July Q Horse Heroes Honourees

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Congratulations to our August Q Horse Heroes, Lisa Graham, Danika Morton, Leanne Karoles and David Nichol!

LISA GRAHAM

Lisa has been involved with Quarter Horses for over 40 years, originally from Ontario, she moved to Saskatchewan to peruse her career as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Lisa served her entire RCMP career in Saskatchewan, and is now retired; however, that does not mean that she isn’t still serving her community.  

Her equine involvement in the province is vast, currently she is serving as president for both the Saskatchewan Horse Federation and the Saskatchewan Quarter Horse Association. She, herself had big plans for the 2020 show and breeding season, having a halter mare very near her AQHA superior she had planned to complete that this year and have her bred; but of course, like so many in the horse industry this year, those plans have been pushed back. In spite of this personal setback however, Lisa has been an encouraging force in her equine community, promoting all breed virtual horse shows, organizing and promoting smaller scaled clinics, and helping the Saskatchewan Quarter Horse Association launch a new Horseback Riding Program. 

In addition to the many hours she volunteers to the horse community, she is also a dedicated member of her Royal Canadian Legion branch. Lisa has been instrumental in her community’s contribution to the Canadian Fallen Heroes Foundation project. The foundation partners with private and public organizations to put a face to the fallen, to share a glimpse into the lives of our soldiers and preserve their memory through memorial. Lisa has done much of the research into the families of the 30 plus names listed on the Craik War Memorial, gathering photos of the fallen and collecting their stories, it is a project that is dear to her and to so many Canadians.  

Aylesbury, Saskatchewan is where Lisa calls home. It’s a small community with a substantial elderly populationand the Legion plays a big part in the community. In a normal year it would host an assortment of community activities to help ensure the health and wellbeing of the region, but with Covid 19, its purpose has changed. In her role with the Legion now, Lisa finds she spends a lot of time reaching out into the community to find out who needs assistance, and who would really appreciate a good home cooked meal delivered.  

For her continued commitment to the Saskatchewan equine communitythe wellbeing of her communityand the preservation of the memory of our fallen war heroes, CQHA honours Lisa Graham as a 2020 Canadian Quarter Horse Association Q Horse Hero!  

DANIKA MORTON

CQHA is pleased to honour Danika Morton of Dryden, Ontario as a Q Horse Hero.  

The president of the Northern Lights Quarter Horse Association (NLQHA) works full time in Canada’s forestry industry; and owns two registered American Quarter Horses.  

A dedicated horse show enthusiast, she began riding as a child, and started showing on the AQHA circuit internationally when she was in her late teens. Danika has competed in all around events and in the last few years has focused on Ranch Riding events. In 2019 she qualified for the AQHA World Show in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and competed in Ranch Riding.  

In March of this year when Covod-19 hit Canada, in anticipation of a very different show seasonDanika on behalf of the NLQHA began organizing. As a result of her hard work and dedication the NLQHA was the very first Canadian Quarter Horse organization to launch virtual horse shows; that inaugural show kicked off April 24, 2020. 

On May 21, 2020 the CQHA media team created a video montage of the special lead line class that Danika created for the NLQHA virtual show, featuring the images that each entry submitted. The video was widely shared on social media, and reshared by AQHA, and several other highprofile equine media accounts. In the spirit of offering fun virtual classes to everyone the association announced a costume class which kicksed off July 15, and CQHA plans to share those entries as well.  

With over 500 members of the NLQHA’s virtual show’s online FaceBook group, the shows which are open to all breeds are continuing to go strong. Danika says they get entries from all over Canada, and that it has been a great way for people to connect who otherwise may have never showed at the same show in their normal travels. CQHA asked Danika if she had any pearls of wisdom to share, from her experience of running these virtual shows, she said, “Keep practicing and working at home, because eventually we all will get back to the regular show pen.”  

For living up to the old adage that “the show must go on” and supporting her horse show community with fun alternative showing experiences we honour Danika Morton as a 2020 Canadian Quarter Horse Association Q Horse Hero!  

LEANNE KAROLES

Capt. Karoles is a dedicated supporter of the American Quarter Horse industry in Canada. A long-time amateur competitor, show sponsor, and breeder; her love for the breed started at an early age growing up in Alberta.  

Leanne’s career with the Canadian Armed Forces moved her to Ontario in the early 2000’s and while her horse showing has been temporarily put on hiatus multiple times due to being deployed over-seas in service to our country, it’s a passion that she is always happy to return home to.  

There are many different kinds of roles within the Canadian Military, to say one is Army, or Air Force, doesn’t do much to narrow that down; and because of security and protocols CQHA is limited as to what we can say about her role within Canada’s Army, however it is safe to say that many of the lessons she has learned during her long hours in the barn and in the saddle, have made her a better soldier. The compassion, patience, and communication skills that have been refined by years as an avid equestrian, have transferred easily to her job protecting our country and supporting her comrades and their families.  

Capt. Karoles has been deployed to the far east since before the outbreak of the global pandemic; an unexpected stress that has only added to the burden of Canadian military families, and their loved ones deployed. The situation has made her role within the Armed Forces all that more important to both service men and women and those waiting for them at home, to those she serves and supports we know she provides an important lifeline, a heroic feat onto its-self.  

For serving her country and providing unimaginable support to Canadian service men and women during this global pandemic CQHA honourCapt. Leanne Karoles as a 2020 Canadian Quarter Horse Association Q Horse Hero!  

Please watch the CQHA FaceBook page for an upcoming announcement as to when Leanne will be a guest in an exclusive CQHA interview.  

DAVID NICHOL

On the evening of May 9, 2020 David Nichol and his wife Rachel were driving down County Road 16, in Orangeville, Ontario when he spotted flames, and immediately turned up the driveway into the Hockley Hills School of Horsemanship; the home of Aitchison Show Horses. The riding school and training facility is owned by Julie Huppé and Dave Aitchison; Julie and Dave were just sitting down for dinner with their family when a knock came to their door, Nichol’s informed them that their tractor was on fire and flames were spreading to the barn.  

Quickly everyone including Mr. Nichol jumped into action to rescue the 19 horses and Kippins 

the barn cat who were all inside the barn. Julie said that while she, Dave and the kids rushed to move the horses to safety, this man whom they had never met before bravely held the flames and black smoke at bay with the water hose. 

The fire was battled for hours by the four responding fire departments, and in all the chaos that ensued Nichol and his wife left before Dave and Julie could even get his name or thank him 

When news reporters came the next day, Dave recapped the night’s events stating that they never would have been able to save all the horses had this stranger not come to their aid, Julie said “We are forever grateful and would like to thank him personally” hoping that the news media would reach the brave individual that helped them, and encourage him to return to the farm or give them a call.  

A week later Dave and Rachel returned to introduce themselves.  

For coming to the aid of the Hockley Hills School of Horsemanship; the home of Aitchison Show Horses, and redefining the term “Good Samaritan” we honour David Nichol  as a 2020 Canadian Quarter Horse Association Q Horse Hero!

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