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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 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


Sonia Dantu 403.253.4411 ext 5

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C OAC H ’ S C O R N E R Trish Mrakawa helps hunters and jumpers with stride control and rhythm in these three easy drills.

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AEF BITS & PIECES Equine Canada honors outstanding Alberta horses, riders, owners and breeders. Plus, bursary and Pump Up Your Levels recipients.

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C L U B P RO F I L E S The Central Alberta Adult Riding Cooperative helps all levels of riders achieve their personal goals; the Alberta Mounted Shooters are part of an uphill growing equestrian trend and here’s why.

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O U T S TA N D I N G VO L U N T E E R Kayla Andrusiw maintains a full schedule but always has time for the Calgary Area Alberta Dressage Association.

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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 Cochrane, AB’s New View Stables offers an introductory level and financially feasible show through the Beginner Riders And Valued Equines show series.

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HORSEKEEPING Making sense of founder, a common crippling disease in the horse.

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B R E E D P RO F I L E With long flowing manes, giant feathered feet and gentle temperaments, Gypsy Vanners are gaining much attention in Alberta.

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HORSEKEEPING Understanding the difference between sunburn and photosensitization in horses.

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B U S I N E S S P RO F I L E With a large selection of both English and western tack – plus much more – The Horse Store offers something for everyone.

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ASK THE INSURANCE GUY Learn about Weekly Accident Indemnity (WAI) coverage.

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F O RT M A C F I R E S So many horses and owners were displaced during the wildfires of Fort McMurray. Here’s what the AEF is doing to help.

Erin Lundteigen 403.253.4411 ext 3 COMPETITIONS COORDINATOR



Ashley Miller 403.253.4411 ext 6




Norma Cnudde 403.253.4411 ext 1

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Lindsay Westren 403.253.4411 ext 2 Rita Bernard 403.253.4411 ext 7

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FOR EDITORIAL ENQUIRIES CONTACT: ALBERTABITS@ALBERTAEQUESTRIAN.COM Jennifer Webster Natalie Jackman PUBLICATION COMMITTEE Ashley Miller, Sonia Dantu CONTRIBUTORS Suzanne Hale, Mike King, Livewithpassion Photography, Moore Equine, Alexandra Morris, North Fork Gypsy Cob, Christine Nurse, Doug Sapergia, Cealy Tetley, Dennis Debruyne, Miles Lacorte, Judy Wood, and Sarah Underwood. 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 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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Donna Osipow rides “Utah,” a registered Spanish Mustang Arab cross, in mounted shooting. Photo by Richard Lynch, Northern Exposure Photography


President’s Message As most Albertans had an early start this year to barbeques, I am also hoping all of you had lots of time this spring to spend time with your horses. While we know there are often negative aspects to such a warm and snowless winter, it sure makes life easier hauling hay and cleaning out stalls; plus, it’s nice to hang out with your horses in March and April in a shirt rather than all bundled up! As you read this, much has transpired both in Alberta and across Canada since our last issue of Alberta Bits. We held our Annual General Meeting (AGM) on March 12, 2016 in Blackfalds, at Horse in Hand Ranch. It’s common knowledge that most of us don’t want to free up a weekend sitting through an exciting AGM meeting and it’s often hard to ensure quorum, so the AEF decided to add an exciting twist to the day. We were fortunate to have a huge turnout with over 100 members registered and were treated to a day that included equine nutrition and demonstrations of some of our top athletes in freestyle dressage, natural horsemanship and vaulting; thank you to those who attended. Plans are well underway for next year (March 18, 2017) at the same location and AEF will continue building on the agenda to ensure that some of the recommendations received in the post-event survey are incorporated. Each year after the AGM, the newly elected board has their first meeting as a group. We are pleased to welcome back all directors standing for re-election and one new Director, Christine Axani. Please see the board listing on page 4 and at the website; we encourage you to contact any of us at any time. You will have noted from the 2015 annual report sent via email that again, the AEF accomplished several strategic objectives on behalf of the membership. Highlights were: increased membership by 5%; managed resources and accountability ($140,000 was put into an Emergency Contingency Fund should Government and Casino funding be cut); reached the highest number of members and program participants in the history of the organization; provided over $34,000 in funding back to the membership through support for trails, scholarships, educational/rider development, coaching and competition incentives; launched a new website; hosted a first-ever industry collaborative meeting and regional presentations across the province. At the first meeting of the new Board, I have tasked all Directors to come up with a plan to further assist the organization in continuing to reach goals that are in alignment with AEF strategic goals. This year, the emphasis is to have all Directors attend as many club AGM’s or meetings as possible. This way, club members can ask questions and get the answers directly from Board members or your club members may have ideas that the AEF Board can incorporate, moving forward. Realistically, it is your ideas and proposals that we want to showcase, not ours.


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Further, if you belong to a club that is not a member, we are interested in coming and talking to your group. As I have always said, this is your organization and we want to represent you and your wishes as best we can, each and every year. Please contact the office if you have an upcoming meeting or event that you would like a representative from the board to attend. Unfortunately, Equine Canada’s AGM and conference was the same weekend as the Mane Event which means there are many of us who had to make a decision which event to attend (as I haven’t yet figured out how to be in two places at once.) This was EC’s first AGM under the new bylaws that were passed earlier this year. Overall, Equine Canada has seen massive changes in the organization over the past two years, starting with the hiring of their present CEO, Eva Havaris. For those of you who were lucky enough to attend the AEF AGM you had the opportunity to hear her speak and provide an update on the current state of the organization; I know a few of you had the chance to ask specific questions and get an honest response. The fact that Eva took the time to attend our AGM speaks volumes of where the priorities are for EC, plus the fact that Eva is a straight shooter and tells it like it is has endeared her to those of us who have been fortunate to work with her. As I mentioned at the AGM, Eva and I do not always agree but it is great to know where the CEO of our national organization sits on every issue. As this is the summer issue of Alberta Bits and many will be making plans, we hope you will include the AEF in those plans. We have a huge number of events coming up over the next few months and encourage you to visit our website calendar of events (most visited page at the website). Two of those are AEF fundraising activities and we could use your help, as many volunteers are needed. Casinos are a vital way for the AEF to raise funds... [ C O N T I N U E D O N N E X T PAGE]


that help to operate and deliver strong and viable member programs and services to the Alberta equine community. You are invited to volunteer on August 6 & 7, 2016 at Deerfoot Inn and Casino and we hope you will consider! The Wild Rose Trail ride is an annual event undertaken to raise funds to support AEF non-profit therapeutic riding clubs in Alberta; this year’s ride will take place on September 4, 2016 at Running Reins Ranch in Red Deer County. Camping is available so take full advantage for the last long weekend in the summer! We hope to see you at both or either event and ask that you please consider participating. Please see inside this issue for more information on both events. Once again thank you all for being Members, the AEF values your comments and all that you do to promote horses in Alberta. I hope I was able to talk to many of you at the Mane Event and, if not, I hope I am lucky enough to pass you on the trail this summer. AB

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TRAINER’S CORNER Success in the hunter or jumper show arena can be defined by two simple concepts; stride control and rhythm. Without either, a horse and rider pair may find themselves experiencing difficulty in approaching a jump. By introducing new exercises gradually to develop these concepts, professional coach and trainer Trish Mrakawa helps to build confidence in her young equine prospects and develop their ability to reach competition success. In turn, stride control and rhythm is two-fold in that it helps her riders create the best possible approaches to a jump, ensure the horse is relaxed and nimble with its feet as it goes over and creates the beautiful form she so desires. By showcasing both a jumper and hunter prospect, Mrakawa explains how she would tackle goals for each on a typical training day.


