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ENTRY DEADLINE: October 5, 2021

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2182 264 Street, Langley, BC th

Enjoy the tranquil views of the lush green 40 acres from this beautiful sprawling rancher featuring 2 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms with large patio nestled away in the surrounding trees, making this the perfect country oasis. Two homes on property. Conveniently located minutes from Hwy 1, Thunderbird Show Park and Fort Langley.


2688 256th Street, Langley, BC MLS# R2548675 • $7,800,000

Fantastic location in Langley! 31 acres of rolling hills perfectly set up for horses with two road frontages. 130 x 240 outdoor arena with lights and second 130x130 large round outdoor arena, two barns with 20 stalls in total, firstclass 60 ft covered exerciser, fully fenced and crossed fenced with auto waterers in each field. This gorgeous property also features a 4100 sq ft executive home with a master on the main floor, a 1000 sq ft suite above the garage, and a second updated farmhouse at the front. Power gates at both entrances, backup generator, large shop, hay barn, and all the extras to be expected from a property of this calibre. Truly a must-see!



1280 Powerhouse Road, Abbotsford, BC MLS# R2551196 6.45 acre equestrian property. 1,911 sq ft renovated rancher, plus a 1,225 sq ft 2 bed/1 bath suite above the barn that is tenanted w/ the option to give an additional 2 bed/1 bath plus large utility room downstairs. 72 x 220 indoor riding ring, heated viewing stand, 125 x 295 outdoor riding ring & 11 stall barn. An additional 11 shed row stalls run the length of the indoor arena, 18 outdoor shelters, recently added Pro Panel corner feeders, 55 ft round pen, fully fenced and more. 4 cattle pens w/ return ally. House fully renovated inside and out; granite counters, stainless appliances, new windows, metal roof, and more.


38751 Old Yale Road, Abbotsford, BC MLS# R2548675


Rarely available 2.5-acre turn-key equestrian property. Ride out to the trails from this beautiful property located in the quaint community of Arnold. This perfectly set up property features an 11 stall barn with 6 in and out crusher dust attached paddocks, tack room, feed room, hay storage, wash rack with hot water, a separate 4 stall barn within and out crusher dust attached paddocks, professionally built 100×200 riding ring with lights, 3 fenced pastures, a second paved driveway to the barn and excellent drainage throughout.

Amy Brattebo


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52 SPECIAL FEATURES 60 Winning the Maclay

42 Help Your Barn Business Thrive

72 Building Supportive Cultures in Our Barns

Haymaking and storage advice to keep your horses healthy and your barns safe.

How to find and keep good employees for your equine facility.

52 When Things Go Wrong in the Show Ring

How to expect the unexpected, turn mistakes into learning opportunities, and fix common show ring errors.

Meet the four Canadians who have won the most prestigious equitation class in North America for riders under age 18.

How to create a strong and supportive culture in your home away from home.

76 Traditions

Where do they come from, and should we approach them with skepticism?

80 Switching Coasts





Equine enthusiasts find a passion for horses no matter where they move across Canada.


36 The Seven Deadly Sins of Haymaking

ON THE COVER: Canadian Sam Walker riding Waldo in the victory gallop at the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Championship in 2018. PHOTO: SHAWN MCMILLEN PHOTOGRAPHY






30 HEALTH & WELFARE 10 Horses and Wildfire Smoke

How to assess and treat smoke inhalation in horses, and protect them from air pollution.

12 Keep Horses Healthy During Hot Weather

9 tips to help you recognize and prevent heat-related problems in horses.

16 Continuous Improvement in Equine Ranching


Equine ranching for the production of pregnant mare urine has made major advancements in recent years. www.HORSE



26 Finding the Hoof Care Balance

Top tips for promoting hoof health and some pitfalls to avoid.

30 Foot Injuries of the Equine Athlete

Common sources of foot lameness, and their diagnosis and treatment from a veterinarian’s perspective.

70 Moving Well by Breathing Well

A horse’s respiration rate is always telling you something important.


Celebration of Horses Photo Contest

3, 51 Country Homes & Acreages 8 Editorial 50, 87 To Subscribe 84 Horse Council BC News 86 Canadian Therapeutic Riding 88 89 90 91 92


The Hoofbeat Manitoba Horse Council News Meet Our Contributors Index to Advertisers Horse Sense



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Home is where your horse is. One of the articles in this issue, Switching Coasts by Tania Millen, brought back memories for me. We didn’t exactly switch coasts 46 years ago when my husband, Steve and I moved from the Pefferlaw area of Ontario to Grande Prairie, Alberta, but the move out west fed our appetite for adventure and the desire to shape our own destiny on a new frontier. Sound familiar? So, we pulled up stakes and away we went, saying goodbye to our families and life-long friends. Over the summer, we camped all over Canada’s Western provinces, settling in Grande Prairie in the fall because jobs there were plentiful. Fifteen years went by and now with three young children, good jobs, and a home on an acreage, we found ourselves yearning for another change. Every summer we had loaded up the kids, dog, and a ton of camping gear and trekked to Vancouver Island’s beautiful Little Qualicum Falls campground. Before long we were absolutely smitten with the coastal region of British Columbia. As the old Creedence Clearwater song goes, once again we had that old travelin’ bone, cause this feeling wouldn’t leave us alone. We had tried hard, but GP just wasn’t where we wanted to stick for the rest of our lives. The coast was calling. I had been very active in the Alberta horse community as a rider, as one of the founders and volunteers of Peace Area Riding for the Disabled, and as one of the clinic and horse show organizers of the South Peace Horse Club. Leaving our jobs, friends, and all of our horse and community connections behind for a new start on the coast was both exciting and terrifying. Most of our friends said our decision to move was crazy, too risky, and so on. But family and friends who knew us best did understand that Grande Prairie had just never really felt like our forever home. So, to Vancouver Island we went. Moving here from northern Alberta with three children, a dog, and a horse in tow was a major mid-life transition. It took a while to re-establish our lives here, but it did happen. As Tania notes, no amount of planning will answer every question and sometimes just going for it does pay off. Things never work out exactly the way we think they will, and that can have an upside, too. Once here, I started investigating my new horse community. I asked where to take riding lessons (Libby Naylor in Parksville), how to become involved in the local horse community (join a riding club, volunteer at the horse show), and so on. I was given so much support and good advice, and a very warm welcome by the area’s horse folk. I asked if there was a local horse magazine or newsletter where I could find some of this muchneeded information, and was told several times: “No, but there should be.” The seed was sown. In 1991, the year after we moved here, the precursor of this magazine, Pacific Horse Journal, was born. There’s a reason the word “community” is part of our official business name (Horse Community Journals Inc.). Our horse community stretches far and wide across this sprawling country, from remote and rural farms and ranches, to villages, towns, and cities and everywhere in between. Through our love of horses we find and connect with each other, regardless of where we call home. We are all part of a community of like-minded people who share the amazing bond of horses. Kathy Smith 8




Your Horse b Your Passion b Your Magazine Published by Horse Community Journals Inc.

