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One of three registered quarter horse foals whose sale proceeds were donated to the WCVM Equine Health Research Fund between 2008 and 2010 by the Brickleys. Photo courtesy of Bob Brickley.

Equine health gifts set donors apart

Bob Brickley is an equine rancher who lives near the rural community of Kennedy in the southeast corner of Saskatchewan. Bob and his wife Lois both grew up in the same area, and for decades, their lives have revolved around raising cattle, horses and kids on their place — the Moose Mountain Ranch.

With the goal of "breeding quality horses with colour," the Brickleys raise purebred quarter horses on their second-generation family farm located in the foothills of the Moose Mountains. They also own a commercial herd of 250 black Angus cattle and grow high-quality forage and feed grains for their livestock.

As a result of their commitment to good stewardship of their land and animals, the couple received the inaugural Saskatchewan SPCA "Producer of the Year" Award in 2000 in recognition of the quality care that they provide for their horses and cattle.

"We've always been focused on low-stress handling and feeding — and we put great emphasis on that," explains Brickley, who counted the late Bud Williams (a proponent of low stress livestock handling methods) as one of his mentors. "It's just the normal practice that we use, and it didn't seem like we did anything different from the norm."

Over the past decade, the oil industry has expanded into their area, and there's been oil activity on some of the land owned and rented by the Brickleys. As a result, they've often worked closely with a range of oil and pipeline companies.

crescent point energy

"They just set themselves aside from the rest by the way they treated the environment, the way they treated the producer and their concern about our management of the livestock and pastures that they were involved in," says Brickley.

"Through that relationship, I began to respect them immensely."

Crescent Point Energy has made efforts to show their support of western Canadian agriculture in a number of ways. For example, Brickley says the company has made contributions to 4-H groups, agriculture societies and other organizations in local towns and villages.

In 2011, the company gave a gift of $10,000 to an organization close to Brickley's heart — the Western College of Veterinary Medicine's Equine Health Research Fund (EHRF).

Brickley is a member of the EHRF's advisory board and a long-time supporter of the fund that backs equine health research and training programs at the WCVM.

"I had asked Crescent Point Energy if they would be interested in supporting the Fund, and they were. They certainly didn't need to do something like this, but they chose to," says Brickley.

"Crescent Point is proud to contribute to organizations that benefit the communities in which we live and work, especially when it comes to education," says Anna Bratland, social responsibility representative with Crescent Point Energy. "We're excited to support the many initiatives of the Equine Health Research Fund."

Crescent Point's decision to support the EHRF in 2011 was especially significant since that was the final year of a five-year campaign in which the Heather Ryan and L. David Dubé Foundation pledged to match all contributions to the college's equine health research program.

Besides its $10,000 gift, Crescent Point Energy had also contributed to the EHRF in 2010 by purchasing a foal at the Brickleys' annual production sale and then donating the colt back to the sale. During the second round of bidding, the foal was purchased for $550 and the entire proceeds of $1,750 was donated to the EHRF.

From 2008 to 2010, the Brickleys donated the sale proceeds from one of their foals to the EHRF – a total contribution of $2,975. And thanks to the Fund's matching gift incentive program, that amount was doubled to a total of $5,950 over the three years.

"We have so many demands in this society, and I think that those of us who benefit from the research fund should contribute," says Brickley. "This way we have somewhat of an ownership or an interest in the research, which is a vital part of the progress we make in caring for and improving the health of our animals."

Contributions like those made by Crescent Point Energy and the Brickleys support equine health research projects that cover a wide variety of topics, and their results provide important information for producers such as Brickley.

"It's very exciting to see the different projects each year. A recent study on parasites is extremely exciting, there was one a few years ago on intestinal infection, and there have been a few on foot problems. They're all good, and it's incredible to follow them through and see what they find."

To Brickley, Crescent Point Energy's contributions to the EHRF are a true reflection of the company's commitment to supporting the communities and the producers of Western Canada.

"There are people in the organization that really care. Their attitude is so refreshing and so positive, and I would classify the organization as a good corporate citizen. They go to so much effort to do the right thing."

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