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SPECIAL FEATURES 28 Horse Manure – From Waste to Resource

34 Wildfire! Flood! Earthquake!

Do you have a disaster management plan in place to deal with your worst nightmare?

50 Head First


Head injuries are the most common reason for admission to hospital or death among riders. www.HORSE



A serious head injury can be life-changing, yet many riders still have reasons for not wearing a riding helmet.

62 Saddle Fit for Children

Why do so few boys ride horses?

65 Equestrian Canada

Hurdles cleared – where does our national governing body go from here?


Appreciating the value of horse manure as a resource rather than a waste product.

60 11 Reasons for Not Wearing a Riding Helmet


“Let it burn, I just want my horses to be safe.” – Sarah Burns on the Fort McMurray wildfire. PHOTO: CLIX PHOTOGRAPHY



12 Photo: Pete Markham/Flickr | 16 Photo: Jones




2 Celebration of Horses Photo Contest 4 To Subscribe 10 Editorial


70 Horse Council BC News

12 8 Ways to Think Like a Parasite

To understand the parasites you want to control, you need to think like one.

16 Sarcoid Tumours in Horses


Research reveals that a horse’s genes can determine its susceptibility to sarcoids.




73 Manitoba Horse Council News 18 Good Pasture Management

Guidelines for growing a healthy, productive pasture that will provide many benefits to you and your horses.

74 Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association News


New & Noteworthy Products & Reviews


Country Homes & Acreages


Hitchin’ Post, Index to Advertisers

84 Odysseo by Cavalia Returns to Ontario


By Donna Foulk, Extension Educator


8 WAYS TO Think Like a Parasite

Managing Resistant Parasites in Horses Parasite control is an important component of all equine health care programs. It is no longer enough to simply pull out a tube of dewormer and treat your horses every eight weeks. Resistant Parasites Today it is critically important to understand the basics of parasite resistance and develop a deworming program that will work for your farm. That program will need to be reevaluated and modified as environmental conditions change from year to year, and farm management 12




and the number of horses fluctuates. It is imperative that all horse owners begin to combat resistant parasites that can spread from farm to farm, causing alarming consequences for the equine community. Resistance is a real threat. With no new products on the horizon, it is important to protect our horses by keeping current products effective.

What is resistance? Resistance is defined as the ability of parasitic worms in a population to survive a treatment that was once effective against the worms. Today, most horse owners continue to follow recommendations that are 30 to 40 years old, and may be using products that are totally ineffective. The groundwork for resistance was already in place in the late 1960s when new deworming products were introduced along with the recommendations that horse owners use them every eight weeks. Prior to the introduction of these products, the

Research has shown that small strongyles can survive long periods of hot, dry conditions by dehydrating. When dry and brittle, they can survive in the pasture but cannot infect a horse until they rehydrate when the drought is over. Dragging pastures in summer will spread the dehydrated parasites around the pasture.

Removing manure from pastures is essential to reduce the risk of parasite infection. PHOTO: THINKSTOCK/MIKEINLONDON


1. If you are a parasite... Your number one


Small strongyle

Small strongyle larvae are the white, thread-like objects in the water droplets. They have climbed the stems of the grass and are waiting to be eaten by a horse.

large strongyle (Strongylus vulgaris) was the parasite of greatest concern. These large parasites migrated through arteries, interrupting blood supply to the gut, causing colic and sometimes death. However, the use of the drugs of the 1960s and newer products of the 1970s and 1980s greatly reduced the prevalence of large strongyles on farms. Unfortunately, indiscriminate use of these products has led to a drastic increase of another parasite, the small strongyle (cyathostomes). By the 1980s it was recognized that virtually 100 percent of the eggs being shed by horses were small strongyle eggs.