C O N T RO L & R H Y T H M Trish Mrakawa shows us how she prepares both hunters and jumpers for their individual goals. BY JENN WEBSTER


(1) TW Guess Who advances over a pole to stride jump + one stride to pole exercise; TW Enigma follows suit. (2) TW Enigma completes the first ground pole and the jump in Mrakawa’s basic exericse, followed by TW Guess Who. (3) The x-rail to oxer amps ups the difficulty in a young horse’s training. The purpose of this exercise is to lengthen and shorten the horse’s strides.


A ground pole is laid in front of the jump two strides before it, and a second pole is placed one stride after it as well. “This basic exercise helps us set the horses up in their rhythm to the jump,” Mrakawa explains. “We want the horse relaxed, carrying the rhythm and the right length of stride.

With both horses being younger, it’s natural for their strides to generally be bigger than they need to be – we can use this exercise to teach the horse how to shorten it.” Coming in at a canter, the goal is to keep the horse’s rhythm to the pole and throughout the exercise. As the horse approaches the first ground pole, he should remain relaxed and advance over it without exaggeration (and without nicking it). Then one relaxed canter stride occurs in between the ground pole and the takeoff to the jump. If the horse

1 Mrakawa is the owner of Willow Grove Stables based in Dewinton, AB, which was established in 1982 and has been at its present location since 1984. While Willow Grove is a successful, competitive stable, Trish promotes a friendly ’family’ atmosphere amongst all her clients. After successfully competing in both hunters and jumpers as a junior rider on the North American circuit, Mrakawa switched to Three-Day Eventing and represented Alberta many times in the Continental Young Riders Championships. Returning to her first love of show jumping, she began riding and teaching professionally in 1982. 8

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After that, she would then be asked to add a A five-year-old jumping prospect, raised stride and canter it in six and trained by Mrakawa. Currently this strides. The hunter would big-bodied gelding with a white patch then be asked to do the on his stomach is green, but has started exercise in her regular in competition. “He hasn’t quite figured canter and execute out to use himself when he jumps. So the spread in between the focus for him is to get him to be relaxed, but improve his technique on jumps, in five strides how he uses himself specifically in the (which is what she would air over the fences,” she says. normally have to do in as show.) This would be the third progression of the THE HUNTER: TW GUESS WHO exercise. A five-year-old mare, hunter prospect also “Our jumper could raised and trained by Mrakawa. This mare is green but has started in competition. easily canter the x-rail to “She gets scored on how she looks over the the oxer in five strides, but jumps, more so than her rider but obviously we’re teaching him how rider position is very important too. TW to collect and shorten his Guess Who “Ruby” - Her courses are very stride so we’re going to simple. Hunters have lines that are in a get him to canter both in certain number of strides, that they must do. the six.” They also must perform flying changes and The trainer explains look as technically correct when jumping, as that an exercise, focused possible. With this mare, we want to see a on stride control, would beautiful arc over the jump.” be typical to what Mrakawa and her riders incorporates a stutter step, he has lost his “When you give a young horse a long would do on a training day at a horse show. rhythm. After landing, again one more approach, their stride usually changes,” “There’s really not ever a one set relaxed canter stride should take place says Mrakawa. “We want to see if they will exercise plan per day,” she states. “We mix before the following rail. carry that rhythm and stride control from it up so we can practice different things. “The first pole essentially helps the horse the pole to jump set-up, all the way to the We change our exercises and strategy a set up for the jump,” says Mrakawa. “For jump. Our hunter must have presence and bit, depending on the horse and rider’s our jumper, this helps him find the correct expression while advancing over the jump, goal at the next competition.” AB take-off spot as he sometimes gets too deep while our jumper is learning how to be to the jump. If he gets too close to the jump brave, be relaxed and improve himself on take-off, he lands too far away.” over the jump. He’s also learning how Therefore, the pole on the ground to jump different kinds of jumps.” on the landing side also helps Mrakawa and her trainers to develop X-RAIL TO OXER the horse’s landing as well. “With our hunter, the poles on the ground help to get her looking down while she’s in the air. This helps her to jump rounder.” In the last exercise for the day, both horses are aimed towards an x-rail, followed BASIC EXERCISE + ONE by an oxer set at 72 feet. This amps up the JUMP ON THE DIAGONAL difficulty up and both TW Enigma and TW Guess Who are required to control their strides in the middle. Cantering in, the spread is done in five strides. However, TW Guess Who (hunter) is cued to trot to the Adding a jump to the basic exercise first jump and canter the second. gives the horse another challenge and “That should make it a normal sixessentially tests the young animal to see if stride jump for her,” Mrakawa explains. they will carry the rhythm from the basic “After she’s done that, then she would exercise, all the way through to the jump. canter in, adding a stride.”






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The following 2015 Alberta award recipients were recognized for their equestrian-related achievements. 2015 Arabian Horse of the Year


Outstanding Achievements

Equine Canada (EC) honoured some of Canada’s outstanding equestrians and supporters during the 2016 EC Annual Awards Gala, presented by Boehringer Ingelheim, held Friday, April 22, 2016 in Montreal, QC. Held in conjunction with the EC Annual Convention, April 20-24, the Gala took place at the iconic Dalhousie Station, home of Cirque Éloize, and celebrated the national award recipients for 2015, and their impressive achievements within the equestrian community. “We’re thrilled to recognize this outstanding group of individuals, organizations, and horses,” said 2015 EC President, Al Patterson, who presented National Awards during the Gala. “The 2015 recipients represent some of the most dedicated ambassadors of equestrian sport and industry. Congratulations to all the deserving winners.”


2015 Half Arabian Horse of the Year


2015 Morgan Horse of the Year


2015 Saddlebred Horse of the Year

Foxcroft Firestorm STEPHANIE BROWN

2015 Saddle Seat Rider of the Year

Mackenzie Leubner LEDUC, AB

Boehringer Ingelheim Health and Welfare Award

Kathy Sunberg

Competition Coach of the Year

Janet Adams CALGARY, AB

English Competition Coach Specialist Dressage (EC Level 2 Dressage Coach) Community Coach of the Year

Sarah Johnston O KOTO K S, A B

English Instructor with Jump

BELOW: Kathy Sunberg and Silvy Beauchamp. Photo by Cealy Tetley


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B U R S A RY & P U M P U P Y O U R L E V E L S R E C I P I E N T S

The Alberta Equestrian Federation is proud to award the following recipients for their hard work and dedication to the equine sport.







Susanne Rauhut

Candice Lee

Susanne is originally from Germany where her love for horses began. She started riding at the age of 11 and began teaching beginners when she was 15-years-old. She received her Training License level 1 in 2001 and level 2 in 2002 in Germany where she also taught the young and old, in vaulting and therapeutic riding. Moving to Canada in 2003, Susanne began teaching at the 4-H club in Evansburg, AB, and eventually grew her teaching area to include Whitecourt, AB, Edson, AB, and Mayerthorpe, AB. In 2015, she achieved the EC Competition Coach Certification in Olds, AB. Susanne currently coaches dressage during the winter months and teaches pony club during the summer. Her goal is to continue teaching classical dressage, maintaining a focus that keeps the horse in the centre of her efforts. “I believe that a healthy, well trained horse and coached rider provides satisfaction and safety whether they are riding for pleasure, jumping or dressage. I will be putting my scholarship towards furthering my education so that I can become a better rider, coach and instructor.”

Candice has been working as a lifting coach and a personal trainer for over six years. She has been passionate about athletics her entire life, playing volleyball up to postsecondary, showing Arabian and Quarter Horses, and taking on any challenge to learn a new sport. She is proud to say, between all of this, she was the 2012 Centennial Calgary Stampede Queen; has been awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal; and is an avid volunteer with the Calgary Stampede and within her community. Candice’s most recent achievement was winning the 2015 AQHA Canadian National Championship in Novice Amateur Ranch Riding and the 2015 NSBA Futurity in the Ranch Horse Pleasure class on her horse ER Wildfire. Candice is hoping to get into the program for her Bachelors of Health and Physical Education in Physical Literacy so that she can combine her passion for riding and her passion for helping people achieve their goals with athletics and daily tasks. Candice quotes, “Being an AEF member has given me the opportunity to further my education, set new goals with competing and has provided many great resources to refer back to.”