Volume 21 • Issue 6 Summer 2021 Issue (July/August) of Canadian Horse Journal EDITOR / PUBLISHER Kathy Smith ACCOUNTS Geri Pronovost ADVERTISING April D. Ray • Terry Andrucko • Janna Reimer SOCIAL MEDIA April D. Ray SUBSCRIPTIONS Steve Smith MARKETING & DISTRIBUTION Janna Reimer ART DIRECTION, PRODUCTION Elisa Crees CONTRIBUTORS Tania Millen • Shawn Hamilton • April D. Ray Jec Ballou • Shelagh Niblock • Annika McGivern Alexa Linton • Lindsay Grice Nikki Alvin-Smith • Dr. Billy Hodge WCVM • HCBC • MHC • CanTRA • CQHA ADVERTISING, SUBSCRIPTIONS & GENERAL INQUIRIES 1-800-299-3799 • 250-655-8883 or email: ADVERTISING DEADLINE 4 weeks prior to issue date e.g., Oct.1 for Winter (Nov/Dec) issue. ONLINE EDITION


Publishing 6 issues per year SUBSCRIPTIONS – REGULAR RATES 1 yr/6 issues: $24 + tax 2 yr/12 issues: $37 + tax US $59/2 yrs, 12 issues ORDERS FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS, CHANGE OF ADDRESS NOTICES, & UNDELIVERABLE COPIES ARE TO BE SENT TO: THE CANADIAN HORSE JOURNAL Suite 202, 2400 Bevan Ave., Sidney, BC V8L 1W1 (250) 655-8883 • fax: (250) 655-8913 • 1-800-299-3799 PUBLICATIONS MAIL REG. NO. 40009439 GST REG. NO. 829298140 ISSN. NO. 1496-1733


We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada.

REPRODUCTION IN WHOLE OR IN PART OF ANY MATERIAL CONTAINED IN THIS PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE WRITTEN PERMISSION OF THE PUBLISHER IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED. The information and services listed herein are intended to facilitate accessibility to the professionals, products and services that play a part in the horse industry. While readers are encouraged to use the products and services of the merchants listed in this Guide, Horse Community Journals Inc. does not recommend or guarantee the products and services of advertisers or associates listed. Manuscripts and photographs will be returned only if SASE is provided. The return of unsolicited material is not guaranteed. Contributors and advertisers warrant all materials supplied are free of copyright and they have the legal right to use the same. All material accepted for publication is subject to such revisions as are deemed appropriate by Canadian Horse Journal (CHJ). The opinions expressed in CHJ are not necessarily those of the publisher. CHJ reserves the right to refuse any advertising or submission. Contributors consent to have their submissions published in CHJ and on and elsewhere as determined by the publisher. Printed in Canada. Please recycle.


Ref Ref [1] [1] Ch Ch [2] [2]


Researched Respiratory Support Researched Researched and and Proven Proven as as an an aid aid in in controlling controlling IAD IAD and and RAO RAO Recommended in the ACVIM Consensus Statement on Respiratory Recommended in the ACVIM Consensus Statement on Respiratory Disease Disease (1) (1)

(2) (2)

Not all Omega 3’s are the same; use the Researched and Recommended 1500mg Purified DHA formulation. Not all Omega 3’s are the same; use the Researched and Recommended 1500mg Purified DHA formulation. Your Horses Deserve The Best in a Non-Pharmaceutical Solution. Your Horses Deserve The Best in a Non-Pharmaceutical Solution.

–– Using Using the the Best Best Matters Matters

References: References: [1] Nogradi N, Couetil LL, Messick J, Stochelski MA, Burgess JA. Evaluation of an Omega-3 Fatty Acid Containing Feed Supplement in the Management of Horses with [1] Nogradi N, Couetil Messick J, Stochelski JA. Evaluation of an Omega-3 Fatty Acid Containing Feed Supplement in the Management of Horses with Chronic Lower AirwayLL, Inflammatory Diseases. MA, J VetBurgess Intern Med 2015; 29:299-306. Chronic Lower Airway Inflammatory J Vet Intern Med 2015; 29:299-306. [2] Couetil LL, Cardwell J.M, Gerber V,Diseases. Lavoie J.-P, Leguillette R, Richard E.A. Inflammatory Airway Disease of Horses. ACVIM Consensus Statement J of Vet Intern Med 2016; 30:503-515 p. 508-510. [2] Couetil LL, Cardwell J.M, Gerber V, Lavoie J.-P, Leguillette R, Richard E.A. Inflammatory Airway Disease of Horses. ACVIM Consensus Statement J of Vet Intern Med 2016; 30:503-515 p. 508-510.

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Horses & Wildfire Smoke

Source: UC Davis Center for Equine Health

Severe fires in recent years have exposed humans and animals to unhealthy air containing wildfire smoke and particulates. These particulates can build up in the respiratory system, causing a number of health problems including burning eyes, runny noses, and illnesses such as bronchitis. They can also aggravate heart and lung diseases such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, emphysema, and asthma.

What is in smoke?

