It is unlikely that one family name is more connected to any national horse organization anywhere than the name Wyatt is with the Appaloosa Horse Club of Canada. Thus it was very fitting that this year's inductee into the ApHCC Hall of Fame was Irene Wyatt.
Irene worked tirelessly alongside husband, Jim, (also a Hall of Fame member), long before the official formation of the club in 1954 contacting Appaloosa breeders in order to form an organization and registry. In 1956 Irene took over the duties of Secretary-Treasurer for the club, and capably held that position for twelve years. Irene's house served as headquarters for the ApHCC for many years. The office is still there, a museum of information and history that the Wyatts (now Syd and Donna) love to share with visitors.
For those early National Shows, Irene was the Show Secretary, no easy task, particularly with all the post entries taken at the time of the show. Together Jim and Irene put out the first ApHCC Stud Book with a forward written by Grant McEwan. There was the work of registering horses, putting out a news bulletin, and dealing with all the correspondence that goes along with running a breed registry.
The Wyalta Ranch, west of High River, Alberta has always been a busy place with people coming and going. Irene knew Appaloosa breeders across Canada as well as many in the United States. Irene welcomed Appaloosa breeders quite literally from around the world into her home and all were made to feel special.
Not only did Irene and Jim raise Appaloosa horses, they also had a herd of registered Herefords with the result that there were always plenty of visitors on hand to look at horses and cattle. Irene belonged to the Hereford Belles and did a lot of work with that organization.
And, of course, Irene had a home to look after, including raising five children, who rode horses to school. Then there were hired hands, so that at mealtimes Irene often cooked for eight or more hungry folks. When husband, Jim, traveled to judge shows, Irene was usually at his side.
After Jim's death, Irene sponsored a "Get of Sire" award in her husband's memory. It was a class both of them had always enjoyed and believed was the "proof of a successful breeding program." As well, Irene carried on a tradition that Jim had started--presenting an Appaloosa foal to the Canadian Girls' Rodeo Association for their All-around Champion.
Irene, known to many as 'Granny', enjoyed young people a great deal and loved helping with the South Regional Appaloosa Youth Club when it was running. She enjoyed her grandchildren and great grandchildren very much, watching for them to arrive home from school so she could fed them some of her cookies.
It is fitting that in her later years, 'Granny' still enjoyed horse shows, especially the High River Shows that her grandchildren and great grandchildren participated in. She sponsored the Sportsmanship Award which came out of her long-time belief that young people needed to learn to "win with a grin and lose with a smile." Irene Wyatt passed away in 1998 after what was a truly wonderful life.
On the 18th day of November, 2000, Dale Pemberton, Chair of the Recognition and Awards Committee presented the Certificate inducting Irene Wyatt into the ApHCC Hall of Fame to Irene's son, Syd.
Wyatt | Grant MacEwan | Jo
Warren | Patchy's Jr. Lila Gleska
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