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Learn about these bursaries and available funding for AEF members by visiting AB




Cointreau Stables

Cointreau stables is a full service equestrian facility located southeast of Camrose, AB. Offering English riding lessons in the disciplines of hunter/jumper, dressage and equitation, as well as beginner level western pleasure, gymkhana and equitation. Their coach, Ashley Bishop is an Equine Canada/NCCP certified Competition Coach, Instructor of Beginners and holds her own rider level 8. The Learn to Ride program has benefited Cointreau students by giving them recognition for their accomplishments, providing them with something concrete to work towards, assisting with goal setting and allowing them to begin their journey into the equine profession. Cointreau Stables plans to continue to offer this program to their students every year. With the funding received from Pump Up Your Levels, Cointreau Stables plans to upgrade their jumps. New jumps such as brick boxes, brush and flowers as well as colorful jumping poles and plank will benefit their program by assisting in preparing their students and horses for horse shows in addition to encouraging confidence over bolder fences. The Cointreau students have decided to volunteer their time to help build these jumps. This will enable Cointreau Stables to build a full set of jumps and work on rider team building in the process. A L B E RT A B I T S | S U M M E R 2 0 1 6



T h e C E N T R A L A L B E RT A A D U LT R I D I N G C LU B

Calling All Riders BY SUZANNE HALE

“The most rewarding part of leading this club is seeing the riders progress and achieve their personal goals,” says Laurie Svoboda, current President of the Central Alberta Adult Riding Club (ARC). No doubt Svoboda has had occasion to witness much development amongst the members of the amicable ARC, which has been in operation for 12 years, and is currently operating out of Alhambra Stables near Red Deer, AB. With its debut year in 2004, the ARC had its beginnings when a small group of individuals in search of personal riding improvement banded together. Some of those pioneer members still remain with the club, and continue to undertake its mission which simply clarifies what the ARC is all about: “The Central Alberta Adult Riding Club is a fun, affordable way to improve riding skills and ride with other adults.” Members and instructors alike would agree that the ARC fulfills this mission, through the variety and appeal of the activities that are planned and sponsored by the club. Current membership of the ARC sits at 25 members, and for those central Alberta 14

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equestrians searching for a riding club to call home, the ARC is always on the lookout for new affiliates. Welcoming riders of all skill levels, provided they are a minimum of 18 years of age, the ARC offers an assortment of weekly flat classes, jumping, and cross country classes. ARC’s scenic home base is located outside Red Deer at the well-established Alhambra Stables, in operation since 1995. ARC members arriving for an evening of training are greeted with a serene setting, at multiuse facilities where the backdrop is the meandering Red Deer River. Elaborating about the group’s headquarters, Svoboda says, “Alhambra Stables is located across from the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame, in a beautiful facility along the Red Deer River. It is a boarding facility with an indoor arena, outdoor arena and cross country field. They host several clinics throughout the summer as well as two Alberta Horse Trials competitions.” Through partnership with Alhambra Stables, the ARC offers much to their members through a commitment to selecting highly qualified and dedicated

instructors. All classes offer great quality and valuation, and are trained by dynamic instructors whose experience range is broad. Events offered throughout the spring and summer months are designed not only to simply instruct members, but to offer entertainment and an opportunity to develop lasting relationships that extend outside the usual boundaries of club membership. An official kickoff to the year’s happenings takes place in the form of a friendly barbecue in April where all members and instructors can shake off the winter months and reacquaint with each other before the year officially starts in early May. The ARC’s Facebook page advertises this and other events, acting as a forum whereby all those interested in the club can stay up to date on its goings-on. Weekly throughout the riding season, a variety of classes designed for all riding levels take place, including western dressage in the outdoor sand ring, indoor flat in the enclosed arena, and show jumping. Other offerings include eventing in the open arena, and dressage in the outdoor sand ring. When the season’s end is approaching, club organizers celebrate with a bang, annually hosting all members on a trail ride to close out the year at the end of August. Membership costs to train through the ARC are kept affordable, thanks in part to the very low fees that Alhambra Stables charges. Even though costs to operate their facility are always on the rise, Alhambra offers members who ride with ARC an opportunity to maintain these affordable fees through a volunteering option, in a mutually beneficial relationship between the stable and members. Those who are able to offer their time can choose to volunteer, in lieu of paying additional fees for classes. Provided individuals are of age, and hold an Alberta Equestrian Federation membership, the Alberta Adult Riding Club invites newcomers to come by and check out the appealing atmosphere that the club works hard to foster. The camaraderie developed both in and outside of the arena at Alhambra is enjoyed by members and instructors alike. According to Svoboda, “Our members are very supportive of one another and make lasting friendships that extend beyond our club.” Whether you have four legs or two, one thing you can count on is this: enduring companionships are created at the Central Alberta Adult Riding Club. AB


T h e A L B E RT A M O U N T E D S H O O T E R S C L U B

Gallop, Aim, Shoot, Repeat BY SUZANNE HALE

If heart-stopping horseback action is your style, then check out what the Alberta Mounted Shooters Association have been up to. Thanks to some Albertans who brought the activity to our province approximately nine years ago after coming across it during travels south of the border, the sport is revelling in its growing presence in Canada – new members are joining the ranks all the time. As one would expect, skills in both horsemanship and target shooting are warranted. This is not a sport for greenhorns. According to Jay Stewart, President of the Alberta Mounted Shooters Association (AMSA), “Those entering the sport should be an intermediate level rider with an experienced horse.” The sport’s objective is to shoot ten balloon targets while on horseback, all the while maneuvering one of a variety of courses. The guns used for the target shooting are singleaction revolvers loaded up with slow burning black powder blanks. The slow burning powder is propelled a distance of about 15 feet, which then explodes the balloons placed along a timed course. First place and bragging rights go to those competitors crossing the finish line fastest, with the fewest missed targets. Riders know their shots must be bang-on, or they can expect stiff penalties for missing the mark. The sport has seen an evolution – both in popularity and safety, since its beginning over 25 years ago. “It’s believed to have started in the deserts using a variety of live rounds, which proved to be directional and not so spectator friendly,” says Stewart. Based out of central and northwestern Alberta, the AMSA’s membership has been around 100 since its 2008 inception. Once legislated to operate by the necessary lawmakers, club members meet amongst themselves and other chapters to practice the many patterns, which number in the sixties. “What makes the sport great is that all levels of ladies, men

and children can compete,” says Stewart of the club’s wide appeal. “The age levels currently range from two-years-old up to 74-years-old, with categories for every level in the sport,” he adds. Averaging five or six shoots throughout their season, the AMSA fields more requests all the time for demonstrations and shootings, particularly from small town events. Any sport involving firearms is bound to be regulated by a number of governing bodies and the non-profit AMSA, one of five such clubs in Alberta, is no different. Expectations are that they will strictly adhere to the imposed regulations. “The clubs are governed first by Alberta’s handgun legislation as laid out by the Chief Firearms Officer of Alberta,” says Stewart. “The difference from regular handgun usage is the strict adherence for the use and transport for this sport, as only safety blanks are allowed,” Stewart says. Federal legislation for possession of the 45-long colt-style single-action pistols used in the events requires a restricted handgun license, as well as a valid shooting-club membership for all quickhanded competitors. “You are allowed to attend a beginners’ clinic first to expose yourself and your horse to the noise and basics of the sport,”... [CONTINUED ON PAGE 16]

