Ricky Seelhof loves the life she shares with her husband Chad Seelhof and their children Riata, 17, Cooper, 15, and Renee, 12 on the Woodjam Ranch in Horsefly, B.C.
“It’s the freedom to do what you want to do,” she said. “It’s hard to explain everything but it’s the lifestyle of it. Your life is in your own hands really. Getting to work with animals is also very rewarding.”
Born and raised on the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster – the city also straddles the Alberta border, Ricky was the oldest of four children raised on a mixed farm of grain and cattle.
By the time she was two-years-old she was sitting on a horse and can remember riding around on one at the age of three and four.
She and Chad met through 4-H in Lloydminster when they were around 15 years old.
“We were both in horse 4-H.”
Chad’s family moved to Horsefly in the spring of 2003 and in the fall of that year Ricky’s parents moved to Big Lake.
Ricky was working as a nurse when the couple learned in the spring of 2005 they were expecting their first child, Riata, so she and Chad moved back to B.C.
She never returned to nursing because she “liked the ranching thing too much.”
In 2014 they purchased the ranch from Chad’s parents Louis and Ellie Seelhof.
Following in their own footsteps, Chad and Ricky put their children in 4-H and were preparing to transport them to the Williams Lake and District 4-H Show and Sale this week which takes place Aug. 4 to 8.
Their children also compete at high school rodeo and during the William Lake Stampede, the Seelhofs volunteer to carry sponsor flags by horseback after each event.
For about six years Ricky was the chair of the public affairs and education committee of the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association, but recently stepped down because she was named the chair of the Canadian Beef Conference which will be taking place Aug. 15 to 18 in Penticton. As the chair, she is working with a committee to put the conference on.
“I will be the emcee with two other people and keep the flow of the event.”
The Seelhofs were invited to the conference in 2020 when the ranch won both the B.C. Cattlemen’s Association 2020 Ranch Sustainability Award for environmental stewardship and the Environmental Stewardship Award from the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. Due to the pandemic, however, the conference was cancelled in 2020 and 2021.
When she isn’t ranching, taking children to 4-H events or high school rodeos, Ricky works on the home-based business she started about two years ago – She Ranches Boutique.
Ricky makes skin products she creates with ranch “gals” in mind.
She uses wholesome and raw ingredients foraged off the ranch and grown wild amongst the Cariboo Mountains, she said.
“I have a lot of different things. I have face wash, face cream, eyelash serum, after-sun cream, sunscreen, a vapour rub – I have a whole line. I also have my own clothing line. I have my own vinyl machine.”
For the clothing she makes custom orders, with different cowboy sayings, horses or cows for example.
An order from a bridal party entailed sayings from a country song and was fun to work on, she said.
When asked if she has any hobbies, she paused.
“I’m a pretty plain Jane person, but I like team roping, although that will be no surprise to anybody.”