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Alberta Bits is the Alberta Equestrian Federation’s official member magazine. It serves the equestrian community of horses and riders of all ages, interests and involvement as Alberta’s premier resource for education, information and support. 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 Dena Squarebriggs 403.760.0512 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 Lewis Hand 403.722.4690 Alison Douglas 403.762.8570 Jessi Chrapko 403.627.5696 Robert Simpson 306.641.5579 Darcee Gundlock 403.308.7500 Christine Axani 403.816.8979 Sandy Bell 403.700.7880


Sonia Dantu 403.253.4411 ext 5 MEMBERSHIP

Norma Cnudde 403.253.4411 ext 1 MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS

Ashley Miller 403.253.4411 ext 6

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AEF BITS & PIECES Equine interest in crown land; a Christmas donation of hay for equines in Fort McMurray, AB; Bill desBarres scholarship recipient; and The Social Bit.

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W E ST B R AG G C R E E K T R A I L S U PDAT E A look at the work that has significantly increased equestrian opportunities in the area.

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HORSE SHOWING PRIMER A dozen tips to get you and your horse ready for the show season.

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B R E E D P RO F I L E The athletic, cowy, versatile Quarter Horse.

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HORSEKEEPING Solutions for Biosecurity.

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HORSEKEEPING Parasite Prevention - Dealing with equine parasites in modern times.

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TRAINER'S CORNER Martin Black is one of the Mane Event Red Deer’s entrants into the Trainer’s Challenge. Here’s a look behind some of his philosophies.

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ASK THE INSURANCE GUY This time, it’s all about the horse.

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CLOSING THOUGHTS An official pays tribute to Amberlea Meadows and honors the opportunities this cherished Alberta facility has granted her.


Erin Lundteigen 403.253.4411 ext 3 COMPETITIONS

Sophie Beswick 403.253.4411 ext 2 FINANCE, GENERAL INQUIRIES

Rita Bernard 403.253.4411 ext 7





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or All material is copyright 2017. 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 therefrom, 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


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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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President’s Message I hope that by the time this issue lands in everyone’s mailbox, shovels will be a distant memory (dreaming). It sure seems that Mother Nature gave us more than enough snow this winter. On the bright side, this could equate to lush pastures and fast growing hay fields over the next few months. Looking forward into 2017, I am full of enthusiasm. On the governance scene, since both the AEF and Equestrian Canada (EC) changed their Bylaws (which were required to conform to changes that were dictated by government) it seems that pieces are slowly coming together to allow EC and the provincial/territorial sport organizations such as the AEF, to forge better working relationships. This is very important and necessary as both the Federal and Provincial Governments expect both organizations to have a role in the continuing development of the Equine Industry. It will also be critical for the sport to move forward in Canada; we hope to see some changes coming to the competitions program that will support LTED. I have written in previous issues of Alberta Bits how I believe the equine industry is fragmented. Further, I have written and preached to all those who would listen, that in order to be better recognized as professionals and a professional industry, we must all work to raise the bar. This falls back into our hands as owners. Not only do those of us who own equines need to demand more, but owners of all the equine-related businesses out there need to as well. It all starts with us, the owners. We need to be more demanding of our farriers, bodyworkers, and other “professionals” who work on our horses. Even if it is just the conversation about their necessity to take courses to fulfill their association’s continuing education hours. If they do not belong to an organization, maybe that would be a clue to asking more in-depth questions as to their professionalism. Again, it all starts with ourselves as owners. I hope this year we will not experience emergencies like flooding as we did in 2013 or the wildfires in Fort McMurray this past spring and we can focus on education. As part of the AEF’s plan for emergency preparedness for equines in Alberta, we recently conducted a survey on members’ and non-members’ states of emergency preparedness. While the results were not surprising, the enlightening information that came out of the survey was that even though courses


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have been available for some time across Canada, very few of the respondents knew that such courses were available. If you are an AEF club, business or stable/ facility member and would like to host a course as a fundraising opportunity (emergency preparedness or First Aid course), visit the AEF website to learn more about this brand new opportunity. Spring is also the time of year that we hold our Annual General Meeting. Since the format of last year’s AGM was such a great success, we have decided to follow a similar format this year on March 18, 2017 at Rocky Mountain Show Jumping. On behalf of the board and staff, we hope to see many of you in person again this year. Remember, this is your association; we rely on you to direct the Board of Directors and ultimately the AEF to follow a course of direction that is in the best interest of the overall membership. There is one vacant seat available on the board for 2017 and 5 directors are standing for reelection, if this is something you would be interested in, please contact the AEF office or visit our website under News & Events for everything you need to know about the board and AGM. Once again, from my family to yours, all the best for 2017 and have a great spring riding season. AB




IN CROWN LAND With financial help from AEF Trail Supporter Fund, the Outdoor Council of Canada is adding the finishing touches on a study of the social and economic contribution the non-motorized recreation makes to Alberta. Scuttlebutt is that the dollars spent by Albertans in pursuit of their outdoor passions are very large and until now have been an unrecognized part of the Alberta Economy. This report will come at a critical time as the Alberta Government fast tracks a range of initiatives that will shape how Alberta’s vast and rich natural landscape is managed. We expect that the report will help bolster the case that more attention needs to be paid to this important part of Alberta’s social and economic fabric, and that more governmental attention should be given to these activities to enable them to flourish. Look out for exciting news on this front over the next month! AB






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From the drop point in Fort McMurray, AB, on December 18, Les Oakes reported, "Had a great weekend in Fort McMurray helping out with the delivery of hay. The purchase of the hay from Transfeeder in Olds was made possible in part from a donation through the Spruce Meadows Leg Up Foundation. It was great to meet all of the horse crowd from the Clearwater Horse Club and the Tower Road group. It breaks your heart to see all they have lost to the fire. Thank you once again for your hospitality over the past three days." - Les Oakes, AEF President


Hay for Fort Mac D O NAT I O N U P DAT E

On December 16, 2017 the AEF sent 1,500 bales of hay to Fort McMurray, to help support Fort McMurray equine owners through the winter. The hay delivered will help alleviate some of the feed costs over the winter months, but also replace hay that was lost in the fires. The price of hay is slightly higher than in previous years and those in Fort McMurray typically pay an additional cost per bale for landed transportation. The equine community from Alberta, across Canada, the USA and as far as the UK banded together from the moment the wild fires broke out to help the “horses.” Karina Webb, President of the Tower Road Equine Association 8

