by Brenda Reimer Woodall

I would like to nominate my father, John Reimer of Sherwood Park, Alberta, aged 82, and his gelding Eddie (aka Boppers’ First Edition CDN -877-) aged 24, as Century Partners. John has had Eddie in his life for approximately 15 years now and they have put on thousands of miles together in our Alberta Rockies, forests, and grazing lands. Together they have shared the joy of riding with all of John’s children, grandkids, daughters-in-law and sons-in-law, and soon the great-grand children as well. John and Eddie are still an active team who venture out on the trails several times a week .

A bit more about John and Eddie…

As of 2015, John Reimer is 82 and his incredible TWH gelding Eddie is 24. Bopper’s First Edition CDN-877 AKA Eddie is by Dee-Jay’s Bee Bopper out of Northfork Dble Star. He was bred by Gary & Lyla Goin of Millet, Ab. He is a chestnut gelding with a crescent star and right fore sock.

John was born in Southern Alberta to a ranching/farming family and he has had a passion for horses as far back as he can remember. Throughout his life he has chosen to use horses as often as possible, for work as well as pleasure, and even had horses as part of his income source at various times.

In the early 1990’s John became interested in gaited horses for their smooth ride and their ability to cover more distance in a shorter period of time. Horses were part of his leisure by this time, not required for his work life. Mountain pack trips all throughout Alberta were a regular occurrence as well as month-long stays spent exploring from base camp in the Ya-Ha-Tinda. He no longer desired to ride long hours on a horse that wasn’t smooth so he changed to gaited horses exclusively.

He experienced owning many breeds of gaited horses: Fox Trotter, Paso Fino, Peruvian Paso, Rocky Mountain, Tennessee Walker, Gaited Mule, Saddlebred, Morgan, and Standardbred. In the end, his TWH, Eddie, was the only horse that passed the test of time with his consistent smooth gait, calm demeanor, and reliability on the trails.

For many years John shared Eddie with his Grandkids, as no other horse on the property was suitable for the young riders and he would ride another mount with less training. Eddie was the perfect teacher. Sometimes he even taught the kids how not to fall off as he sidestepped quickly away from a horse-eating rock, but mostly he built their confidence and allowed them to develop the same love for horses that their Grandfather has.

John also decided that driving Eddy in the winter could be fun so he bought a sleigh and harness and without much introduction hooked Eddie up and took him through the winter trails at the Blackfoot Grazing Reserve near Elk Island Park. John drove with nothing but a halter on Eddie and never had a problem from the willing horse. At the family Christmas gatherings Eddie was hooked up to give rides through the back 80 acres or down the roads. Eddie showed his willingness and versatility yet again.

As John aged he began to have the same struggle many do at that point, that of lifting up a heavy saddle as well as mounting. It didn’t take long for John to teach Eddie to stand at the edge of the tack room step to be saddled so that John had a height advantage. And on the trails Eddie quickly learnt to side step into any obstacle that could be used as a mounting block. When it came to gates John certainly didn’t want to have to dismount, so now Eddie can push a hinged gate open with his nose when asked, move into a metal gate for opening, or even allow John to open a barbed wire gate while mounted.

Eddie has also done his fair share of promotion for the Tennessee Walking Horse breed. When someone is new to the breed, just one ride on Eddie, with his smooth and consistent running walk, has them hooked. When someone is arthritic or has old injuries requiring a special mount, Eddie is the horse they get to ride.

John and Eddie are still going strong as a team. John often takes Eddie out for rides through the many trails he has developed at his 80 acre home as well as on rides with friends at Ministic Lake and the Blackfoot Grazing Reserve. They even went to the Ya-Ha-Tinda for a week-long trip this past summer.