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Alberta Bits is the Alberta Equestrian Federation’s official member magazine. It serves the entire equestrian community of horses and riders of all ages, interests and involvement, as the Voice of Equine Alberta. T H E A L B E RTA E Q U E S T R I A N F E D E R AT I O N H A S B E E N I N C O R P O R AT E D S I N C E 1 9 7 8 Alberta Bits magazine is mailed four times a year (Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter) to all current AEF members and is made available at the office and special events attended by the AEF. Alberta Bits is distributed throughout Alberta with news and events on behalf of recreational, sport, breeds & industry and educational sectors of the Alberta horse industry. Alberta Bits is distributed to approximately 18,000 members; 9,000 households and businesses, an exclusive list of tack and equine establishments and at events and trade shows annually.


Les Oakes 403.540.9859 Lewis Hand 403.722.4690 Tara Gamble 780.945.7516 Lauren Parker 403.813.1055 Barb Easthom 403.801.4111 Trish Mrakawa 403.938.6398 Nicolas Brown 780.454.5001 Dena Squarebriggs 403.760.0512 Alison Douglas 403.762.8570 Don Scott 403.982.7660 Jessi Chrapko 403.627.5696 Robert Simpson 780.619.7779 Darcee Gundlock 403.308.7500

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AEF BITS & PIECES Redevelopment of the Canadian Interprovincial Equestrian Championships; AEF welcomes new staff; and an update on the Panther Project.

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BILL 6 How new farm and ranch workplace legislation changes will affect Alberta horse owners. A question and answer forum.

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C L U B P RO F I L E S The beauty and enjoyment of the Black Diamond Polo Club; The history preserving Steele’s Scouts Commemorative Militia Cavalry.

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F O R T H E L OV E O F A H O R S E Our tribute to Ron Southern.

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O U T S TA N D I N G VO L U N T E E R Maggie Shortt is the 2016 Calgary Stampede Queen and invaluable asset to the riding community.

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W I L D RO S E S H O W C O M P E T I T I O N The Rocky Mountain Show Jumping Winter Training Series is a Foothills gem.

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HARNESSING UP The options for enjoyment in the discipline of driving are endless. If you’re looking to get started, this article is for you!

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HORSEKEEPING Understanding stage three labour in the broodmare. Tips for your foal’s first moments of life outside the womb.

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B U S I N E S S P RO F I L E The Tack Collector celebrates 10 years of innovative business in 2016.

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ASK THE INSURANCE GUY Insurance coverage doesn’t always extend to accidents incurred during competition. Find out Capri’s stand on the matter.

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J U D G E P RO F I L E Meet AEF’s newest certified judge, Susan Evans.

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THE SOCIAL BIT Our new column! AEF member moments on your social networks!

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Sonia Dantu 403.253.4411 ext 5


Erin Lundteigen 403.253.4411 ext 3





Norma Cnudde 403.253.4411 ext 1 Ashley Miller 403.253.4411 ext 6

Lindsay Westren 403.253.4411 ext 2 Rita Bernard 403.253.4411 ext 7

RECREATION & INDUSTRY 403.253.4411 ext 4 O F F I C E H O U R S : 8 : 3 0 T O 4 : 3 0 P M , M O N D A Y T O F R I D A Y, E X C E P T H O L I D A Y S A L B E R TA B I T S I S P U B L I S H E D B Y W E S T E R N H O R S E R E V I E W I N PA R T N E R S H I P W I T H T H E A E F

FOR EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES CONTACT: ALBERTABITS@ALBERTAEQUESTRIAN.COM Jennifer Webster Natalie Jackman PUBLICATION COMMITTEE Ashley Miller, Sonia Dantu CONTRIBUTORS Dr. Berezowski, Mags Fritz, Suzanne Hale, Kathleen Iles, Cindy Kaenel, Danika Medinski, Kim Moody, Brenda Ricard, Shannon Skerry-Morin, Spruce Meadows Media, Christina Tomlinson, and Piper Whelan. MANAGING EDITOR ART DIRECTOR


Sally Bishop 403.815.1289 Laura Mills 403.461.8964 2016 ADVERTISING DEADLINES


or All material is copyright 2016. Ideas and opinions expressed in articles do not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of the AEF. Alberta Bits reserves the right to accept, and/or edit material submitted for publication. The AEF makes every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained therein, but assumes no liability in cases of error or changing conditions. Any business relations or other activities undertaken as a result of the information contained in Alberta Bits, or arising there from, is the responsibility of the parties involved and not of the AEF. We welcome signed letters to the editor, but reserve the right to publish, edit for grammar, taste and length. For reprint information, please contact


100, 251 Midpark Blvd SE Calgary, AB T2X 1S3 Toll Free: 1.877.463.6233 Phone: 403.253.4411 Fax: 403.252.5260


P U B L I C AT I O N S M A I L AG R E E M E N T # 4 0 0 5 0 2 9 7 • P R I N T E D I N C A N A D A • I S S N 1 9 1 8 - 7 1 1 4 R E T U R N U N D E L I V E R A B L E M A I L TO : A L B E RTA E Q U E S T R I A N F E D E R AT I O N 1 0 0 , 2 5 1 M I D PA R K B LV D S E C A L G A RY, A B T 2 X 1 S 3


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Ron and Marg Southern and daughters Linda (mounted) and Nancy. Photo courtesy of Spruce Meadows Media


President’s Message As I sit in Edmonton on one of the coldest days of the winter, it is hard to visualize this message being read by our membership a month from now; but as this is the Spring edition of Alberta Bits, that is exactly when you will be reading this. Overall thus far, I believe that the winter of 2015/2016 has been one of the easier winters for doing chores and enjoying our four-footed friends. As this edition of the magazine is being delivered, the AEF will be well into the process of electing two new Directors to serve the membership for 2016; five current directors are standing for re-election for a second term. We hope that all members will exercise your right to vote electronically, or at the AGM in person (March 12, 2016). From a continuity standpoint, I am grateful that the Directors who were on the Board at the end of 2015 will be returning for at least one more term and are looking forward to having two new directors join the Board for their first term. When I became a Director for the AEF, I was looking for an organization to give time to as many others had given their time to organizations that myself and children had been a part of in previous years. During my tenure, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself and have learned how hard it is to be a volunteer of such a large provincial organization; I appreciate all the time the AEF volunteers put into making the AEF the successful growing organization it has become. The AEF would not be the organization it is today without the countless, selfless hours that these volunteers give of themselves. As I have mentioned many times, being a volunteer is a labour of love and we hope you will consider joining the AEF Board. If taking a seat on the board isn’t the fit you’d prefer, there are numerous opportunities for all members to volunteer on various committees and events, such as our annual fundraising trail ride and fundraising casino. For those of you who have never worked at one of the casinos as a volunteer, I believe you are missing a great FUN experience. Aside from the enjoyment we all have interacting with one another over a 48-hour period, it definitely is an eye opening experience to work with that much money. How many of us in our normal lives get to open a vault and pull out a bag that contains over $500,000 in $100 and smaller denomination bills? It is truly an experience and we are always looking for help, so please let the office know if you would like to join us at our next casino August 6 & 7, 2016.

As President of the AEF, it has been a true pleasure this past year to attend rides, meetings and clinics around Alberta. I have enjoyed meeting so many new people and refreshing contacts with old friends. During my travels, I have been asking AEF members and non-members what it is that they would like to see the AEF become. This is your organization. The Board needs your input and direction. I still firmly believe that the AEF is Alberta’s best kept secret and I hope 2016 will see the continued increases in the AEF membership at the rate we have grown these past three years. We hope you will take the time to join us at our 2016 Annual General Meeting and Special Event in Blackfalds, AB, on March 12, 2016. We have a very special day planned, along with the meeting which includes an update from Equine Canada CEO, Eva Havaris. Don’t forget to get your membership for FREE in 2017 (all categories of membership). All you have to do is participate in our membership referral program! When you meet someone who is not an AEF member, tell them about the AEF and have them provide your name when they sign up for a membership. It’s really that simple! Thank you for helping to support your organization and its growth. AB



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Do you love spending time with your horses? Do you love reading Alberta Bits magazine? Drop us a comment. Or send us a picture of yourself, your kids, or your friends enjoying some quality time with your equine companions to and we’ll publish it in the next issue of the official magazine of the Alberta Equestrian Federation!