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recently praised the equine community: “From myself as President of the Tower Road Equine Association, we are so grateful for the equine communities’ support. It does make a real difference. Thanks to the AEF for all your work, it is truly appreciated. The support really touches all of our hearts and is absolutely inspiring,” said Webb. Les Oakes, AEF President says, “The AEF received many donations for ‘the equines’ since the fires of May 2016; $33,000 in Greenhawk gift cards was distributed in September so owners could replace items lost in the fires; and a donation from the Spruce Meadows Leg Up Foundation

went toward supporting this purchase of hay. As of December 1st, 2016, $53,000 in funds has been accounted for, and expended.” Equine owners share a special bond: it’s the passion for the animal, and the relationship they have together. Whether they are for pleasure, personal, farm or ranch work, horses have a way of bringing those who own them closer together. This is what happened during the fires. Oakes travelled to Fort McMurray and was on site when the hay arrived; he stayed throughout the two days for distribution. He was very fortunate to meet many of equine owners affected and whom the AEF kept in touch with since day one of the evacuation. Oakes was welcomed by many who shared their stories and were so grateful for the ongoing support. After receiving notice of ‘hay for horses this Christmas,’ Velda Peach, Fort McMurray resident says, “I just want to thank you all at AEF for all this wonderful hay. I had $2,400 worth of hay that I lost in my barn. Thank you, thank you! Words can't express enough for what you have done.” Fort McMurray equine owners who registered with the AEF during the disaster were able to pick up hay bales on Saturday, December 17th and Sunday, December 18th. Storage space and volunteers were provided free of charge at the Clearwater Horse Club (which lost almost everything in the fires). Hertz Equipment Rental in Fort McMurray donated a forklift, and President, Les Oakes assisted with delivering from the drop point. It is humbling to see so many individuals and businesses that continue to support and assist those in need, months after the horrible wild fires. AB

thank you The horse community in Fort McMurray and area would like to give a BIG THANK YOU to everyone for giving a helping hand during our difficult time during the wildfires in Fort McMurray.


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Miranda Little aboard her horse “Flash.”


MIRANDA LITTLE Miranda Little has been involved with horses for over eight years, joining her local 4-H club and pony club. Miranda and her horse “Flash” have learned and competed in a variety of western and English disciplines that include rodeo, gymkhana, western pleasure, cowboy challenge and jumping. In 2013, Flash was in a bad accident that tore open the cranial aspect of his hock. He was down and out for six months and the experience of caring for him during that time confirmed to Miranda that a career in Animal Health Technology was what she wanted to pursue. Miranda was extremely involved with Flash’s recovery and after a lot of bandaging, therapy and stretching, he is back and jumping beautifully again! Miranda hopes to apply her education towards compassionate care for horses in need and to advance the welfare of horses. Every horse helped or saved, whether through rehabilitation or vaccinations, is an accomplishment in her mind. AEF congratulates Miranda on being the $1,000 2016 Bill desBarres Industry Scholarship recipient. AEF Educational Scholarships and the Bill desBarres Industry Scholarship application submissions are due May 31, 2017. AB




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In 2016, The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association (GBCTA) focused on upgrading existing trails, adding several new trails and enhancing the visitor experience. This work has significantly increased the equestrian opportunities at West Bragg Creek. Significant investments and actions by Alberta Parks/ Government of Alberta resulted in a number of important enhancements to the trail network and planning for even larger improvements for next year. The generous donation from the AEF Trail Supporter Fund made it possible to upgrade the drainage and tread on Elbow and Iron Springs trail to create a sustainable trail for summer use. These trails provide an important link between Highway 66 and the West Bragg Creek parking lot, creating a variety of interesting loops for equestrians. ALL-SEASON TRAILS (Equestrian, Hiking, Biking and Snowshoeing): The big news for 2016, is that Alberta Environment and Parks approved official designation for the 3.5 km Sugar Mama and 3.9 km Sugar Daddy trails. This fills in a big hole between Fullerton Loop and the Elbow Trail in the south half of the West Bragg Creek trail network. About 300 meters of tread work and a re-alignment of the Sugar Daddy/Elbow Trail junction was completed. These trails allow for a variety of equestrian loops from the Fullerton Trailhead along Highway 66, that avoid “Fullerton Loop Trail�, which is posted by Alberta Parks as hiking only. A 300 meter segment Snakes & Ladders trail was reconstructed by Spray Lakes Sawmills (SLS). The trail had followed a portion of a loghaul road, which was being reclaimed back to the original terrain contours. An interesting new trail was built into the re-contoured terrain by SLS and hand-finished by volunteers. This is


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part of a longer loop from Station Flats trailhead along Highway #66. A sustainable, all-season tread was constructed on 1.5 km of Snowshoe Hare (west) trail. This included some trail re-routes, plus drainage and tread reconstruction. This creates a number of loop options for equestrians, which incorporate Hostel Loop, East Telephone and Demi-Tel trails. The extended rainy weather from mid-June into October highlighted some drainage problem sites and entirely new wet areas appeared. Drainage work, tread repairs and ongoing maintenance was completed at 15 sites on Braggin Rights, Long Distance, Boundary Ridge, Ranger Summit and Strange Brew trails. CROSS COUNTRY SKI TRAILS (SUMMER USAGE): Over the past four seasons, the GBCTA has allocated considerable donated funds and volunteer labour toward upgrading the cross country ski trail network, in order to make the trails suitable for sustainable summer use. The work has focused on improved drainage, raising and smoothing tread and reseeding the tread surface. A 4.6 km portion of SLS log-haul road that was converted into Mountain View West (3.8 km) and an upgraded portion of Moose Loop (0.8 km) cross country ski trails. SLS reclamation crew replaced 16 culverts with new ones provided by GBCTA. SLS placed concrete block abutments for two bridges, installed one steel bridge frame, constructed a sun/wind shade berm and upgraded all of the tread, as part of their logging reclamation. GBCTA volunteers constructed two bridges (20’ X 12’ and 40’ X 12’) and

added signage. The new trail creates a large new loop together with Mountain Road and Moose Loop. Another new addition is the 1.9 km Iron Creek trail. This is part of the Trans-Canada Trail, which links the Iron Springs trail in Kananaskis to the hamlet of Bragg Creek. It will permit residents between Bragg Creek and Range Road 54 to ride their horses on an off-road route all the way into the

West Bragg Creek trail network. Several existing ski trails were extensively upgraded for improved drainage and a smooth, sustainable summer tread. This includes 3.5 km of Iron Springs Trail, 0.5 km of Loggers Loop, and 4.6 km of Elbow Trail. The entire upgraded ski trail network was brushed and mowed to make it into a safe, double-width trail for equestrians and other summer users. Alberta Parks invested in a number of important improvements to the trail infrastructure. The Crystal Line/ Sundog bridge and Moose Connector bridge were replaced with new, stronger ones and about 500 meters of Elbow Trail was re-routed, complete with a substantial new bridge, at the Fullerton Loop Junction. SNOWSHOE AND WINTER MULTI-USER TRAILS: Several new snowshoe trails have been added. For the most part, these trails do not have a constructed tread, so they are not recommended for summer use. However, there are a few exceptions. The new Old Hostel Road (0.8 km) links the Hostel Meadow with the Kananaskis Country entrance at West Bragg Creek road. The side trip [CONTINUED ON PAGE 15

