There’s something special about life with horses, as the McIntyre family of Strathclair has come to learn, both from a business and pleasure standpoint.
Prodigy of River Hills Ranch Ltd., located approximately nine kilometres northwest of the community, can be found in multiple disciplines from a local, provincial, national and international perspective.
Four generations of the McIntyre family have raised high-quality ranch horses for close to 50 years, with current stallions, Smokin’ N Rockin’, Mbar Otoe and He’s A Zippy Jack, helping their quarter-horse program explode into the performance horse market.
“It was back in 1976 when dad and mom, Randy and Pat, really got involved with the purebred quarter-horses and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), upon purchasing a stallion by the name of Mikes Money Bars, and two mares by the name of Wakopa Miss Lobo and Clear Path,” their daughter Pam McIntyre said. “They provided a stallion service to outside mares as well, purchasing their next AQHA stallion Flasha Van, shortly after.”
In 1998, I’ll Smoke Ya was purchased from the Pitzer Ranch, down south in Nebraska, which has been a base to a lot of the River Hills Ranch’s rope horse program. The stallion was also named the AQHA Canadian National Champion in roping and halter.
Showing with AQHA and being the sole highlighted Canadian breeder in the AQHA’s 2020 Breeders Guide, is very important to the McIntyre family as progressive breeders.
“By being involved it allows the horses to have an official show record, increasing their value. It’s not easy to gain competitive points in Canada, as the shows are more dominant in the United States,” McIntyre said. “We are fortunately working with one of the world’s greatest horse trainers, Bobby Lewis, who has won nearly 30 AQHA world championships, and is an NCHA Hall of Fame inductee. He has shown two horses for us, and has several of ours in training.”
Backed by the motto, “Raising the bar, taking you to the next level,” they are pleased with the growth of their business, as Smokin’ N Rockin’, born in 2014, was a finalist at the 2018 and 2019 AQHA World Shows in the Level 3 junior heading and junior heeling, and was also the 2019 Houston Livestock Show Champion in the junior heading and heeling.
“Smokin’ N Rockin’ is fast footed and always getting on his hind end,” said Joseph Harrison, a three-time National Finals Rodeo heeler and AQHA World Champion, who has showed and competed with the stallion. “He can run and he’s got all the good traits that go along with what a rope horse needs.”
River Hills Ranch’s mare Dun Driftn is also being featured in the professional rodeo world over 2020, thanks to 2016 World Champion Header, Levi Simpson.
According to Pam, the main focus of River Hills Ranch is the roping discipline, however, horses from their pro- gram can also be found in barrel racing, working cow horse, western pleasure, English/dressage, and jumping. They are bred to be quite versatile, and can be found competing at all levels across Canada and the United States right to the AQHA World Show level in Oklahoma City.
Both daughters, Pam and Kelly, hold a diploma in equine sciences, production, and breeding management from Olds College, which assists in the ranch program. As well, they are both certified for equine ultrasound, AI frozen and cooled semen from The Breeder’s Assistant (Tomball, TX).
It truly is a family affair at River Hills Ranch, which also constitutes as a cow-calf and feedlot operation, keeping all hands on deck and busy. Enriching their young lives, ranch- raised horses are the backbone of the four grandchildren – Shane, Kayla, Lacey and Dayce – from ranch work to rodeo to trail riding, home-based quarter-horses, one of the oldest recognized breeds, continue to enrich lives today as much as yesterday.