Saskatchewan Ranchers Raise Funds for WCVM Equine Research

She might be small, but a buckskin filly named MM Mito Skip has already helped to raise $1,050 for horse health in Western Canada.

When Saskatchewan equine ranchers Bob and Lois Brickley began preparing for their 11th annual production sale this fall, the couple from Kennedy, Sask., decided to do more than sell their annual crop of registered Quarter Horse foals.

To kick off their part of the September Showcase Sale at Heartland Livestock in Regina, on Sept. 13, the Brickleys donated the sale proceeds from one of their 60 foals to the Western College of Veterinary Medicine's Equine Health Research Fund (EHRF).

"As equine producers, we really appreciate the work that has been done at the WCVM, and we support more horse health research in the future." –Bob Brickley
What made their decision even more exciting was the news that their contribution to the Fund's equine research and veterinary training activities would double in size, thanks to a five-year matching gift incentive program that's supported by the Heather Ryan and L. David Dubé Foundation.

The longtime Saskatchewan equine ranchers, who own Moose Mountain Ranch, have donated to the veterinary college's equine programs as part of the North American Equine Ranching Information Council's research checkoff program for a number of years.

"But when I heard about the college's new matching program from our friend Jim Pollock (an EHRF advisory board member), it sounded like a great idea that we should support even further as individuals. As equine producers, we really appreciate the work that has been done at the WCVM, and we support more horse health research in the future," explains Bob.

The Brickleys chose to highlight Lot No.1--a 5-month-old buckskin filly named MM Mito Skip. "She's an extremely quiet, very personable horse. We chose her because she's a very nice filly and we knew that whoever bought her would be very happy with her," says Bob, who watched Rick and Shirley Szatkowski of Findlater, Sask., purchase his filly for $525. The couple had previously purchased another Moose Mountain Ranch foal in 2006.

Through the matching gift incentive program, the sale of MM Mito Skip raised a grand total of $1,050 for WCVM's equine health programs.

"We really admire Heather and David's generosity. When people come forward like that, it's just encouraging and motivating for the rest of us, and I think it's fabulous to have these types of people involved in the horse industry," says Bob.

The Brickleys, who have been part of the equine ranching industry for 16 years, have 120 mares on their second-generation family farm that's located in the foothills of the Moose Mountains in southern Saskatchewan. Besides raising registered Quarter Horses, the Brickleys own a commercial herd of 250 Black Angus cattle and grow high-quality forage and feed grains for their livestock.

In 2000, the Brickleys received the inaugural "Producer of the Year" award from the Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in recognition of their operation's superior animal care and excellent production environment.

Maintaining a strong equine health program at the WCVM is integral to the entire horse industry in Western Canada, emphasized Bob. "Equine producers across Western Canada are expecting more and more from veterinarians. Our demands are increasing, and I think we have to support those who are providing those equine health services. We need to give them the background and research capabilities to meet our requests and demands."

As for the Brickleys' unique way of donating to the Fund, Bob highly recommends the idea to other horse breeders across Western Canada: "It's just a good thing to do."

Reprinted with permission of Horse Health Lines, publication for the Western College of Veterinary Medicine's Equine Health Research Fund. Visit Ehrf.usask.ca for more information.

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