Smoke is comprised of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, particulate matter, soot, hydrocarbons, and other organic substances, including nitrogen oxides and trace minerals. The composition of smoke depends on the burned material. Different types of wood, vegetation, plastics, house materials, and other combustibles all produce different compounds when burned. Carbon monoxide, a colourless, odourless gas produced in the greatest quantity during the smoldering stages of the fire, can be fatal in high doses. In general, particulate matter is the major pollutant of concern in wildfire smoke. Particulate is a general term used for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. Particulates from smoke tend to be very small (less than one micron in diameter), which allows them to reach the deepest airways within the lung. Consequently, particulates in smoke are more of a health concern than the coarser particles that typically make up road dust.





How does smoke affect horses?

The effects of smoke on horses are similar to effects on humans: irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract, aggravation of conditions like heaves (recurrent airway obstruction), and reduced lung function. High concentrations of particulates can cause persistent cough, increased nasal discharge, wheezing, and increased physical effort in breathing. Particulates can also alter the immune system and reduce the ability of the lungs to remove foreign materials, such as pollen and bacteria, to which horses are normally exposed.

How to assess and treat smoke inhalation in horses Horses exposed to fire smoke can suffer respiratory injury of varying degrees, ranging from mild irritation to severe smoke inhalation-induced airway or lung damage. Knowing what is normal versus concerning can help you to know whether a veterinarian should evaluate your horse. Respiratory rate at rest should be 12 to 24 breaths per minute. Horses should be examined by a veterinarian if any of the following are noted: • Respiratory rate is consistently greater than 30 breaths per minute at rest; • Nostrils have obvious flaring; • There is obvious increased effort of breathing when watching the horse’s abdomen and rib cage;

• There is repetitive or deep coughing, or abnormal nasal discharge; • Horses should also be monitored for skin and tissue injury, especially for the first few days after exposure.

The Thomas Fire was a massive wildfire that affected Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties in December, 2017. A horse watches as fire crews work to build a breakline from the encroaching flames in Ojai, California.


• Limit exercise when smoke is visible. Horses should not engage in activities that increase the airflow in and out of the lungs. This can trigger bronchoconstriction (narrowing of the small airways in the lungs). • Provide plenty of fresh water close to where your horse eats. Horses drink most of their water within two hours of eating hay, so having water close to the feeder increases water consumption. Water keeps the airways moist and facilitates clearance of inhaled particulate matter. This means the windpipe (trachea), large airways (bronchi), and small airways (bronchioles) can move the particulate material breathed in with the smoke. Dry airways make particulate matter stay in the lung and air passages. • Limit dust exposure by feeding dust-free hay or soaking hay before feeding. This reduces the particles in the dust such as mold, fungi, pollens, and bacteria that may be difficult to clear from the lungs. • If your horse is coughing or having difficulty breathing, contact your veterinarian. A veterinarian can help determine the difference between a reactive airway from smoke and dust versus a bacterial infection and bronchitis or pneumonia. If your horse has a history of having heaves or recurrent airway problems, there is a greater risk of secondary problems such as bacterial pneumonia. • If your horse has primary or secondary problems with smokeinduced respiratory injury, you should contact your veterinarian who can prescribe specific treatments such as intravenous fluids, bronchodilator drugs, nebulization, or other measures to facilitate hydration of the airway passages. Your veterinarian may also recommend tests to determine whether a secondary bacterial infection has arisen and is contributing to the current respiratory problem. • Give your horse ample time to recover from smoke-induced airway insult. Airway damage resulting from wildfire smoke

takes four to six weeks to heal. Ideally, plan on giving your horse that amount of time off from the time when the air quality returns to normal. Attempting exercise may aggravate the condition, delay the healing process, and compromise your horse’s performance for many weeks or months. It is recommended that horses return to exercise no sooner than two weeks post smoke-inhalation, following the clearance of the atmosphere of all smoke. Horses, like all other mammals, tend to have an irritation to particles, but should recover from the effects within a few days. • Air quality index (AQI) is used to gauge exercise/athlete event recommendations for human athletes. It may be reasonable to use those for equine athletes as well. The National Collegiate Athletic Association lists the following recommendations on their website: “Specifically, schools should consider removing sensitive athletes from outdoor practice or competition venues at an AQI over 100. At AQIs over 150, all athletes should be closely monitored. All athletes should be removed from outdoor practice or competition venues at AQIs of 200 or above.” b Printed with the kind permission of the UC Davis Center for Equine Health. The UC Davis Center for Equine Health is dedicated to advancing the health, welfare, performance and veterinary care of horses through research, education and public service.


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9 TIPS to Keep Horses Healthy Source: UC Davis Center for Equine Health

Summertime, with its heatwaves and high temperatures, can be uncomfortable for horses, and extreme heat can be dangerous. By planning ahead and being mindful, you can help keep your horse safe and comfortable during summer’s heat. Here are some important tips to prevent heat-related problems in horses:

1 Know the signs of fatigue

Ride during cooler early mornings or late evenings. On hot, humid days the horse gets hotter much faster than the rider and is more susceptible to the serious effects heat stress. 12





and overheating.

These signs include: • A high respiratory rate (more than 40 breaths per minute) that does not come down after 10 to 30 minutes of rest, changes in mental activity, or decreased energy levels. • Mucous membranes in the mouth become dry and lose their usual “slimy” feel. • You may also notice a prolonged capillary refill time, indicating dehydration. To

test, push on your horse’s gums. They should start out pink, then blanch to white after pressure, and return to pink in one to two seconds. • Use a stethoscope or put your ear on your horse’s flank behind the ribs to listen for gut sounds. Gurgling sounds are normal and good. Quiet gut sounds are a warning that your horse may be uncomfortable.

2 Keep your horse hydrated.

Maintain hydration by allowing free access to water at all times. It is a myth that if a hot horse drinks water it will experience colic or other medical problems. If you think your horse is not drinking enough water, offer some hay to encourage drinking after eating. Soupy bran or pellet mashes are another means of getting extra water into your horse.

3 Keep a supply of water available for your horse to drink.

Obtain some clean five-gallon cans and fill them up with water before you travel. A 1,000-pound horse not in work, not lactating, and not in high heat and humidity needs a minimum of six gallons per day. This doubles or triples in high heat and humidity, requiring no less than 12 to 18 gallons per day.

4 Provide salt and electrolytes


as needed.


