Fun times in Brandon, Manitoba

If you have followed my blog for a while, you may know that my wife, Sheri, shows Arabian horses. Once again this year we had an opportunity to go to the Canadian National Arabian Championship show which is held in Brandon, Manitoba. Brandon is about 1200 miles (1931 km) from our home in Utah, and we drove there once again. So that you don’t think I’m totally insane, the cost of a flight and a rental car for the two of us ends up being about double what we would pay in fuel and lodging for the drive. So, it ends up being a no-brainer.

I thought I would share a visual of our trip for you and give you some brief descriptions along with the photos. You may notice in most of the photographs that the skies seem pretty washed out and a dull whitish gray color. This is due to the smoke from the wildfires in the western United States and western Canada. In fact, on our way up to Brandon we heard on the news that the smoke from the fires in California had finally reached New York City. So, we did not have those beautiful blue skies which usually accompany that part of Canada. We did however have a wonderful time as usual, and we always enjoy spending time with our Canadian friends. As a side note, the United States could take a lot of tips from our neighbor to the north these days.

Hopefully, you will enjoy these photographs and be able to get a feel for why we enjoy our time in this nice city in Manitoba.

Yellowstone River near Miles City, MT. Notice the smoky haze from the many western fires.
Eastern Montana
Old Farm wp
This is an old farm near Souris, Manitoba on the way to Brandon.

Here are a few shots from the show grounds at the equestrian center in Brandon. The grounds are primarily designed as a hockey facility, but is a huge complex. Brandon is the second largest city in Manitoba behind the capitol, Winnipeg. So not only does this complex hold the city’s hockey team, the Brandon Wheat Kings which I gather are quite a formidable team, the facility also houses areas for curling, and other ice sports as well. With Brandon being primarily a farming community, the facility is also used as a fairgrounds for agricultural events as well.

Show barns 1 wp
This shot is looking east out the back of the main event arena.  You can see a few of the horse barns in the foreground.  The older building in the background is under restoration, and used to be used for the county fairs.  It was built around the turn of the last century.

Show barns 2 wp

Since we were up here for the entire week, a few of us decided to take a side trip up to Riding Mountain National Park further north in Manitoba. Here are a few shots from that trip as well. (For more photographs of the trip up to Riding Mountain Park please check out my post from last year, Scenes from Manitoba.)

Myself, Francis and Alex enjoying lunch and a beer in Wasagaming, Manitoba.

There is a nice little restaurant in town right across the street from the main Park headquarters building in the town of Wasagaming which is inside Riding Mountain National Park. The restaurant has a wonderful little patio from which you can watch pretty much everything happening on the main street. For lunch that day Francis and I had a buffalo burger, and you can see we are making a toast to our relaxing day. Alex is Francis’s son, and somehow he managed to enjoy a beer with us as well.

Clear Lake in Wasagaming, Manitoba at Riding Mountain National Park.

As I have been to the show for several years, I decided to do a little walking tour of Brandon and take some pictures of the interesting architecture in the town.

Brandon U 1 wp
This is the main building on the campus of Brandon University.
Brandon U 3 wp
Brandon University dates back to the later 1800’s and was the first college west of Ontario.
Brandon U 2 wp
I was playing around with my wide angle lens and the perspective correction in my photo software.  This building is just incredible.
Brandon House 1 wp
An older home in downtown Brandon near the campus.
Old Brandon House 1 wp
Here is more of the downtown architecture.
Brandon House 2 wp
This is a little more modern architecture on a nicely kept home.
Brandon Church wp
This is an older church across town.  The lines are just simply beautiful.  Notice the smoky skies.
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This is an interesting grain elevator on the northeast end of town near the Assiniboine River which runs right through the heart of Brandon.

Well, the horse show can certainly be a cause for celebration as you can see in the photograph below.

Tracy Celebration wp
This is Francis’s wife, Tracy, about to indulge in a very fun drink with a twisted tea kicker at a late after show dinner.  Yes, our Canadian friends definitely know how to enjoy themselves.

And lastly here is the main reason for our trip to Brandon, my wife’s horse show.  She had a good showing in her classes, and had a great time as well.  The horse show has a paid photographer, so any photos taken by the rest of us must be from outside of the show arena, and the use of flash is strictly prohibited so as not to interfere with the class.  So, getting these shots is a little bit of a chore.  I used a Nikon 70-200mm lens and shot at f3.5 for most of the photographs.  The ISO was set at about 4000 to allow for a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action and motion.  My camera for most of the shots in this blog is a Nikon D500.

The Country English Pleasure is a class where the horse is supposed to show a lot of discipline and control.  The horse should have big motion with a rolling action in his/her feet and legs at the trot.  The rider is dressed in very traditional turn of the century riding clothes for a “pleasurable ride across country”.  The class is judged on the confirmation (body build and motion) of the horse, the amount of action and motion in the horse’s trots and canters (run) as well as being easy to handle and looking relaxed at the walk and at a stop.

Determined wp
This is Sheri concentrating while on her horse, Genuine Shoc, a purebred Arabian.  She is just about the enter the main show gate heading into her class at the show.
The trot wp
Here is a classic trot in motion during her Country English Pleasure class.
Traffic wp
Here is Sheri on Ginny (our nickname for Genuine Shoc) in traffic trotting past the show photographer who is in the middle of the arena.  There were 12 horses in this class which is in the main hockey arena.  Yes, it gets a little crowded and can get pretty crazy.
Hand Gallop wp
This is Sheri on Ginny at the canter, or perhaps the faster hand gallop, turning the corner around the arena.
Victory Pass wp
And finally here she is on her victory lap after receiving her ribbon for a Top Ten finish in the Canadian National Arabian Championships.  Sheri and Ginny had to place in the top 6 in a semi-final qualifying class in order to be able to ride in the championship class.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little tour of Brandon, Manitoba.  Thanks for stopping by.






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