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down a big bend in Bragg Creek is a lovely addition to a Snowshoe Hare trip. A couple of re-routes were made to Snowy Shortcut, to avoid sensitive wetland areas. Snowy Owl also has three re-routes totaling almost 1 km of new alignment. One avoids a wind/sun exposed slope that was often snow free. The second reroute replaces a stump filled sidehill segment with a smooth, sheltered contouring route. The third one replaces an overly steep cut-line, with a pleasant, gentle route in a mossy forest. Old Shell Road (1.3 km) starts with a crossing of Bragg Creek, near the Snowy Owl/Mountain Road intersection; this trail follows an old wellsite road to get to Moose Loop/West Telephone Loop. It provides a quiet alternative to the bike traffic on Braggin Rights. SIGNAGE: The GBCTA has new trailhead signage, with a “Share the

Trails” courtesy sign, which asks all users to yield to equestrians, plus an additional sign that says “Stop for equestrians. Ask rider how to safely pass.” This message is now being reinforced by volunteer trail hosts, who engage with users at the trailhead. FUTURE: The GBCTA has been engaged with the Alberta Parks planning team, who are working on an expansion of the West Bragg Creek Parking lot. They have insisted on a separate and properly designed equestrian parking lot, with full access to the entire trail network. They have been advised that this is now an integral part of the concept plan. Detailed planning is expected to take place over the winter months and parking lot construction is planned to start in the late spring of 2017. The GBCTA will construct the appropriate connecting trails from the new equestrian parking area to link with the existing trail network. AB

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Understanding the rules of your event means you have a good understanding of proper equine turnout, appropriate attire and use of legal equipment.

Horse Showing


Knock off the winter rust and get ready for spring show season with these insights for performing at your best. BY JENN WEBSTER

ABOVE: Showing should be a fun, learning experience. Troublesome areas are the things you can work on when you return home. Approach all competition experiences with positivity. Photo by Clix Photography 16

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Its been a few long, cold months and if you’re like many equine competition enthusiasts, you’re looking forward to the start of the spring schooling season. Time to polish up your skills, get your horse in prime condition and brush off the ring-rust that has accumulated over the winter! With that in mind, here are a few tips for supporting your horse to perform at its best and advice for managing your own pre-show jitters. 1. As a horse owner and competitor, it’s your responsibility to help your horse perform to the best of its ability. Take responsibility for your performance: good or bad. Learn from it. 2. At a show, your horse will be asked to perform short, intense exercise sessions multiple times, sometimes in a row. Your horse will endure different stresses than it would normally experience at home. Ensure your equine athlete is equipped for the competition by including high-intensity workouts in your training schedule at home – long before you ever set out down the road. Fitness and muscles should be prepared well in advance. Always be sure to include proper warm-up and cooldown periods and watch for signs of soreness or lameness. Seek guidance from your trainer or professional when in doubt. 3. Understand what are normal parameters for your horse’s vital signs. This way you’ll know if you have performed a proper cool-down after exercise and your horse has returned to

normal body temperature, heart rate and respiration rate while metabolic wastes are removed from muscles. 4. Nutritional support for your equine pal during transportation and throughout the event should stay consistent with your schedule at home. Avoid changing feed or hay at the show. Remember that the ingestion of hay produces saliva which naturally acts as a buffer in the horse’s stomach and reduces irritation from excess acid. 5. The average horse requires approximately seven gallons of water per day but these needs can increase during exercise in hot and humid climates. Always ensure your horse is frequently offered water during shipping and monitor water intake throughout the event. Free-choice water is ideal during times of rest but your horse may need to be limited to small quantities during cool-down periods. Understand how to check for dehydration by checking your horse’s capillary refill time. 6. Upon arrival, familiarize yourself with the show grounds. Learn where the show office, show rings and warm-up areas are located. Knowing where the show vet and farrier are located may also be helpful in emergencies. 7. Learn the show schedule and specifically, your approximate class times. Give yourself lots of time to groom your horse, tackup and warm up. There’s nothing worse for horse show jitters than racing to make your class. 8. Usually most coaches will recommend memorizing your test, pattern or course well in advance of your warm-up. This helps you as the rider feel confident and focus on the task at hand, instead of stressing your memorization skills for the last few remaining minutes before your class. If you have the opportunity to walk the course for a hunter/jumper, trail, or cowboy challenge class before the event, do so to help you build competition strategy. 9. Understand the rules of your discipline prior to attending a show. Know what is legal equipment and what is not. Be responsible for packing your own tack and know where everything is, prior to your class. Ensure all your accessories, clothing and equipment are appropriate for your event. Have a good knowledge of the governing body of your show and know the rules before you leave home – this includes everything from proper grooming presentation, to actions that will result in a penalty, to equine drug usage. 10. All training should be done at home, well in advance of your show. Compete in the discipline your horse knows, is comfortable with, and does well in. 11. With point #10 in mind, know that horse shows are a buzz of activity. As a result, some horses may become upset or worrisome. If so, this may mean your horse requires more schooling opportunities in arenas away from home with lots of distractions. It’s normal, especially for greener horses. If you don’t already have one, you may want to seek the advice of an experienced certified instructor/coach. Embrace trouble areas as an opportunity to better your horsemanship and your bond with your horse. Breathe. 12. Approach all competition opportunities with enthusiasm and positivity. Leave the barn chatter behind. A relaxed rider always helps instill more confidence in the horse and succeeds in better rider-to-horse communication. Compete with optimism and trust that the work you’ve done with your horse over the winter at home will pay off. AB









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The Quarter Horse This athletic, quiet, cowy and sometimes colourful breed was made for versatility. B Y H E AT H E R G ROV E T

ABOVE: Ryan Smith notes that today’s buyers seem to like the wide variety of colours the Quarter Horse

comes in (grullo, bay and gray youngsters pictured). Photo by Tanja Schneider Photography RIGHT: Carl Gerwien prefers his cutting horses be 14 to 14.1 hh. Here he is mounted on red roan Quarter Horse mare, Shes Almost Heaven, at the Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Futurity 2015. Photo by Midge Ames Photos


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It would be impossible to be a Canadian horse person and not have some contact with one of the nation’s most popular breeds, the Quarter Horse. Perhaps you’ve never owned a Quarter Horse, but it’s likely you’ve seen them perform in a wide variety of jobs; competing at rodeo events, jumping a local hunter course, trail riding in the mountains, jogging softly in the show pen or moving cattle at the feedlot. The American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) doesn’t just excel

in Canada and the United States, it is also the world's largest equine breed registry and membership organization. The 2015 AQHA annual report stated that 2,415,388 Quarter Horses resided in the United States, with countries such as Mexico, Germany, Italy, Venezuela, Brazil, Australia and the Netherlands also having good sized populations. The Canadian Quarter Horse Association stated in 2015, Canada had 246,337 registered Quarter Horses, with 110,425 located in Alberta, 25,082 in British


