news archive (2015)


Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association Snaffle Bit Futurity & Derby

Only a couple weeks after returning from Reno, horses were loaded once again and headed to Nampa, Idaho.

This show is always a favorite; futurity jitters have settled somewhat and the show is well run and lots of fun!

This year, John and the owners decided that John would only show derby horses, and the owners would only show their futurity horses. Canadians had lots of success...

OPEN DERBY 4-WAY TIE FOR 3RD: SLR Won Smart Wolf & John (owner Keri Hudson-Reykdal)

OPEN DERBY 7TH PLACE: Big Time In Cowtown & John (owner Robbie McKay)

NON-PRO FUTURITY 4TH PLACE: Smart Nic Knack & Suzon Schaal

NON-PRO FUTURITY 5TH PLACE: Feather In Your Cap & Keri Hudson-Reykdal

NON-PRO FUTURITY 7H PLACE: Cats Picasso & Robbie McKay


INTERMEDIATE NON-PRO FUTURITY 3RD PLACE: Feather In Your Cap & Keri Hudson-Reykdal


AMATEUR FUTURITY CHAMPIONS: Feather In Your Cap & Keri Hudson-Reykdal

NON-PRO BRIDLE CLASS WINS BY Don Quejana & Keri Hudson-Reykdal: Reserve Champion Non-Pro Bridle; Reserve Champion Intermediate Non-Pro Bridle; Reserve Champion Novice Non-Pro Bridle. Congratulations Keri & Don Quejana!!

September 28-OCTOBER 4, 2015 » SHOW RESULTS

Canadian Supreme

The Canadian Supreme show happens each year during the same time as the NRCHA SBF; they have looked at different dates, but this is a hard show to reschedule as it includes reining, cutting and cow horse aged events & classes.

We want to recognize the successes of clients who ride with John, but chose to compete at the Canadian Supreme rather than make the trip to Reno, Nevada.

Congrats to:

  • Erin Baumung & Locked N Loaded Gun-Non-Pro Futurity Champions
  • Suzon Schaal & Smart Nic Knack-Non-Pro Futurity Reserve Champions
  • Melody Andrews & Very Smooth Remedy (pictured), owned by Mark Parsons-Limited Open Futurity Reserve Champions


    NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity, Reno, Nevada

    Well, this is "the big one", the show that brings out all the nerves! Everyone in the industry knows what you mean when you say "this one is for Reno"... the SBF and Reno have a long history! There has been talk about it moving to a different location in the past couple years, but NRCHA did release that SBF will be held back in Reno in 2016. The NRCHA Hackamore Classic will also be held in Reno at the same time in 2016.

    The excitement of showing the futurity colts builds through out the preliminaries; no one ever guaranteed until the fence work is done! We are super proud of the 3 year olds this year and want to extend a huge thank you to their owners for such an opportunity to show such nice horses at such a prestigious event!

    Cats Picasso & John had a strong preliminaries to say the least... they scored 217 in the herd work, 218.5 in the reining and an unforgettable 224 down the fence! A 224 down the fence was the high score in all the Open Futurity fence works, out of a talented group of 236 horses! This high fence score came with a very special buckle presented at the Hall of Fame Banquet.

    VIDEO Reno wrap up videoVIDEO Fence run

    Robbie McKay, owner, and John were also presented with high point preliminary trophy stirrups at the banquet! An aggregate score of 659.5 earned top spot in the preliminaries; John was honored to share this spot with Chris Dawson & Shiney Sparklette, owned by Carol Rose & Dickson Varner. This still feels a bit surreal as this rider/owner team achieved the same accomplishment last year at the 2014 SBF with Big Time In Cowtown. What a memorable evening! The boys and I are so very proud of John and these talented horses! We are truly blessed to be able to work with such athletes and awesome owners!!

    Cats Picasso and owner, Robbie, were also busy showing in the Non-Professional division; and doing well! Cats Picasso & Robbie placed 3rd highest in the preliminary herd work, and the team were finalists in the Novice Non-Pro Futurity-big congrats to Robbie on an awesome show in Reno! Robbie & John were quite aware of the money up for grabs during the finals, specifically the open finals. Robbie made the call prior to the Non-Pro finals that he would scratch to give Cats Picasso & John the best opportunity possible for winning the $100,000 championship prize money... Open finals day did come and John told us that Cats Picasso felt good. Surprisingly, he wasn't feeling tired after all the showing he had done, he had stamina and John was able to get in some good practice works... they felt ready!

