. calgary stampede ranch

Sweat, blood and tears: All in a day's work at the Calgary Stampede Ranch

It was a busy day for all those involved at the Calgary Body Damage at the Stampede RanchStampede Ranch.  Successful horse dentistry, a minor hoof operation and an extensive list of other routine inspections and bovine check-ups were performed while temperatures soared to a scorching 25 C before 11 am.

But long hours and less-than-stellar working conditions hardly fazed those who earn their living solely through hard work and sweat. For them,  it was just another day at the office.A recent media release by the Calgary Stampede has announced how the organization is planning to implement the “Fitness to Complete” program ,which will ensure that all stock that participate within the rodeo will receive the top animal care within North America.

A handful of journalists and I were invited to the 21,773 acre Stampede Ranch just outside of Hanna, Alta to see how meticulously the prize-winning livestock was handled.

Dr. Evans removing the sole abscess Dr Greg Evans, chief veterinarian for the Stampede,  Raymond Goodman, manager of the Stampede Ranch, and a few ranch hands have been working tirelessly to ensure that the ranch’s herd of 400 horses and 80 bulls are ready for their participation in the ten arduous days in the rodeo ring.“It beats working at 7-11,” Goodman laughs as he guides a particularly menacing bull named Body Damage into a corral.

When asked how the names are decided for certain stock, Goodman explains that the monikers are usually decided after the traits the animals emulate.

And in Body Damage’s case, the name wears him well.The “Fitness to Complete” program will be implementing new policies to ensure that every horse and bull is in peak physical condition before and after all competitions.

A microchip will be installed into every horse set to compete within the GMC Rangeland Derby to monitor performance and track possible injuries.

ranch hand














Taking a well-deserved break

Also every horse and bull will be thoroughly inspected upon arrival on the grounds and possibly subjected to refusal of competition if the vet deems the animal unfit in any way.

The new safety measures that are being implemented by the Stampede will guarantee that only the fittest and healthiest stock will be subjected to the rigorous ten days of events.

“This new program takes the Stampede’s animal care program to an entirely new level,” says Dr. Greg Evans. “It provides our independent veterinarians more detailed information about each horse and allows us even closer contact with each animal on race days and in between.”

A cattle liner at the Calgary Stampede Ranch

The cattle liner used to haul stock


A prize bareback bronco by the name of Mad Money was one of the horses in need of medical attention last week. Above-average precipitation this spring has resulted in abnormalities in a few horses’ hooves- in the form of sole abscesses.

 “Exposure to dirty water and fecal material forms an infection and a pus pocket will develop inside the soft tissue of the foot,” explains Dr. Evans while carefully scraping the tender insides of the horse’s inflamed hoof.

“We noticed Mad Money wasn’t acting herself and her front foot seemed a little sore, so we took her to get examined.

 Because Mad Money is not a saddle horse, special care needed to be taken when examining her foot. The black bronco was placed in a mechanical apparatus that carefully placed her on her side to ensure that Dr. Evans was able to easily observe the infected hoof. 

 “In the old days you would have never been able to do this without the table cause there is no way you can restraint the leg and get in to find the abscess safely,” clarified Goodman. 

The minor procedure was concluded with the collection of a blood sample to ensure that further infections were not ailing the majestic creature. 

Mad Money made a full recovery and is set to compete in this year’s events at the Calgary Stampede. 

Mad Money

Mad Money happily eating some hay after the procedure