CLOCKWISE: "Markie the Mule, and his ears are always that long! This photo was taken after we climbed up the cut-line from the Little Red Deer River, seen very faintly in the middle of the photo." Jo Turley, Sundre, AB; "Practicing the Cowboy Challenge." Dennis Quilliams, Penhold, AB; Winter Wonderland and"Spoiled!" Connie King

Review, Revitalization & Relaunch in the Works

FOR CANADIAN INTERPROVINCIAL EQUESTRIAN CHAMPIONSHIPS Provincial and Territorial Sport Organizations (PTSOs) and Equine Canada (EC) have made the joint decision to use 2016 to collaborate on the redevelopment of the Canadian Interprovincial Equestrian Championships (CIEC), in order to relaunch the competition in the future and ensure its place in the national competition structure. EC and the PTSOs met February 8-9, 2016 to explore several options to revamp the CIEC for 2017 to ensure its success in the future. EC and the PTSOs will endeavour to align on the objectives for the competition as well

as where it best fits in the athlete and competition pathway. “The CIEC is a unique, multidiscipline competition in Canada and as such it presents different opportunities and challenges on the hosting and participation side,” said EC Chief Executive Officer, Eva Havaris. “By working with the PTSOs to spearhead growth and positive change for the CIEC, we will have the opportunity to take the event to the next level together and relaunch the CIEC as a truly national calibre experience for competitors from across the country.” “It’s important that this event, initially

a pilot project,” said AEF Executive Director, Sonia Dantu, “Be realigned with the athlete development pathway thus providing the lead-in for a fit into national competition structure.” About the CIEC: The CIEC is a multidiscipline competition that invites all provincial and territorial sport organizations (PTSOs) in Canada to field teams in the disciplines of dressage, jumping and reining. Since launching in 2012, the CIEC has provided riders from across the country with the valuable opportunity to compete for their province or territory in a team format. AB A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 6



New Staff

A heartfelt welcome to AEF’s Newest Staff Member, Lindsay Westren Lindsay Westren is a born and raised Calgarian who has been a member of the AEF since she was 10-years-old. Lindsay graduated from Mount Royal University with a major in Public Relations and a minor in Marketing. Lindsay brings with her a background in internal and external communications, advertising, fundraising, event planning and digital marketing from her previous positions in the energy sector, finance sector and through her experience at an upand-coming digital marketing agency. Lindsay has been actively involved in the Alberta equestrian scene from a young age, from working at summer camps, to local tack shops, to riding and grooming for local trainers - which is how she paid her way through university. Lindsay has spent most of her years on the show jumping circuit and has recently transitioned


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into the dressage community. As the Competitions Coordinator, Lindsay is excited to work in an industry and community that she is so passionate about. The AEF is lucky to have her join our team! AB


The AEF is pleased to be able to offer candidates participating in the English and Western Learn to Ride programs the opportunity to be selected as the recipient of one of our bursaries. SONJA BURTON BURSARY This bursary is awarded to the applicant with the highest score within the Level 8 English Learn to Ride Test. Completed applications must be submitted to be considered. $500 awarded annually. CHARLENE BAKER BURSARY This bursary is granted to the applicant with the highest score within the Level 4 Western Learn to Ride test. Completed applications must be submitted to be considered. $500 awarded annually. For more details on how to become involved in the English/Western Learn to Ride programs please contact




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BENEFITS ARE: • Full of natural anti-oxidants • Organic whole-fruit product, readily digested and absorbed • CertiďŹ cate of analysis containing no foreign substances • Helps keep horse in peak condition • Helps support A HEALTHY DIGESTIVE FUNCTION • Reduces oxidative stress • Helps maintain normal disposition and alertness • Supports a healthy immune system



• Automatic $5,000,000 personal liability and $30,000 AD&D insurance coverage. • Optional insurances available for purchase, including enhanced AD&D coverage to include fracture and dental benefits, Tack Coverage, Members Named Perils coverage for your horses, Weekly Accident Indemnity, Out of Province/Country Travel. • Receive your 2017 basic membership absolutely FREE! Refer brand new members to the AEF and receive $5.00 off per referral! Simply have the new member mention your name and AEF Number when joining (referrals do not carry forward). • Member Discounts are made available exclusively to AEF members from many of our Business Members. • Alberta Bits member magazine four times per year. • Free listings and posting in AEF online forums and classifieds. • Opportunity to apply for scholarships and funding assistance. • Access to participate in clinics and educational workshops. • A wide range of programs for recreational and competitive riders and drivers of all ages. • Live Outside the Box (youth program for active living). • Ride & Drive Program (great rewards). • Trail Supporter - supports the efforts of Alberta trail builders with the development, maintenance and improvement of horse friendly trails, campsites and staging areas throughout the province. • Access to resource information on everything from where to take lessons to where to go trail riding. • Online store – great items from Rider Level Manuals, Trail Manuals/Guides, Equestrian Books, educational DVD’s, Clothing, Muck Boots™, EquineLUX™ saddle pads, Signs and much more.

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2016 AEF


REMINDERS FEBRUARY 27, 2016 English ($500) and Western ($500) Rider Bursaries

FEBRUARY 27, 2016 Pump up your Levels Facility ($1,000) and Coach ($500) Incentive

APRIL 1, 2016 Wild Rose Trail Ride Beneficiary

APRIL 24, 2016 Educational Scholarships ($750’s & $1,000’s)

APRIL 24, 2016 Bill desBarres Industry Scholarship ($500; for 2016 Bill desBarres has generously matched this scholarship for a total of $1,000)

MAY 15, 2016 Trail Supporter Project Funding to learn more, visit the website at

The Alberta

Ride and Drive P R O G R A M

is designed to promote an active lifestyle, and give recreational riders, drivers and vaulters an extra incentive to spend more hours in the saddle or behind the breeching - whether in the arena or on the trails for practice, exercise, therapy or just plain fun. HORSE OWNERSHIP IS NOT REQUIRED!


For more information please visit our website



Please Note: The AEF is not a registered Charitable Organization, therefore with one exception, official income tax donation receipts cannot be issued. As the provincially recognized association for equestrian in Alberta by Alberta Sport Connection, the AEF is the recipient of any donations made directly to the Alberta Sport, Recreation, Parks, and Wildlife Foundation (ASRPWF) towards equestrian sport or recreation. Donations made to equestrian sport and recreation through the ASRPWF are eligible for tax receipts. The minimum donation accepted by the ASRPWF is $250.00

visit for details A L B E R TA E Q U E S T R IA N F E D E R AT IO N

TRAIL SUPPORTER THANK-YOU FUND to the Southern Alberta Trail Riders Association (SATRA) for their generous donations of $5,000 (2015) and $15,000 (2016) to the AEF Trail Supporter Fund. APPLY FOR FUNDING THIS YEAR TO SUPPORT YOUR PROJECT!



We’re currently in the planning stages for the work that will be completed on the Panther Wagon Reroute during the 2016 season. Last season we had a contractor on site who cleared about half of the reroute and completed the majority of the groundwork along that section. We will be re-tendering the remaining portion of work in the spring and hope to have it completed early-summer. The Panther Wagon Reroute will be closed until it’s completed this summer

and users are free to use the existing wagon trail until then. Once construction is underway in the spring, there will be heavy equipment on the Panther Wagon Reroute, but it shouldn’t affect access to the existing wagon trail. The existing trail will be left open, though people should be sure to pay attention to signs posted at the staging area. We will be sure to let you know once construction has finished! AB




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Be sure to “Stride with Us” for a celebration of you, AEF members, for what will be an exciting and fun day at Horse in Hand Ranch Ltd. on March 12, 2016 between 11:00 am – 4:30 pm. AGM will take place from 1:10 – 2:20 pm. Equine Nutrition • AGM & Annual Report • Freestyle Dressage Natural Horsemanship • Vaulting with the best • And more…

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Understandably, AEF members had

lots of questions on the topic of Bill 6 and Farm and Ranch Workplace Legislation Changes. Here, we do our best to answer those queries for you.