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...Stewart says. This introduction allows horses to be grouped with experienced horses, and though you’d expect otherwise, most steeds have no problem with the gunfire. The AMSA has participated in major rodeo events, including demonstrations at the Calgary Stampede and Ponoka Stampede, as well as the CFR at Edmonton Northlands. Members of the club travel far and wide, with the order of the weekend typically seeing competitions somewhere in rural Alberta or Saskatchewan, with BC soon to come on board. The events happen at both indoor and outdoor arenas, with inclement weather provisions made at the outdoor venues. Match-ups can be anywhere from a 15 minute demonstration, to a weekend-long production, with around three runs on both Saturday and Sunday of the assorted patterns chosen and posted the night before. Another offering is the Rifle and Shotgun event. “Differing from the main match event in which two handguns are used through the patterns, the Rifle and Shotgun difference is after five balloons are shot, then the rifle or shotgun is pulled,” says Stewart. Shooting the last five targets with both hands on the weapon makes for a heart-pounding adventure. “It’s very exciting when the reins are let go and the horse is left to run to the end of the course!” Stewart says. Adding to the sport’s authenticity is the dress code competitors follow, where gear mimics that worn in the Old West – chaps or chinks are common, as are period dresses for the ladies, not to mention the requisite Stetson. The AMSA is always ready to welcome new members to the ranks. “They should be experienced horsemen, with a horse that has been in situations with horses from other herds,” Stewart says. Entrants to the sport come from all backgrounds – from jumpers to rodeo sports, barrel racers to team penners. Anyone interested in the sport can brush up online, and then maybe go for a glimpse of the cowgirls and cowboys in exhilarating action. Mounted shooting can expect future expansion to follow the current uphill trend. “The sport will grow because there is something for the whole family that has an interest in horses,” says Stewart. “I look forward to introducing my grandchildren to the sport.” Let’s hope they’re not faint of heart! AB


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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!


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O U T S TA N D I N G VO L U N T E E R Photo courtesy of Sarah Underwood




From her first taste of the hunter/jumper world, Kayla Andrusiw immediately commenced plans to make horses a part of her life. Since starting summer riding lessons at the age of 12, Andrusiw has ensured her schedule includes plenty of time with her equine pals. In addition to indulging her love of horses and working full time as a Human Resources Consultant, some of Andrusiw’s remaining hours are spent helping at the arena. Though volunteering while managing an otherwise full schedule requires some forethought, Andrusiw wouldn’t have it any other way. Helping alongside other committee members, most of whom are also otherwise employed, Andrusiw has been on the board in charge of the Calgary and Area Alberta Dressage Association (CA/ADA) for over seven years. “They support all levels of riders, from grass roots to Grand Prix,” she says of the CA/ADA which, at times, acts as her second home. Previously holding posts as communications coordinator and web designer, Andrusiw’s time is currently focused on the show committee. “It’s been an education to realize how intricate and demanding it can be to put on a big show,” she says of the perspective she has gained through involvement with the organization. Over seven years ago, while learning under a coach who was then-president of CA/ADA, Andrusiw saw a need for volunteers in the sport, while at the same time recognizing it as a chance to get a feel for the sport that’s close to her heart. “I’ve volunteered to be a scribe for the judges – it’s free education!” Andrusiw says. While informing herself on the intricacies of the dressage world, she has found it gratifying to be a part of the sport’s ever-changing nature. “You can really make a difference, through shows, bursaries and education opportunities,” she says. Of further motivation are the connections she has made with individuals she would never have met, were it not for volunteering. “Being visible as a volunteer gives you plenty of opportunities to meet people - I’ve worked with fantastic individuals who give their time, energy and passion to the sport.” Not least of all Andrusiw’s motivations for working with the CA/ADA, is her horse Rouletto, who keeps her love for equestrian alive and kicking. “He’s a sixyear-old Canadian Warmblood,” she says of her adored sidekick. “Horses keep me busy, and they keep me broke,” she notes of her experience with horses she’s owned; but though they have a tendency to break the bank, Andrusiw doesn’t mind. “You have to love it – for the amount of time, energy, and money they cost, you have to really enjoy riding and have a passion for it.” And besides, Rou - as she affectionately calls her cohort - is happy to give back, ten-fold. “He keeps trying for me. He’s been quite a competitor himself,” she says of Rou. “He seems to know when to throw in a nicker to make me feel better about a bad day!” AB

 In Province Travel



 Travel Bursary  Special Event Bursary


 Rider Recognition Award  Young Horse

Upcoming Events:

 Mini Clinics hosted at

RMSJ and Edmonton Venues

Prix Des Nations Team

Competition—sponsored riders at Spruce Meadows June 28-July 3, 2016

 The Royal West

October 20-30, 2016

 Jump Alberta Symposium November 19-20, 2016 Featured Clinicians: Shelley Campf Candice King


Volunteers, selected by competition organizers, receive recognition and a $50 VISA/MC gift card.

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HERE: Such a cute couple! Natalie riding MV Prom Night. BELOW: Showing ’em how it’s done, Lisa riding Covergirl. OPPOSITE PAGE TOP: Look at that form! Ashley riding Blizzard Lites. OPPOSITE PAGE BOTTOM: Jordan and Silver Slippers getting ready to make record time! Photos courtesy of Livewithpassion Photography



An equestrian who isn’t a morning person – not only is that a paradox, it just isn’t an option. A typical horse show day starts at 4 a.m. around Cochrane, AB’s New View Stables, and the BRAVE Horse Show on April 16 was no exception. “We start stalls and turnout early to make sure we are ready for the trailers which start arriving at 6 a.m.” says Ashleigh Charity, New View’s owner/trainer. On this day, the stable’s docket saw the BRAVE Show for its second stop of the season, where at day’s end another success was added to the books. The Beginner Riders And Valued Equines (BRAVE) Series was established through the determination of volunteers wishing to provide an inexpensive circuit for developing riders. “When we started BRAVE 11 years ago, there was a need 18

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for introductory level shows that were financially feasible,” says Lisa Mackay, one of four founders of the BRAVE Series, pointing to the help of volunteers as key in maintaining affordable entrance fees. Partnering with BRAVE to plan the weekend, New View’s organizers began to set the stage well ahead of

time. “We start the process by posting forms and programs on the website over a month in advance,” says Charity of the first step in bringing the show to fruition. New View’s hosting duties range from creating the show program, prize list, schedule and entry forms, to processing show entries. Also



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offering day stalls for the horses, New View is essentially tasked with running the show under the BRAVE rules and points system. With the entries processed and the ribbons ready for awarding, the show was ready to get underway. Throughout the day, events varied in difficulty beginning with the lead line group at 7:30 a.m. The day’s offerings also included a number of open divisions for hunters and jumpers up to 3’6” for the more experienced horse and rider duos. A full agenda kicking off at pre-dawn left few spare moments in the day, but fortunately for the staff, spectators and competitors, Simple Market catered an on-site concession, offering tasty fare for those needing a speedy pit-stop. “We usually don’t have much time to take a break and eat!” says Charity, praising the concession’s pulled pork and coleslaw sandwich. Mother Nature also played a supporting role in the day’s success. “Luckily the weather cooperated, so we were able to open our outdoor arena for warm up,” Charity notes. Although the day was not without its challenges, the organizers were pleased with the results. “I think for any horse show, the challenge is to stay on schedule,” Charity says, noting only an issue with timing, “but the show was extremely successful.” Even these bumps in the road were easy to maneuver thanks to the help from many hands. “We had fantastic volunteers that kept the day running smoothly,” Charity says, adding that the competitors’ and coaches’ understanding and cooperation also cemented the day’s success. “We are so lucky to have such committed, patient and smiling volunteers. We owe our success to them!” The chance for competitors to browse the New View Tack Shop boutique during breaks lent to the air of