“We focus on good, versatile horses. For us conformation, disposition and pedigree are the most important things, with a show history also being of value.” –Ryan Smith, Canadian Quarter Horse Association director Columbia, 46,355 in Saskatchewan and 24,709 in Manitoba. Of course, there are many more throughout other parts of Canada. The Quarter Horse is native to the United States. The breed was developed in the eastern states when race enthusiasts crossed local horses of Spanish descent with imported English Thoroughbreds. The resulting horses excelled at sprinting and were soon known as “Celebrated Quarter Of A Mile Race Horses.” Racing was so popular that entire plantations could be won or lost in a race gambling bet! The horses moved slowly west with the settlers, and so did quarter mile racing. Eventually mustangs were crossed with the race horses, and the breed began to evolve into a tougher, more compact horse that had cow sense and versatility. The AQHA officially began in 1940, although the horse itself had been around for several centuries. In fact, the breed was almost called the “American

Steel Dust Association” after a famous bay race horse stallion named Steel Dust, who was foaled in Kentucky in 1843 was brought to Texas in 1844. The book Alberta’s Best by Maggie Glynn-Jensen, states that Sleepy Cat was the first registered Quarter Horse imported to Alberta. Jac Streeter of Stavely, AB, imported the stallion which had been raised in Whitewater, Colorado. Glynn-Jensen explained “There were many Quarter Horses or Steel Dusts as they were known in those days, but registering them was a relatively new practice.” Most Quarter Horses stand between 14 to 16 hh, but there are examples of hunter-type Quarter Horses taller than 17 hh. Currently AQHA recognizes 17 colours; chestnut, sorrel, black, brown, gray, bay, palomino, buckskin, cremello, perlino, white, dun, red dun, grullo, red roan, bay roan and blue roan. In the past, AQHA’s strict colour guidelines prohibited cremellos and perlinos, and allowed only limited white markings on

the horse’s face or legs. But those rules have changed. While most Quarter Horses still sport the traditional white markings, now a number of boldly coloured overos can be found, often double registered with the American Paint Horse Association. Saskatchewan is home to an even more unusual Quarter Horse – Reminic In Spots. This 2005 stallion is the first fully registered AQHA horse with a distinctive Appaloosa style pattern. Patterns such as leopard complex, frame overo, sabino and splashed white have always existed in the breed, but until recently, horses expressing those patterns were culled from the registry. The Quarter Horse is famous for its ability to sprint with race horses clocked at speeds up to 80 km/hour (50 miles/hour). That speed, coupled with a strong hip, quiet temperament, and cow sense, has allowed the breed to excel in a wide variety of disciplines. Carl Gerwien of Willow Spring Ranch west of Nanton, Alberta, has A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 7



been riding Quarter Horses in the cutting horse industry for 30 years. “I rodeoed when I was younger, bulldogging, calf roping and team roping,” Gerwien explained “In BC people would often have cutting at the rodeos, and I always thought it was neat to watch. I turned back cattle for the cutters a few times and fell into the sport. I had a ranch and I had cattle, so I took to cutting like a duck to water.” Quarter Horses bred for cutting tend to be athletic and quick on their feet. “I personally like the smaller horses that stand 14 to 14.1 hh,” Gerwien said. “A 15.2 hh horse can do the job, but that small heifer can sometimes beak out those bigger horses. I find the smaller horses better at the job.” “I’ve studied cutting horses and where ABOVE (L-R): Lisa Schiestel enjoys the easy, free flowing movement of her western pleasure Quarter Horses. Here Schiestel competes in green western pleasure on the black Quarter Horse, NI Good, owned by Patti Seiller. Photo credit Shannon and Darcy Peacock The most common breed used for barrel racing is the Quarter Horse. This is Jenny Traub on her gray Quarter Horse mare, LL Inuidious. The pair have excelled in the Alberta Barrel Racing Association. Photo credit Bernie Hudyma Until recently, the AQHA had strict colour requirements, but now all horses produced from two registered Quarter Horses are eligible for registration, no matter what their colour or pattern. This flashy overo is PP Diamonds To Envy, owned and ridden by Shannon Peacock. This horse is also registered APHA, making it double registered. Photo credit Shannon and Darcy Peacock RIGHT (& ON OPPOSITE PAGE): Ryan Smith of Fleetwood Farms believes that the Quarter Horse’s versatility is what has made the horse so popular. Photos by Tanja Schneider Photography 20

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they came from,” Gerwien continued. “The King Ranch in Texas did a lot of line breeding and they produced a cross that would work cattle like a good collie dog. Many were running-bred Quarter Horses that showed some pizzazz on cows,” he explained. “A cutting horse needs good conformation and a happy attitude,” Gerwien said. “They keep their ears forward and like their job.” Lisa Schiestel of Eckville, Alberta, has been raising registered Quarter Horses for almost 25 years with her husband, Steve. Their focus is producing, training and showing western pleasure horses. “Believe it or not, I grew up on a feedlot and chased a lot of cattle,” Schiestel said. “I took the Western Trainer’s program at Old’s College. The coach there at the time, rode reining horses,

but I didn’t like speed and I didn’t care for their big motors.” Lisa is the trainer, breeding manager, foaling manager, coach and health coordinator at Lisa Schiestel Show Horses Ltd. and Silver Line Farms. “We limit our breeding to four mares per year and believe in matching the appropriate stallion with each mare often shipping cooled or frozen semen from all over North America to get the best cross. We generally hang on to our babies until they are two or three. That allows us to start them when they’re ready rather than having futurity dates or clients dictate when a foal is started. They can stand in a pasture and grow for a while if that’s what is best for them.” It’s the ethical thing to do. “People think of western pleasure

Quarter Horses as being ‘peanut rollers’,” Schiestel continued. “But that isn’t the direction that AQHA is going anymore. Come to a breed show and see what we’re doing. We want happy, free flowing, easy moving horses. You should see my mares in the pasture, they naturally move slow and softly. That’s what we’re breeding for, and that’s what they’re comfortable with. We don’t take reining bred horses and try to make them into pleasure horses. The Quarter Horse has become very specialized. Some can go back and forth, but it’s okay if they don’t.” Jenny Traub of Tomahawk, Alberta, won the 2016 Alberta Barrel Racing Association High Point Open Finals riding 2004 grey Quarter Horse mare, LL Inuidious (Foxy). “The main breed found in barrel racing is the Quarter Horse,” Traub said. “They suit the event as they are very quick in a short distance. My parents raised Egyptian Arabians, and I grew up with that breed, but they don’t have the shot of speed needed for barrel racing.” “Foxy has a lot of running blood,” Traub continued. “She is over 16 hh. A lot of barrel racing horses aren’t that tall, but there is one advantage with a big horse, and that is their big stride. Barrel horses tend to be less mellow than the cowbred horses, but they don’t necessarily have high energy. Foxy was a bit crazy as a young horse, but now she’s really settled down. She walks down the alley like nothing is going on.” Ryan Smith of Champion, Alberta, is a Canadian Quarter Horse Association director. “I believe the American