The AEF Board of Directors' role is to ensure that members are provided with information and facts needed to educate themselves in regards to changes within the industry that may or may not affect them, and to provide members with the tools necessary to make the best decision for themselves. The AEF always encourages members to contact the MLA in their constituency and the Minister when it comes to questions or concerns about legislation. AEF has received many questions over the past few months and despite many efforts to obtain responses from Minister Sigurdson and various MLA’s, we have included the most common questions received and have done our best to provide responses gathered from WCB, Capri Insurance and from general Alberta Government information that has been published. It’s important to note that there are still many unknowns about these changes. 1. Do I need to register and pay WCB for my family members? WCB coverage for farm and ranch workers is required for waged, non-family members, and is necessary only when the work is performed as part of the overall operation of a business. For corporations, waged family members are exempt if all shareholders are members of the same family; WCB coverage is completely optional for these workers. Personal coverage for directors and business owners is also optional. 12

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2. Does this only apply to those who are PAID in monetary value, e.g. paid employees, paid coaches, paid lessons etc. or does in-kind work count? (only those who are paid with money are required to register with WCB. Exchange for services, e.g. chores in exchange for all or part of boarding fees and doing unpaid chores for a neighbor are exempt.) Businesses that hire workers or contractors to support their overall operations will need to cover these individuals, unless they are covered under their own WCB accounts. For example, a horse trainer may qualify for his/her own WCB coverage as a proprietor. 3. What if I have children or adults doing chores at my stable in turn for part, or all of their boarding fee and/or riding lessons? Do I need to pay WCB for them? Individuals who exchange services or perform services to offset fees, such as someone who completes chores in exchange for a reduction in boarding fees, would be considered non-waged workers. 4. We do not have paid employees, but we have contract workers – who is responsible for WCB? Individuals who hire instructors or coaches would not need WCB coverage if the service does not directly support the activities of a business. For example, a stable would likely require coverage if it employs a horse trainer, but a family that hires a trainer to teach their children to ride horses would not. The difference is that the stable is operating as a business while the individual is not. This applies even if the business is not-for-profit. 5. How do we assure contract workers (farrier, body workers, fencers, corral cleaners) comply with the new legislation? You can easily confirm whether someone has WCB coverage by obtaining a clearance certificate, available at https:// 6. Do we need to pay WCB for all our volunteers? Coverage is not required for non-waged workers or volunteers, though employers can elect to purchase optional coverage if they wish. 7. Is there any scenario in which a Workers Compensation Board (WCB) policy could now cancel out an existing insurance policy that a horse owner or horse professional carries? If an employee is eligible for benefits under the WCB program and receives benefits from the same, they cannot sue their employer for their injury. 8. What if I am an instructor contracted by a nonprofit club such as Alberta 4H or Pony Club? As an independent business person, the WCB program is a broad and inexpensive way to protect yourself against workplace

injuries. Regardless of who your client is, the WCB program will protect you. 9. Do riding instructors need to purchase their own WCB coverage? As an independent business person, the WCB program is a broad and inexpensive way to protect yourself against workplace injuries. Regardless of who your client is, the WCB program will protect you. 10. If we are required to register/pay WCB, what’s that going to cost? The cost of coverage depends on the type of operation and the amount of coverage purchased. Horse stables, for example, have an industry rate of $2.97 per every $100 in insurable earnings. This means if a stable were to have $50,000 in insurable earnings (worker wages) in a given year, it will pay $1,485 in premiums annually ($2.97 industry rate/$100 in insurable earnings x $50,000 = $1,485). This provides business owners and their workers access to benefits such as comprehensive medical and rehabilitation support, return-towork services, liability protection, and insurance against lost employment income. The WCB website contains a chart of information that shows rates, visit 11. As a coach, do I need to register with WCB? As an independent business person, it is a good idea to register for WCB to protect you against workplace injuries. In addition, many facilities where you offer services may require that you provide proof of WCB as being in place before they allow you to teach on their property. 12. A coach, I have coach’s insurance with Capri and an AEF membership. If I have to register and pay WCB, why do I need coach insurance or my membership? The insurance provided to members through Capri Insurance and coaches is liability coverage that protects the member/coach against bodily injury and property damage claims that can be brought against them by others. The WCB program protects the coach against workplace inquires that they themselves sustain. 13. As a coach, I purchase Weekly Accident Indemnity (WAI) Insurance with my AEF membership? Do I still need this? The Weekly Accident Indemnity insurance would be considered supplemental to any benefits received under a WCB claim. 14. What’s the difference between WAI and WCB? WCB benefits would include rehabilitation expenses, possibly retraining and other important elements to get the client back to work. The Weekly Accident Indemnity Coverage is solely for the replacement of income that is interrupted due to an injury sustained. 15. Does the liability insurance that comes with our AEF memberships have other aspects that WCB does not? Do we need both? Note the answer to the above. The AEF program of liability insurance protects the member, the Club, the Coach, the Judge and other equine industry participants from lawsuits that can be brought against them in non-commercial situations. WCB is NOT liability insurance but rather, an insurance scheme that can be very valuable if an injury is sustained on the job. The short answer is, YES, you need both. 16. How will this legislation affect stable or facility owners with existing commercial insurance policies? For facility operators that are required, under the legislation, to enroll in the WCB program, there is no change required to any commercial liability policy that may be in place. Information for farm owners – You have until April 30, 2016 to set up your account. WCB understands this is a significant change and expects farm owners to have questions. They’ve noted they are there to help you. The numbers for the WCB Contact Centre in Edmonton is 780-498-3999, and in Calgary call 403-517-6000 AB A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


C LU B P RO F I L E “It’s fast, it’s team play, it’s like hockey on horseback,” says Jack Schneider, a member of the executive committee of the Black Diamond Polo Club (BDPC). For Schneider, also the son-in-law of the BDPC’s founder Rob Peters, polo is unbeatable. “It’s by far the most fun horse sport,” he says. Located across from the Millarville Farmer’s Market, the club attracts players of all ages. Dating back centuries, the draws of polo are many, with the location of the BDPC adding to the allure. “It’s a beautiful setting,” says Schneider of the club’s Rocky Mountain foothills location, on land owned by the Black Diamond Land & Cattle Company. “It’s like having a cottage near the city,” he adds. Several times per week, the membership of 20+ descends on the club, bringing not only their horses and a competitive bent, but often a steak to throw on the club’s BBQ for an evening meal on the deck. Open for free to the public, the BDPC welcomes spectators, who are also invited to bring along refreshments and something for the grill. Hoping to add to their membership, the BDPC’s atmosphere is familyfriendly and inviting, and the club makes it easy for newcomers to try the sport. “Kids as young as five are out there being led on ponies,” says Schneider, “... and the sport is much more accessible than the world thinks it is.” Running from May until September, play takes place two times a week for beginners, and three times for the more experienced. Expenses involved beyond the usual care and maintenance of horses include travelling to other clubs for tournaments in areas such as Grande Prairie, AB; Kelowna, BC; and Winnipeg, MB. “We have great camaraderie with other clubs,” says Schneider, adding that Canadian clubs make an effort to billet players from all over Canada – a practice that makes polo players a tight group. “It’s interesting, you have so much in common with polo players from all over,” says Schneider. For those wishing to learn the sport, the BDPC provides horses and equipment for newcomers to try it ABOVE: Jack Schneider taking a nearside shot. Photo by Christina Tomlinson HERE: A Game at Black Diamond Polo Club. Photo by Mags Fritz


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The B L A C K D I A M O N D P O L O C L U B

Interlude in the Foothills BY SUZANNE HALE

out for a few “chukkers”. A chukker, or period, lasts for 7.5 minutes, with a typical game lasting four to six chukkers. Including stoppages of play, an entire game takes about an hour. Interested newcomers can also get involved by booking a private or group lesson with the BDPC’s instructor, Nico Llambias. “You don’t have to be a brilliant rider,” says Schneider. If you’re ready for a longer-ter m commitment, there are several membership options, including full-season and month-to-month membership, and tournament-only fees. New members are offered a discount; while anyone aged 16 or younger plays

for free. While most polo players use more than one horse for a game as they tire quickly, one-horse memberships are offered at a 50% membership discount. Details can be found online at Black Diamond Polo Club welcomes you to come out for a day and get to know the sport that is close to their hearts. Of course, if you’re a seasoned player looking for somewhere to play, the BDPC would also love to have you join in the fun and competition. While the atmosphere is inviting, the surroundings are scenic and the people are welcoming, once you mount your horse – it’s game on! AB



