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Evan Salmond was looking forward to racing during the 2020 season, but now he sets his focus on the winter and getting ready for next season.

Oh the weather outside is frightful and the fire is so delightful, but there are still horses to care for and tasks to get done around Evan Salmond’s barn. The four-time WPCA Equine Outfit of Excellence recipient certainly missed running in 2020. And, if recent history is any indication, Salmond could’ve finished in the top 15 for the third-straight year.

But, Salmond took advantage of having a full summer off and was able to accomplish quite a bit. “We spent most of the summer catching up on stuff that should’ve been done around the farm for the last 10 years,” Salmond explained. “We never had enough time to get stuff done. We have a racetrack here, we piped it and got it all finished up.”

While Salmond was getting more things accomplished in one summer than he’s ever had time to do, he still needed to take care of his horses. During a normal year, the season is about two months removed by now.  It’s a chance to let the horses relax and have bit of a vacation for themselves. But with the whole year as a “vacation”, Salmond had to make something work.

“We were thinking about training this spring, just to keep them fit. I honestly don’t think it’s the greatest thing for them to have a full year off. So we thought we’d just keep them in shape,” Salmond said. “We have four new (horses), and wanted to get them into the mix.”

One of the problems Salmond and his family had to deal with were the bugs. They were so bad, he didn’t want to mess with the horses. “The more you get them fit, the leaner they are. And the bugs just take over on them.” So Salmond decided to keep the weight on his horses and not risk anything.

As mentioned earlier, the weather is changing. The leaves have fallen off most of the trees and much of the prairies were hit with an early blast of winter. Salmond explains how he takes care of his horses through the bitter months. “They’re pretty much on self-feed (not 100% though) oats. But they get lots of grain, really good hay and lots of straw. They don’t go in a barn or anything, they stay outside. We got wind shelters out there. And they always have lots of straw to bed-down in.”

Evan and his brother Wade, who is also a driver in the WPCA, run a logging operation together. So they see each other a lot in winter and summer.  An advantage of having a family member doing the same job as you, is they’re a great resource when you need help. The Salmond’s often use each other’s horses when needed. Wade was set to be the demo driver at this years Calgary Stampede.

Before coming over to the WPCA, Evan Salmond was gaining experience in pony races. “I started driving pony’s when I was 16. I never really thought about the thoroughbred wagons until later on, I guess halfway through my pony career. I mean, we always watched the Calgary Stampede on TV and that was my main reason for switching over.”

As we know, in the chuckwagon business, sponsors are vital for the success of the drivers and the future. Throughout the summer, Salmond has kept in touch with his sponsors. And all, including Salmond are looking forward to summer 2021.


-Nathan Bannerman

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