The Qu'Appelle Appaloosa herd began
with dreams, but grew through the hard work and efforts of a couple - Bill
and Nell Demyen. As a child Bill told his mother he wanted to raise
horses when he grew up. Even though she smiled and reminded
him everyone was using tractors instead, he never gave up on his dream.
Nell, when she and Bill were struggling as young farmers to buy
neighbouring land, dreamt she found gold on the property. That land
became the Qu'Appelle Appaloosa Ranch, and did indeed bring a wealth of
good things to the family.
Bill and Nell started out mixed farming, but had an opportunity to go into
the horse business in 1965. Inside of six months, they'd established
a motley herd. Of course, Bill was most familiar with heavy horses,
since he'd worked in the northern lumber camps, so he purchased some
Percherons, Clydesdales and Belgians. He also had some light horses,
as the kids were old enough to be interested in riding. There were
some Quarter horse and thoroughbred mixes, paints and pintos an arab or
two and some Appaloosas.
After a few seasons, Bill began to think seriously about herd
development. The heavy horses were also heavy eaters and the foals
weren't east to sell since there were few uses for them. The saddle
and performance horses, arabs, quarter horses and thoroughbred mixes were
good stock, but didn't stand out in the herd like the paints and pintos,
or Appaloosas. So, jumping in with both feet, Bill traded seven of
his grade mares for one of his first registered Appaloosa mares.
Then he purchased Polka Dot Calico, sired by the #1 registered horse in
Canada, Polka Dot Prince, at an auction. Her ability at broomball
during fun events at local gymkhanas helped develop the local market for
sales of the Appaloosa.
The Appaloosa mares, as Bill discovered, had great dispositions for
handling too. When the foals arrived, they were intelligent and easy
to break. Bill, like many in the old west, had been using his own
version of horse whisperer techniques for years, and the little apps knew
how to listen. The morning the first little black colt with a big
white blanket and spots was born, the whole family was also hooked on the
potential for colour. Every foal came wit a surprise wrapping - some
simple chestnuts but some with spectacular markings. There was no
turning back after that.
Bill and Nell joined the Appaloosa Horse Club of Canada in 1969.
About the same time, they registered the herd name of "Qu'Appelle".
They also joined the provincial association and got involved. To
build a name for their fledgling line of Appaloosas they started on the
show circuit, hauling their stock to provincial shows. Before long,
Nell was the Show Secretary, a position she held for around a
decade. Nell also became involved in the Appaloosa Horse Club of
Canada at the National level, serving a term as Director. She
continued to work provincially helping the Saskatchewan Appaloosa Horse
Club host ten National Appaloosa Shows.
Back on the ranch, the family was serious about developing the
breed. While they recognized the contributions of quarter horses and
thoroughbreds in their bloodlines, they began to focus on foundation
Appaloosa stock. Each year they added new horses - stallions and
mares - to the growing herd. Looking for the best Appaloosa traits,
they found themselves drawn again and again to lines like Patches W,
Speckle Boy, Bright Eyes Brother, Joker B and Peavy Bimbo. Bill and
Nell's herd consisted of only Appaloosa registered stallions for over two
decades. About half of these were purchased to continue to bring new
bloodlines into the herd. Stallions they have special memories of
include World Champions Model T and Ten X, Reserve World Champion, Diamond
Smuggler, Goer's Po-Go and Attraction, sons of Dial Bright Too. While they
purchased a few mares annually, most of the herd are Qu'Appelle Appaloosa
Ranch or QAR born and bred. Bill and Nell have focused on having
both registered Appaloosa parents for their foals, so by the turn of the
century, many of their mares were third to fifth generation full Appaloosa
As the herd grew, so did the sales strategies, since the local and
interprovincial market they'd gained through showing weren't large enough
for all the foals. Nell jumped on the early technology bandwagon and
started creating videos of the foals each spring in 1984, and mailing them
to prospective buyers. By the end of the 1980's the Qu'Appelle
Appaloosas spread as far as Germany. In 1995 the ranch went into
cyberspace, so Bill and Nell's dream reached the world through www.qar.ca
. By 2003 they had exported horses to six countries and most of the
states of continental USA. Eventually, after they became great
grandparents, Bill and Nell were forced to slow down. Their son,
Ken, who has been a partner since 1973, along with his wife, Megan, will
continue to operate the Qu'Appelle Appaloosa Ranch when they retire.
Bill and Nell have enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life, and many
parts of the world, as much as raising Appaloosa horses.
written by Linda
Director Karen Bedford presenting Nell and Bill Demyen with their Hall of
Certificate at the 2003 ApHCC National Convention in Barrie, ON
| Grant MacEwan | Jo
Warren | Patchy's Jr. Lila Gleska
| BCA Flyin HigherDari
Maid | Sir Plaudi | Bill & Nell Demyen |
Hall Of Fame Home | ApHCC
Werner Paysen | Winston
Bruce | Speckel Boy | Three
Bars Queen | Irene Wyatt
| Bill Lucas
Wapiti's Senor | Edith Caston |