History in Action BY SUZANNE HALE

The Cowboy Cavalry, Ranch Cavalry or Buckskin Cavalry – the aliases of the original Steele’s Scouts were many, but the mission was definitive: to help defend against the Chief Big Bear/Louis Riel-led uprising against the Government of Canada taking place in 1885. Composed of ranchers, cowboys, and retired Northwest Mounted Police (NWMP), the group recruited by Samuel Steele joined 25 NWMP members, to form the Alberta Field Force. Named after Steele who was at the time an inspector with the NWMP, Steele’s Scouts helped form the defence against rebels in the Northwest Rebellion in northern Saskatchewan. To commemorate this original group of scouts, Douglass McRae brought together a group of men with a desire to share western Canadian history, and formed Steele’s Scouts Commemorative Militia Cavalry. With its beginning in 1977, the troop is celebrating 39 years together. According to Rob Orser, Sergeant with Steele’s Scouts, “The troop has been judged historically correct to 1885 as to uniform and drill.” Outfitted with traditional clothing including buckskin coats and authentic Winchester carbines, Orser says, “We give the public a glimpse into that brief, but important time in early western Canadian history.” The troop accomplishes

this through re-enactments of early battles, and drill performances. According to Commanding Officer Gordon Pethick who joined the troop in 1988, membership has dwindled from approximately 80 members at that time, to the current total of 20 members. “We are always looking for selfsufficient horsemen,” says Pethick, who notes that the drills are at times difficult to perform due to low membership. The troop hopes to see their numbers increase, in order to successfully carry out their mission. “We want to keep the history of Alberta’s proud past alive,” says Pethick, “...and it’s a reason to be with our horses.” With their home station at Spruce Meadows where they practice beginning in springtime, Steele’s Scouts has participated in the Calgary Stampede Parade a record-setting 38 times. In addition, the troop has been invited to a number of other high-profile events. “We were invited by former Premier Ralph Klein to the Premiere’s conferences in Jasper and Banff, and made appearances at the Military Museums, Fort Whoop-Up, Bar U Ranch, Fort Steele, Fort Benton Montana and many historical marches and ceremonial smokes with various tribes,” Orser says. In addition to battle re-enactments, Orser says, “The troop also performs cavalry drills and skills-at-arms which includes ‘Tent-Pegging’ (an ancient cavalry sport) with lances and balloon pistol shooting.” Steele’s Scouts invite anyone with an interest in western Canadian history and horsemanship to consider joining their group. More information can be found online at www. In addition to providing one’s own horse and transportation, members must have a buckskin jacket and Winchester carbine. With annual memberships affordable at just $50, individuals wishing to join Steele’s Scouts have a chance to share western Canada’s history with the public. It is said, “People in general have neglected to learn about history.” If the quote is true, we are indebted to Steele’s Scouts for doing their part to fight against that trend. AB A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


For the Love of a Horse Loved by his family, and admired and respected by people around the world,


When Ron Southern was born in Calgary in the summer of 1930, Alberta was already in the grip of a crippling drought, one which would spread to the prairies and affect over a half a million people, more than 250,000 abandoning their homes and land to escape the heat and dust of a decade that would become famously known at the “dustbowl era.� 16

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He grew up the son of working class parents, his father with a Grade Six education and lucky enough to land himself a position as a city fireman at a time when jobs were scarce. Ron was later known to reflect upon with pride of coming from a strong, hard working background, but while he might have been a child of the Dirty Thirties, he showed early signs of being a natural

LEFT: The Southerns’ pose in front of the Riding Hall with one of the bronzes on the Spruce Meadows grounds. RIGHT: Ron Southern with the animals he revered. PAGE 18: Ron and Marg Southern reviewing plans for the future Spruce Meadows in 1973. PHOTOS COURTESY OF Spruce Meadows Media

leader and entrepreneur. When the senior Mr. Southern received some “mustering out” cash from his service in the second World War, Ron matched it from his wages as a busboy at Banff Springs Hotel, and together, with their pooled sum of $4,000 they bought a number of rental trailers. In 1947 – the same year huge reserves of oil were found in the province – in partnership with his father, and while Ron was still in high school, father and son founded the Alberta Trailer Company. The rest, as they say, is history. The initial shop with five employees later grew to over 8,000 employees worldwide today. Ron became a selfmade businessman of international record, a respected icon of Canadian commerce with his interests running the gamut of gas and electrical utility companies to pipelines and workforce housing sales, leasing, maintenance and operations. For those of us entwined in the love of horses, it is the world class jumping facility that spreads over hundreds of acres just south of Calgary that we most remember and honor Ron for; it is this that he and his wife Margaret of 61 years were the visionaries and driving force behind the creation, construction and operations. Spruce Meadows is widely recognized as the leading show jumping facility in the world, a venue that has hosted athletes from more than 60 nations and attracted 10.2 million

fans, since opening its gates in 1975. You could quite honestly state that Ron brought the world of show jumping, and an international level of it, to his daughter’s – Linda and Nancy – backyard. It has been recounted and a matter of public record that the germ of the idea of Spruce Meadows began with Southern’s desire to be closer to his family and embrace an activity which would bring the family together. The building of a show jumping facility allowed the self-proclaimed workaholic a do-it-yourself home project of weight

proportionate only to the limit of his imagination. And Ron dreamt big. So the stables of Spruce Meadow were conceived on paper, the land was purchased in 1971, construction began in 1973 and the doors opened in April of 1975, with the first tournament being held in June, 1976. From that footprint, began the slow, steady climb to the venue people from all over the world now enjoy. As Ian Allison, Senior Vice President explains, “It has also really continued to stick to its fundamental tenets – remaining accessible to everyone; the development, training and opportunity for young horses and young riders; and, the best of facilities to make things accessible that otherwise hadn’t been to Canadian riders, and particularly western Canadian competitors.” Allison sums up Ron and Margaret’s philosophy: “The Southerns have always had aspirations, or goals. If you were to have asked them in 1975, if they ever thought over 10 million people would visit Spruce Meadows from over 61 countries in the world over the course of 40 years, they would have thought that to be rather lofty thinking. I think however, Mr. Southern considered himself to be a ‘builder’ so each and every year, there A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 6


were a number of things and initiatives that were incorporated, and sometimes from other sports. In the early years these were modest things like horse racks and showers, to some of the things you see today at the facility from production studios to the clock tower.” The underlying theme always remained a welcoming one. “In 1976, tickets for Spruce Meadows were $5.00 and children under 12, and seniors were admitted for free, and we still have the same price structure today,” says Allison. “For people in and around the city, they can come and see the world’s best and have a Spruce Meadows experience for little to no expense, and those are the kinds of things we’re going to build on.” Ron was known for his ‘the coffee pot is always on’ attitude. Allison remembers, “He really liked welcoming people to Spruce Meadows. Whether it would be the Royal visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, or a family who might drive up in their mini-van on a Saturday morning when he was in the riding arena with his great friend, Albert (Kley), watching young horses free jump, visitors could always expect 18

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genuine interest from Mr. Southern. I think he was very proud of what had happened here, but, also both he and Mrs. Southern believed that the horse is a very noble and important animal in the history of this country. As the years go on, more and more people lose their connection with that historical significance, and he was excellent at being able to describe that and tell that story. When you were with Mr. Southern, you had his complete and undivided attention.” Over Ron’s lifetime, he was honored with many distinctions. As excerpted from his obituary: “Many awards have been bestowed upon Ron for his remarkable efforts, achievements and contributions including: Companion of the Order of Canada 2007, Alberta Order of Excellence 2012, The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal 2002, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012 and The Canadian Forces Medallion for Distinguished Service 2013. “A lifelong sportsman, Ron was recognized as the Calgary Booster Club Sportsman of the Year in 1986. He was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, and the Canada Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.

“In 2013 he was named honourary chief of the Tsuu T’ina Nation and given the name Chief Sorrel Horse. “He valued education, reading newspapers, and loved books. Most weeks he would devour at least two or three on a variety of subjects from military biographies and autobiographies to mysteries, outer space, national and international leaders, but his greatest reading enjoyment and inspiration came from books by and about Winston Churchill. He collected these and never tired of Winston Churchill quotations, speeches and proclamations. “Ron was a proud Royalist and was delighted when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II came to Spruce Meadows in 1990 to inaugurate the Queen Elizabeth II Cup. This spawned a relationship that took Ron to Buckingham Palace on numerous occasions as a guest. At various times it allowed for the opportunity to introduce his daughters and grandchildren to Her Majesty. “Ron lived a life full of adventure. He was loved, respected and admired by many and will be in our hearts forever.” AB REFERENCES: McInnis & Holloway obituary

O U T S TA N D I N G VO L U N T E E R Maggie and her horse Alex competing in the RMSJ June Classic last summer. Photo by Kim Moody

