Rancher wins Breeder of the Year honours for 2013

Involved with thoroughbred horse breeding business for more than 40 years, Gordon Alger received five awards at the annual Breeder Awards in Saskatoon June 20. Here, Alger is shown with a two-month-old colt on his ranch northwest of Meadow Lake.

Involved with thoroughbred horse breeding business for more than 40 years, Gordon Alger received five awards at the annual Breeder Awards in Saskatoon June 20. Here, Alger is shown with a two-month-old colt on his ranch northwest of Meadow Lake.

by Derek Cornet

Winning half of the available prizes, Meadow Lake area resident Gordon Alger bucked the competition at this year’s Breeder Awards in Saskatoon June 20.

The awards banquet is a yearly event held by the Saskatchewan chapter of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (CTHS) where it recognizes its leading members with a variety of awards including Breeder of the Year – which is the most coveted.

“Gordon won five (out of 10) of the awards at the banquet,” Rose Buckland, president of Saskatchewan’s CTHS chapter said. “That just doesn’t happen very often.”

The awards Alger won include Breeder of the Year, Horse of the Year, Top Brood Mare of the Year and awards for Top Colt and Filly of the Year.

Buckland said it was quite an impressive feat to win so many honours, but noted Alger always has a good standing because he’s Saskatchewan’s lead breeder.
“Not to take anything away from Gordon, but the reason he wins a lot of these awards is because he has a lot of horses,”

Buckland said.
Alger, who is also the vice-president of Saskatchewan’s CTHS chapter, has lived in the Meadow Lake area his entire life and has been breeding thoroughbreds since the early 1970s. Since then, he has mastered the art of thoroughbred breeding and his horses sell anywhere between $1,000 to $20,000.

“I earned double last year of what the next guy in the province made,” Alger said.

Alger works with his horses year-round to enter them into different sales throughout western Canada. His horses are then purchased by people wanting to own and race a top quality horse. Alger said, because he received these awards, his horses are expected to earn more money than others in upcoming auctions.

In addition to the yearly sales, Alger also earns money from the performance of the horses he breeds. Alger said just because he doesn’t own the horses anymore, he still gets a 10 per cent cut of their prize money won at races.

It has taken decades for Alger to get to where he is now, and he credits some of the success to his old friend Pete Heppner of Spiritwood. Alger said Heppner was his first tutor and taught him the most about breeding.

“Don’t go too fast was the best advice he gave me,” Alger said. “Like, don’t go out and buy thousands and thousands of dollars of horses without knowing what you’re doing.”

Alger said not a day goes by where he doesn’t think about horses. Now 75, Alger doesn’t think a time in his life will come when he isn’t involved with horses.

“I will always be involved with horses somehow,” he said. “I’d hate to die and find out on the other side, everybody’s on horseback and I’m on foot.”

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