enjoyment in the atmosphere, making for a pleasant day from dawn to dusk. Though long hours were put in by many, the rewards made the efforts worth it for riders of all ages. The BRAVE’s past show featured a new rider of threeyears-old, up to the oldest at 60-yearsold. “It really is great to provide the opportunity for riders to showcase their hard work,” says Charity. “We love to see all the riders and spectators enjoying all ages of competitors.” Next on the agenda for the BRAVE Series is a late-May stop at McLennan Equestrian, located southwest of Okotoks in the Threepoint Creek Natural Area. At season’s end, the BRAVE circuit will have rounded out the season with a total of eight scheduled stops, with the final show of the season taking place at the Riqueza Riding Academy. The weekend’s partners each anticipate a strong future in support of developing riders. “We have started what we hope to be a long relationship. We hope to continue to host shows for BRAVE,” says Charity of the partnership that has proven mutually rewarding for each, but most of all for the riders. Having finished the day with a harrowing of the ring in preparation for the next day’s lessons, the team is ready for a short respite. “It’s a very busy day for us; we usually wrap up around 9 p.m.,” says Charity, but the freshmen equestrians’ enjoyment makes the hard work worthwhile. “I love seeing the smiles on the riders’ faces! AB

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HORSEKEEPING Conquering a battle against the crippling effects of laminitis often takes a team of dedicated people Photo courtesy of Jenn Webster



Laminitis literally means “inflammation of the laminae.” However inflammation is only one of the consequences of this serious disease. BY JENN WEBSTER

Founder – also known as laminitis – is a common, crippling disease in the horse. Although it is easy to diagnose and is often treatable, the disease’s potential for severity can lead to serious lameness and even euthanasia. It is the same disease that ultimately led to the end of Triple Crown racing phenom, Secretariat, in his retirement years and it has likely been the terminating cause of many a promising career or the untimely loss of other great equines. Loosely defined, laminitis is the failure of laminar attachment within the hoof to some degree. Anatomically speaking, the laminae are two sets of approximately 600 tiny, finger-like small tissues woven together in each hoof wall that suspend the coffin bone (also called the pedal bone, the third phalanx or P3) within the foot. The coffin bone is the largest, hoof-shaped bone within the hoof capsule. Laminae are divided into two groups: the sensitive laminae, located in the laminar corium and the insensitive laminae, located on the inside of the hoof wall. Both the sensitive and the insensitive laminae interlock together. The laminar corium is attached to the surface of the coffin bone and it is the connection between these two layers that keeps the hoof wall and coffin bone tightly bound along the front and side surfaces of the bone. The inner laminae and laminar corium have many blood vessels and nerves running through them, hence this important bond between the coffin bone and this area can be seriously compromised if blood flow is reduced. Laminitis 20

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begins with a decrease to the blood supply of the sensitive laminae of the hoof wall, resulting in death and breakdown of the bond between the hoof wall and the coffin bone. When this happens, the coffin bone is no longer securely anchored within the hoof. When the sensitive laminae detach from the insensitive laminae, it results in cell death and breakdown of the bond and varying degrees of rotation of the coffin bone. If the rotation is grave enough, the coffin bone can actually drop through the sole of the foot and protrude through the bottom in a condition known as “sinking.” It is this extreme progression of the disease that commonly necessitates euthanasia for humane reasons. As you can see, although laminitis literally means “inflammation of the laminae,” inflammation is only one of the consequences of these serious events. Laminitis can be caused by several different factors and may take on a few different forms. In essence, the condition can be divided into two categories: acute and chronic. The acute form is severe, painful and immediate. Acute laminitis occurs within the first 72 hours of lameness and the animal will be in obvious distress. Chronic laminitis relates to the persistent changes in hoof wall structure and blood supply that result from an episode of acute laminitis. This condition is what many people refer to as “founder.” Horses with chronic laminitis issues are prone to recurring episodes of acute laminitis.

HORSEKEEPING CLINICAL SIGNS Horses experiencing sudden onsets of acute laminitis can be affected in one foot, both forefeet or all four feet. Most commonly the condition is seen in the front feet, possibly because the forefeet carry most of the horse’s weight. Signs are usually mild to begin with, as the horse shifts its weight from one foot to the other. As the hours pass and blood flow continues to decrease in the hoof in severe cases, these animals may display a reluctance or inability to walk, an increased heart rate, increased respiration rate, bounding digital arterial pulses, a glazed look in the eye and feet that are hot to touch. Additionally, they may take up a “parked” When laminitis occurs to the point of coffin bone rotation, the hoof wall separates from the plantar stance due to the pain, or stand with its hind legs cushion and can cause separation of the white line – or a condition known as “seedy toe.” The hoof in this picture has additionally experienced sole abscesses, also caused by the rotation. drawn up underneath in an effort to get the weight Photo courtesy of Farrier Doug Sapergia off their feet. Lateral recumbency is another common response to laminitic pain. TREATMENT Acute or sudden onset of laminitis is a medical emergency and requires immediate option. Those who are using this modality are hopeful stem cell attention. By the time signs of the disease are seen, degeneration therapy can repair laminar damage and stabilize the coffin bone. of the sensitive laminae has already occurred and measures must Acupuncture can also be helpful when dealing with laminitis be taken to minimize the potential for further damage. The goals as it can reduce pain, offer anti-inflammatory effects and when of dealing with laminitis are to provide pain relief, minimize used in conjunction with other modalities it has been known to mechanical trauma to the weakened laminae, prevent or limit help boost the efficiency of traditional treatments. coffin bone rotation, improve blood flow in the feet and if possible, Laminitis is a serious foot condition and treatment and treat the primary cause. research for the condition is ongoing. If you suspect your horse is Proper trimming and shoeing is the foundation of laminitis experiencing an acute bout of laminitis, contact your veterinary treatment and ongoing management. Frog support is often professional immediately and have him or her work closely with recommended in horses with severe lameness. “Frog support” your farrier to develop a treatment regime. The sooner that does not actually mean the frog is supported – instead, the frog is laminitis is diagnosed and treated, your horse has better odds of being used to support the rest of the foot. This is done with soft maintaining a comfortable and useful working life. AB sole padding either via a boot or numerous layers of carefully cut styrofoam measured properly to the foot. The heels may be elevated to reduce CONTRIBUTING FACTORS There are many known causes of laminitis: the pull of the deep digital flexor tendon. Frog • Certain bacterial toxins such as endotoxemia. Toxins in the bloodstream of support can prevent or minimize the effects of • ill horses (ie: those with a retained placenta, metritis, colic or diarrhea). laminitis in the weight bearing foot. • Carbohydrate overload due to excessive feed intake. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs • Severe dehydration or shock. (NSAIDs) are often used to provide the horse • Corticosteroids. with pain relief. Ensure you discuss with • Trauma or repeated concussion, also called “road founder”. your veterinarian the length of which these • Excessive weight bearing (for example, supporting limb laminitis). drugs will be given to your horse to avert any • Pituitary gland dysfunction in older horses. Horses with equine metabolic secondary issues. For instance, long-term use of • syndrome, insulin resistance and equine Cushing’s disease. phenylbutazone is not recommended due to the threat of causing stomach ulcers. Caution should also be used to make sure the horse is still able to feel some pain in the foot, to some degree – if LEFT: When laminitis strikes to the point of coffin bone rotation, the coffin bone is no longer securely anchored within the hoof. not, he may become too active and cause further In this x-ray, you can see the angle of the coffin bone is no damage to the laminitic hoof. longer parallel to the angle of the hoof wall. Your farrier will be a great resource in the RIGHT: This picture shows a left front pastern view x-ray and showcases what a normal coffin bone should look like. fight against laminitis and can help you create Photos courtesy of Moore Equine the best treatment regime for your horse. Raising the heels with wooden or plastic wedges that are glued on can help to decrease tension on the deep flexor tendon and reduce the pull of the coffin bone. Vinyl lily pads and heart bar or tongue shoes may also help to assist frog support and help the foot resist large shifts in rotation. Formal studies have not yet been completed regarding the benefits of stem cell therapy against laminitis, however, some veterinarians are reporting positive results with this treatment A L B E RT A B I T S | S U M M E R 2 0 1 6