The Pursuit of Helpfulness

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“It is one of the most welcoming barns I have ever been a part of,” says Maggie Shortt of Riqueza Riding Academy, a hunter/ jumper facility where she helps with show set-up, tear-down, working the in-gate, and working as a groom when needed. Sharing reasons why she finds it such an enjoyable place to be, Shortt speaks highly of the facility’s environment and its owners, Danielle and Jim Pennacchietti. “From the moment I first arrived, everyone was friendly and helpful,” Shortt says. Expressing appreciation for her coach Danielle, fellow volunteers, and her family and friends, this 21-yearold Strathmore, AB, native feels fortunate to help out in a world where she’s right at home. Starting with her first horse Shake’n Bake, Shortt’s love for “...horses, horses and more horses,” has grown since her years as a young rider, when the support of show volunteers had a positive influence on her experience. Now in the role of supporter, Shortt offers this same kindness to competing riders. “I give words of encouragement, or congratulate them on a job well-done,” she says. Finding motivation in inspiring others, Shortt says, “If I can put a smile on someone’s face and help them have a great show, then my day was a success.” Outside of the arena, Shortt has enjoyed success in other endeavours. Recently crowned the 2016 Calgary Stampede Queen, Shortt recalls her feelings of the moment. “I felt shocked, followed by a wave of gratitude,” she says. “To represent such a world class venue is an opportunity I cherish deeply.” Wanting to pay forward the help she has received from others, Shortt enjoys assisting at Riqueza. “Riqueza has an overwhelming sense of community, so I love to come and help,” she says. The inviting atmosphere is something Riqueza’s owners have worked hard to create. “We are blessed to have this facility, we just want to share it,” says Pennacchietti. In turn welcoming Shortt`s assistance at the academy, Pennacchietti says, “Maggie is a wonderful person, and she helps wherever she can.” Though encountering obstacles in pursuit of her goals, a playful disposition has helped Shortt along the way. Finding it a challenge to focus on her volunteering duties whenever a good song comes on during shows, she laughs, “I’ve been caught on a couple of occasions dancing when I should have been paying closer attention to the arena!” Impromptu dancing aside, Shortt gets the job done. Making time to help others, embracing gratitude as a way of life, and managing to have a good time while doing it – that is a success by anyone’s standards. AB

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Volunteers, selected by competition organizers, receive recognition and a $50 VISA/MC gift card. A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 6




Foothills Wonder A perfect winter show break, the RMSJ Winter Training Series offers up the ideal mix of fun, friendly and competitive. BY INGRID SCHULZ

The Rocky Mountain Show Jumping (RMSJ) Winter Training Series has been running for nine years plus, and this season is again, sanctioned by the Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF) as part of their Wild Rose Series. These tournaments are a perfect start to the 2016 season for both horses and riders, and typically classes are populated by pro riders, junior and amateur riders. Tournament Operations Manager, Caroline Jones, says, “We offer hunter classes on the Friday and Saturday from Beginner Hunters to 3’3” Hunters. Jumper day classes on Sunday heights start at 0.75m and go all the way up to 1.15m.” Jones stresses how important the relationship with the AEF is to RMSJ, “The AEF provides a good grassroots start for the riders in our hunter/jumper discipline at an affordable cost. By sanctioning our tournaments Wild Rose and offering affordable prices at a quality venue that

and a professional team are our top priority here at Rocky Mountain.” Indeed, affordability is all the more critical in Alberta’s new economy of 2016 and both Jones and Show Chairman, John Anderson are mindful of offering affordable tournaments for their customers. Calgary Stampede Queen, Maggie Shortt, is a regular competitor at the venue. "I have competed at Rocky Mountain Show jumping for the past two summers. They have a spectacular venue and a great show atmosphere. Whether it's announcers or the person running the gate, everyone has always been very friendly and helpful making every experience I had there a great one,” says Shortt. Sponsored by The Horse Store, in Calgary, dates for the 2016 series are Feb. 12-14, March 4-5 and April 1-3. Find out more at AB

“These tournaments are stepping stones towards our outdoor ones starting up in May.”


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boasts great footing, beautiful jumps, well-designed courses and a delicious concession, we are bound to attract some new clientele. Customer service


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Highest Horse Time Hours • Highest Hours of Outdoor Activities • Highest Number of Healthy Food Servings Leave the TV and computer behind and get outside to spend more time with your horse! Young AEF members keep track of how they are spending their time this year from April 1st until September 30th and to win great prizes. You don’t even have to own a horse to participate! If you are 7-15 years old and want to Live Outside the Box, contact the AEF for details: 403-253-4411 ext 3, or or register online at N AM E AEF#





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Photo by Jenn Webster

Harnessing Up

Done with all breeds of horses in a variety of styles, driving is a broad term used to describe hitching equines up to a wagon, carriage cart or sleigh. Here’s how you can get involved! BY JENN WEBSTER

From minis to mules, driving is a complex discipline with a medley of exciting opportunities. Once you have an equine that is properly broke to harness and of a willing mindset, there are a variety of ways to go and a lot of fun to be had. The discipline of driving is varied in that can involve all breeds of horses and includes everything from winter cutter parades, to heavy horse pulls, to miniature carriages and combined driving. From single carts to six-horse hitches, there are literally hundreds of ways you can enjoy driving a horse. While having plenty of horse experience will help you put the horse before the cart, so to speak, taking the learning part of driving seriously is a crucial aspect of your safety. You cannot simply hitch your saddle horse up and go. Seeking out a mentor or a teacher to help you get started is the best way to learn. They can assist you in the proper training of your horse, as well as harness and equipment selection and vehicle fit. The great news is, if you’re interested in learning about driving, Alberta has numerous ways to get you started. THE HEAVIES: “There’s a majesty about them. There is just something 22

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about these gentle giants that love to perform and work and pull,” says Bruce Roy, a director of the Wild Rose Draft Horse Association and announcer of the annual Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse Showcase with the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra. “There are a lot of younger people getting interested in Draft Horses these days and I don’t know why but perhaps it’s because when you see these big horses – it’s so far from what the average person sees and it’s overwhelming. When you hear them coming down the pavement in their steel shoes, it’s pretty awesome.” Photo courtesy of Brenda Ricard.

Now hailing from Cremona, Roy grew up only miles from the Bar U Ranch in Alberta. His father was one of the few who still used horses on a regular basis to farm at the time. “We had a lot of unemployed Draft Horses from the Bar U, because after the war, farming was becoming more mechanized,” he relays. “The Bar U had a purebred Percheron operation and I became fascinated with those horses.” Roy has a long list of accolades involving heavy horses. This year marks the 21st year he will do the Colour Commentary for the Mid America Draft Horse Sale and he is a feature

editor for the Draft Horse Journal. “We have some amazing teamster talent here in the province of Alberta. Brian Coleman of Didsbury has been a Calgary Stampede champion at least five times and he recently won at the National Western in Denver. He drives a six-horse hitch, teams and singles. Those big horses love and respect him,” Roy says. “And Gord Ruzika at Viking puts his heart and soul into his teams. This year he went to Loveland and Denver and between Gord driving that hitch and Brian fielding another hitch – it was a battle of the Albertans.” There are several breeds of horses used in Alberta in draft horse hitches. Roy suggests the most common breeds of heavies might include Percherons, Clydesdales and Belgians. For anyone looking to get started in driving hitches or heavy horses, many Alberta Draft Horse associations welcome new members – even those who don’t own any horses. The Peace Draft Horse Club for instance, is based out of Grande Prairie, AB, and features many activities a person can take in including fun days, farming with horses and wagon rides. The Rimbey Sleigh, Wagon and Saddle Club truly offers something for everyone – from beginners to experts. This club often organizes educational clinics like harrowing and driving workshops to help members learn good advice for hitching up. After their “Ground Driving Workshop with Harrows,” an attendee can later use the information for harrowing one’s own arena, pasture or driveway with horse power. Whatever your pleasure, one of the common threads found throughout many of the Alberta draft horse clubs is the desire to maintain the history and culture of the Draft Horse and its contribution to the settlement of the west. AB

GETTING STARTED Driving can involve heavy horses, light horses or minis. It can be done with a single, a pair, or a team of horses and there are many appropriate vehicles to choose from. To get started with a single horse and two-wheeled cart, a variety of equipment is needed. HARNESS: Its function is pulling, stopping and controlling the horse. Leather and synthetic harnesses are most popular. Most harnesses are sold in adjustable size ranges and can be ordered through a distributor or custom-made. A properly fitted harness must be based on the size and breed of your horse.

Breeching Photo by Shannon Skerry-Morin

BRIDLE: A bridle consists of cheek straps, blinkers, a crown piece, brow band, nose band, throat latch, bit and reins. Blinkers shield the eye area, while the noseband, properly adjusted, keeps the horse’s mouth closed, giving the driver more control. A basic bit is a half cheek snaffle, jointed or straight, depending on what works best for your equine. The half cheek keeps the bit from being pulled through the horse’s mouth. The reins are attached to the bit. BREAST COLLAR: This is a wide strap that runs across the horse’s chest. The horse pulls the load by pushing against it. There are often turrets on the neck strap to guide the reins. TRACES: Traces are long narrow straps that lie along the animal’s side from chest to flank with horizontal holes or hardware at the end used for attaching to the singletree. They attach to the collar via buckles, or may be sewn directly to the breast collar. BACKPAD OR SADDLE: This rests about two inches behind the withers, in much the same location as a riding saddle. It has turrets for the reins to run through and a belly band that goes around the girth. The back strap is attached and runs down the horse’s back to a stuffed and rounded piece of leather called a crupper that goes under the tail. The shafts, long poles connected to the cart, run along each side of the horse and rest in leather loops or wrapped straps attached to the backpad. BREECHING: It acts as a brake by using hold back straps wrapped around the shafts, to stop the load and keep the cart from bumping your horse. It goes around the horse’s hind quarters and is held up by a loin strap, running through the back strap. The traces are attached to the cart, via a singletree which pivots to swing in step with the horse’s shoulders. It lies between the shafts.

