About Candace

Below essays were written for school.



Who am I?     Looking Back 

Twistin Twiz Devil's Lassie BBF Khrystal Gold MV Matta Khara Major




Who am I?

Who am I? It's a simple enough question, right? I am a person whose life revolves around horses and dogs! I have grown up around animals and they are my passion. Actually a litter of puppies was born the same night as I was, April 18th, 1992. That was the day I started taking control of my parents lives!

I remember my first day at school. It was at Big Rock Elementary School and my grade one teacher was Mrs. Knox. It was a scary day and I didn't want to leave my dad. School got better as the years went on but I still didn't really like it. I stayed at Big Rock until I finished grade six then I went to the Okotoks Junior High School were I attended grade seven. I played the clarinet in the band and was going to start taking saxophone lessons so I could play in the jazz band in grade 8 but one May afternoon sitting at my sisters rugby game we bumped into my a old friend of ours where we started taking about a Pony Club she was the director of. I started riding every Thursday night with them and began getting to know a few people I rode with. I learned that most of them were home schooled. Continuing to ride with them over the summer I learned more about home school. They told about the flexibility and fun time they had with it. I decided that I wanted to finish my school career by being home schooled. I registered for grade 8 at St. Paul's Academy where I attended online for the first year. I am currently in grade 11 and loving it!

My talents and interests include riding horses and showing dogs. My family breeds, owns, and shows English Setters and Gordon Setters and I have had the opportunity to whelp many litters of puppies and watch them grow up to become multi-best in show winners and specialty winners. It is exciting to see such little creatures come into this world and see them grow up to be beautiful show dogs and loving pets! I currently have an eleven-month-old puppy that I look forward to showing and playing around in junior handling competition. I have shown both his mother and grandmother and they were a blast. They are now retired and sleep on my bed!

Along with dogs I also have horses. I breed mainly Paints and Arabians but have a couple of Quarter Horses and a thoroughbred. Most of them are quite young and so they don't know much. I am in the midst of training them both on the ground and on their back. My preferred breed is Arabians, but I would like to one day own a breeding stable and show barn for both, Paints and Arabians. I ride many disciplines in both English and Western. I participate in Dressage, Show jumping, and Eventing - all three are recognized Olympic competitions. I also ride in Pony Club, which teaches me a little bit of each as well as equitation. In Western riding I participate in Barrel Racing, Roping, trail riding, and Reining - now a new international discipline at the FEI World Equestrian Games, which is held every 4 years. One of my goals is to ride in the 2014 Games as well as the 'Masters' and the 'Battle of the Breeds' at Spruce Meadows. My Arab mare is currently whom I am planning on riding at the 'Battle of the Breeds' but it will depend on how versatile she is and how her training proceeds. I also have some foals coming they should be great prospects for the world games and I look forward to training them!

I have had many influential people in my life but my main influence would be my sister, Sabrina. Sabrina was a very active, always on the go person. She played sports, showed dogs, and rode horses. Even though she was always at some practice during the week and tournaments or dog shows on the weekend she never quit anything. She would always see it through right to the end. Sabrina kept her grades up even though she had a busy schedule. 

The people who got me to where I am now and made I who I want to become are my parents, mentors, riding instructors and coaches. My main riding instructor and coach is Carol Hall. She has helped with my riding and with training my two young horses. She has been a big help and a mentor to me in many ways! Carol is an accomplished rider, trainer and instructor. She competes in dressage events and looks 'at home' on the back of a horse.

Who am I? I am a rider, a handler, a trainer, a student, a daughter, a sister, and a friend. I am Candace Oakes.



Looking Back

Today as I look across the fields my vision of life and its rewards and challenges are vivid in my mind.  My goals were formalized at a very young age.  I wanted to have a life that was associated with horses, specifically Arabians.  I wanted to become the number one Arabian horse breeder in terms of the quality of horses that I breed.  The challenges like many quests are money and time.  Money to have the facilities to house enough mares and stallions and the time to spend developing the young foals so that they can be sold to the right homes that will continue the foals development.  Overcoming challenges through perseverance and continuing to build  my skill set around horses will help me to achieve these goals.

As I sit on the deck looking out across the fields I notice my horses all seem to have grown much older in what seems like a very short period of time. As I sit there looking around the boundaries of our ranch, I recollect at all the changes that the ranch has undergone and the young girl who made most of the changes a necessity.  It was her passion for breeding and training horses that made the changes just a natural step in the development of the ranch.  

As I close my eyes I visualize the little girl who cautiously and with much apprehension used to approach the corrals where her horse spent much of her time. This young girl unlike her older sister was frightened by the horses and although she would have loved to have been able to jump on her horse bareback and ride out into the field following her sister, her fear of falling off once again stopped her from enjoying her horse. So instead she chose to feed her horse handfuls of fresh grass and was content for now; to stroke her horse’s neck and treat her like a friend. As the months and years passed this scared little girl overcame her fear of riding. Little by little she got bolder and would sit on her horse while it grazed or slept. Sometimes she would ask her horse to move and she held her breath while it took steps forward or trotted over to join the other horses. Inch by inch her confidence grow to the point where she would follow her sister and her family on rides around the property. Eventually no longer being content with just riding over the same fields day after day this little girl finally got up the courage to ask to join Pony Club.  

The transformation in this young girl was remarkable. Even though there was the odd fall and sometimes tears and broken bones, the confidence that had started to grow kept the fear in the background. After a number of months, I saw this little girl saving her hard earned money to eventually buy her second horse, an unbroke black and white Paint mare. Even though on her first ride she was bucked off of Panda her confidence in her own abilities and the love that she felt for this horse pushed her fears into the background.