These may be useful if your horse has been sweating excessively. However, horses must consume water to gain the maximum benefit from supplemented electrolytes and avoid dehydration. Ensure that your horse has access to plain, fresh water to encourage appropriate water intake. If you have not used electrolytes before, outline a plan with your veterinarian and be sure to use only electrolytes specifically made for horses.

5 Limit exertion during peak heat.

Ride in the early mornings or evenings when it is cooler and keep your rides short. Remember to go slow, provide frequent breaks, and stay in the shade whenever possible.

6 Plan ahead for trailering.

Trailer in the early morning or late evening hours when it is cooler. Never leave horses in a parked trailer, especially if there is no shade. Temperatures inside a trailer can rapidly reach 140 degrees and horses can quickly develop heat stroke. Optimize ventilation and airflow as much as possible by opening vents and windows, but for safety reasons don’t let the horse stick its head out while on the road. Be very careful when hauling foals, as they are more susceptible to heat than adult horses.

7 Turnout during cooler hours and provide shade.

Provide your horse with as much shade in the turnout area as possible. Trees, run-in sheds, and other structures with good ventilation can provide relief from the sun.

8 Ensure good air circulation in the barn.

Open windows and doors to provide cross-ventilation. Try to arrange for more air circulation by careful placement of fans SUMMER 2021





Hosing the hot horse continuously with cool or lukewarm water is one of the best ways to lower body temperature.

in front of the stalls or in the aisleways. Be sure to keep electric cords out of reach of horses. Exercise caution with any electrical appliances in a barn as faulty wiring or inadequate circuits can cause a fire.

9 To lower body temperature, hose off your horse or pour a bucket of water over your horse.

Evaporation produces cooling and continuous hosing is one of the most

effective means of lowering body temperature. Use water that is cool or lukewarm, but never hot. Studies have shown that one of the best ways to cool a hot, sweaty horse is to provide a wholebody shower. The colder the water, the faster the core body temperature will come down. Continuous application of water is ideal. Research has also shown that sweat scraping, or removing the water from the horse’s coat, is not necessary. Failing to remove excess water

will not make your horse any hotter or have detrimental effects on health. Contact your veterinarian immediately if you think the horse is experiencing heat-related issues, such as dehydration, exhaustion or heat stroke, as these can b lead to serious illness. Printed with the kind permission of the UC Davis Center for Equine Health. The UC Davis Center for Equine Health is dedicated to advancing the health, welfare, performance and veterinary care of horses through research, education and public service.


Flexineb® is proud to offer a free Standard Medication Cup worth $99CAD with every order of a complete Flexineb E3 System in your choice of colour. Use code HorseJournals at checkout to get your free cup! Flexineb Equine Nebulizer is manufactured in Ireland by Nortev Ltd and is now sold directly by their new Canadian Subsidiary — Nortev Canada, If you want to speak to one of our representatives please contact Sarah Lauren Scott, the North American Sales Manager at 905-875-5876 or email us at or





Please see Targeted Medical Therapy for Respiratory Conditions in Horses article on facing page.



Targeted Medical Therapy for Respiratory Conditions in Horses Inhaled medications benefit horses, minimize side effects By Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

The horse’s respiratory tract is designed to move large volumes of air to and from their lungs. During exercise, air flow rates reach a staggering 65 litres per second, which is truly amazing considering a human athlete’s flow rate is a mere four litres per second! Any abnormality of the respiratory tract that impedes airflow will decrease the volume and/or rate of oxygen being delivered to the lungs. In exercising horses, even the smallest decrease in oxygenation can have profound, negative effects on performance.

Airway Disease and Poor Performance Dorsal displacement of the soft palate, arytenoid chondritis, upper respiratory tract infections, and equine asthma can all contribute to poor performance. Despite being clearly unique entities on paper, differentiating between upper respiratory tract disorders can be challenging. Your veterinarian may “scope” your horse to directly visualize the structure and function of the nasopharynx, larynx, and trachea, and collect samples of tracheal mucous. They may also perform a lung wash (bronchoalveolar lavage or BAL) to evaluate the number and types of inflammatory cells present in the lower respiratory tract that the scope can’t reach. Treatment will vary markedly depending on the underlying etiology. For structural issues surgery may be indicated, bacterial infections may require antibiotics, and antiinflammatories and bronchodilators administered for equine asthmatics.

Choose Your Weapon Systemically administered medications may cause serious side effects. Antibiotics can disrupt the intestinal microbiome causing diarrhea, which puts horses at risk of

developing laminitis — a life-threatening inflammation of the horse’s feet. Oral or injectable corticosteroids and bronchodilators can also result in untoward reactions, especially when used long-term. Systemic bronchodilators can cause heart rate elevations, excitement, excessive sweating, and decreased gastrointestinal motility (and colic). Systemic corticosteroids may induce laminitis or suppress the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis resulting in immunosuppression. Equine experts now support inhalation therapy for certain respiratory conditions. This involves administring aerosolized drugs directly to the airways for “topical pulmonary therapy” to maximize drug delivery to the target site while limiting side effects. Inhaled medications may also have a more rapid onset of action compared to systemic drugs and could allow for a shortened drug withdrawal time prior to competition (discuss this aspect of therapy with your veterinarian).

Managing Equine Asthma Inhalation therapy is widely advocated for horses with equine asthma — an inflammatory airway condition characterized by coughing, mucous accumulation, and poor performance. According to the current treatment guidelines for equine asthma, affected horses should be managed using a combination of the following: 1. Environmental management to keep the two-foot sphere around your horse’s muzzle clear of aeroallergens. 2. Corticosteroids to decrease inflammation in the airways and rapidly improve lung function. 3. Bronchodilators for reducing airway hyperresponsiveness caused by constriction of the smooth muscles that line the airways.

A number of other medications may help asthmatic horses, including mast cell stabilizers (cromones) and mucolytics (saline, acetylcysteine). Studies examining lidocaine, specific essential oils, and chelated silver are underway but data from controlled trials are currently unavailable.