Photo by Judy Wood

The Gypsy Vanner B R E E D P RO F I L E

These magical horses with long flowing manes and feathered feet have developed a large following in North America. BY ALEXANDRA MORRIS

Gypsy Vanner: beautiful, magical horses that are known for the feathering on their feet and their long flowing manes. Most commonly recognized as the Romani Gypsy horse, they started to venture into North America in 1996. The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society (GVHS), based in Morriston, FL, was established in 1996. Dennis and Cindy Thompson took a trip to England where they first saw this unusual breed and wanted to share the horses with North America. 22

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A gypsy named Fred Walker, whom Dennis and Cindy met on their trip to Europe, helped the couple create the name the Gypsy Vanners are known

for today. Once it was decided upon, the name was trademarked and the Thompsons started choosing the finest Gypsy Vanners to import. They stumbled upon one of Walker’s stallions named Photo by Dennis Debruyne The Log and they liked him so much, the Thompson’s purchased and imported him to the US, where they renamed him The King. He is now famously known as “The Gypsy King.” Since the Romani people developed the breed, most of the sires and dams that are brought over to

North America from Europe don’t have written records, nor do their grandsires and granddams. Cheryl Nygaard from North Fork Gypsy Cobs in Langley, BC, explains why: “Many parents don’t have any written records themselves of whom their own parents are, as the Romani people, also known as Travelers or Gypsies, often did not know how to write or depended on the spoken word to keep track of parentage,” says Nygaard. There are three different herd managements out of North Fork Gypsy Cob; one in British Columbia, one in Saskatchewan and one in Alberta. Riley and Stephanie Hickey run the North Fork Gypsy Cobs Alberta herd management in Rimbey, AB. Stephanie uses the Gypsy Vanners for her horsemanship clinics. Many people know the breed for the piebald or skewbald markings, but that’s not what makes the breed. It’s all about the structure and the different characteristics of the horse. “Small sweet head, tons of mane, tail and feather (hair on their feet), apple butt, thick bone, stocky body (’Cob’ body-type), small ears, calm disposition, exceptionally people friendly and easy to train,” Nygaard says as she describes the typical G y p s y Va n n e r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . These magical horses are fantastic for children, families and even first-time horse owners due to their calm nature and overall, loving temperament. What makes them even better is how versatile they are. “They were bred for driving, but are used for a variety of disciplines: riding (western or English), driving, dressage, bar rels, jumping, trail, mounted shooting. T hey’re ver y versatile!” says Nygaard. Other then skewbald and piebald, the Gypsy Vanner can be a solid colour and also blagdon, a solid colour with white splashed from underneath. The typical height of the Gypsy Vanner ranges from 13.2hh to 15.2hh but has been known to be as tall as 16.2hh. Although to be a registered Gypsy Vanner with the GVHS, they must stand between 13hh and 16hh – any horses taller than the standard can get an appeal in front of the board of directors of the society. According to the GVHS, the Gypsy Vanner should have a mane and tail that is either smooth hair,

ORIGINS The Gypsy Vanner originated in England, in the area of the British Isles

in the 1850’s. After the second World War, the Romani people started to refine the breed. They didn’t just breed for colour, intense feathering and long flowing manes, but bred for increased action and smaller size. They tried adding the Hackney breed into the bloodline but it affected too much of the breed’s feathering and developed lighter bone instead of the traditional, heavier bone. As a result, they decided to add in Section D Welsh breeding which gave progeny the characteristics the Romani were looking for, without changing much of the Gypsy Vanner look.

ABOVE: SD Woolly Mammoth of North Fork Gypsy Cob

“They were bred for driving, but are used for a variety of disciplines: riding (western or English), driving, dressage, barrels, jumping, trail, mounted shooting. They’re very versatile!” silky to wavy hair, or curly fine hair. They should have a long flowing mane that should not be cut, only trimmed and braided when shown. The forelock should be long and

covering the eyes. Gypsy Vanner necks are quite short with powerful m u s c l i n g f o r p u l l i n g. T h e i r shoulder should have an angle of...


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Photo by Judy Wood

. ..50-55 degrees in order to properly house the collar. The Gypsy Vanner gait at a walk should be a free-flowing forward movement. The shoulder during the walk should not be restricted and should be able to move freely. The breed’s pride is shown through its high head carriage, alert with presence, and its natural ability to shift its center of gravity back towards the hindquarters. The best way to see the aforementioned pride in the Gypsy Vanner is at the trot. They have a natural ability to extend their stride when required, or to bring it back to a snappy, animated trot. Their conformation allows them to expressively trot when pulling a load or even during liberty. Although the [CONTINUED FROM PAGE 23]


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Gypsy Vanner can perform the canter under the balance of the rider, it is more comfortable for them to trot. Undesirable traits that prevent registration through the GVHS include a lack of hair on the lower leg. The Gypsy Vanners are known for their feathering, which start below the knee. Without this, they cannot be registered as a true Gypsy Vanner. Horses with kinky hair coats or even a broken crest, are considered undesirable in the breed. Horses with unknown parentage can still be registered as a Gypsy Vanner however, they are put into the Pre-Studbook, due to missing information such as unverified parental DNA. Beginning in 2014, only horses sired by registered stallions could be

registered with GVHS. Presently there is no governing body for the Gypsy Vanner in Canada. There are existing registries in Europe as well as the US such as the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society. AB Photo by Dennis Debruyne

HORSEKEEPING LEFT: A sunburned muzzle can appear bright and scabby. BELOW: St. Johns Wort. Photos courtesy of Jenn Webster

Sunburn in Horses Protect your herd from this summer-time hazard. BY ALEXANDRA MORRIS

Summer is a joyous season: no cold weather, no snow. However, a seasonal concern that comes along with summer bothers not only humans, but horses too. The dreaded sunburn. Sunscreen in hot weather is a no-brainer when UV rays are at an all-time high. Yet, what can we do to protect our equine friends? Dr. Brittany Wise of Wise Equine Veterinary Services in Crossfield, AB, delivers some straight advice about the equine sunburn. A lot of people mistake photosensitization with sunburn, and vise versa, both of which are caused by UV light. So what is the difference? “Sunburn results from simply an excessive level of UV exposure vs. photosensitization which occurs when certain compounds within the skin are activated by UV radiation. Hence photosensitization can occur in non pigmented as well as pigmented areas,” says Dr. Wise. These compounds are activated when different types of weeds such as St. John Wort, Buckwheat, and Alsike Clover are consumed by the horse. The properties of these plants along with strong UV rays, creates a chemical reaction. The outcome of this reaction has all the same symptoms as sunburn. Symptoms of sunburn in horses are similar to those we obtain as humans. Red and raw skin, blistering, painful to the touch and if left untreated can become cracked, flaky and even more painful for the horse. With increased UV rays, humans can develop skin cancer. Unfortunately, the same goes for our four-legged horse companions. Equines can develop a cancer called squamous cell carcinomas, a cancer that develops where the skin meets the mucous membrane and then later begins to invade surrounding tissue. Dr. Wise explains how this occurs: “The oxidative damage occurring to the cells predisposes them to become neoplastic, similar to increasing a person’s risk of skin cancer with increasing UV exposure.” Neoplastic is the abnormal growth of tissue that forms a tumor. All horses with pale-pigmented skin are predisposed to getting sunburns. “Just like in people, skin containing less