Photo courtesy of Shannon Skerry-Morin

Getting the right fit is a crucial element before you head out to drive. You do not want a “grumpy Gus” from an ill-fitting harness. For safety reasons, it is also very important that you and your horse have been training and ground driving in harness, prior to hitching up to a cart. Once you are ready to hook-up for the first time, be sure to enlist help so your first drive is safe and enjoyable for you and your horse. - Cindy Kaenel A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 6



A New Life

Mare and foal care: From the first breath of life outside the womb, to post foaling considerations. Everything you need to know about stage three labour. BY JENN WEBSTER

If you’re a broodmare owner, it’s likely been a long haul to get the point of having a foal on the ground. You’ve gone through all the anticipation, all the signs of impending delivery and finally, the first two stages of labour. With the delivery over, it’s easy to want to breathe a sigh of relief. However, good breeders know that despite an adorable foal in the straw still wet from afterbirth, this is not the time to relax. Post-foaling procedures are some of the most important aspects mare owners can do to set a young foal up for a healthy future. The tricky part is, an attendant must do what needs to be done while maintaining minimal human intervention after the foal’s delivery to help encourage a strong bond between the mare and her foal. This article focuses strictly on stage three of labour and a foaling agent’s responsibilities at this crucial time to give the foal the best chance for a healthy life. Equine reproductive specialist, Dr. Chris Berezowski, of Moore Equine Veterinary Center in Calgary, AB, will also weigh in with some of his best advice. SIGNIFICANCE OF PLACENTAL CARE: Stage three of labour begins after the foal has been almost completely delivered through the mare’s pelvic canal. Its chest has come through the pelvis, the membrane breaks and the young baby begins to breathe oxygen on its own. The point of stage three begins with a rest period and it is very likely that the foal’s hind feet are still within the mare’s vagina. This is often referred to as the “bonding period” and can last 10-30 minutes. Frequently, the mare will remain in a recumbent position, turn her head back to look at her new foal and nicker to it. If you ever have the opportunity to quietly observe a bonding period between mare and foal – it is truly beautiful. But since this is such an important phase for the mother and her baby, it is strongly recommended that the mare and foal be left alone at this time. Blood is also still pumping through the placenta / umbilical cord to the foal, until the point at which the mare stands and breaks it on her own. Once the physical bond between the mare and foal 24

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are broken, some veterinarians recommend tying the cord and amnion in a knot above the mare’s hocks to prevent her from tearing it by stepping or kicking at the dragging afterbirth. Stage three labour can actually be defined as the expulsion of the fetal membranes, as this is possibly the main occurrence in this stage of delivery. That said, it may take the mare one to three hours to completely pass the placenta. If the placenta is retained for any longer than four to six hours, a foaling attendant must call for veterinarian assistance as this can result in severe uterine infection and laminitis. Treatment of a retained placenta usually involves oxytocin injections and the addition of weights on the placenta, thereby utilizing gravity to assist with its passing (a knot tied in the membrane can serve this purpose). On this note however, the placenta should never be pulled on as pieces left in the uterus are what cause uterine infection and laminitis. The mare may experience more discomfort during stage three labour because uterine contractions are necessary to completely expel the afterbirth. The contractions are believed to originate at the tip of the uterine horns, causing inversion of the placenta. Therefore, once the placenta is passed it will be inside out. When it houses the foal inside the mare’s womb during pregnancy, the placenta is attached to the uterine wall like velcro and it is extremely important to the foal’s well being, development and oxygen and nutrient intake. The placenta is composed of the amnion (the thin, white membrane that surrounds the fetus); the umbilical cord; and the allantochorion (the finger-like projections that mesh with the uterine lining and the cavity that contains the allantoic fluid and fetal waste products.) Once it has been expelled, it is important for a foaling attendant to inspect the placenta carefully, or set it aside for a veterinarian to examine it as abnormalities may indicate future problems or infection. There should only be one main hole where the fetus passed through and if there are any tears, holes or pieces missing,

HORSEKEEPING this may mean they have been retained inside the mare’s uterus. A normal placenta should weigh between 10-13 pounds and anything heavier than that may also indicate infection. If a hippomane is observed in the stall after the mare has foaled (or even as early as at the point of breaking water), this is normal and there is no need to be concerned. A hippomane is usually a beige, yellow or brown-colored body with a putty-like consistency, which is thought to be an accumulation of minerals and proteins. Additionally, if not still on the foal’s feet, soft yellow pads may be found in the remaining amniotic fluid – these are called “golden slippers” and their purpose is to cover the foal’s hooves and protect the mare’s reproductive tract during late pregnancy and delivery. THE NAVAL DIP: Assuming a healthy foal is delivered, “A naval dip and enema for the foal are good, standard practices,” says Dr. Berezowski in regards to that which he considers to be routine post-foaling procedures for the health of the pair. “In addition to deworming of the mare, following delivery.” Within five minutes of being born, the foal should be sitting up and looking around – even if its hind legs are still inside the mare. Shortly after that, the foal should start to struggle and try to stand and within one to two hours past foaling, it should be standing on its own. The baby should also demonstrate an active sucking reflex, even if it isn’t using the reflex to drink milk from its mother just yet. As previously mentioned, the umbilical cord will break soon after the foal has been delivered with movement from the mare or foal. A good time to “dip” the naval is after the bonding period and just as soon as the mare gets up. Then the foaling agent should exit the stall quietly and leave the mother and baby alone again. Dipping the naval involves treating it with Chlorhexidine or iodine, once the umbilical cord has ruptured. Allowing the umbilical cord to rupture on its own is important because the stretching of it causes the end to rebound and seal off the arteries

Stage 3 labour begins after the foal has passed through the mare’s pelvis. The foal may be sitting upright with its feet still inside the mare at this time. Credit: Jenn Webster

(within the umbilical cord are two umbilical arteries, one umbilical vein, and the urachus – the extension of the urinary bladder which allows the fetus to void urine.) It is also extremely important to note that the naval should not be touched or handled as this can cause an infection. The naval stump is a potential access point for environmental pathogens to infect the foal which in turn lead to septicemia, potential growth plate and joint infections and possibly death. Dipping or spraying the naval stump can help eliminate the threat of disease from infecting the foal’s delicate naval tissue and encourage umbilical healing. However, ensure to dip the iodine on the naval stump only and be careful not to spill or spray any iodine over the foal’s belly as it can burn the baby’s sensitive belly skin. STANDING & NURSING: The next order of business is ensuring the foal stands and nurses. Colostrum is the first milk a mare produces that contains antibodies crucial for the

protection of the foal against disease. Since the foal is unable to produce adequate antibodies until two or three months of age, it is absolutely necessary for the baby to nurse colostrum from its mother in the first 12 hours of life. After that time, the foal’s absorption ability decreases significantly and if it fails to nurse and receive the colostrum within the proper amount of time, the foal then becomes very susceptible to disease. With that in mind, Dr. Berezowski recommends calling the vet if the foal has not nursed on its own or has not drank from a bottle within four hours of being born. “That way, we can assess the foal and pass a stomach tube to administer milk if no other abnormalities are noted,” he says. Foals that have a failure of passive transport (FPT) / lack of colostrum are likely to develop clinical infections involving the lungs, joints and intestine and some may live for a short while but most die within a few days. Failure of passive transport can occur: if the mare dies; if the mare rejects the foal or becomes separated from it; if the mare loses colostrum before actually delivering the foal; if the mare has an inadequate amount of colostrum; or if the foal is weak or injured. “It is good practice to check all foals for failure of passive transfer,” advises Dr. Berezowski. “I routinely check every foal that I can. It is best done between 24 - 36 hours of age is a simple blood test that is not too expensive. If FPT has occurred, it can be addressed before the foal becomes sick, which can not only save a lot of money in the long run, but also give the foal a great start to life.” Combatting FTP can be done with supplementation of colostrum from another mare (the life-giving substance can be frozen for future emergencies), or with IV plasma. PASSING OF THE MECONIUM: As it seems like many mares typically wait until the wee hours of the evening to foal out, a foaling agent might be keen to head to bed once they’ve witnessed the baby finally latch on and take a good drink from its mother. However, the final event in a healthy foaling that should be noted is the meconium passage. The meconium is the first manure that the foal passes, but it does not look like regular manure. Instead, it is a dark, greenish and tarry-like substance that should be passed within four to six hours of foaling. The meconium is digested amniotic fluid that the horse will only pass once in its life – but should it become impacted immediately after birth, can cause serious problems. If it is not passed within 24 hours, the foal will display colicky symptoms. The good news is, a Fleet Enema (which is easily obtained from the local drug store) can prevent or correct a retained meconium. And with colostrum intake and the opportunity to exercise, the foal should soon pass the meconium on its own. If a problem is still suspected after an enema is administered, call the vet. Once all of the major events have been noted, a foaling attendant should quietly clean and re-bed soiled areas of the stall. Wheat straw is most frequently recommended bedding of choice for pregnant mares – this is because the small particle matter in shavings can cause bacterial infections for the mare and foal when it sticks to the umbilical cord. Afterwards, the mother and baby should be left alone but observed periodically to ensure the pair are doing well and are healthy. BIO: Dr. Chris Berezowski DVM, DACT, is passionate about all aspects of equine reproduction. His area of expertise reaches deep into the topic of equine reproduction and he is well-versed in speciality areas, including; embryo transfer, oocyte transfer, semen cryopreservation, stallion/mare subfertility, high risk pregnancies and other assisted reproductive techniques. While at Texas A&M, Dr. Berezowski was part of the research team that was responsible for the birth of the first two cloned equines in North America.