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Particle Size Matters One of the keys to successful inhalation therapy is ensuring that drug particles measure a maximum of five microns in diameter. Particles larger than five microns will not reach the lower airways. Larger particles will be ineffective, an unnecessary expense, delay institution of appropriate therapies, and can even be swallowed by the horse resulting in the side effects we were trying to avoid. Flexineb® is a portable, silent, easy-to-use nebulizer that aerosolizes liquid medications via vibrating mesh technology. Studies show that up to 71 percent of the medications nebulized by this medical device measure five microns or less, which means the drug reaches the lower airways for maximal effect. When used in clinical trials, the Flexineb® device was well tolerated by horses. This device can also be used with metered dose inhalers, such as fluticasone/salmeterol, budesonide, or ciclesonide. Maximal Flexineb® benefit will only be achieved with proper fitting and maintenance. Contact Sarah Lauren Scott, Sales Manager, Nortev Canada, for information on how to incorporate Flexineb® into your program. Sarah Scott, Sales Manager, Nortev Canada • (905) 875-5876 > Please see Special Offer on facing page. SUMMER 2021






Equine Ranching

Canadian breeders producing quality foals By Shelagh Niblock, PAS North American horse owners may not be aware that Canada is the home of Linwood Ranch, an equine breeding facility that has generated peer reviewed research in recent years on subjects such as equine behaviour, equine welfare, stall design, and the requirements for lying down time for healthy horses. Linwood Ranch is a PMU or “pregnant mare urine” ranch in Manitoba, and is also where active research is conducted on many equine welfare issues affecting all of our horses. Equine ranching for the production of pregnant mare urine (PMU) for pharmaceutical use has been 16




happening in Canada and some parts of the United States for many years, but horse owners often know little about what the industry is all about. Although social media offers anecdotes on what is supposedly wrong with equine ranching, the reality is that all horses and our Canadian equine industry have benefitted from the PMU industry.

What is PMU? In the 1930s, researchers in Canada discovered that pregnant mare urine was a safe, concentrated source of biologically active, water soluble

estrogens. At that time, it was becoming known that the symptoms of menopause and the progression of diseases such as some cancers and osteoporosis could be arrested by supplementing those affected with conjugated equine estrogen, or CEE, derived from the urine of pregnant mares. The new medication was called “Premarin,” short for “pregnant mare urine.” The medication was approved for use in Canada in 1942, and in the USA in 1943. The pharmaceutical company initially behind the development of this product was Ayerst Laboratories. Ayerst merged with Wyeth Laboratories in 1987,



Mares foal while on pasture and stay on the pastures with their foals until early autumn. Foals are weaned at four months of age or older.

with the product thereafter produced by Wyeth until the company was taken over by Pfizer in 2009. Premarin has been produced by Pfizer since that time, and all equine ranches producing PMU are under contract to Pfizer. Equine ranchers are paid according to the concentration of estrogen they ship, not by the volume of urine they ship.

History of equine ranching in Canada In the early days of equine ranching, the collection of urine from pregnant mares was a haphazard process, with most of the farms located in Quebec. Eventually, it was realized that the quality, consistency, and cleanliness of the product collected could be greatly

improved if the farms were larger with purpose-built facilities dedicated to the housing and care of the pregnant mares. A processing facility was built in the 1960s in Brandon, Manitoba and at that time, the farms caring for the mares moved primarily to the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba as well as some in North Dakota, USA. The 1960s were a time of increasing knowledge about the benefit of replacement hormones for menopausal women, and the number of farms expanded to approximately 500, mostly in Canada, with the urine of literally thousands of mares being collected. Since that time, due to improvements in harvesting and processing, and concerns raised by a study conducted under The Women’s Health Initiative in

2003 (which suggested that hormone replacement in menopausal women could be related to an increased incidence of some cancers, though the research has since been discredited) there remain, in total, 18 equine ranches under contract to Pfizer. All are located in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, including the Linwood Equine Ranch research facility. At the time of this writing, there are no other PMU ranches under contract for the pharmaceutical industry in North America.

What does ranching for PMU entail?

Collecting pregnant mare’s urine is built around the mare’s gestation period. Mares spend the summer out on pasture with their foals at foot. They are SUMMER 2021





Today’s PMU ranches specialize in producing quality, pedigreed foals. All PMU broodmares are registered stock, as are the stallions used to breed them.

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pastured with a stallion who is registered and has a pedigree determined to be the best for the group of mares he is covering. Virtually all PMU broodmares and the stallions used to breed them are now registered stock. The typical equine ranch of today will specialize in producing quality foals of one of several different breeds, including Appaloosas, Quarter Horses, Draft breeds, Sport Horses where a Draft stallion is used on a Thoroughbred mare, and Warmblood breeds. Mares foal while on pasture, and in order to keep a roughly 12-month breeding cycle, it is desired that the mares be bred back on their foal heat, the first heat cycle after foaling, or soon after. Mares and foals are monitored while on pasture with veterinary attention to their health and details like vaccinations and parasite control for both. The mares and foals come off summer pasture in early autumn, and the mares get a health/pregnancy check at that time. Foals are typically weaned at approximately four months or older, but never younger, as is set out in the contractual obligations with Pfizer. Pregnant mares typically go into housing in insulated barns by the end of November, and the urine collection process is then


initiated. Collection is discontinued at approximately the end of February when the mares will go back into a herd arrangement, and eventually be put out on pasture for foaling when the weather will support it. Mares are in tie stalls of specific dimensions with bedding type and amount dictated by the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Horses on PMU Ranches (COP). The COP for Equine Ranches collecting PMU was first established in 1990 and predates the NFACC Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines. The most recent COP was issued in 2018. All equine ranches contracted to Pfizer must follow the COP or they risk having their contract cancelled. Urine is collected through use of apparatus called a “boot,” which is placed over the vulva of the mare. The boot is attached to hoses which take the urine away. The design of the system is such that they are comfortable for the mare to move around and lie down. At least twice per week, the boots are removed and PMU mares are given exercise periods in a field or yard where they can move around and socialize. All feed provided for PMU mares must be tested for nutrient content, and all rations fed must meet or exceed nutrient levels as laid out as minimums in the 2007 National Research Council Equine Nutritional Guidelines for pregnant mares of a specific body weight. Water is generally delivered automatically five times per day. Peer reviewed research done at the Linwood Ranch has determined that repeated water delivery at regular times of the day is superior for the health of the horses rather than free choice water (Freeman et al., 1999; McDonnell et al., 1999).