Small strongyle larvae are very small, virtually microscopic in size. Over 100,000 small strongyle worms can live in a horse resulting in the production of millions of eggs. Hundreds of larvae can live in a droplet of water on a blade of grass. Populations of these parasites on farms can be very large. Because of their rapid reproductive rate and ability to produce massive numbers of eggs, it is very easy for resistant worms to develop quite quickly. And the more frequently deworming products are used, the quicker the resistant parasite levels will build. Normally there are very few resistant worms on a farm. Each time deworming products are used, the worms that are susceptible to the product are killed. Only the resistant worms survive and pass on their genes for resistance. Horses graze and pick up resistant larvae and then shed more resistant worm eggs. Over time, the whole small strongyle population on the farm is resistant.

The old way of deworming horses is not working — so what should you do?

Work with your veterinarian to develop a program that works for your farm, at the same time reducing reliance on deworming products that can lead to resistant parasites. To develop an effective program it is necessary to understand the parasites that you want to control, in other words, it is necessary to think like a parasite…

goal is to produce thousands of eggs. Relatively speaking, few parasites are actually in the horse. The vast majority of worms are on the pastures. The goal of a deworming program should not be to just kill parasites in the horse. The major goal should be to reduce shedding of eggs on pastures where they can contaminate many horses. It is especially important to prevent shedding of eggs on pastures in early spring to reduce the potential for season-long increases in parasite concentrations.

2. If you are a parasite... You will be

found in greatest numbers in horses that have poor immunity to you. Most horses have some level of immunity to small strongyles and shed very few eggs. It is estimated that 20 to 30 percent of the horses on farms produce 80 percent of the eggs. It is important to conduct fecal egg counts to determine which horses carry large parasite burdens and develop a management plan that prevents them from shedding eggs on pastures.

3. If you are a parasite... You will

have developed strategies to survive adverse conditions in the environment. Warm, wet conditions are necessary for the development of larvae that can infect horses. Hot, dry conditions were previously thought to be the enemy of parasites. However, research conducted by Dr. Michael Sukhdeo of Rutgers University has shown that small strongyles can actually survive very hot dry conditions by “dehydrating.” In this state the worms are brittle, use little energy, and can survive long periods in the pasture. They cannot infect a horse in the dehydrated stage but will rehydrate when rain returns. When a drought is broken, large numbers of infectious stage parasites may become viable in pastures. Dragging pastures in summer will just serve to spread these dehydrated parasites. MAY/JUNE 2017




Basic Horse Pasture Management FOR THE EQUINE OWNER

By Donna Foulk, Extension Educator Pennsylvania State University

Proper pasture management leads to high quality, productive pastures that can supply excellent nutrition for horses. A productive pasture will decrease feed costs, improve your horse’s health and quality of life, and enhance the appearance of your property. 18




The Challenges

Major challenges of horse pasture management are the continually changing environmental conditions, and the fluctuations in horse populations residing on the particular farm. Adopting good pasture management practices is increasingly important as stocking density or number of horses per acre increases. In many areas, pastures can be maintained with very little management at densities of two to four acres per horse.

At higher animal densities, good management practices are necessary to maintain plant canopy cover and desirable plants. Without adequate pasture acreage, horse owners will need to limit turnout time to prevent overgrazing and supplement with hay to help meet equine nutritional requirements. Management practices can be adopted to help maintain healthy, productive pastures that benefit the horses, the farm, and the environment.

s Temporary electric


fencing is a good way to section off pastures to rotate horses and avoid overgrazing.


Test Your Soil

Soil testing is not only an important tool to assess soil fertility and help determine fertilizer recommendations, it is also beneficial in identifying soil changes and diagnosing problems. Proper fertilization is imperative to maintaining high quality forage in pastures. Soil nutrient levels and pH are extremely variable from farm to farm. Therefore, a soil analysis should

be performed to accurately determine the nutrients and pH of the soil. Obtain soil test kits and directions on how to collect a soil sample from your local analytical laboratory. Take soil samples 10 cm (4 inches) deep for pastures. After submitting the sample, the lab will provide a complete soil analysis, which will document soil nutrient levels and pH. The report may provide recommendations for the application of fertilizer and lime.