pigment is more susceptible to UV radiation and is more easily burned,” says Dr. Wise. So how do you prevent sunburn from happening? If your horse is not stabled, ensure your pasture has adequate shade, such as trees, a lean-to, or shelters. There is a line of UV protection that will help protect horses from UV light but is also nice and airy – so your horse won’t overheat in the sun. There are also certain fly masks that protect against UV light and also cover the whole entire face of the horse, including the muzzle. “Reducing UV exposure by keeping the horse inside during peak levels and turning out in the evening is the best prevention. Other preventative measures include fly masks/sheets and sunscreen application,” Dr. Wise explains. Turning out at night, and bringing horses in during the day is also a good alternative. If you’re wondering if sunscreen actually works for horses the same as it does for humans, the answer is yes. Sunblock for babies or children are most commonly recommended for horses. Companies such as Absorbine and My Pony Sunblock have come out with sunscreen specifically for horses, designed in a powder, cream or spray formulation. Methods for treating sunburn after it has occurred would include Aloe Vera or Zinc Oxide for babies/children, to reduce blistering or painful effects. If your horse is predisposed to sunburns, it is best to take all the precautions you can and if your horse does end up with a severe sunburn this summer, it’s best to call or consult your vet for treatment options. AB

Symptoms of sunburn in horses are similar to those we obtain as humans. Red and raw skin, blistering, painful to the touch...


The Horse Store specializes in “everything horse.” From English and western saddlery, to apparel (including a large selection of helmets and protective vests), to horse heath supplements and gifts.

The Horse Store “Everything horse” can be found at this one-stop shop with a convenient Calgary location, near downtown. BY JENN WEBSTER

For 33 years, The Horse Store has been a destination shopping source for equine enthusiasts of all varieties in the Calgary, Alberta area. Located in the neighborhood of Kensington, The Horse Store and its parent company, The staff at The Horse Store are knowledgeable and friendly. They all have hands-on experience with riding, training, horse health and blanket and apparel fitting. Photos by Christine Nurse


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Fairplay Stores, have become an integral part of the city’s heritage. With an extensive selection of horse care products, bandages, blankets, English and western saddlery, plus protective equipment and gift ware, The Horse Store is one-stop equine shopping – in the heart of Calgary. The Horse Store has been in business for 33 years, while its parent company “Fairplay Stores” was originally founded by J L Storey, 97 years ago. “My aunt and uncle bought the store in the late 1950’s and my Dad bought it from them in 1970,” says current owner, Christine Nurse. “It was established in 1919 and started as a feed store. Then in the late 50’s they started bringing in pet foods and opened an area that had horse care products.” As the business grew, The Horse Store began focusing on supplying customers an enjoyable shopping experience, while offering the latest in equestrian fashion and a well-stocked equine supplement selection. “We try to stay at an affordable price

range for everyone. We have products for the backyard horse owner, or a person getting into entry level shows, and we also offer high end products too,” says Nurse. The Horse Store offers everything (both English and western) from blankets, to safety wear, to supplements, treats and Breyer horses. “I remember being a little girl when my aunt and uncle had the store and the Breyer Horses were what I loved the best! Of course, they were too expensive for me to buy when I was little, but I still remember where they were kept,” Nurse chuckles. “Breyer Horses seemed to be a forgotten product for a few years and we got them going again. The kids love it.” Other aspects that set The Horse Store apart from competitors include its adjacent-to-downtown Calgary, location. As an easy stopping point for the downtown crowd, The Horse Store provides quick access during the lunch hour. Plus, its combination of products and a dedicated staff who

pride themselves on their horse health knowledge, make the store a valuable resource for customers. “We have some girls who are really good when it comes to horses that have cut themselves or need bandages,” Nurse explains. “They don’t pretend to be vets, but they are really good at offering lameness or bandaging advice. They are active horse owners in the community with lots of experience. The thing about bandaging is, you can actually get really bad advice on the subject! But that’s why the girls are really good. They each have an animal medicine license and must write a test in order to get one,” she says. “They are so knowledgeable on administering the over-the-counter medicines we carry at the store, therefore we can sell those products.” As for carrying an Alberta Equestrian Federation business membership, Nurse says she specifically believes the Alberta Bits publication is good for her business. “I also use the AEF to look for information or if I am looking for events to post on Facebook, or just to see what’s going on,” she states. “I’m really happy with how the association keeps us in the know. It keeps us in the loop.” AB


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403 253-4411 1 877 463-6233 Generously illustrated book designed for children 5 years of age and up



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As a member in good standing of the AEF, membership includes two automatic insurance coverages; $5,000,000 personal liability insurance; and $30,000 Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance. Beyond these two great included policies, members can access optional products to customize their insurance coverages. In this article, I’d like to focus on a product we developed and introduced in 2011 to AEF members called Weekly Accident Indemnity (WAI). This is an inexpensive insurance policy that will replace lost income if you are unable to work or cannot earn income as a direct result of an unexpected injury. • •


• • •

The benefit available is up to $500/week (or 80% of reported income) and is paid tax free! The coverage is in force 24/7 and covers any injury, anywhere that makes it impossible for you continue earning income (and is not restricted to horse related injuries). The waiting period to be eligible for benefits is only eight days. Benefits will be paid for up to 26 weeks. Cost of coverage is only $100/year.

A few examples where coverage has already been called upon include:










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

Alberta Equestrian Federation


A L B E RT A B I T S | S U M M E R 2 0 1 6


1. A member of AEF was driving her car to work in the city. Because she had just started a new job, she was still in the three-month probationary period before health benefits would be provided. Unfortunately, the member was involved in a car accident and ended up in a leg cast that made it impossible for her to get to work. Her new employer assured her that her job will still be there when she can begin to drive again (eight to ten week lay up), but in the interim, no wages will be paid. The member was able to collect the full benefit of $500 from the new WAI program for the duration of her injury after just one week “wait time.” 2. A recreational rider who is new to the sport was taking lessons each week at a local barn. At a certain point in time, she fell off during a lesson and was unable to go to her “day job” for several weeks because of soft tissue injuries sustained. The member did have an employer paid health plan that provided her with a small benefit, but were inadequate to meet her financial needs. The WAI program from AEF topped up her benefit to the maximum allowed by law and provided her with the security of having an income for the time she was off. For more information, please call Capri Insurance directly toll free at 1-800 670 1877 and ask for the Equine Department. 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