Are PMU horses well cared for? Through the 1960s and up to the end of the 1980s, the PMU industry saw rapid growth, with increasing numbers of farms and mares being collected. In the early days, there was not a lot of concern regarding the care and future for the foals, which at the time were the by-product of the PMU industry. Foals were often consigned to feedlots for the human food industry. Open mares and broodmares past their prime were also frequently shipped to auction. In the early 1990s, concerns began to mount from animal rights and welfare advocates for mares being continuously housed for the collection of PMU. Questions were raised about the welfare of the mares and their foals. One of the first responses of the industry to these concerns was the creation of the Code of Practice for Care SUMMER 2021





The mare turnout pen at a PMU ranch. During the urine collection period, mares at the PMU ranches are turned out for exercise and socialization at least twice weekly.

and Handling of Horses on PMU Ranches, issued in 1990. In 1995, a variety of welfare organizations — including the Canadian Farm Animal Care Trust (CanFact), US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Royal Society for the Prevention





of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), and International League for Protection of Horses (ILPH) were invited to inspect PMU facilities and

verify that the COP was being followed. Inspections were conducted without prior notice to ensure that the visits represented an accurate assessment of ranch conditions. In general, inspection findings were that equine welfare on PMU ranches was very good, but that there were areas that could benefit from attention, including stall design, equine behaviour research, exercise needs, and water intake.

Research and the Continuous Improvement Process As a result of recommendations, Wyeth Laboratories, which was responsible at that time, established the Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) with the purchase and establishment of a PMU research ranch, Linwood Equine Ranch, to support peer reviewed, scientific research on animal welfare issues for housed horses. Wyeth also established scientific committees including veterinarians, animal welfare

specialists, and equine researchers to oversee their planned research program, resulting eventually in the creation of Equine Ranching Advisory Board (ERAB), an independent board that advised Wyeth (and now Pfizer) of research that needed to be done in specific areas of equine welfare. Research goals include matters of importance for PMU mares, but the findings of the researchers have been of benefit to all horse owners. A great deal of published scientific research has arisen from the work initiated by ERAB in their oversight of the PMU industry. After the initial inspections and recommendations by welfare organizations in 1995, a follow up was completed two years later in 1997 by veterinarians from the AAEP, the CVMA, and the ILPH to review how well industry was responding to criteria set out in the initial review. The report generated (Equine Veterinarians’ Consensus Report on the Care of Horses on PMU Ranches) found that the care of horses on PMU ranches was good and that the CIP was being followed. The outcomes of the research and the CIP have been impressive to say the least. There are few other animal agriculture systems where animal welfare is monitored as stringently. Mares have come to be regarded as an investment, not only because they can produce PMU, but because good mares with good pedigrees can produce valuable foals. Mares are chosen for their bloodlines instead of their body size, and like any valuable broodmare, those that fail to conceive one year are worth keeping for rebreeding the following year.

that the rancher abide by all federal and provincial regulations as well as the COP. In addition to this, all PMU farms have a contractual requirement to provide mandatory vaccination, turnout programs, feed testing, hoof care requirements, and the promotion of mares and their foals as a valuable addition to Canadian horse owners. To facilitate oversight of these contractual requirements, all PMU ranches must be part of the Field Audit Ranch Management System (FARMS) Audit program, which requires weekly


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The regulation and oversight of the PMU Equine Ranching industry is extensive and multifaceted, but it is particularly stringent around requirements for the care of the mares. In Canada, legislative oversight includes federal policies such as the Health of Animals Act and the related regulations, and the Reportable Diseases Regulations. Provincial regulations include adherence to the NFACC Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines, as well as the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Horses on PMU Ranches. All equine ranches producing PMU must abide by the rules laid out in the contract with Pfizer. These include

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There are few other animal agriculture systems where animal welfare is monitored as stringently. submission of herd health data through a digital program. All ranches are required to undergo a review of herd health protocols and weekly data by an independent veterinarian once per month. In addition to these requirements, all horses on PMU farms must have a minimum of two health checks per year by their veterinarian. The contractual obligations for the ranch owner are, without a doubt, some of the most stringent in animal agriculture in Canada, and they certainly far exceed the practices on many private farms.

What is NAERIC?

Marketing and incentive programs

The NAERIC website includes links to the NAERIC registered PMU ranches, making it a resource for the person who is interested in the availability of pedigreed foals produced on PMU ranches. Foals produced on equine ranches that are registered with NAERIC are eligible for “the NAERIC Advantage,” a value-added incentive program including futurities with a financial payout when competing successfully at approved events.

Youth programs, research funding, and more!

All equine ranches contracted to Pfizer support research into equine health through financial contributions from their PMU revenue. This money goes into the Townsend Equine Health Research Fund at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. NAERIC also supports equine research through other avenues. At the time of writing this article, NAERIC was a sponsor for Student Research presented at the Equine Science Society Virtual Symposium scheduled for June, 2021. NAERIC also supports growth in the equine industries by supporting youth groups such as 4-H with the Young Horse Development Project, as well as clinics and workshops in equine husbandry

and horsemanship skills. In 2009, NAERIC was awarded the Lavin Cup by the AAEP. The Lavin Cup is the Equine Welfare Award given by the AAEP to “a non-veterinary organization or individual that has demonstrated exceptional compassion or developed and enforced rules and guidelines for the welfare of horses. The accomplishments of the equine ranchers and their organization NAERIC are significant in a world where there is increased concern about the welfare of animals used by humans. The PMU ranchers have taken the initiative to improve the welfare of the animals for which they care. Their proactivity has reduced the number of horses going for slaughter, and Canadian and American equine ranches also provide a source of wellbred horses for performance, pleasure, or working ranch jobs. These equine ranchers fund a variety of research efforts at numerous research facilities aimed at improving equine welfare in North America, not to mention their own industry research at the Linwood Ranch. Moreover, they also happen to provide the raw material to improve women’s health and the health of those dealing with a growing number of other ailments and illnesses in over 100 countries around the world. b For more information about NAERIC, the equine ranching business in North America, and more about the horses they breed for sale as performance or working horses, have a look at the NAERIC website:

> Shelagh Niblock is a regular contributor to this magazine. Read her bio on page 90.


