Photo of Niobe Valley Ranches



Located on the west side of beautiful Antler Hill, 2.5 miles north of Innisfail, Alberta (half way between Edmonton & Calgary) on Hwy 2A. I have been showing & training horses since 1967. In 1978, I began breeding Quarter Horses, specializing in the old line of Skipper W blood. I had a lot of success with this line, producing AQHA Champions, World Show Qualifiers, and Superior Halter and event horses. Many times, I stood Grand Champion in the morning, going on to win the all round Jr. or Sr horse at the end of the show. I still believe in a VERSATILE Quarter Horse, and in the new millennium, added Skipper W blooded paints to the pastures, with the purchase of Irresistable Finale. My goal is to continue to produce TOP QUALITY Paint & Quarter Horses, with sound minds, legs, and feet, to ensure these individuals go on to provide years of service for my customers.

Most recently, in 2006, with the winds of change, we decided to scale back on the paint operation, since with the success of Ringo Stringo Star ( son of Sierra String, and who also is a full brother to the dam of our other standing stallion, Shazannies Classic), most recently achieving Level II in Dressage, and our young Palomino Stallion, JR Nick Shoemaker, (also a son of Sierra String) having great success in his budding career in Dressage...we decided this was an area we wanted to focus on, particularly since Dressage in the AQHA is just now at the baby stage. We would like to be as successful in breeding Dressage Quarter Horse prospects, as we have achieved success in other areas, proving once more, the great versatility of the Skipper W / Impressive / Two Eyed Jack bloodlines....My thanks to dressage superwoman, Lynn Salvatori Palm, for encouraging us to pursue this avenue, with our bloodlines, that seem very adept for this discipline. She is the biggest promoter of Quarter horses in dressage, having been so successful herself.

Enjoy your visit through the site, and I look forward to your visit in person, so we may share a good cup of coffee!!

Niobe Valley Horses - Perfect for Dressage!

Niobe Valley Ranch Quarter Horses are highly suitable for dressage!

Our horses have the conformation, movement, and temperament.  The AQHA, as of 2007 has now recognized that quarter horses are equally as successful in the dressage arenas, as any other warmbloods that are specifically bred for this discipline. 

So, What exactly IS dressage?  (pronounced DRA-SAZH).  It is a French word for “training”, but can best be described as similar to obedience tests for dogs.  It’s a system of training, advancing through several  levels until the ultimate “Grand-Prix” level is reached.  Dressage is an artistic expression, it can be a showy sport.  It’s the ultimate experience of companionship shared by one horse and one rider.  Dressage can be pursued competitively, or for backyard pleasure.

There is NO wasted time and effort when you “do” dressage, as any well trained horse is more fun to ride and definitely more marketable.  Horses trained in dressage are happy, and reliable.  Dressage can be continued into and beyond middle age. In fact, age and maturity are bonuses! You proceed at your own pace, and you will discover that training is fun, satisfying, challenging, and rewarding. A rider just never stops learning and a horse never stops improving - it’s a continuous and enjoyable, rewarding process.

Watching a horse in dressage is beautiful, and should look effortless.  The very basic concept of dressage – that results are obtained through co-operation and guidance rather than force and coercion, is appealing to the true horseman.  Horses are trained to exhibit quality of gaits (elasticity, suppleness, scope, and range of motion).  Dressage competition, although not totally devoid of politics, fads, and changing trends, certainly have less of these factors than some other equine competitions.

Gaits are performed in a pure manner, a 4 beat walk, a 2 beat trot, and a 3 beat canter.  The horse must show impulsion, yet submission, lightness, ease of movements, and harmony between horse and rider.  Its not about winning, but having your progress with your horse assessed and scored.  Scores in the 60’s are excellent, scores in the 70’s mean you had a magnificent performance!

The AQHA has now started a reward program with a top 10 system. I believe this year they have a saddle for the highest scoring Quarter Horse, a belt buckle for the reserve high scorer, and then certificates for the balance of the award winning top 10 horses.  Here’s how you can qualify with your quarter horse:

  1. You must have at least 8 scores, from 4 different judges, at 4 different shows.
  2. FEI scores of at least 58% or higher to qualify.

Ties will be broken by the average of the best 8 scores. To date, no AQHA points will be awarded (lets complain to change that!!). The horse must compete with his AQHA registered name and number. The exhibitor must be a member of the AQHA. The events judged by United States Equestrian Federation approved judges.  ( this is why dressage classes will not be held in conjunction with AQHA shows). You must compete with your quarter horses at dressage events.  Currently this is not a world show event - but we certainly are working to get it there.   All scores (and you get these sheets at dressage shows) are handed in to the AQHA for placing calculations. So go ahead and show your nice moving, nice minded quarter horse at the next dressage show. Start at the training levels, and move on up to the Grand-Prix level. You CAN do it with YOUR quarter horse!!

-- Deb Johnson


Back to

This website is designed, maintained & hosted by

No images, text or layout may be used or reproduced
All rights reserved