Quarter Horse became popular because of its versatility and quiet mind,” Smith said. “But the modern Quarter Horse is now becoming very discipline specific. For example, the cutting bred Quarter Horse is now quite different from the racing Quarter Horse.” Smith operates Fleetwood Farms, where he stands seven Quarter Horse stallions. “We focus on good, versatile horses,” Smith said. “For us conformation, disposition and pedigree are the most important things, with a show history also being of value. A proven show horse is something we look for, but it isn’t any more important than the other traits. This is also true for our mares,” he stated. “Our stallions have proven success in certain disciplines, but that doesn’t mean we only breed mares from that same discipline to them. Instead we breed horse to horse, not pedigree to pedigree. We want to focus on good, versatile horses.” “Today’s horse buyers are better educated,” Smith concluded. “They want everything. They want the pedigree, conformation, training and disposition, and they wouldn’t mind if that horse wasn’t sorrel, chestnut or bay. These horses can be difficult to find, so we’re trying to produce them.” AB

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BIOSECURITY SOLUTIONS FOR REAL LIFE Protecting your horse from disease.


Preventing disease or reducing the spread of infectious outbreaks can be difficult for horse farms. However, when it comes to biosecurity, taking even the smallest steps against infection is better than nothing at all and can go a long way in preventing financial losses and promoting animal welfare. Spring is often the beginning of down-the-road travel for competition horses. However, it is not only the travelling horse that is at risk for illness: biosecurity begins at home, in your barn. With that in mind, here are several tips for protecting your horse from infectious diseases.


These kinds of pests can carry infectious diseases such as Pigeon Fever, Potomac Horse Fever, or West Nile Virus to name a few.

Wash your 2 hands. It may sound trite, but it’s amazing what can be spread from horse-to-horse via the transmission of human hands.



Minimize rodents and insects.

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Work with your vet to create a biosecurity plan that is practical for your horse and your barn before an outbreak occurs. During an outbreak, biosecurity will be the hot topic. In some cases, however, coming up with a plan, after the fact, will be too late. Resources and templates are available at the AEF website.


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When traveling

with trail or competition equines, or dealing with quarantine horses: • Do not allow animals to share water buckets or communal water sources. • Avoid sharing brushes and feed buckets. • Disinfect bits, girths and cinches if you use the same equipment on numerous mounts. • Minimize nose-to-nose contact when away from your home location.

Infectious disease prevention can be very different for a breeding facility with foals, as compared to a barn full of healthy adult horses. It may not be practical to disinfect stalls every day, but it is advisable to to do so in between horses at the very least.


stall walls, bars and the floor before a new horse is moved inside. Patch knots with wood filler and start with clean surfaces to ensure disinfectants will work.


Tailor your biosecurity measures

specifically to the kind of animal your farm houses. Monitor the health and nutritional status of each individual horse and maintain accurate records. Work with your veterinarian to develop an effective biosecurity plan that includes vaccinations and deworming protocol.

Isolate new horses


to the property for two-to-three weeks quarantine prior to moving them into the general population of the barn. Have an isolation plan for sick horses. Use a separate barn if possible, or the end of the aisle and leave some space between the new horse and regular herd.

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PREVENTION Parasite burdens are silent killers that can wreak havoc on your horse’s insides and cause disease and even death. Fortunately, with new deworming practices it’s all preventable. BY JENN WEBSTER

When Dr. Ela Misuno, DVM, MVSc first came to Canada from Denmark to pursue her veterinary residency program, she was surprised to learn the differences our country presented in terms of equine deworming strategies. By comparison, Denmark had been employing routine fecal egg examinations since the 1990s and dewormers were only sold to horse owners by veterinarians – after they delivered a fecal sample for testing. Only horses that were determined to be moderate and high shedders in respect of the level of parasitic eggs found in one gram of manure, were then given a dewormer. “When I first came to Canada, it seemed as

Photo by Clix Photography 24

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though no one was talking about fecal egg exams and pasture management,” says Dr. Misuno, now a technical veterinarian for Vetoquinol. “And learning about parasites in vet school was not an exciting subject. I felt it was a highly important topic for horses in North America, so I chose a parasitology research project for my master’s studies.” With internal worms developing increased resistance to deworming drugs, the war against equine parasites has changed. Rotational deworming is a thing of the past. Here Dr. Misuno guides us through new parasite considerations such as geographic location, herd management, manure control and targeted deworming for better practices to suit our needs as horse owners today. GEOGRAPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS: All horses carry some amount of a parasite burden. The big question is, are they carrying numbers high enough to cause disease? And are any of those burdens large strongyles, tapeworms or small strongyle encysted larvae? No amount of deworming will eliminate parasites completely however; the point of a parasite control program is to prevent horses from amassing such high parasite burdens that cause those animals to experience diarrhea, colic, weight loss or even death. The parasitic cycle is such that to develop parasites, a horse will ingest larvae from their surroundings. Next the larvae develop and migrate through the body. They become egg laying adults in the gut and eggs are passed through the horse’s manure. The eggs hatch and larvae live in the horse’s environment – and the cycle starts all over again. The parasitic cycle is very dependent on weather conditions and the environment.

HORSEKEEPING “A freeze/thaw cycle will kill larvae because they are sensitive,” states Dr. Misuno. “Except for one specific worm – parascaris (roundworms). In Canada the cycle is generally halted in the winter because the cold will stop larval development. It all depends on temperature and humidity. Larvae like moderate temperatures and high humidity, hence, they can develop quickly in the spring early summer and fall.” Eggs are much more hardy than larvae. Eggs can start to develop slowly in a cool, Canadian spring. Temperatures above 30-degrees Celsius can kill both eggs and larvae however, the