The North American Equine Ranching Information Council (NAERIC) is a non-profit association of its equine rancher members. Based in the state of Kentucky, USA the objective of NAERIC is to provide information on equine ranching to the public; to support its members with research and information; and to develop innovative marketing programs for horses bred through the PMU programs. NAERIC advocates for the use of good research and science in the pursuit of superior equine husbandry and welfare. NAERIC

facilitates the sharing of information between the equine ranches, most of which are family farms, and the public. The NAERIC website is very interesting to visit even if you are not in the market for a well-bred performance weanling.






Substantial Changes to Horse Insurance Are Good for All The horse industry is changing. Horse welfare has become an everyday concern; veterinary medicine has advanced substantially; and the costs of horse ownership have risen. So, it’s time for the horse insurance industry to change, too. With over 45 years in the insurance business, CapriCMW understands their clients’ changing needs. As of July 1, 2021, they are offering a dramatically updated EquiCare Mortality and Medical insurance product in line with what horse owners and riders are looking for. The EquiCare policy includes life insurance for horses plus coverage for unexpected veterinarian expenses, but today’s horse industry is very different from yesteryear, and CapriCMW’s new EquiCare Mortality and Medical insurance reflects those changes. For example, the revamped policy rewards horse owners who provide routine veterinary care to their horses with substantially lower premiums. That means if your horse receives regular wellness checks, dental work, vaccinations, and other routine care, you will pay less to insure your horse — a boon to horse owners who already do everything they can to keep their horses sound and healthy. Co-insurance options — whereby the horse owner and insurer share veterinary bills — are available, too. For example, an insurance plan with a 20 percent co-insurance clause means that the horse owner will pay 20 percent of a veterinary bill, while the insurance company pays the other 80 percent. Co-insurance plans are common in small animal insurance programs, so it only makes sense for them to be offered for horse care, as well. Limits on the maximum amount that the insurer will pay have also increased. Horse owners can now purchase medical/surgical plans as part of their EquiCare policy with annual limits from $2,500 to $15,000, which simply reflect the higher cost of veterinary care today. Not only that, horse owners now have more flexibility in how they spend 24





Source: CapriCMW Insurance

their pot of insurance money. Previously, plans stipulated that the insurer would pay a predetermined percentage of the cost for diagnostic work-ups and 100 percent of the costs for covered veterinary treatments. With the updated EquiCare plan, horse owners can choose to spend more money on diagnostic work, which is often where funds are needed. Finally, as more horses are competing and leading productive lives into their late teens, the maximum age for mortality (life) insurance coverage has been increased from 17 to 20. These are all big changes in how horses are insured. We asked Mike King to explain what they mean for horse owners and riders seeking the best way to insure their horses. He’s a partner at CapriCMW Insurance and their National Manager of Equine Programs, and has been discussing insurance and riskreducing tactics with horse industry clients across Canada for almost 30 years. King says the revamped EquiCare Mortality and Medical insurance policy is a direct response to customers’ requests over the last few years to recognize their active participation in the management of the horse. He explains that basic mortality insurance for sport horses was first available about 45 years ago — and was then expanded to include extensions for colic-related vet expenses. Those medical extensions eventually developed into broad medical coverage for unexpected veterinary expenses, and that’s pretty much what has been available for many years. However, those

insurance policies don’t reflect the realities of today’s horses and the needs of their owners. King says that with horses now competitive into their twenties and equine veterinarians offering a plethora of methods to treat injuries or illness, policies need to adapt. With all those facts in mind, CapriCMW revised their EquiCare Mortality and Medical insurance policy to reflect the insurance needs of today’s horse owners, and reward those who provide good care to their animals. King says, “If you can demonstrate that you are a proactive and engaged horse owner, work with a veterinarian and farrier on a regular basis, are working with a trainer who understands and respects your horse’s limitations and are a member of your Provincial/Territorial Equine Sports Organization, then you’re going to get the most favourable rates and get the most out of your insurance policy.” Now that’s an insurance policy that horse owners can appreciate — one that acknowledges the reality of owning horses in 2021 and recognizes the benefits of informed horse welfare.

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Hoof Care



Top Tips & Myth Busters

By Equine Guelph

The importance of a good farrier is well understood by knowledgeable horse owners who reap the benefits of diligent, routine care. In this article, Certified Journeyman Farrier Sean Elliott provides some great tips for promoting hoof health and explains some pitfalls to avoid.

Top Tips for Hoof Health NUTRITION “If you go to the doctor and your fingernails are in a bad state, nutrition is the first thing they are going to address,” says Elliott, who recommends working with an equine nutritionist to look at the horse’s program as a whole. Elliott is a big fan of keeping it simple with good quality hay, clean water, a ration 26




balancer, and not supplementing blindly. He cautions against just picking supplements that make claims to improve hoof quality as they may not give the results you are looking for. The horse may be deficient in more than one thing, and he may not be able to absorb what you are aiming to supplement. Having hay tested will provide a clearer picture of what is needed to balance the horse’s diet, and bloodwork can help determine what a horse is deficient in.

Each horse should be treated as an individual, and the nutritionist is part of the horse’s healthcare team. DRY ENVIRONMENT “Horses were not meant to stand for extended periods of time in wet or muddy conditions,” says Elliott. He goes on to dispel the myth of overflowing of water troughs to add moisture to hooves. “Yes, the hooves will get wet, but consider why people put mud treatments on their faces — to remedy oily skin.” As mud dries, it draws out the oils; however, oils in the hoof are an essential component to hoof health. Even horses that get bathed daily in the summer can suffer poor quality hooves from the constant cycle of going from wet to dry. Elliott is not a big fan of hoof dressings and prefers to stay with the KISS (keep it sweet and simple) philosophy of always trying to provide a dry environment. Then it all comes down to balance.

