in the future.

This is why Paradigm is focused on the Percheron.