“Parasites are a problem that affect 100% of horses.” ambient temperature must also be dry with no humidity. That’s why the Canadian prairie provinces get a winter break from parasites, but British Columbia can have a problem all year long. Not all provinces are the same. Parasite burdens depend on susceptible horses and favorable environments. MANAGEMENT PRACTICES: Dr. Misuno states that every equine property needs to be assessed on an individual basis. The best way to create a tailored parasite control program is to first identify “herds” of horses in each property. A herd is a group of horses who are in close enough contact to transmit parasites to each other. This would include horses who are housed together on one pasture or pen. Each herd would then have a parasite control program based on the concentration of horses per acre, feeding practices, age and fecal shedding levels. Horses kept in individual stalls should be treated individually. “Larvae develop on grass where there’s organic material and moisture. That’s why their development is a bit halted on dirt paddocks. Paddocks aren’t perfect but at least they have less parasitic transmission. In a pasture, the concentration of horses to land is crucial. That’s why there are certain things an owner can do for management practices to help stop parasitic transmission.” These include cleaning up the areas in pastures where horses eat regularly. In the wild, horses eat grass and walk away. In a pasture situation, they walk around in a circle and come back to the eating area. “If you can only do one thing like clean around those hightraffic areas in your pastures, you would be making a great difference in parasite control,” Dr. Misuno says. “Notice the trends of your pasture to help make a difference. And why are we talking about this in the first place? Because of the accelerating problem of resistance to current deworming drugs. We have to start thinking about what else we can do to manage parasites. The simple fact is, if you provide your horses with an environment that has very few parasites in it, you help decrease the infection level in your animals.” Additionally, not all horses on the same property are the same. Based on research to date, it seems that adult horses tend to

follow the 80/20 rule in regards to their egg shedding levels. If you follow a fecal egg exam on horses over the years, you will see that only 20-30% of horses will be considered “high shedders.” Why does this happen? Because the immune system of every horse is different. “We believe that horses of three years of age and throughout their adult life, are consistent in their shedding levels. Young horses need time to prime their immune systems against parasites. An old (geriatric) horse’s immune system changes as they get older – so older horses may change their shedding levels.” FECAL EGG COUNTS - A HOW-TO: There is actually a proper way to submit a fecal sample for testing. Two to three fecal balls are necessary. Also, “A sample must be fresh (‘steaming’) but that still means it can be kept in the fridge for two to three days to be considered ‘fresh.’” says Dr. Misuno. This allows horse owners, or boarding facilities time to collect samples from numerous horses for a simultaneous submission – since it’s often difficult to collect samples from several horses on the same day. Ziploc bags are the best way to store samples and each bag must be clearly labelled on the outside; which horse it belongs to, the age of the horse, and the time of last treatment with dewormer. Samples should never be frozen or left at room temperature. When samples are submitted to a veterinarian, horse owners should also make the vet aware of any symptoms occurring in a particular horse. These include things like diarrhea, colic or weight loss. Ideally, another fecal sample should be submitted to your veterinarian two weeks after deworming your horse. It is called a fecal egg count reduction test and helps you choose the most effective drug for your herd of horses and assure that no resistance is developing to it. Parasites of foals may be sensitive to different dewormers than parasites of adult horses. It is recommended to perform a fecal reduction test to approximately 30% of moderate to high shedders, and repeat it at least once every three years. “If we can kill all the adult parasites, there will be no new egg production,” explains Dr. Misuno. “In a moderate to high-shedding horse, a rechecked fecal example two weeks after deworming means there should be zero eggs – we killed 100% of all adult forms.” AB

RIGHT: Equine parasite eggs as seen under the microscope. This is how vets count eggs when performing FECs Photo credit Dr. Ela Misuno A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 7



One of Black’s very basic philosophies with horses involves trying to build the horse’s confidence at every attempt.

A Better Understanding

Pairing neurochemistry with horsemanship is not entirely what you’d expect to see from a respected buckaroo. Yet, that’s exactly what Martin Black does every day in his arena, out on the range or down the road in clinic settings. Black is one of this year’s Mane Event Alberta’s entrants in the Trainer’s Challenge. Find out why his chance meeting with neuroscientist, Dr. Stephen Peters, forged a ground-breaking movement in horsemanship across the globe. BY JENN WEBSTER • PHOTOS BY DARRELL DODDS

“Horses don’t reason the way we do; we plan for the future, horses look only at the present. Looking to the future is what makes people greedy, storing up more and better. Horses only want comfort at the present time, and respond accordingly.” Martin Black is a fifth-generation rancher and horseman from Bruneu, ID. His family tree has a rich history in the Great Basin that dates back to the early 1860s and consists of chapters of supplying livestock in times of gold booms and to the U.S Army during the Calvary Remount program in the early 1900s. Black began training horses at a young age, using Spanish-California style horsemanship. His experience was garnered from a lifetime of working horses and cattle and working with some of the best horseman, including Tom Dorrance, Ray Hunt, Gene Lewis, Tom Marvel, his grandfather Albert Black and uncle, Paul Black. Black has always held the vaquero tradition and methods of training horses in high esteem. In old California (the 26

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origin of the “vaquero”), the hackamore, followed by the two-rein, followed by the bridle, was the systematic way to a broke and finished horse. This is a tradition that is kept alive by many top horsemen of today and one of the golden rules of the National Reined Cow Horse Association. Likewise, in the Great Basin, the snaffle bit was typically employed first, before the traditional head gear line-up. To this day, Black continues to use traditional gear because he enjoys learning how to develop more feel and understanding. The man is also an avid advocate of using cow work to train horses. One of Black’s very basic philosophies with horses involves trying to build the horse’s confidence at every attempt. He’s applied this principle every time he’s laid his hands on a colt, or thrown a leg over the saddle – and Black’s experience includes starting over 500 colts a year in his early days, ranging from mustangs to starting race horses that would later go to to earn millions on the track. His unique

family history and life experience of chasing cattle on the open range prepared Black for a management position on one of the largest ranches in the Great Basin in his early 20s. This lifetime of rich livestock knowledge ultimately prepared Black for the day when he would meet Dr. Stephen Peters, a neuropsychologist, at the 2010 Legacy of Legends. When the duo met, the two men simply wanted to “talk horses.” What they discovered, however, was a revelation the world of horsemanship had been missing. “I was intrigued when Dr. Peters approached me to discuss the science behind how horses think because I’ve always enjoyed thinking outside the box with my horses,” said Black. “Pairing science – neurochemistry – with my experience has given me a much greater understanding of the horse.” As Dr. Peters and Black came together, they co-authored Evidence-Based Horsemanship, a concept that combines the understanding of brain function with an empirical understanding of a horse’s

TRAINER'S CORNER behaviors, reactions and chemical states. Dr. Peters has made it his life’s work to study the brain. He is a boardcertified neuropsychologist with Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. As a neuroscientist and horse brain researcher, he has given numerous presentations and regularly performs horse brain dissections for those eager to learn tangible specifics of equine neuro-anatomy. Back in 2010, he briefly explained to Black about brain function and the fact that brain cells, molecules, neurotransmitters and synapses are almost identical in all animals – except for the fact that when it comes to brain function, the human brain is the most developed of all animals. Horses have two progressive layers to their brains, while humans have three. The first layer (reptilian, consisting of the brain stem and cerebellum) is concerned with survival, digestion, reproduction, breathing, circulation and the “fight or flight” instinct. The second layer (limbic system) involves emotion and memory and concerns itself with primitive activities related to food, sex and bonding. The second layer also is connected to agreeable and disagreeable experiences. The third and final layer of the brain is the neocortex (or cerebral cortex) and language, speech and writing are all possible in humans because of this layer, which additionally is the biggest part of the human brain. The human brain can be compared to the horse’s brain as functioning the same at the first two levels. Higher functioning areas of the brain do not exist in horses. When a horse is born, brainstem pathways begin to mature and develop first. Automatic behaviors and motor patterns of the immature brain are mostly under the brainstem’s control and at this point, advanced brain center connections have not yet developed. Next, the cerebellum will mature and develop connections to nerve development –

