“Our Rocky Mountain Horses are a truly versatile breed. They are an excellent breed for all ages – experienced riders and novices alike.”
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My name is Don Kallusky. Having been born and raised on a farm, horses have always been around me. I grew up with horses – they were a big part of my life. They carried me to school, as well as helped me complete my chores such as farming, haying, ploughing, as well as mowing.
Fast-forward to Edson where our family has lived since 1990. We moved onto this property in 2003 so we could pursue our interest in horses. For a few years we enjoyed trail riding in the mountains on our Tennessee Walkers.
Then one day while waiting to board a plane a magazine caught my attention and introduced me to Rocky Mountain Horses. My wife and I traveled to Kentucky to learn more about the horses and decided these were the horses for us. In October of 2011 we purchased 14 head of horses in Kentucky and moved them to our ranch near Edson. In the following two years, we purchased approximately 30 more Rockies. Our herd included a stallion, several geldings and some broodmares. We were in business — breeding, training and selling Rocky Mountain Horses. We chose the name “Betkal” as the name for our ranch – it represented parts of our names.
Betkal Ranch is a small family owned and operated business. It is located along the Yellowhead Highway, just 3 kilometres west of the town of Edson Alberta. The famous Jasper National Park is a little more than an hour further west. In total we have 70 acres of land where we practice pasture rotation for our horses allowing them to graze and roam year round in the natural environment.
The early years in the rugged Appalachian mountains of Kentucky required the Rocky Mountain horse to develop sure footedness, durability and endurance. Those characteristics have become some of their natural traits.
All of our horses run barefooted, including when we ride them on the trails near home, in the sand hills or on the sometimes rough and irregular trails of the beautiful Rocky Mountains. I am a certified barefoot trimmer and regularly trim all the horses.
We have been very pleased with our Rockies. Although native to the mountains of Kentucky, they have adapted to the Alberta environment very well. Since we began in 2011 several foals have been born on our Ranch. While we have really enjoyed having these babies join our herd, as of 2016 we have decided to focus more on the training and selling aspect. In the future there will be fewer foals born at Betkal.
Registration and Certification
All of our Rockies are registered with the Rocky Mountain Horse Association. Registration confirms the horse has both a sire and dam that are registered Rocky Mountain horses.
In addition, our stallion and all our broodmares are certified. This means they have met the strict qualifications set out by the Rocky Mountain Horse Association for breeding purposes, and have passed inspection by three Association examiners (please visit the Rocky Mountain Horse Association for more information).
In addition to the Rockies, we occasionally have a horse or two of a similar breed such as Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse or Mountain Pleasure Horse. You can learn more about these horses by visiting their webpages.
TrainingBuck Brannaman, Peter Campbell and Chris Cox all use a similar approach in their training. I really believe in their horsemanship programs. I have had opportunity to attend some clinics and regularly study their training videos. The clinics and videos have been immensely helpful in developing and enhancing my own skills. Always looking to provide the best possible training and techniques, I attend other horse clinics whenever possible. I use these learning as I personally undertake the training of all our horses.
When someone is interested in purchasing one of our horses, they are invited to spend a few days at the ranch to select and get acquainted with a horse of their choice. We offer the opportunity for interested buyers to stay in our home and share meals with us. Detailed information to make arrangements is available upon request.
As part of the purchase process I provide a 3 day clinic for the purchaser, sharing with them the training methods used to prepare our horses.
The clinic includes:
- ground work with halter
- ground work under saddle with a McCarty
- opportunity to apply techniques on the trail
I strongly recommend all our clients purchase Buck’s 7 clinic DVD set and continue the program with their new horse.
We take great pride in our horses, and would like to pass this onto others interested in the Rocky Mountain Horses. Breeding, training and selling horses is so much more than a business – its also about building and maintaining relationships. A common interest in Rockies, and horses in general, has brought many interesting people into our lives. We value the friendships we’ve made.