When John Webber, then a resident of Vulcan, bred his 22 year old mare, his first horse, he had no grand vision of where this would lead. Eleven months later, along came J.W. Vel’s Chantilly Lace, who would pave the way for John to enter the world of showing. Encouraged to take his striking young Appaloosa filly into competition because of her excellent conformation and loud colouring, when she was just four months old, John hauled Lace to Claresholm and took home Junior Grand Champion Mare, compliments of the four US judges at the event.


With her delightful personality and easy trainability, Lace went on to compete in many more shows, in Western and English Pleasure, Halter, Conformation and, the class that became John’s favourite, Native Dress. John started Lace in native dress when she was just three and it became apparent to him early on that she loved it. She patiently waited while the elaborate horse and rider ceremonial costumes were put on, and lit up when she started to move and the bells began to jingle. After many more ribbons and championships, John’s goal became to compete at the Appaloosa Worlds, and this dream came true in Fort Worth in November of 1990, when John and Lace captured the Native Dress World Title.

In addition to their time in the show ring, John and Lace became great representatives for the Appaloosa breed, competing in the Battle of the Breeds and participating in the Breeds for the World demonstrations during the Spruce Meadows Masters for many years. They also led the Appaloosa Horse Club in the Stampede Parade in full native dress, and were an integral part of the light horse demonstrations and displays during the Calgary Stampede for 17 years. The native dress costumes and demonstrations became John and Lace’s signature and they were asked to participate in the honour guard at Spruce Meadows when Queen Elizabeth visited in 1990.

After a lifetime in the spotlight, at 26, Lace is now retired to a farm near Crossfield, and is happily teaching the farm owner’s two young children to ride. John’s authentic ceremonial dress is now in storage, but he says it was a great honour and privilege to wear it for so many years as a tribute to native cultures everywhere. Lace was born with a hand print on her left hip, a sign of good luck, and lucky were those of us who had the opportunity to see John and Lace during one of their many captivating performances.

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