“John, Wayne” to Make Appearance at Calgary Stampede

Steeds Given New Life On Banff’s First Horse Pulling Team

A pair of horses found at an Alberta auction will now be part of Banff’s first-ever horse-pulling team at the 2015 Calgary Stampede. It’s a comeback story that’s become an inspiration for many Banff residents.

“John” and “Wayne” were dropped off at the auction in 2014. A handwritten note left by their previous owner said that the duo were used as “chore horses,” but hadn’t been put to work for more than two years.

Being idle for so long meant John and Wayne’s hooves had not been properly looked after, which was starting to impact the health of their legs and feet But James Gaudry, a member of the leadership team at Banff Trail Riders, had a hunch that John and Wayne were special when he spotted them.

“I love horse pulling and when I saw those boys you could see the grit and potential in their hearts” said Gaudry.

Banff Trail Rider farrier Nolan Neufeld tended to the horses’ unkept hooves while other staff helped them regain their strength through cardio and muscle-growth exercises.

Gradually, the animals became healthier and more powerful and accustomed to being around people. In fact, John and Wayne became so strong that Gaudry thought they could even compete at the 2015 Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse Pull — an event that draws teams from across North America. So he entered the duo in the competition, which will take place from July 10-12.

“I think John and Wayne just might surprise people,” said Gaudry. “These horses have a lot of heart and we’re all excited for people to see what they can do at the Calgary Stampede.”

James Gaudry (who has competed in pulls across the U.S.) will lead the Banff Trail Riders heavy horse team, which also includes fellow riders Tyler Ritchie and Ryan Rankine.