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July Q Horse Heroes Honourees

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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General

August Q Horse Heroes Honourees

Brad Bowie

Brad Bowie was born into the Canadian Quarter Horse community. Professionally he is the communications director for the Peel region paramedic service, an emergency medical responder, and rodeo announcer. He is also a horse show organizer for the roping and cutting industry, a promotor for the equine goods and services industry, and a volunteer advisor to the Canadian Quarter Horse Association’s media committee.

During this pandemic his skills have been essential to his community and his EMS team; in fact, they were critical in the early days of the pandemic when there was so much uncertainty at the start of the phase one lock down in the province of Ontario; coordinating communications to the media and to his team and organizing the flow of information between medical and legislative bodies, and first responders. Yet it was during this time that he also agreed to lend what little free time he had to help shape CQHA’s expansion of its social media footprint, which launched May 1, 2020.

Brad and is entire family have deep roots in the Quarter Horse industry, they have a legacy of volunteerism and knowledge that reaches back to the early days of the Quarter Horse breed in this country, and a diverse involvement which spans much of the industry from AQHA all around events to ranch and cow horse events, as well as rodeo.

For his continued commitment to the equine industry, and serving is community as a first responder, CQHA honours Brad Bowie as a 2020 Canadian Quarter Horse Association Q Horse Hero!

Jen Ellins

Jen Ellinshails from a family that was once a fixture in the Ontario Quarter Horse community. Daughter of Bill and Leslie Ellinswhom were long time volunteers of Quarterama and Ontario Quarter Horse promotional clubs, Jen was attending quarter horse shows way before she could even walk or talkAs an adult she has broadened her equestrian interests and is now an accomplished side saddle rider 

Employed as a master electrician Jen has been on duty throughout the duration of this pandemic as an essential service provider, ensuring her community has had a safe and reliable source of electricity. In addition to her demanding fulltime profession, Jen recently moved back home to help care of her parents and their farm. She has rebuilt the greenhouse and tends to a full crop of vegetables, to supply their family.  

Reaching back to her equestrian roots Jen has been a Captain with the Ontario Mounted Special Service Unit for a number of years now. The group performs mounted security duties and also participates in search rescue activities when called upon by local authorities across the province of Ontario, due to the fact that often the wilderness of the province makes search and rescue efforts difficult on foot or by motorized vehicle.  

For her continued commitment to her family and community as an essential service provider, and her dedication to the Ontario Mounted Special Service Unit which is a proud alliance partner of the Canadian Quarter Horse Association , CQHA honours Jen Ellins as a 2020 Canadian Quarter Horse Association Q Horse Hero!  

LISA RATH

Lisa Rath is employee of Victoria Order of Nurses (VON), Lisa is responsible for keeping the personal protective equipment in stock and up to date, for fellow VON employees. The VON offers essential personal support care for many members of communities across Ontario. Often times their assistance allows our disabled and elder citizens to remine in their homes, ensuring proper care and nutrition for which without their help would have to move into assisted living facilities. Lisa and her colleague’s duties during this pandemic have walked the line between both essential service worker and first responder throughout this pandemic, often arriving on the scene with paramedics when their clients are in distress.  

Lisa rides a registered American Quarter Horse mare “Sheza Flaming Tiger” aka Tia, together they serve on the Ontario Mounted Special Service Unit (OMSSU).  The pair have attended  numerous OMSSU events participating on the international award-winning performing drill team and acting as both community ambassadors and security at public events. Serving as a Captain with OMSSU, she adds great value to the team with her medical background as a past personal support worker,  and also participates in the fire prevention community ride through visits in Ontario’s cottage country with Ontario Fire Prevention Officers. 

In addition to her mounted volunteerism Lisa also operates a boarding barn, which like so many across Canada have faced many changes and obstacles during this pandemic. Lisa has worked diligently to ensure the welfare of the horses in her care, many of which are registered Quarter Horses, and also has adapted her routines and facilities in order to facilitate safe equestrian activity on her property once the province gave the OK to do so.  

For her commitment to her community as an essential service provider with the VON, and her dedication to the equine industry as a boarding facility operator and her volunteerism with Ontario Mounted Special Service Unit which is a proud alliance partner of the Canadian Quarter Horse Association , CQHA honours Lisa Rath as a 2020 Canadian Quarter Horse Association Q Horse Hero!  

Stojan's powersports and marine

Stojan’s Powersports and Marine Ltd., a business that has strong family ties to the Alberta Quarter Horse Racing industry, is renowned for doing good deeds in their community of Grande Prairie, Alberta. When the Covid 19 pandemic hit this spring and impacted the equine industry particularly hard, it wasn’t long for this family and their business to see where there was need and answer that call.  

The Peace Area Riding for the Disabled Society (PARDS)facility also in Grande Prairie, runs a number of community programs that are essential for the mental and physical wellbeing of its clients, but when services had to cease this spring due to the lock down, and the facility was faces with hardships not only associated with not providing services, but an unreliable piece of essential farm equipment that is essential to delivering care to the many horses employed at the riding center John Stojan and his business Stojan’s Powersports and Marine stepped in to help with the donation of a 2020 Can-Am Defender PRO. 

The vehicle helps with the daily tasks around the riding facility, and with staff being limited due to the pandemic, and the needs to the horses remaining a constant, pandemic or not, the donation came to the rescue of an exhausted staff that was resorting to the use of a wheel barrow to shuttle hay and gain to the numerous equines in its care.  

Stojan’s Powersports and Marie have been great supporters of PARDS in the past, and knowing how many people in their community depend on PARDs services, and the staff and volunteers who work tirelessly in the community to support and promote equine assisted therapy as invaluable therapy for so many varied afflictions, they felt that coming to their aid with the 2020 Can-Am Defender PRO was an easy way to support PARDS continued operations in their time of need.  

For their continued commitment to the equine assisted therapy and the PARDs organization, CQHA honours Stojan’s Powersports and Marine and the Stojan family as 2020 Canadian Quarter Horse Association Q Horse Heroes.