    This year, John had more than one horse to focus on for the finals... Feather In Your Cap, owned by Keri Hudson-Reykdal, also made Open Futurity finals!! "Trona" as we call him, was very steady in the preliminaries. He scored a 215.5 in the herd work, a 218 in the reining and a 217 down the fence; this placed them 15th, making the top 25 and finals bound!!

    Keri & Trona also had tremendous success in the Non-Pro... the two claimed some amazing achievements considering his late purchase & the unfortunate situation of Keri's fractured ankle a couple months prior! Trona & Keri earned 3rd place in the Amateur Futurity and made finals in each of the Non-Pro Futurity divisions. They ended up in 10th place in the Non-Pro Futurity Finals, 8th in the Intermediate Non-Pro Futurity Finals and 5th in the Novice Non-Pro Futurity Finals!!

    Feather In Your Cap & John earned a respectable 17th place finish in the Open Finals, earning another $9500! Congratulations to owner, Keri Hudson-Reykdal and Feather In Your Cap on a terrific showing in Reno!!

    Cats Picasso & John were fighting for top spot through out the finals... The herd work delivered a score of 215, reining score was 217.5 and the fence work marked a 219! Cats Picasso was right on que the entire day. Overall, the team earned $55,000 for their 3rd/4th finish, along side Phillip Ralls & Pepe Le Wright. John was ecstatic with Cats Picasso's performance, especially considering he had softer cattle than he had hoped for in the herd work and for his draw down the fence. John gives this stallion a lot of credit, saying he is always the same day to day, and always gives 110%. Both Cats Picasso and John loves their jobs and it showed in Reno!! Robbie McKay, thank you for your passion & love for cow horse, and HUGE CONGRATULATIONS on your tremendous successes!!

    September 4-6, 2015 » SHOW RESULTS

    Alberta Snaffle Bit Futurity & Championships

    As you know, if you have ever read previous years' news, I love the highly anticipated fall aged events!! Specifically, the futurities; these horses and riders have worked hard for 2 years or more, trainers & owners carefully pick out top pedigrees, confirmation & style in hopes of being able to show the prospect in ALL three disciplines: herd work, reining and fence work! What a truly tremendous athlete to have each of these area's perfected in such a short time and at such a young age. The horse-human relationship is something very magical and is so important for a sport that requires so much trust from both partners.

    This year, John trained 2 futurity colts; Cats Picasso, owned by Robbie McKay and Feather In Your Cap, owned by Keri Hudson-Reykdal. John had high hopes for Cats Picasso since Robbie purchased him at the 2014 NCHA sale in Fort Worth, Texas. Feather In Your Cap was not purchased until late in the summer (July 2015), but each day he and John spent together, John's confidence in him grew and soon he was able to confirm the plan for both of these 3 year olds to be entered in the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity in Reno, Nevada... One of the NRCHA's premiere events and an event with $100,000 offered up to the winning team in the Open SBF!!

    The Alberta SBF is the first opportunity for the futurity horses & riders to be in a true show situation. Here are the results:

    OPEN SBF RESERVE CHAMPION: Cats Picasso & John Swales

    NON-PRO SBF CHAMPION: Cats Picasso & Robbie McKay

    NON-PRO SBF RESERVE CHAMPION: Smart Nic Knack & Suzon Schaal

    NON-PRO SBF 3RD PLACE: Wright On Ryder (by Maximum Echo) & Steve Hoar

    NON-PRO SBF 4TH PLACE: Locked N Loaded Gun & Erin Baumung

    AMATEUR SBF CHAMPION: Wright On Ryder (by Maximum Echo) & Steve Hoar

    AMATEUR SBF RESERVE CHAMPION: Locked N Loaded Gun & Erin Baumung

    The Derby horses were also out in full force! Congrats to all competitors on a great showing!