MAY 1st, 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 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 Appaloosa Horse Club of Canada 403-762-2682 Banff Light Horse Association Bashaw Light Horse Club Bear Valley Rescue Bezanson Agricultural Society 403-862-1591 Black Diamond English Riding Club Border Cowboys Mounted Shooters Association Bow Valley Riding Association Calgary Arabian Horse Association Calgary Area Alberta Dressage Association Calgary Regional Appaloosa Club Calgary Regional Trail Riders Calgary Western Riders Canadian Horse Breeders Association Rocky Mountain District Canadian Registry of the Tennessee Walking Horse Canadian Sport Horse Association - AB Chapter Central Peace Horse Association Chinook Country/Alberta Dressage Association Clearwater Horse Club Cochrane Horse Trials Committee Cooking Lake Saddle Club Cottonwood Corrals Association (Jasper) 403-394-8546 Coulee Winds Saddle Club 403-931-9988 Davisburg Pony Club 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 403-938-3683 Foothils Roping Group 403-936-5985 Fort Calgary Wheel & Runner Association 403-242-9387 Four: Thirteen Therapeutic Riding Association Friends of the Eastern Slopes Association Fun Country Riding Club of Strathmore Gaitway to Equine Experiences Foundation - Central Alberta 403-638-4267 Go Wild Go West Drill Team 780-835-1280 H.E.D.J.E. Society 780-662-3665 Hastings Lake Pleasure Horse Association High Country Carriage Driving Club High Country Pony Club 403-380-7046 Hilltoppers Gymkhana Club Horse Industry Association of Alberta 780-754-3321 Irma’s Lil Rodeo Club 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 403-556-4110 Mounted Games Across Canada Alberta Association Northern Trails Riding Club Opening Gaits Therapeutic Riding Society of Calgary 403-574-2197 Over the Hill Trail Riders 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 Prairie Dusters Drill Team Society 403-844-9791 Prentice Creek Equestrian Center Quarter Horse Association of Alberta Rainbow Equitation Society Ranahan Polocrosse Club Red Deer & Area Western Style Dressage Association 780-305-4615 Ridgeview Riding Club Rimbey Sleigh, Wagon & Saddle Club 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 ! Rocky Mountain Gymkhana Club Rundle Riders Therapeutic Riding Association Saddle Seat Canada Shortgrass Riding Club Society of Tilt & Lance Cavalry South Country Team Penning Association South Peace Horse Show Association Southern Alberta Trail Riders Association 403-258-3691 Springbank Equestrian Society 403-289-9066 Springbank Pony Club 403-728-3074 Spruce View Gymkhana Club Steele’s Scouts Commemorative Troop Association Strathcona All-Breed Horse Association Tennessee Walking Horse Association Of Western Canada The Calgary Hunt Club The Greater Bragg Creek Trails Association Thompson Country Pony Club Trail Riding Alberta Conference 780-805-4276 Traildusters Horse Club of Smith 403-843-6873 Tri-Country Riding Club True Grit Cowboy Mounted Shooters Association 403-362-5439 Uplift Therapeutic Riding Association Valleyview & Districts Agricultural Society 780-675-2572 Western Canadian Wagon Train Wildrose Mounted Shooters

BUSINESSMEMBERS Alberta Carriage Supply Bielecki Equestrian Blazing Hearts Ranch Caeco Ranch Calgary Stampede Capri Insurance Services Ltd Cartier Farms Equine Assisted Learning Charles Owen 780-472-6767 Co-op Feeds Edmonton 403-556-6266 Creekside Equestrian Centre Darn That Blanket Daryle Schmidt Horse Training Centre Eagle Hill Equine 403-819-5006 EL Caballo Ranch Equine Connection Inc. Equine Therapy School F.E.E.L. Facilitated Equine Assisited Learning Ltd Flashpoint Thermography Foothills Horse Transport G and B Portable Fabric Buildings 780-933-8928 Greenhawk Grande Prairie H & M Massage Therapy Hairy Back Ranch High Country Equestrian Center Higher Trails Equine Ltd Hi-Hog Farm & Ranch Equipment Ltd Horse Trekking Adventures 403-933-3348 J. W. (Jim) Lawton Professional Corporation Joseph Rae Equestrian Academy Just Passing Horse Transport and Bereavement Services Lane Moore Hoof Care Courses Martin Deerline Millennium Equestrian Ltd. Moose Hill Ranch Outpost at Warden Rock Paramount Saddlery Reitsall Auhof Rocky Mountain Show Jumping Saddle Up Magazine Sandridge Stables Spirit Winds Horse Centre Strathcona Ventures Sunwest Equine Services Syner G Apparel & Solutions The Horse Store The Mane Event Equine Education & Trade Show The School of Equine Massage and Rehabilitation Therapies The Tack Collector Ltd 403-242-6162 The Visions West Studio U-Nique-U Centre Vitality Equine Western Horse Review Westwood Warmbloods Whitemud Equine Learning Centre Association 403-646-2345 Winning Strides





FAMILY The AEF steps up to assist horses and owners affected by the wildfires of Fort McMurray.

Over the past week, the AEF has experienced an incredible outpouring of support from the equine community in Alberta, across Canada and even across the globe – all in an effort to try and assist equines and equine owners affected by the wildfires of Fort McMurray. From the stories horse owners shared, to those who wanted to do anything and everything they could to help, we are proud of our community standing strong to help their fellow friends and equines. As of May 12, 2016, the AEF has raised $18,000 in donations that will go towards helping horse owners. The AEF has also been working with Alberta Agriculture to coordinate rescue and relief for horse owners. From connecting owners to veterinarians, to staying in regular communication with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, the AEF has tried very hard to identify animal issues and connect them with emergency operations. The stories that came out, were heartbreaking. Sarah Burnes recalls, “We were down in Calgary when the evacuation had started and we got our friends go to our house to get our dogs and cats that were left behind. Our horse was at a private barn and had to be let loose on Draper Road.” Burnes was reunited with her pets, as well as her horse, almost a week after the initial evacuation. She didn’t lose her house, but all of her tack and horse related possessions are gone, totaling around the $15,000 mark. “I didn’t care if the house burnt down; it’s a materialistic item. All of those things can be replaced. All I cared about were my animals, because that’s what you can’t replace.” Burnes gave permission for rescuers to break the lock on her horse trailer so they could use it to rescue more animals from the area. Pat Rody Erelis has been a longtime member of the Clearwater Horse Club, a not-for-profit equine organization that was badly affected by the fires. Erelis fled the city with three horses in tow and her 88-year-old mother beside her. As the smoke grew thicker and Erelis found herself in gridlock traffic, she became worried about the air quality her elderly mother was breathing. By offering her napkins to put over her nose (the only thing they had available at the time,) Erelis was able to protect her mother. “We had our horses and I was able to grab two saddles and two bridles, but that was it. At the time we were voluntarily evacuating, I honestly thought I’d be able to go back and get more stuff if need be. Turns out, no one had time. My son left with only the clothes on his back. My mother has a small bag with one outfit and her meds. And I grabbed the dog,” says Erelis. Now displaced and wondering what will become of Fort McMurray, Erelis is extremely grateful for the kindness of Albertans during a very difficult time. “People have been so wonderful and supportive to us. Complete strangers have offered us places to stay. The generosity is amazing. You always hear the negative things about people, but there are a lot of really 30

A L B E RT A B I T S | S U M M E R 2 0 1 6

amazing people trying to help us and our horses through this.” The AEF wants those affected by the wildfires to know that the association is committing to providing support throughout this ordeal where possible. The AEF stills needs to hear from horse owners affected, to add your name to the AEF list in order to assist you to get what you need when the time comes. Please see for more information and to register at the online help request form. Megan Bastin, a horse owner on Tower Road says, “I’m so grateful for the equestrian federation and horse community in Canada in their offers to help. I’m grateful for what you have attempted thus far. Thanks for continuing to work with us and trying everything you could. I’m utterly dismayed by the process and lack of proper communication through the organizations; however, I am mostly focused on a positive outcome and am definitely grateful for your continuing to email through the weekend and continued support. This will really help and will certainly lift some disheartened spirits.” Donation of Funds are still needed for the short and long term. If you are interested in providing funds* to support the affected equine community, please forward an etransfer (security answer: fortmacequine) to email info@albertaequestrian. com or contact the AEF office: 403-253-4411 ext. 7 or tollfree: 1-877-463-6233 ext. 7. All funds and donated items will go directly to horse owners that have been affected by the fires in Fort McMurray and area. AB Photo by Miles Lacorte

*PLEASE NOTE: The AEF is unable to issue tax receipts, however, for those donating over $250, a tax deductible donation receipt can be issued by completing and returning a donation form (with payment) to Alberta Sport Connection (ASC). ASC will forward funds received through this method directly to the AEF. When donated through ASC, the AEF should receive the disaster relief donations within 1-2 weeks after funds are verified; official tax receipts will be issued between 6-8 weeks.

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Alberta Bits - Summer 2016  

The Official Magazine of the Alberta Equestrian Federation

Alberta Bits - Summer 2016  

The Official Magazine of the Alberta Equestrian Federation