I can see this girl now improving on her horsemanship not only in the saddle but on the ground teaching herself and the mare to respond to body language and voice commands. After many spills and time spent with her mare the young girl received an Arab mare from a friend because of the work she was doing with her Paint mare. I can see this young girl getting on her Arab mare for the first time not knowing how the mare would react. The young girl fought back her fear and enjoyed her ride on the well-behaved unbroke mare. The mares and young girl both grew together with their confidence and training. The young girl will never forget what she learned from her two mares.  

As the young girl’s confidence continued to grow in her riding ability she started to ride an older Quarter Horse gelding. He was a very reliable clunky old guy. The girl’s confidence and riding ability continued to grow and she now began going over jumps and riding bareback on trail rides. Although the gelding wasn’t very smooth, she learned to keep her balance on him bareback as well as going over the jumps. I can still see how she really enjoyed riding this big guy for she felt comfortable that he would never do anything to make her come off.

I can remember watching the young girl training for her first horse show. She was very excited and had three clear rounds jumping. Her team had come 1st as they all went clear every round. The young girl was very happy with the job she had done and looked forward to more jumping and shows!

The young girl and her Paint mare grew together that winter as they started riding in lessons. This was challenging for both, as they both had to learn to do everything they were being asked to do. They fortunately had an amazing coach who helped them through all the challenges and helped the young girl become the rider she is today.

The young girl’s next challenge came in the spring when she got 3 more Arabs, a stallion, a mare, and a gelding. The young girl had to get over her fear to ride the gelding for the first time not knowing how he was going to react. She also had to learn to trust and believe in the young black stallion. I remember watching the young girl spend hours standing in the stall with the stallion rubbing and cuddling the sweet boy. He was any young girls dream who had every read ‘The Black Stallion’ or ‘Black Beauty”. The gelding turned out to be very nice to ride but had lots of energy and spunk so he could be a handful. The gelding didn’t scare the young girl and her confidence and ability continued to grow riding this feisty boy. He was very well trained and loved to please.

I remember watching the young girl riding the gelding for the first time at Pony club. He was very excited and pranced all over the place. The girl stayed relaxed while she calmed down the gelding. The next week at Pony club she had an amazing flat work lesson and went to the cross-country field to jump. The young girl was a little nervous, as she had never jumped the gelding before. He turned out to be very nice but put her out of balance the third time they went in and out of a jump called an ‘A box’. Instead of falling, like was the normal routine, the young girl decided to vault off. She ended up landing wrong and broke her ankle and tore her ligaments. The young girl didn’t ride all summer.

This fortunately didn’t do anything to harm the young girl’s confidence. When she was healed enough, she began to ride again, She rode like nothing had happened. Breaking her ankle actually helped her with her confidence and ability to stay on her horse. When she was riding, she knew that she couldn’t afford to come off, as her ankle wasn’t fully healed so she fought to stay on, something she had never done before.  

Through the winter and spring that year I remember seeing the young girl improve incredibly and her confidence flourished. She loved riding her gelding and would laugh if he bucked or got ancy.  I can recall the young girl going on many trail rides by herself with her paint mare. They enjoyed the time in the big field or going down the road.  

The young girl started using the Paint mare in Pony club and went over their first jumps and scary courses. They overcame many fears together that summer. The paint mare became the horse the young girl always wanted to ride and enjoyed her no matter what mood the mare was in.

I can recall the young girl and mare’s first gymkhana. They got there late and didn’t have long before they went into the ring and ran barrels. For both of them it was their first time ever doing barrels and they won their class with a time of thirty-three seconds! Their second time running barrels they tied with a time of thirty seconds! After enjoying their second gymkhana they had a 2 hr ride home. I remember seeing them ride along ditches and through fields that had just been cut. They rode past tractors and Bobcats that were working on the new golf course that was going in a couple miles away from home. It was a six to seven mile ride and after a long gymkhana both, the young girl and the mare, were very tired when they got home. By the time I saw them enter the gate both were getting very stiff and losing energy.

In the fall I can see the young girl getting her first Thoroughbred, a mare that was only track broke. Her name was Lassie. The mare had never raced but was trained on the track. She could have been a winner but she kept hurting herself and wasn’t sound enough. I can see the young girl getting on the mare for the first time. She was a bit unsure of herself at first but quickly realized everything was going to be fine and I saw that she enjoyed riding the big chestnut mare! The next two nights the young girl and Lassie trailered to Pony Club where they went over a few low jumps and had very nice enjoyable rides. The young girl hadn’t been riding the mare long when they started jumping lessons at a stable nearby. As Lassie had never jumped before it was up to the young girl to help her out.

I can recall not long after the young girl got Lassie she started riding one of their Thoroughbreds that used to be her older sister’s. This mare had always scared the young girl as she was a bit of a handful and really wanted to go if she hadn’t been ridden in a while. Socks had not been ridden in a year and the young girl worked out her issues. After a week of riding I remember the young girl and Socks going to a cross-country course and riding on it.  The young girl was worried at first but Socks was acting very good and was listening well so the young girl relaxed and enjoyed her ride.

I can remember many more great horse related events that this young girl was involved in but they are getting blurred now as the vision of this young girl getting older have started to parallel my own life and the events in it seem to run together.  Now when I see this young girl in her mature years, she seems to resemble me. This young girl like myself learned through perseverance and continuing to advance her knowledge and skill set to allow growth in a sport she loves.

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