    OPEN DERBY 3/4TH SPLIT: Colorful Illusion & John Swales, owned by Mark Parsons

    $5000 NOVICE HORSE DERBY RESERVE CHAMPION: Colorful Illusion & John Swales, owned by Mark Parsons

    NON-PRO DERBY CHAMPION: All Reddy Sweeter & Steve Hoar

    NON-PRO DERBY 3RD PLACE: SLR Won Smart Wolf & Keri Hudson-Reykdal

    NON-PRO DERBY 4TH PLACE: Big Time In Cowtown & Robbie McKay

    AMATEUR DERBY CHAMPION: All Reddy Sweeter & Steve Hoar

    AMATEUR DERBY RESERVE CHAMPION: SLR Won Smart Wolf & Keri Hudson-Reykdal

    My other absolute favourite competition is the Bridle Spectacular's!! Watching these seasoned bridle horses cut, rein and go down the fence is such a treat! We have some real talent here in Alberta, and these horses put on quite a show... always a crowd pleaser for sure!

    OPEN BRIDLE SPECTACULAR CHAMPION: Smart Marina & John Swales, owned by Jim Baird

    OPEN BRIDLE CHAMPION: Smart Marina & John Swales, owned by Jim Baird

    NON-PRO BRIDLE SPECTACULAR CHAMPION: Genuine Brown Gal & Suzon Schaal

    NOVICE NON-PRO BRIDLE SPECTACULAR 3RD PLACE: Don Quejana & Keri Hudson-Reykdal

    NOVICE NON-PRO BRIDLE CHAMPION: Hick A Cat & Claire MacMillan

    Youth competitors are a big part of the ARCHA and integral to the growth of the sport of cow horse. It always amazes me the leaps and bounds that the youth progress each year! It is especially exciting when their skills and confidence allow them to move towards the next level of competition. This was the case for Laura MacMillan this year; her and her horse, Casey Smart, have been in the show pen many times, but this is the first year they have gone down the fence, a progression from the boxing class. Congrats to Laura and your successes this year!

    YOUTH BRIDLE RESERVE CHAMPION: Casey Smart & Laura MacMillan

    FUTURE STARS: Fire On Me & Tyree Swales VIDEO Watch the video

    FUTURE STARS: Classys Gold & Lane Swales VIDEO Watch the video

    FUTURE STARS: Red & Levi Swales VIDEO Watch the video

    Congratulations to all other Champions & competitors!

    JULY 9-10, 2015 » SHOW RESULTS

    Calgary Stampede Cow Horse Classic

    This year the Calgary Stampede altered their format and brought back only the top 5 competitors in each division for the second go. The highest aggregate score of both the first and the second go was still the determinant of the Champion. Both competitors and spectators had mixed feelings about the new format; however, in general everyone seemed really happy to show in the nice, air-conditioned, big new arena once again!

    The Non-Pro Bridle class was super exciting; Keri Hudson-Reykdal & her talented horse, Don Quejana, were outstanding in the first go tied with Terri Holowath for the lead with a 292.5! The second go was "Shorty's" 3rd time being shown as he was competing in both the Non-Pro and the Open Bridle classes. He maintained momentum and finished Reserve Champion in the Non-Pro Bridle and Champion in the Novice Non-Pro Bridle classes! Congratulations Keri & Don Quejana!!

    Don Quejana was not done yet... he and John also made it to the Open Bridle Finals! I have a feeling John could relate to Don Quejana's fatigue level as John was fortunate enough to be riding 3 of the 5 returning bridle horses in the Open Finals! This pair had some challenges in the fence work and finished in 4th place.

    Maximum Echo & John had solid runs, scoring 72's and 73's from both judges in both the reining and the fence work, but today that was not enough for a championship at the Calgary Stampede, the two finished in a respectable 3rd spot. Congratulations to Flo Houlton, Max's proud owner.

    Smart Marina, owned by Jim Baird, was at the top of her game in both the prelims and the finals. Marina was a 290 in the first go and a whopping 294 in the finals! Her finals fence score was a 149! Marina can catch any cow and turns it with the biggest, tightest turn taking full control of the bovine! She is a thrill to watch as she has an enormous move in the boxing and is automatic on her cow down the fence! Owner, Jim Baird, has dreamed about winning a Calgary Stampede buckle, and today his dream came true with the presentation of the Reserve Champion buckle! Congratulations Jim!!