Testing your pasture soil allows you to assess soil fertility and identify fertilizer needs.

Apply Fertilizer and Lime Based On a Soil Test

Maintaining proper soil pH is essential for healthy forages. Soil pH is a measure of the acidity in the soil on a scale of 0 to 14. A pH of seven is neutral. A pH greater than seven is basic or alkaline, and less than seven is acidic. Grass forages perform well in soils with a pH between six and seven. Acidic soils are detrimental to pasture plant health and productivity because MAY/JUNE 2017





From Waste to Resource By Mackenzie Irwin

The history of civilization is closely tied to animal domestication. People have long enjoyed working with animals and maintaining companionship with them; horses are especially known to be therapeutic to riders and owners. Meanwhile, the raising of livestock animals, such as cows and chickens, remains an integral part of our food system and a major component of rural culture. Throughout history, there has been a symbiotic relationship between people and 28




their land, crops, and animals — until the past few centuries when we have experienced an increasing disconnect. What was once a balanced system is now divided between product consumption and the generation of endless waste — resulting in environmental, social, and economic challenges. Animal manure is a by-product of animal husbandry that deserves particular concern as it is produced continuously, in large quantities, and when not properly

managed can have adverse consequences. Horse and livestock owners have a responsibility to manage their animals’ manure in a manner that avoids harm to ecological systems. We may think that small farms don’t have a significant impact on the environment, but collectively our actions do effect the surrounding environment and communities, including land, animals and people. Just how big a role do horse owners play in this? According to the 2010

All farm animals are producing manure constantly – this volume can either be seen as a waste product, or as a resource.

Canadian Equine Industry Profile Study, there were approximately 645,500 mature horses across this country. On average, a 1,000-pound horse generates nine tons of manure a year. Based on these numbers, and not including manure produced by horses classified as “young,” Canadian horses generated more than 6.5 million tons of manure in 2010 alone. Unlike past civilizations, we tend to treat manure as a waste product rather than utilize its potential as a resource. That amount of


The symbiotic relationship between humans and horses has a very long history.





Using composted on pastures increases All farm animals manure are producing manure – this volumemissing can forage forconstantly your horses by adding either beand seen as a waste product, nutrients promoting overall soil health. or as a resource.

Horse manure, separated from the bedding, contains the ideal balance of carbon and nitrogen to compost efficiently.

waste would pose a monumental management challenge — but when we start viewing manure as a resource like our ancestors did, we can better manage it for our own benefit, and the benefit of our communities.

The history of fertilizer Until the beginning of the 20th century, manure offered the primary additional source of nutrients for food crops and its value was readily recognized. As

discovered by a research team out of Oxford University, early farmers were using manure as fertilizer 8,000 years ago. As civilizations transitioned from huntergatherer systems to the domestication of plant and animals, integrated systems that had been developed out of convenience were producing high crop yields. Using manure as a fertilizer continued to be an agricultural norm until the 1840s when a German scientist, Justus von Liebig, discovered that plants receive nutrition MAY/JUNE 2017






On the third day of May 2016, Sarah Burns was in Cochrane, Alberta at the time the wildfire evacuation was announced over 750 kilometres away in Fort McMurray. Her two horses were being taken care of by friends at the time, but they were in the evacuation zone and when the fire headed to town it was moving so quickly that the horses couldn’t be moved out in time. To give them the best chance of survival, the gate to their field was removed and the horses were released with no time to even put identification on them. 34




Over the next 48 hours Sarah did everything she could to get to her horses and get them to safety, but the rules put in place to prevent people from entering the evacuated zones were stringent and it was nearly impossible to gain access. Eventually Sarah’s friends were able to get access and the additional approval needed to get to the location of the horses. With two empty spots left on the trailer, Sarah’s horses were found grazing right beside their field and loaded, safe and without injury. “I remember a reporter coming up to me as we waited, the convoy of people finally heading south after being stuck at the camps, and they asked me if I was worried about my home,” said Sarah. “My reply was simple: Let it burn, I just want my horses to be safe. I’m sure