offering the horse coordination and playing a part in its balance, head and eye movements. If you’ve ever witnessed a foal at play, the quick, jerky movements they make can be attributed to the fact that the cerebellum and its connection are not yet fully developed. The cerebellum additionally acts as a library for storing all learning regarding the horse’s physical movement. On the subject of a horses’ learning ability, both Black and Dr. Peters absolutely believe some horses are better learners than others. Horses that have been exposed to a myriad of life experiences and have had the opportunity to explore solutions and make mistakes are more receptive to learning. Dr. Peters explains that a horse that’s exposed to several life experiences has extensive dendritic fields (neuron to neuron connections) in the brain. Hereby increasing the horse’s decision-making ability and learning capability. To put that concept into context with horses, Black compares a horse who has been in a stall most of his life, versus horses that have the opportunity to negotiate varied terrain and live outside, such as mustangs. The stabled horse likely hasn’t had the opportunity to gain stimulation from varied environments, negotiate adverse terrain and he may not have a keen sense for herd dynamics. The dendrites in the stalled horse’s brain would therefore resemble a pruned tree with few branches, while the dendrite connections in the mustang would look like “a fig bush with a vast network of branches.” Black refers to these types of horses as “Special Forces Horses.” He says, “Even though it may have never seen a human, the mustang would be the better learner. It’s able to use its expansive dendritic field as a network to utilize past experiences, make new connections, and more easily negotiate new challenges.” Martin Black (right) and Dr. Stephen Peters (left). Photo by Emily Luciano

Back to the anatomy of the horse’s brain. With only two layers, the equine’s brain stops short of the massive thinking lobe that a human has. However, what they definitely have in common is the thalamus – an egg-shaped structure located deep in the middle of the brain and at the top of the brainstem so it can process information coming up through the spine and brainstem and send it to its proper location in the brain. Brain message traffic is routed through the thalamus like a major airport through which flights are directed. Just below the thalamus is the hypothalamus, which acts similar to a thermostat to create a set point or homeostasis. The hypothalamus maintains the horse’s physiological and emotional equilibrium and brings the automatic nervous system (ANS) under its control. The ANS governs such functions in the horse as heart rate, breathing, digestion, sweating and chemical secretions. The hypothalamus is a key component in activating the horse’s fight or flight response. Fear, aggression, memory, sense of smell and motor functions all have connections that run through the horse’s hypothalamus. It was scientific-based evidence such as this that fascinated Black. “Empirical knowledge” is verifiable information by observation or experience, rather than theory or pure logic. It’s also knowledge one gains by learning through their senses or “feel.” Black had an abundance of it with his many years on the range, on the ranch and in the saddle. Dr. Peters specialized in brain functioning by profession. Together, Black and Dr. Peters realized that the public – and their horses – were starving for a source of “real information.” Black and white facts. Evidence gathered by observation, tested in the field, free of emotion and validated by science. Using their combined expertise, Black and Dr. Peters realized current knowledge of the horse and through Evidence-Based Horsemanship, could offer a guide with regards to obtaining the best possible outcomes with horses. AB A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 7




HORSE INSURANCE 101 It's all about the Horse.

In previous articles in Alberta Bits we have spent time detailing the breadth and scope of the insurance program offered to members of the AEF. On review, many (most) of the articles written are primarily focused on the insurance coverage provided to members (the person). Topics have included: • How we protect the person from liability that could be imposed upon them because of something their horse did; • How we cover the member if they have a serious accident while participating in equine related activity; • How we protect the member if they travel outside of Alberta and need medical assistance. In this article, we want to focus on providing information about what insurance products are available to protect the horse. Horse insurance is not new. Coverage has been available for decades in Canada – albeit available only from a select few sources. Even after all this time, horse insurance is still considered a very specialized type of coverage. Those of us who have been in the industry for any period of time know that not everyone understands the specialized needs of the community. In simple terms, the foundation coverage in any horse insurance policy deals with “mortality” or life insurance for the horse. Definitions: NAMED PERILS mortality insurance means that the life of the horse is insured for death due to “named” causes or perils. The list of perils varies from one insurer to the next, but all policies insure against causes such as fire and lightning. Some extend that coverage to include transport, theft, entrapment, escape onto a roadway and being struck by a vehicle, drowning and attack by wild animals. What is distinctive is that Named Perils coverage does not typically insure a horse who dies from sickness or natural causes. Named Perils coverage is a low cost way to insure horses of any age and is a good starting point for many folks. FULL MORTALITY insurance means that the life of the horse is insured for death arising from all of the named perils above PLUS sickness - and more. Full Mortality insurance is a good choice for horse owners who are using their animals for athletic endeavors, or who have a significant investment in their horse. There is a caveat on this type of coverage. Insurers will not insure the horse under a Full Mortality policy if he/she has reached a certain age (typically 17 or 18 years). 28

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There are exclusions in all insurance policies and horse mortality polices are no exception. A few examples: a) Voluntary destruction – unless pre-approved by the insurer. b) Death arising from or contributed to by a pre-existing medical condition. Until recently, insurers also excluded mortality claims arising from Destruction by Government Order. In Alberta and elsewhere, this is a concern for many horse owners. In partnership with our PSO partners, we are finalizing a policy that will provide a measure of protection. We want all horse owners to recognize the significance of bio risk in their herd. Industry participants across Canada have been working hard for some time to create strategies to fight back against the spread of disease. In our role as risk managers in the industry, our organization is doing our part to create solutions that we think are progressive and realistic. (There will be further announcements on this subject in the coming weeks). Due to space constraints, we are going to address the topic of medical insurance for horses (as compared to life insurance), in a future article. If you have any questions regarding horse insurance or your AEF members’ coverage, you are encouraged to contact any one of our team at Capri Insurance who will be pleased to assist. Insurance for horses and their people – it’s what we do! 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