    The Championship buckle in the Open Bridle was awarded to the horse and rider with top scores in each round this year... we are very proud of Non-Professional Suzon Schaal & her decorated mare, Genuine Brown Gal! Aggregate totals of 296 and 295 in the first and second goes, respectively, earned these two yet another shiny buckle! Congrats Suzon!!

    The excitement continued after the Open Hackamore finals... Keri Hudson-Reykdal was super please with her gelding, SLR Won Smart Wolf, who took the Championship in the Open Hackamore class after a very tough competition with many deserving horses from across western Canada! John & "Wolf Pup" were a 296 in the first go, scoring an incredible 150 down the fence!! They were strong in the finals also scoring a 292.5 and winning the championship by a full 10 points!

    Congrats to Mark Parsons and his mare Festinas Dual Lena on their Limited Open Bridle Championship! The pair scored an aggregate of 283.5 for the win!

    Non-Pro, Claire MacMillan, stepped up to the plate this year competing for her first time at the Calgary Stampede! Claire & her gelding, Hick A Cat, are a great team and are tough competition. They were 8th in the fist go, just missing the finals, but we were sure proud of them for showing at this prestigious event and expect to see them back next year!

    Special thanks has to go out to Melody Andrews, who worked very hard to have each show horse ready for John and for her assistance to our Non-Professionals also... it was a busy couple days and all the horses looked awesome and showed great! Thanks Mel!

    MAY 22-24, 2015 » SHOW RESULTS

    2015 Cowtown Derby & Stockhorse Show

    The Cowtown Derby brings much excitement as spring is more evident and people are getting really pumped about their cow horse and the alluring competition of showing in the derbies. Success was had in both the Open and Non Professional divisions! The high-lights from our barn were many...!

    SLR Won Smart Wolf, owned by Keri Hudson-Reykdal, and shown by John took 3rd-4th split in the Open Derby.

    SLR Won Smart Wolf and Keri, took Reserve Championship position in the Non-Pro Derby, Championship in the Novice Non-Pro Derby as well as the Amateur Derby!

    All Reddy Sweeter & Steve Hoar captured a Reserve Championship in the Novice Non-Pro Derby and the Amateur Derby.

    Genuine Brown Gal & Suzon Schaal topped the Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular class competing in herd work, reined work and fence work-congrats Suzon! This duo was also reserve champion in the Non-Pro Bridle each day over the weekend.

    Don Quejana & Keri Hudson-Reykdal were at the top of their game also, landing 3rd in the Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular and Champions in the Novice Non-Pro Bridle Spectacular class! These two were also very consistent in the top 4 horses at each of the two weekend shows held in conjunction with the Cowtown Derby.

    Festinas Dual Lena, shown by owner, Mark Parsons took the Champion spot in the Non-Pro Bridle horse show class on day one, and stayed in the top 5 for day two also.

    Hick A Cat & Claire MacMillan tied for 5th/6th in the Novice Non-Pro Bridle class on day one.

    Casey Smart & Laura MacMillan captured Champion position in the Youth Bridle class on day one-way-to-go Laura on moving up from the boxing classes! Job well done!

    Fire On Me was guided by Tyree Swales to lead the Youth Rein/Box 13 & Under class both days of the horse show!

    Smart Marina, owned by Jim Baird and shown by John, had a tremendous show! The pair were crowned Champions in both the Open Bridle Spectacular event, as well as the Open Bridle class! Congrats to owner Jim Baird! The photographs show the talents beautifully, thanks to Natalie Jackman.

    New to our team at John Swales Performance Horses, is Melody Andrews. We want to welcome Mel and thank her for all her hard work so far; and for her commitment to each of the horses on our place. Mel's skill and passion for the sport are attributes we are thrilled to have on our team! Here is a shot of Mel and her gelding, Retsina Cat, showing at the Cowtown Derby...


    NRCHA 2014 World Championships

    Maximum Echo wowed the crowds of the John Justin Arena in Texas in the finals winning the NRCHA 2014 World Championship (Open Bridle) scoring a 220 in the reining and a HUGE 232 in the fence work! His win was a spectacular 17.5 points ahead of the reserve champion! VIDEO Watch the incredible run.

    The Calgary Stampede win pushed Max's NRHCA earnings over the $25,000 mark allowing him to receive his NRHCA Supreme Cow Horse Merit Award at the 2014 Celebration of Champions in Fort Worth Texas February 20, 2015!