Ralph Loosmore hired on with the cowboy crew at B.C.’s Chilko Ranch after his graduation from Olds Agricultural College. Long days in the saddle in the beautiful rangeland of B.C. suited him just fine, but an illness in the family brought him back to his Alberta roots. He married his college sweetheart Leona May in 1943 and by the early ‘50s the couple had a herd of good commercial cows on their LO half diamond ranch south of Three Hills.
Ralph sold his cattle in the ‘70s so he could concentrate on the horses that were his real passion. A highly skilled long line teamster, he never drove less than four at a time, usually it was eight. His teams were a favourite subject of many great equine artists including Madeline Halvorsen.
The only time Ralph couldn’t showcase his teams at Pioneer Acres, his family took the horses for him and when they showed him the photos he pointed out that the left and right harnesses were mixed up and the lines were miss-threaded.
At the age of 81, the 30-horse Last Great Hitch of the Century was a career highlight for him, with his eleven Belgians and one Clydesdale on the wheel.
He lost Leona to Alzheimer’s and it was his love of horses that eased the pain. With all the ribbons, trophies awards and recognition he received, when someone asked him what was the best day of his life, his reply was, the day my daughter Marilyn was born.
A cowboy honour guard rode alongside as Ralph took his final wagon ride on a bitterly cold January day in 2003.