By April Ray-Peterson that’s not the reply they were hoping for but it’s significant. I can replace everything in my home, they are material objects. My horses are living, breathing family members.” In a province that is estimated to have over 320,000 horses, approximately 33 percent of the total horse population in Canada, virtually every municipality in Alberta has a horse or equine-based business. In a disaster as extensive as the Fort McMurray wildfires, the immense impact on the horse community is evidence of the importance of emergency preparation. Across Canada there is one thing horse owners have in common: We all want what is best for our horses. No matter what discipline we favour, whether we compete or ride just for fun,



The wildfire burning near Fort McMurray on May 1, 2016.

Given the varied weather types and landscape in Canada, the threat of severe weather and geological events is a constant reality. Natural disasters can include wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornados, hailstorms and landslides. Many provinces can fall victim to severe weather including blizzards and ice storms, and approximately 5,000 (mostly small) earthquakes are recorded each year. Since Canada is bordered by three oceans, in the event of a major earthquake there could be a considerable risk of a tsunami in certain areas. The federal government’s four pillars of emergency management are prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. These pillars can be used as a guideline when assessing your own capacity to prevent, protect against, respond to and recover from major disasters and other emergencies. It is our sole responsibility to take care of our horses as there is no government or disaster agency responsible for the evacuation, transportation and stabling of horses during a large-scale incident. Considering that the majority of stables are located in rural areas, it might take even longer for help to come so don’t expect the city or county services to be available. Barn owners should be responsible and able to remain selfsufficient in an emergency.


Across Canada approximately 8,000 wildfires occur each year, with slightly more than half caused by humans.

we all take steps to ensure that our horses are well looked after, happy and healthy. But what about when it comes to preparing for our worst nightmare? At the very least, most barns will have a first aid kit or two and maybe some fire extinguishers. But in the event of a natural disaster like an earthquake, fire,

flood or tornado, do any of us have what it takes to make the best of the worst situation? While it’s uncomfortable to think about what would happen if we suffered at the wrath of Mother Nature, we aren’t doing ourselves or our horses any favours by ignoring the possibility of a natural or man-made disaster.

Wildfires are a natural hazard in any forested and grassland region in Canada. Provinces with the highest wildfire occurrence are British Columbia, the boreal forest zones of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. Wildfires commonly occur from May to September, putting lives at risk and causing extensive damage. Approximately 8,000 wildfires occur each year in Canada with 55 percent of those being human-caused and the remainder being caused by lightning. MAY/JUNE 2017








By Margaret Evans

Head injuries are the most common reason for admission to hospital or death among riders. Sobering statistics reveal the high percentage of equine-related accidents resulting in traumatic brain injury. Helmets have been associated with reducing the risk of traumatic brain injury by as much as 50 percent, yet many riders still do not wear a helmet. Angela couldn’t resist the idea of a quick ride. It was warm and sunny. The rest of the family was busy with other activities and they wouldn’t be home until later for the celebration birthday supper. Without stopping, she pushed on her boots and ran outside to saddle up Poncho, her 16-year-old Paint, for a short ride through the fields to the woodland 50




beyond. Unable to find her helmet in the tack room, she decided to ride without it. After all, she’d only be gone a short while and she totally trusted her horse. She followed the hardened, sunbaked trail, relishing the feel of the sun on her skin and the wind in her hair. But just where the trail snaked through the trees, Poncho suddenly reared then bucked,

throwing Angela hard onto the rockstrewn ground. All she would remember later was the searing pain ripping through her head, then blackness as her horse bolted, his hind foot using her abdomen as a launch pad. Later, Angela’s husband would find the welt from the bee sting on Poncho’s belly. In 2010, Florida-based Olympic

Both horse and rider should wear reflective gear when riding on the roads and trails, and whenever riding in low light and during hunting season. High visibility clothing, such as this helmet cover and fly bonnet from Heads Up Clothing in Ontario, is one more way to reduce risk.

