Remarkable Horses in Canada: Coconut Roll

By Margaret Evans

In the July/August 2017 issue of Canadian Horse Journal, we celebrated Canada’s 150th anniversary with stories of 20 exceptional horses that have reflected our values and fired our national pride. One of those horses was Coconut Roll.

One of the most phenomenal and successful bareback competition horses ever was Coconut Roll. Born in 1993 (by Wild Strawberry out of Rolly Polly) at the 22,000-acre Stampede Ranch near Hanna, Alberta, this superbly athletic mare inspired respect, excitement, and no doubt a bit of fear in every cowboy who lowered himself onto her back in the chutes of the Calgary Stampede.

She was a very special mare and her competitive spirit was obvious to everyone. Coconut Roll knew her job and when the cowboy drew her name he knew what he was up against – it would be a tough ride, but staying on board for eight seconds might mean going to the top of the leaderboard.

The incredibly talented bareback mare, Coconut Roll, was the dam of six-time world champion Grated Coconut. Photos: Mike Copeman, courtesy of Calgary Stampede

With her hind legs flying skyward, Coconut Roll earned admiration and respect as she bucked her way to the Canadian Finals Rodeo 11 times and to the National Finals 10 times.

But as much as she was a star in the arena, she was just as valuable in the breeding barn where, in 1997, she gave birth to her equally talented colt Grated Coconut, who also became a celebrated bucking horse. Grated Coconut earned the world championship title a record six times, and went on to sire the next generation of bucking horses.

The horses are part of the Stampede Ranch’s Born to Buck program that was initiated in 1961 with the goal of breeding bucking horses for the rodeo. The ranch has approximately 600 horses and has become a premier rodeo stock contractor.

Coconut Roll was retired following the 2010 Canadian Finals Rodeo and returned to the Ranch where she could live out her days with the rodeo stock. In her later years, she developed Cushing’s disease. She was humanely euthanized July 10, 2013, at the age of 20, and is buried near the entrance gates to the Stampede Ranch with her own tombstone alongside other celebrated bucking legends of their day.

Main article photo: Mike Copeman, courtesy of Calgary Stampede

This article was originally published in the July/August 2017 issue of Canadian Horse Journal.

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