When she was a toddler, Ruth Quinn’s older sister would take her bareback riding. Sitting in front of her sister, Quinn would often fall asleep on these rides.
This is when Quinn fell in love with horses.
Living on a farm the first five years of her life, Quinn yearned for pastures when her family moved to Calgary. So much so that when she was older, she would take a bus back to nearby stables where she could ride horses for free in exchange for helping with chores. Then at the age of 14, Quinn was given her first horse. Named Nipper, she took care of him despite the fact that he was known to do just what his name would imply.
Her patience and determination with Nipper is a testament to how she became one of the inaugural members of the Canadian Girls Rodeo Association in 1957 in Calgary. Eager to find a way to stay connected to her passion for equestrian life when she moved to the mountains nine years later, she joined the Banff Light Horse Association. Since 1967, Quinn has been helping the association keep the cart and horse together. From serving as secretary on the board of directors to helping organize gymkhanas and barbecues, Quinn has become quintessential to the club. But, she says she’s not a lone ranger when it comes to pitching in — that it’s a community effort at the corrals.
“We’re a community of people who take care of each other,” Quinn says.
And the community is grateful for Quinn.
“Ruth is always right there when there is work of any kind to be done,” says association member Bev Abelseth. “Besides all that, she is so nice! She has a great sense of humor and even when things get a bit rough, there is Ruth with a smile.”
Member Tracy Margeson agrees: “Ruth dedicated herself to this year after year and is still doing the same today. She has made Banff a much better place.”
Before she retired, Quinn worked at The Banff Centre. Starting in the finance department, she went on to work in a few more departments with her longest stint as an assistant registrar for visual and media arts.
When Quinn’s not at the horse corrals, she and her husband Jim spend time at their farm near Bowden, Alberta, because for Quinn, home is where the farm is.