Research shows that as the use of riding helmets increases, fewer riders will suffer severe head injuries. PHOTOS (TOP & BOTTOM) COURTESY OF HEADS UP CLOTHING

dressage rider Courtney King-Dye was hospitalized with a fractured skull and coma after her horse fell when his legs slipped out from under him during a schooling session at home. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. A riderless horse returned to its boarding stable in Washington State. A fellow rider went looking for the missing equestrian and found her body a mile away on a gravel road. She had fallen off, suffered head trauma and died where she lay. She wasn’t wearing a helmet. In 2005, Ontario barrel racer Patricia Moore died from severe head injuries when her horse stumbled and fell after


leaving the ring. Moore was not wearing a helmet. Ten-year-old Elizabeth Hader of Ontario was killed when thrown from a horse that spooked at a public trail riding facility. She suffered severe head injuries and police confirmed that she was not wearing a helmet. In 2016, barrel racer and Florida rodeo queen Lara Dewees lost her reins when her horse fell during a competition. The horse recovered, finished the barrels and ran through the arena exit only to slip on the asphalt causing Dewees, still without her reins, to be thrown to the ground where she

landed on her face. Shortly after, she died from a blood clot to her brain. Horses are big animals and they can do big damage. Contrary to what some people think, there is no such thing as a bombproof horse. Any number of situations happening in a nanosecond can trigger a well-behaved, compliant, dependable horse to erupt into a panicking, flight-driven animal from which the rider can fall or people can be crushed or trampled as the horse runs into or over anyone in its path. And horses can just as easily stumble or trip, sending a rider headfirst to the ground. Head injuries are the most common MAY/JUNE 2017





A Genetic Connection to

Sarcoid Skin Tumours in Horses


By Margaret Evans





Sarcoid skin tumours are the most common form of cancer in horses. The most frequent areas where they grow are around the eyes, the ears, or in the girth area, and they may be locally aggressive. As a result, sarcoid tumours can make a horse unusable for many activities and potentially reduce the animal’s quality of life. Sarcoids are a class of tumour that have a viral origin and bovine papillomavirus (BPV) is strongly thought to be a cause. Recent research in Europe has also suggested that variants of the BPV have become adapted to horses and are possible drivers behind sarcoids. Sometimes they appear as small raised plaques that are slow to grow and self-limiting. Or they may be large fibrous masses that can grow rapidly then regrow following treatments. To further understand sarcoids, Douglas Antczak, VMD, Ph.D., the Dorothy Havemeyer McConville Professor of Equine Medicine at the College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, led a study to explore a possible genomic link to the tumours. With a grant from the Morris Animal Foundation, Antczak and his team applied a genome-wide association study to compare the genetic makeup of horses with and without sarcoid tumours at more than 50,000 sites in the equine genome. In the study, the researchers used 82 sarcoid-affected horses in the USA and the UK, and 272 horses that formed the control group and that did not have sarcoids. One fascinating result was that they found regions on chromosomes 20 and 22 that tended to be different in horses diagnosed with sarcoids. It was encouraging evidence that a horse’s genes determine, at least in part, how susceptible it is to getting the condition. “This is an example of more complicated genetics — multigene susceptibility,” says Antczak. “More than one genetic region is associated with susceptibility to sarcoids, and they don’t completely determine whether or not a horse will develop the disease once it’s exposed to BPV.” The BPV link possibly goes back a long time. “Most of the work on the viral cause of sarcoids has come from studies in Europe, particularly in Glasgow, Scotland, at the vet school,” says Antczak. “It now seems clear that a virus very similar to bovine papillomavirus (BPV) is the cause of sarcoid. The latest information suggests that BPV ‘jumped species’ from cow to horse at some time in the past (maybe 10,000 years ago?). The BPV virus