From tack and equipment, to clothing and horse husbandry items – typically items are on offer for 50% less than they can be purchased new. Photo by Kathleen Iles

The Tack Collector In 2016, this innovative consignment shop will celebrate 10 years in business. BY JENN WEBSTER

“I have always had a love for repur posing – I’m pretty sure it’s genetic,” says Kathleen Iles, owner and founder of The Tack Collector, located in Calgary, AB. Find all kinds of deals and treasures under one roof at The Tack Collector, celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Photo by Kathleen Iles


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Ten years ago, Iles understood the demand for reasonably priced equestrian items, especially in the Calgary area. She also knew a need existed for consignors to have an outlet that helped them avoid the hassles of selling gently-used items privately or online. In January of 2006, Iles moved with her husband, Marshall and two kids, to a farm in Priddis, AB, on the south west corner of Highway 22X and 22S. It provided the space and perfect opportunity she needed to start a consignment tack shop. The Tack Collector was born. “No matter the situation, horses are an expensive love. I believe The Tack Collector provides a viable way to make it more affordable for people to keep horses in their lives,” she states. “The Tack Collector has always been about offering a variety of items, in a variety of conditions for reasonable prices – for both the consumers and consignors. It is important to me that both parties be

happy with the service provided. A lot of time and effort is put into every item we offer and to provide thorough details on that item, its condition and relative market value prices. “We consign everything to do with horses, and that includes dog supplies as most horse people also have dogs. In addition to everyday supplies, clothing and equipment, items here have included: antiques - trophies, ribbons and knick-knacks, books, stable tools and supplies, tack lockers and trunks, blankets, Breyer horses, hair ribbons, toys, household items, and artwork. It is amazing the selection we have seen come in (and go out!)” she says. In January of 2013, Iles moved The Tack Collector to its current location at #106, 5050 – 106 Avenue Southeast, Calgary. Consignments are accepted by advance appointment and the consignment fees depend on the amount. Consignor payments are at the consignor’s requests and all are welcome to “build their empire,” as

Iles defines it to “...spend their money earned through the sale of their items in the shop. Essentially trading for free stuff or by payout.” The Tack Collector stands out from other similar operations because it is a 100% consignment operation and therefore, has an extremely diverse and ever-changing inventory. Iles additionally offers “tag discounts,” that are added to and increased every six months, which offer more everyday value than a standard sale. The store also has a philanthropic side in that it accepts items for sale and/or donation to the Bear Valley Rescue (BVR), an animal sanctuary near Sundre, AB, verified by the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries. “Additionally, we exchange our time and expertise as requested for appraisals, by individuals looking for fair market for their items, for a $50 donation to BVR,” Iles explains. “Regular pickup of items and money are made by BVR at our location. We wish to be able to assist other groups as well, and do so at every available opportunity.” On a personal level, Iles has loved horses – primarily jumping horses – for as long as she can remember. She has been fortunate to have had her own horses throughout most of her life. “I currently have two black mares and my entire life has revolved around the equine industry; from Pony Club, being a wrangler and then a groom for various top riders, teaching riding lessons, then managing our own facility for a time and lastly, and most epically, being married for almost 25 years to an incredible farrier/blacksmith/ Calgary Stampede volunteer. Every single day I am thankful for my generous and supportive husband Marshall, our two now-grown kids, who have shared this love of horses with me and have encouraged and endured this grand adventure.” For ten years, The Tack Collector has created a niche for itself and serviced western Canada with an effortless solution for purchasing consignment tack, equipment and clothing. The large showroom and warehouse space provides easy access to some of the best deals in the industry. “I love to live with and share the philosophy ‘It’s better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.’” Iles chuckles. “It’s why we are brimming with consignment items!” AB

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All Equine Canada coaching programs are nationally recognized programs developed by discipline-specific coaching committees comprised of the best equine professionals around. They allow for growth, development and training opportunities amongst those involved – and eventually certification in one of either two streams: instruction (teaching those who enjoy their horses outside the competitive ring; ideal for those who teach beginner riders, riding schools or day camps) or coaching (for those individuals who work with students who compete). F O R M O R E I N F O R M AT I O N C O N TAC T O R V I S I T T H E A E F W E B S I T E A L B E R TA E Q U E S T R I A N . C O M

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Waivers (or what Capri Insurance Services Ltd. prefers to call “Acknowledgement of Risk” forms,) are sometimes thought to be a solution to avoid lawsuits in the horse industry. Hence, we thought it might be useful to offer an insurer’s perspective to the conversation. Here are some lesser-known facts about waivers: I will state here and now that I am not a lawyer and urge the reader to engage a legal professional with any questions related to their own business and legal exposures that arise from it. What I am is an equine industry insurance professional and have the benefit of decades of experience – much of which has involved counseling horse industry participants on this subject. I believe that a well crafted and suitably used acknowledgement of risk form is a supplemental tool that should be in every horse owner’s, facility manager’s and coach’s tool kit as part of their broader risk management strategy. The reality is that we, as horse owners and industry participants, want to protect ourselves from lawsuits that could be brought against us for the things we do – with horses. When we invite a member of the public to ride our horse, take a lesson, board at our facility, go for a trail ride etc., we are putting that person at some very real risk. As horse folk, we understand that this large animal is capable (and sometime motivated) to just be a horse – without any human interfering with it. They are capable of stomping on us, throwing us, running over (or away from) us and sometimes do so at the most inconvenient time, leaving us in a “heap of broken” – or worse. The question is, does your guest, student, client know of all those risks and are they prepared to accept that risk from their much less experienced knowledge base? A “good” risk form is made up of clear language, is broken up into small paragraphs that require the reader to pause after each and initial same before moving on. And then requires a signature. As I have already said, we encourage the use of good risk forms and there are many examples in the market for people to use, but that’s not all and is only one part of the risk management strategy to defer and avoid risk. Another important element is to ensure the guest, student, boarder join the AEF to obtain the added benefit of insurance that they can rely on if they have an accident or need help. A client may be much less motivated to sue “you” if they have their own insurance to rely on… makes sense. There is enormous value in mandating that everyone who participates in an equine activity join AEF. Capri Insurance offers a number of specialized insurance products to the horse community in Alberta, including options related to insurance for tack and trailers. For more information you are encouraged to contact Capri Insurance directly (see our ad on the inside cover of this magazine). AB Mike King is an equine insurance specialist with Capri Insurance Services Ltd. and is responsible for the insurance programs that benefit the Alberta Equestrian Federation and its members. Do you have a question on insurance? “Ask the Insurance Guy”...and we will provide an answer in the next issue Comments or questions can be sent directly to Mike at


Congratulations to Susan Evans on her AEF Judging Certification. Photo courtesy of Susan Evans

