February 2016 - Flying Changes
Written by CRM
Tuesday, 02 February 2016 08:01

Spruce Meadows’ Ron D. Southern passes at 85.

“It is with great sadness that Spruce Meadows announces the passing on January 21 of its founder and co-chairman, Ronald D. Southern,” announced the venue’s press office.

“In April of 1975 the Southern family officially opened Spruce Meadows. Over the last 40 years, Spruce Meadows, as a result of the leadership and vision of Ron Southern, has become an iconic sports venue and is today recognized as the leading venue in the world for international show jumping.

“The founder’s simple recipe of ‘Good Friendship, Good Commerce and Good Sport’ has provided valuable guidance and a wonderful platform for Spruce Meadows through the decades. So too has his genuine lifelong commitment to excellence, which he brought to everything in his life.”

A keen businessman with a net worth estimated at $1.7 billion, Southern helped establish the leading electrical and natural gas provider in Calgary, the ATCO Group, in 1947. He also founded AKITA Drilling Ltd., which became a public company in 1993, after having worked with AKITA’s predecessor company from its origins in the 1970s.

As a local corporate giant, Southern wanted to give back to the city that nurtured his business empire, and decided to do so by building a showcase sports facility that Calgarians would be proud to embrace. Together with his wife, Margaret, and daughters, Nancy and Linda, he purchased property south of the city in 1973 and set to work building arenas and stables; the first competition was held in 1976.

Margaret said, “We began with three goals in mind, and while we have been able to enhance those goals over the years, our objectives for Spruce Meadows have never changed.” Those three goals: to provide an excellent facility for the support and training of young, talented athletes, both equine and human; to develop a breeding program for first-class show jumping horses; and to provide matchless facilities for the hosting of international jumping competitions.

Spruce Meadows has been successful on all three fronts, in large part due to Southern’s leadership and vision for the facility.

Southern is survived by his wife Margaret Southern and daughters Nancy Southern and Linda Southern-Heathcott.

Morgan Miles & Professional’s Choice

With extensive experience in the equine industry, Morgan Miles is ecstatic to be the latest addition to the Professional’s Choice sales team and will be the perfect fit for taking on the Northern/Central California and Northern Nevada Territory.

“Morgan Miles has been passionate about, as well as involved in the equestrian industry since his early childhood. His knowledge, dedication and enthusiasm make him a valuable resource and an excellent addition to the Professional’s Choice team,”states Sales Manager Lisa Ernst.

Raised on a family cattle ranch in Ione, Morgan developed a love for horses at an early age. His passion for horses led him to dive into other disciplines such as rodeo, eventing and jousting. Morgan has been an independent sales rep for Professional’s Choice for the past two years, and now finally has the opportunity to call a territory his own.

“I’ve used Professional’s Choice products in each of the disciplines I’ve been involved with because of the technology and quality that runs through their entire line, as well as the integrity of the people behind the products. I’ve always felt a sense of family working for Professional’s Choice, and I’m excited to take on this new role,” states Morgan.

Press release provided by Professional’s Choice. Morgan can be reached at 805-610-0077 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Flying Changes welcomes your submissions. Please tell us about what’s happening in your life and/or at your barn: births, deaths, engagements, marriages, new management and barn moves. Please send your reports to Kim F. Miller at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Photos welcome!