Saddle Fit for Children

Why Do So Few Boys Ride Horses? By Jochen Schleese, CMS, CSFT, CSE When we think about children and riding, we usually picture little girls and their ponies. Popular equestrian magazines with the target market of younger riders are usually focussed on girls — it’s really rare to see photos in these magazines featuring boys. Later in this article I’ll discuss some of the possible reasons why boys do not usually get involved with horses from a young age, but first I want to address the importance of getting the right saddle from the get-go. Most young riders are girls, and unless they have the wonderful luxury of well-off parents who can buy them their own pony, they start riding at a riding school — hopefully an accredited one. Unfortunately, most of these riding schools are extremely limited in their funding and will use donated horses and ponies with probably donated saddles and tack. From the experience of our own daughters taking riding lessons at summer camp and then at a local riding school, we know these saddles usually fit “more or less” (usually less) and must be used on several horses. It is not unusual to see saddles with two or more pads. Inevitably, our girls would come home after riding lessons and complain that their “tushes” hurt. IM AG In general, children will not demonstrate E: M IC






the ramifications of having ridden in gender-inappropriate and badly-fitted saddles until they’re older. Many children ride in saddles that are simply uncomfortable because, a) they don’t know any better, b) their trainer tells them to “suck it up,” and c) they just want to ride and really don’t care. Conscientious parents would never let their children wear shoes that don’t fit. Some of the potential issues arising from podiatric problems include leg length and balance, scoliosis, back pain, and pelvic misalignment, and are difficult to correct in adulthood, which is why it is important that shoes fit properly during the formative years. Similarly, accommodating and making do with incorrect riding positions can also cause developmental structural issues and possible chronic health issues that may not manifest themselves until after puberty. Of course, not every child will be able to have their own saddle; smallersized pony saddles are rarely available on




Many children ride in uncomfortable saddles because they just want to ride, or they don’t know any better. Hip pain, for example, can result when the twist of the saddle is too wide for the young rider.

EQUESTRIAN CANADA Equestrian Canada, formerly

Equine Canada, was founded in 1976 when the National Equestrian Federation of Canada

Hurdles Cleared

Where Do We Go From Here…?

and the Canadian Horse Council merged. With that merger, George Jacobson founded the Canadian Equestrian Federation (CEF), the first national governing body for equestrian activities and sport. CEF became Equine Canada Hippique and then, in 2015, Equestrian Canada Equestre (EC), continuing its mandate as the national governing body for equestrian sport and industry. The organization represents over 18,000 sport licence holders, some 90,000 registered participants, 12 provincial/territorial sport organization partners, and over 10 national equine affiliate organizations. But despite that impressive roll call, all has not appeared to be well with EC, a fact reflected in CEO Eva Havaris’ opening remarks at EC’s annual convention in Vancouver in April, 2017. “This past year has been a challenging one for everyone, coloured with many highs and lows. Suffice to say this past year has demanded patience, focus, reflection and resolve from many different EC contributors including the board, volunteers and staff. It has challenged all of us personally and professionally.”


By Margaret Evans


cross the country, questions of lack of accountability and poor communication kept surfacing. Board members resigned. Transparency was clouded. And when the name was changed from Equine Canada to Equestrian Canada, the backlash was significant. The name “Equine Canada” at least appeared to represent all of Canada’s 963,500 (give or take) horses, their owners, trainers, breeders, coaches, the industry, agriculture, the support companies, the sports community, and the wider network

of sponsors. But “Equestrian Canada” was perceived to shrink that down to a focus just on the competitive community. And the grumblings got louder when those 90,000 registered participants realized that, while they were dues-paying members, they were not allowed to vote. A sense of feeling disenfranchised simmered beneath the surface as the missteps, misinformation, and mistakes were piling up in a vacuum of non-communication. None of it was lost on Havaris, who had been hired as CEO in 2014, coming into the MAY/JUNE 2017





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Canadian Horse Journal -May June 2017 - SAMPLE  

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Canadian Horse Journal -May June 2017 - SAMPLE  

Canada's Leading General Interest Horse Magazine