Susan Evans Meet one of the AEF’s newest certified officials. BY PIPER WHELAN

Growing up, Susan Evans described herself as “a horsecrazy kid living in an apartment in Toronto,” who followed her equine dreams as a teenager. “I got involved with horses at about 14-years-old, working at a riding stable on the weekends,” she says. Today, Evans is a newly-certified AEF jumper judge, giving back to the sport she loves. Evans became more involved in equine sport after moving west about 25 years ago. “I remember going to a couple of local shows in Ontario in the early ‘80s, but I didn’t really start getting serious until I moved to Alberta and my children were a bit older,” she recalls. “I have always loved horses and just watching them in any capacity. It was just natural when I started having my own horses to work towards something or have a goal.” Evans’ equine discipline of choice: jumping. “I’m not sure why I was so drawn to jumpers, but being able to go to Spruce Meadows and watch it live probably encouraged me,” she says. “As a young person in Ontario I participated in some local hunts and found that very thrilling. I also worked for a local Pony Club around the same time and was exposed to this aspect of riding.” After a few years of volunteering at events in the Edmonton area, Evans decided to become a certified judge herself. “I was working the jumper gate at the Edmonton Classic show as well as the River Valley show for the last few years. I can watch jumpers go all day and, of course, I had some experience showing myself, although at a fairly amateur level, so I can really empathize with the riders,” she explains. “I really liked hearing what the judges had to say and found their job fascinating, so I

thought I would look at what the process involved.” For Evans, the process took almost two years, because she needed to attend a jumper judge’s clinic, as well as shadow a certified judge – in addition to the required written exam. “Because I am looking at getting certified with Equine Canada as well, I needed to shadow with senior (Equine Canada) judges,” says Evans. “Because I had been working already at some shows in a different capacity, I did meet some of the judges and they agreed to allow me to shadow with them when possible.” The process was worth the payoff, now that Evans is an AEF-certified judge. “I was so excited to receive my card and diploma,” she says. “I can’t wait to get a chance to use them.” As a judge, Evans is looking forward to all the new opportunities coming her way. “I hope to do the best job I can as a judge. I will enjoy getting out and around Alberta and meeting new people and seeing how things are done in different areas,” she explains. “I also hope that the knowledge I have gained can be passed along to make shows safer for everyone.” As for her plans this coming year? “I will continue to ride my own horse, although I no longer show. I will also continue to be at the gate for the upcoming summer shows in Edmonton. I also hope to judge some throughout Alberta this upcoming season,” she says. The AEF congratulates Evans on her certification. Show organizers who are planning Wild Rose-sanctioned shows can contact Evans and other certified officials through the AEF Officials Directory, found online. AB

“I have always loved horses and just watching them in any capacity.”

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FEB 8, 2016

I F YO U A R E I N T E R E S T E D I N F I N D I N G O U T M O R E A B O U T O N E O F T H E S E C L U B S , O R J O I N I N G, M A K E S U R E YO U C O N TA C T T H E M !

Alberta 4-H Provincial Equine Advisory Committee Alberta Association of Complementary Equine Therapy Alberta Donkey and Mule Club Alberta Dressage Association Alberta Equestrian Vaulting Association Alberta Friesian Horse Association Alberta Horse Trials Association Alberta Morgan Horse Club Alberta Mounted Shooters Alberta Trail Riding Association Alberta Walking Horse Association Alix Agricultural Society 403-747-2240 American Saddlebred Horse Association of Alberta Banff Light Horse Association 403-762-2762 Bezanson Agricultural Society 780-518-3329 Border Cowboys Mounted Shooters Association Calgary Arabian Horse Association Calgary Area Alberta Dressage Association Calgary Regional Appaloosa Club Calgary Regional Trail Riders Calgary Western Riders 403-804-3277 Canadian Horse Breeders Association Rocky Mountain District Canadian Registry of the Tennessee Walking Horse Canadian Sport Horse Association - AB Chapter Central Alberta Special Equestrians Association Chinook Country/Alberta Dressage Association Clearwater Horse Club Cochrane Horse Trials Committee Cooking Lake Saddle Club Cottonwood Corrals Association (Jasper) 780-852-8520 Coulee Winds Saddle Club 403-394-8546 Delacour Agricultural Society & Community Club Didsbury Agricultural Society Edmonton Area /Alberta Dressage Association Endurance Riders of Alberta Extreme Cowboy Alberta Association Foothills Therapeutic Riding Association Fort Calgary Wheel & Runner Association 403-936-5985 Friends of the Eastern Slopes Association Fun Country Riding Club of Strathmore Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association High Country Carriage Driving Club Horse Industry Association of Alberta Irma’s Lil Rodeo Club Journeys Therapeutic Riding Society Jump Alberta Society Lacombe Light Horse Association 403-782-6472 Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association 403-328-2165 Little Bits Therapeutic Riding Association Meadow Creek Vaulting Club 403-556-6266 Millarville Polocrosse Club Miniatures in Motion Horse Club Northern Trails Riding Club Opening Gaits Therapeutic Riding Society of Calgary Peace Area Riding For The Disabled Society Peace Draft Horse Club Peace Region Alberta Dressage Association Performance Standardbreds Association Polocrosse Calgary Prairie Dusters Drill Team Society Prentice Creek Equestrian Center 403-844-9791 Quarter Horse Association of Alberta Rainbow Equitation Society Ranahan Polocrosse Club Red Deer & Area Western Style Dressage Association Ridgeview Riding Club 780-674-5191 Rimbey Sleigh, Wagon & Saddle Club Rundle Riders Therapeutic Riding Association B E S U R E TO S U P P O RT O U R B U S I N E S S M E M B E R S !

Saddle Seat Canada Shortgrass Riding Club South Country Team Penning Association 403-223-8661 South Peace Horse Show Association Southern Alberta Trail Riders Association Springbank Equestrian Society 403-258-3691 Springbank Pony Club 403-289-9066 Spruce View Gymkhana Club 403-728-3074 Steele’s Scouts Commemorative Troop Association Strathcona All-Breed Horse Association Tennessee Walking Horse Association Of Western Canada The Calgary Hunt Club Thompson Country Pony Club Trail Riding Alberta Conference Traildusters Horse Club of Smith 780-829-3628 Tri-Country Riding Club 403-843-6873 Uplift Therapeutic Riding Association 403-362-2581 Valleyview & Districts Agricultural Society Western Canadian Wagon Train 780-675-2572 Wildrose Mounted Shooters


Alberta Carriage Supply Bielecki Equestrian Blazing Hearts Ranch Capri Insurance Services Ltd Caeco Ranch Creekside Equestrian Centre 403-556-6266 Darn That Blanket Eagle Hill Equine Equine Connection Inc. Equine Therapy School EL Caballo Ranch 403-819-5006 F.E.E.L. Facilitated Equine Assisited Learning Ltd Foothills Horse Transport Greenhawk Grande Prairie 780-933-8928 Hairy Back Ranch Higher Trails Equine Ltd High Country Equestrian Center Hi-Hog Farm & Ranch Equipment Ltd Horse Trekking Adventures Just Passing Horse Transport and Bereavement Services J. W. (Jim) Lawton Professional Corporation 403-933-3348 Lane Moore Hoof Care Courses Martin Deerline Millennium Equestrian Ltd. Moose Hill Ranch Equestrian Centre Outpost at Warden Rock Paramount Saddlery Reitsall Auhof Saddle Up Magazine Sandridge Stables Spirit Winds Horse Centre Strathcona Ventures Sunwest Equine Services The Horse Store The Mane Event Equine Education & Trade Show The School of Equine Massage and Rehabilitation Therapies The Tack Collector Ltd The Visions West Studio 403-242-6162 Western Horse Review Westwood Warmbloods Whitemud Equine Learning Centre Association Winning Strides 403-646-2345 Vitality Equine



April 21 - 24, 2016 Westerner Park, Red Deer, AB

You are invited to our 10th Anniversary Celebration

Clinicians Pat Parelli - Horsemanship Belinda Trussell - Dressage Dana Hokana - Horsemanship Doug Mills - Horsemanship Jim Wofford - Jumping Molly Powell - Barrel Racing Patrick King - Western Dressage Scott Purdum - Horsemanship Steve Rother - Horsemanship Terri McKinney - Backcountry Horsemanship Warwick Schiller - Horsemanship

Trainers Challenge 4 Champions, 4 Horses, 4 Judges 1 Champion of Champions Doug Mills - British Columbia Scott Purdum - Virginia Steve Rother - Washington Patrick King - Ohio The Youth Essay Contest returns for the second year in a row! Thank you to Rocking Heart Ranch for donating the filly.

Clinics, Shopping, Education and More...

Purchase advance tickets and SAVE $$ before April 18th. All advance tickets will be emailed to you. Advance ticket holders have access to a special line for entry into the expo.

PHONE: (844) 578-7518


Alberta Bits - Spring 2016  

The Official Magazine of the Alberta Equestrian Federation

Alberta Bits - Spring 2016  

The Official Magazine of the Alberta Equestrian Federation