Jayda Gabrielle shows her horse, Sally, during the Thanksgiving Classic and Versatility Ranch Horse Competition at the Keystone Centre over the weekend. Gabrielle is the fourth generation in her family to work with quarter horses and finished second in her class. (CHARLES TWEED/BRANDON SUN)
With four generations of experience breaking quarter horses, the Stuart and Gabrielle family from Virden pride themselves on being stubborn women.
Audrey Stuart, the grandmother of the family, remembers vividly the first horses her daughter, Diane Gabrielle, and granddaughter, Baylee Gabrielle, broke before they were teenagers.
"We had lots of little fits about that one," Audrey said, reflecting on the standoffs between Baylee and her first weanling. "But she stuck with it and got it done and that horse turned out to be one of the best around Winnipeg."
The rich equine family history got off to a rather ominous start, however, with a little black pony that was always trying to run away. But try and try as she might to get away, every time a determined Audrey would catch her horse and bring her back to the training ring.
"I was born with a love for horses," Audrey said. "So I made sure everyone else around me did too."
Diane was just two years old when she first started riding horses and it didn’t take long to realize the love affair with horse ran in the family genes.
"Once you find that love, you have to carry on," Diane said. "I think as we go along in every generation, you always want them to do that much better, and that’s what we’re there for is to help them out."
Baylee can’t remember a time without horses in her life.
"I’ve been doing it forever," Baylee said. "My mom and my grandma did it, and I’ve been doing it forever."
The winner of several titles and futurities in Canada and the United States, Baylee has continued to build on the groundwork laid before her.
This past weekend, the fourth generation, seven-year-old Jayda Gabrielle, competed at the Thanksgiving Classic and Versatility Ranch Horse Competition at the Keystone Centre.
And if the judges’ scorecards are any indication, she’s a chip off the old block.
Battling against competitors more than twice her age, Jayda finished second in her class.
Walking through the dirt with Sally behind her, Jayda’s pearly white grin was clear a mile away.
And for the family, that’s the greatest reward the sport has always given them.
"I think it’s a great thing that our whole family can do this together," Diane said.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition October 9, 2012