as of

Feb 9th 2017

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 ! 4-H Alberta Provincial Equine Advisory Committee Alberta Carriage Driving Association 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 American Saddlebred Horse Association of Alberta Banff Light Horse Association Bear Valley Rescue Society Black Diamond English Riding Club 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 Canadian Cowboy Mounted Shooters Association Canadian Horse Breeders Association Rocky Mountain District Canadian Registry of the Tennessee Walking Horse Canadian Sport Horse Association - AB Chapter Cassils Trail Blazers Central Century Team Ropers Association Chinook Country/Alberta Dressage Association Cleardale Riders Club Clearwater Horse Club Cochrane Horse Trials Committee Cottonwood Corrals Association (Jasper) Coulee Winds Saddle Club Delacour Agricultural Society & Community Club Didsbury Agricultural Society Edmonton Area /Alberta Dressage Association Endurance Riders of Alberta Evergreen Park (Grande Prairie Agricultural & Exhibition Society) Extreme Cowboy Alberta Association Foothills Roping Group Foothills Therapeutic Riding Association Fort Calgary Wheel & Runner Association Four: Thirteen Therapeutic Riding Association Fun Country Riding Club of Strathmore H.E.D.J.E. Society Hastings Lake Pleasure Horse Association High Country Carriage Driving Club High Country Pony Club Hoofbeats For Hope Equine Team Society Horse Industry Association of Alberta Journeys Therapeutic Riding Society Jump Alberta Society Lacombe Light Horse Association Lethbridge Therapeutic Riding Association Little Bits Therapeutic Riding Association Meadow Creek Vaulting Club Millarville Musical Ride Miniatures in Motion Horse Club Mount View Special Riding Association 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 Ponoka Riding & Roping Association Prentice Creek Equestrian Center 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 ! Quarter Horse Association of Alberta Rainbow Equitation Society Ranahan Polocrosse Club Ridgeview Riding Club Rimbey Sleigh, Wagon & Saddle Club Rocky Mountain Equestrian Rundle Riders Therapeutic Riding Association Saddle Seat Canada Society of Tilt and Lance Cavalry South Country Team Penning Association South Peace Horse Show Association Southern Alberta Trail Riders Association Springbank Equestrian Society Springbank Pony Club Spruce View Gymkhana Club Steele's Scouts Commemorative Troop Association Strathcona All-Breed Horse Association Tennessee Walking Horse Association Of Western Canada The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association Thompson Country Pony Club Trail Riding Alberta Conference 780-829-3628 Traildusters Horse Club of Smith Tri-Country Riding Club Uplift Therapeutic Riding Association Valley Riders Saddle Club Valleyview & Districts Agricultural Society Vegreville Agricultural Society Western Canadian Wagon Train Wildrose Mounted Shooters Xtreme Wild Rose Club

BUSINESSMEMBERS Alberta Association of Complementary Equine Therapy Alberta Carriage Supply Bar T5 Beaver Dam Creek Horse Boarding Caeco Ranch Calgary Stampede Capri Insurance Services Ltd Colchester Farm Creekside Equestrian Centre Darn That Blanket El Caballo Ranch Equine Connection Inc. Foothills Horse Transport G & B Portable Fabric Buildings Greenhawk Cochrane Greenhawk Grande Prairie High Country Equestrian Center Higher Trails Equine Ltd Just Passing Horse Transport & Bereavement Services Martin Deerline Outpost at Warden Rock Performance Equine Veterinary Services Polysols GGT Footing Rocky Mountain Show Jumping Sandridge Stables Spirit Winds Horse Centre Strathcona Ventures The Horse Store The Mane Event Equine Education & Trade Show The School of Equine Massage and Rehabilitation Therapies The Tack Collector Ltd Vitality Equine Western Horse Review Whitemud Equine Learning Centre Association Winning Strides



CLOSING THOUGHTS Photos by Ann Gibson

Amberlea Meadows An Official Comes Full Circle.

In 1976, Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre located in south Edmonton, AB, opened their doors as a six-stall barn. Today, they boast an 88-stall heated barn and indoor arena, tack lockers, farrier area, washroom and shower facilities, a sponsors’ lounge, offices and a concession. The facility has a grass Grand Prix ring complete with a tower, bank, table top and Devil’s Dyke. The grounds also maintain two grass rings, two outdoor sand rings and an amazing new silica sand ring. For AEF member Monique Hubbs-Michiel, Amberlea Meadows has always been a special place. “Back in 1995, they welcomed me as a boarder and now over 20 years later, Amberlea Meadows has been inviting me back as an Equestrian Canada (EC) official at their numerous sanctioned horse shows.” As an official, Hubbs-Michiel, witnessed the facility’s new sand ring debut; due to inclement weather, the show organizers at Amberlea made the decision to open the ring early for classes previously scheduled in the grass Grand Prix Ring, with jumper heights starting over 1.0 metre. “The results and feedback were positive!” tells Hubbs-Michiel. “The grounds also offer a second show barn with 200 permanent stalls to accommodate any type of show and entries.” “During my time at Amberlea I had many opportunities to ride with top clinicians and showed under FEI, EC and international judges. I was also able to ride with several professional coaches in the area and became an EC recognized coach and trainer myself at Amberlea Meadows.” During this time Hubbs-Michiel also pursued her goal of becoming a carded EC official. She was able to realize this

goal, in large part, due to the opportunities she was given at Amberlea Meadows to shadow and learn to judge and steward over the years. “I grew as an athlete, coach and official and I felt I had become, in a small way, a part of an equestrian family. The vision of the Drews family in 1976 to the present day efforts of Ellen Drews-Ortlieb (and the late Darwin Ortlieb, 2016), and Gerald and Michelle Drews, are evident. They have maintained a family run, top level equestrian facility in northern Alberta; hosting numerous EC Gold shows each season, CDI’s in the past and numerous provincial and breed shows. All while inviting international and EC clinicians and officials,” she says. “The family tradition is carrying on with daughter Elexis Ortlieb, a North American Young Rider medalist in dressage these past two years and Ryan Drews, who is now a fixture at the shows providing maintenance and technical expertise, along with his father Gerald.” Without horse shows, there would be no need for officials. Furthermore, without show barns and show organisers willing to work with aspiring officials in becoming carded and promoted, Hubbs-Michiel explains, the journey would be difficult. “Show facilities and organizers, including Amberlea Meadows, make it happen for the officials in gaining experience and accreditation. So, a great thank-you goes to Amberlea Meadows Equestrian Centre! Your entire family, along with show secretary and office manager, Charlene Orr, and your competent staff over the years, have provided many officials with invaluable opportunities. Your facility is an icon in Alberta. The circle is complete.” AB

“...I felt I had become, in a small way, a part of an equestrian family.”


A L B E RT A B I T S | S P R I N G 2 0 1 7


APRIL 21 - 23, 2017









TO TRAILERS. Advance Tickets Advance Tickets are on sale for the 11th Annual event. Order your tickets online and SAVE $$$! Tickets are available at the door also.

(844) 578-7518


Trainers Challenge

Over 100 hours of Clinics & Demos by: Peter Gray - Jumping Nate Bowers - Driving Garn Walker - Cowboy Dressage Sharon Camarillo - Barrel Racing Storme Camarillo - Barrel Racing Kalley Krickeberg - Horsemanship

The crowd pleasing Trainers Challenge returns to see 3 top trainers try their hand at breaking 3 horses from Ace of Clubs Quarter Horse. Martin Black - Idaho Glenn Stewart - BC Shamus Haws - Utah

Alberta Bits - Spring 2017  

The Official Magazine of the Alberta Equestrian Federation

Alberta Bits - Spring 2017  

The Official Magazine of the Alberta Equestrian Federation