One rider, one horse, one bit, four events. This describes Canada’s Greatest Horseman competition being held during the CFR/Farmfair.
This competition pushes horse and rider as they compete in four separate disciplines — steer stopping (where a steer is rated, roped and stopped), herd work (similar to cutting, with 2-1/2 minutes to cut your cow), reining (following a typical reining pattern), and fence work (where the horse and rider must box a cow, run it down the wall and then circle both ways).
The winner of Canada’s Greatest Horseman will be crowned on Friday night after the scores of all four events are combined, with close to $30,000 in cash and prizes being paid out.
One horseman who plans to compete in Canada’s Greatest Horseman is Geoff Hoar, a cutting, cowhorse and roping trainer from Innisfail, Alta.
“This is a really fun event,” Hoar says. “I’ve competed in it before, and appreciate the good venue and the big audience. It’s just a terrific place to bring good horses and show how versatile they are.”
Hoar plans to compete on Nu Sign Cash, a nine-year-old Appaloosa gelding out of High Sign Nugget.
“This horse has been shown through all the levels; hackamore, snaffle bit and bridle,” Hoar says. “We entered Canada’s Greatest Horseman before, and did well because he’s so versatile. He’s very strong in the fence work, and he’s a great rope horse as well. He’s got lots of run, lots of speed, and he isn’t afraid to get in there and stop a cow.”
Hoar also hopes to compete on San Storm Chex, a 10-year-old Quarter Horse mare. “She’s strong in all the events, too,” Hoar says. “She’s done all the hackamore, snaffle bit and bridle classes, plus she’s competed in rope horse futurities. It will be fun to show her diversity.”
Horses of all breeds can compete at the event, but Hoar expects the majority will be Quarter Horses and Appaloosas. “The skill set is very high at this competition,” he says. “It isn’t an event for everyone. Not every person can do all four events, least of all every horse!”
Careful preparation is key to this competition, with most horse and riders having years of experience under their belts before entering.
“It’s essential to prepare properly,” Hoar says. “When I get there, I want to know that I’ve done everything necessary. On the other hand, there is also an element of luck anytime you work with cattle. If you draw a tough cow it can ruin you, or you can excel. You just don’t know how it will go until you’re out there.”
Hoar believes this competition will be very popular with Farmfair spectators. “Some of Canada’s top horse and riders will be there,” he said. “It’s quite a deal, and certain to keep everyone entertained.”
Catch Canada’s Greatest Horseman at Farmfair at Northlands.