Fairlight's Doug Sauter will lead Moosomin Parade with his appaloosa horses

July 9, 2024, 10:59 am
Ashley Bochek

Doug Sauter of Fairlight will be waving the Canadian flag and riding one of his appaloosa horses to lead the Moosomin Parade.

Doug Sauter of Fairlight will be waving the Canadian flag and riding one of his appaloosa horses to lead the Moosomin Parade this Saturday, July 13. Sauter lives in Oklahoma and travels with horses to different events all over North America.

Sauter says he always dreamed of having his own horse ranch one day.

"I grew up on a farm at Fairlight. I am very proud of where I am from and my family roots. Horses were not a big part of our farm, but we always had some around, and it was one of my dreams growing up on a farm to someday have a horse ranch. After coaching hockey for 41 years my dream came true. My wife Brenda, and I have a 40-acre horse ranch in Oklahoma. We have 14 horses on it and one longhorn calf. It is a bit of a sanctuary for these horses—every horse has a story of where they came from and they're I think very lucky horses to be raised on our little ranch. I work for a company called Express Ranches and Express Employment Professionals. They're leaders in agriculture in North America. I am an ambassador for their ranch.”

Sauter says a friend gave the horses to him. "A gentleman by the name of Wayne Spears, he reenacted Pawnee Bill. Pawnee Bill was a promoter of the Wild West show. They had the Pawnee Bill Ranch and had a leopard appaloosa called "Y"—all of the horses only have one letter names. On this trip in Airdrie and Calgary right now we have Y, X, Z, and T. He got me hooked on leopard appaloosas and he eventually gave me his horse after 22 years. Over the years I have had close to a dozen leopard appaloosas."

Sauter says appaloosa horses are rare and are some of the crowd’s favourites.

"The leopard appaloosas have a rare colouring and kids call them a dalmatian—they're spotted horses. They have an unusual look. Our one horse, X, he is a leopard mule—half donkey and half appaloosa. He came out with all these spots and he is very rare."

He says his wife and himself have travelled to many different parades with their horses. He led the Calgary Stampede parade with the horses for 20 years.

"We just finished the Ponoka Stampede Rodeo, and Airdrie," Sauter said. "They're two bigger rodeos that we were part of. A lot of smaller rodeos around, the Moose Mountain Kennedy Rodeo, the ones in Oklahoma—the Oklahoma State University Parade they have 89er days. There is probably around 15-20 parades that we have participated in our home state of Oklahoma.

"We have a promotional six-horse hitch of Clydesdales. The Clydesdales are the second most famous hitch in the United States behind Budweiser and we would go every other year. The Budweiser team would go one year and then we go the next. Four years ago we quit showing the Express Clydesdale in competitions and we brought percherons. Now we have Express Ranch Percherons and we are one of the top three hitches competitively in all of the United States."

Sauter and his team of horses have recently travelled from Oklahoma to the Prairies for events.

"We have been on the road now for seven days. We stay at my wife's family ranch and farm at Wawota, the Dorrance ranch. On our way up here from Oklahoma we went on a little holiday. We visited Fort Robinson, Nebraska to ride horses on trails and the Moose Mountain Provincial Park here in Southeastern Saskatchewan—all the ski-doo trails become equestrian trails in the summer and they have got a beautiful facility there where you can keep your horses in a pen, camp at the park, and ride all the trails. It is probably one of the biggest and most beautiful secrets in Southeast Saskatchewan that they have trails that are all groomed and safe."

Sauter says he is excited to return to his roots and visit Moosomin again this summer for the parade.

"Moosomin was the big town when I was growing up. One of the highlights when I was younger was going to Dairy Treat. It was located on the Trans-Canada highway with soft ice cream and you didn't go to Moosomin in the summer time and not stop there.

"I have to congratulate Moosomin on how progressive you have been. It starts with communication—with your paper. It’s amazing just how important Moosomin is to a lot of people. You got a beautiful town.”

He said he is looking forward to leading the Moosomin Chamber of Commerce parade.

"I feel very proud to come back and be a part of the parade. I will recognize a lot of people and see some friends. My wife, Brenda, rides with me—she is a big part of our group of horses and she's got lots of ties in that area. Her mother came from Wapella. It is just a cool deal. I have some friends of mine that usually ride the extra horses, it is just a wonderful time and experience.”