GOOD BALANCE “Good farrier work means keeping the hoof capsule underneath the limb of horse with a correct trim every four to six weeks.” This is essential to keeping the hooves in balance, says Elliott. Routine trims address issues such as flares and long toes. Farriers need a solid understanding of conformation and anatomy. They should understand the biomechanics of how the hoof handles concussion. Elliott cautions against trimming to get the perfect hoof. “Horses rarely have two feet that look alike,” he says. “You need to trim each foot to be in balance and not trim to make them look the same or to a fit a specific measurement.” Shoes are meant to be shaped to the foot, not the other way around.

underrun heels, and exposure to too much moisture. Routine care and a proper trim that balances the foot correctly are essential. Superficial cracks are not an issue; most of the time they can be sanded out. The time to be concerned with cracks is when they are all the way through or go all the way up to the hairline. In those cases, a plan for intervention should be discussed with your farrier. WHAT CAUSES CONTRACTED HEELS? In most cases, contracted heels are caused by improper balance. Too much stress on

any part of the hoof or an area bearing inadequate weight can affect proper blood flow and hoof expansion. WHAT PREDISPOSES A HORSE TO FREQUENT ABSCESSES? Hoof abscesses can be extremely painful and are often accompanied by sudden lameness. An abscess starts with a bruise to an area of the internal structures of the foot. If the bruise is severe enough it can cause a pulsing pain. Think of striking your fingernail with a hammer and not releasing the pressure through a small hole in the nail. After the pressure is

Common Hoof Issues Some of the pitfalls that contribute to hoof cracks are toes that are too long,


The “bridge” is the widest part of the foot, reference for interior/posterior balance.




Heels should be as close as possible to the widest part of the frog.





released, the throbbing sensation stops; however, there will still be some discomfort for a relatively short period of time. Elliott theorizes that genetics may predispose a horse to abscesses, along with thin soles. Generally speaking, an average healthy sole will have seven to ten millimetres of what is referred to as live/waxy sole. This sole is able to bear weight and is designed to flex and bend without breaking or cracking. Hooves that have soles thinner than that are at a higher risk of bruising and developing an abscess.



FACT: At a gallop, a 450 kg (1000 lb) horse creates up to 45,000 kgf/cm2 (50,000 to 65,000 PSI) of force on the ground surface of a hoof wall (M. Taylor, CJJF)






Horses were not meant to stand in water, or in muddy conditions. Even daily bathing can negatively impact hoof quality due to the continuous wet-to-dry cycle.

Trimming Horses are not very efficient at maintaining a balanced foot when left to their own pedicure care. On a regular schedule, they are able to maintain better balance between trims. 7 WEEK GROWTH >



A hoof abscess can happen anytime but is most common during wet winter and spring months. Moisture can soften the foot and make it easier for the bruise to happen. Travelling over rough terrain and frequent stomping caused by nuisance flies can also contribute to foot bruises. In general, Elliott is not a fan of pads. Imagine the state your feet would be in if you wore rubber boots without socks, he says. Work with your farrier and veterinarian to find the best treatment for an abscess, and then determine prevention strategies. Elliott is a big believer in the farrier, veterinarian, and rider all working together as a healthcare team. b Printed with the kind permission of Equine Guelph.

SEAN ELLIOTT, Certified Journeyman Farrier (CJF) of Grand Valley, Ontario, has more than 20 years of farriery experience. A graduate of the Olds College Advanced Farrier Science program, and a CJF with the American Farrier Association, he is an international competitor, and has instructed veterinary/farrier short courses at Tuskeegee University in Alabama. He has also been a guest speaker for Equine Guelph in Functional Equine Anatomy. Throughout his career, shoeing horses has taken Elliott all over North America for work and play, and he remains heavily involved with continuing education and competitive blacksmithing/horseshoeing. Having shod horses in many different climates, conditions, and disciplines, and at high levels of competition, he is

frequently asked if he specializes in a particular type of shoeing. His reply is always: “Just sound horses.” Elliott is passionate about his profession and sees every day as a new learning experience. Continuing education opportunities are constantly sought and being involved with competitions as a competitor or organizer continually challenges Elliott to sharpen his skills for the benefit of horses. “It will take me three lifetimes to learn everything I need to know,” he says. Elliot uses handmade shoes in order to provide each individual horse the support, traction, or protection they need.




Or visit us in person on Old Route 66 South – 500 S. Spencer St., Lexington, Illinois SUMMER 2021




Common Foot Injuries of the EQUINE ATHLETE We ask a lot of our four-legged friends as today’s horses compete throughout most of the year. Whatever the horse’s primary job — from dressage to trail riding and reining to show jumping, the feet are the most common source of lameness. With the advent of preventative drugs such as Legend®, Adequan®, and Pentosan EQ™ we can improve the longevity of our horses’ athletic use, but unfortunately injuries still occur. When confronted with lameness, your veterinarian will take a thorough history and perform a careful examination utilizing their eyes and hands, their experience, and most importantly, a lameness exam, to make a diagnosis. Most cases will be quickly diagnosed, while others will require more intensive tests 30




requiring diagnostic blocking (use of local anesthetic or numbing agents to localize the lameness to a specific region). The veterinarian may suggest further imaging with radiography (x-rays), ultrasound, bone scan, and/or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to diagnose the problem. A definitive diagnosis allows the



By Dr. Billy Hodge

veterinarian to treat your horse effectively with the best chance at a complete return to pre-injury level. Here are the most common sources of foot lameness we see at our clinic (which may differ from other clinics depending on equine disciplines served): • Subsolar abscess • White line Disease • Laminitis • Joint inflammation (coffin joint synovitis/arthritis) • Foot bruise (including bone bruise) • Soft tissue injury: - Deep digital flexor tendonitis - Collateral ligament injury • Navicular disease and navicular bursitis • Fracture


THERAPEUTIC PADS To aid in preventing and relieving many of your hoof care problems


SMALL: 6 1/2” x 5 7/8” x 1/16” LARGE: 8” x 7 1/2” x 1/8” TWO DEGREE: 6 1/2” x 5 7/8” x 5/16” TWO DEGREE LARGE: 8” x 8” x 5/16”

A hoof abscess (small hole at toe) results when small cracks in the hoof wall allow secondary bacteria or a fungal infection to enter the hoof.


periods of wet weather followed by dry weather causing small, micro-cracks in the hoof wall. These cracks subsequently allow bacteria to enter the hoof, only to create an abscess. There is usually moderate to severe lameness, significant increase in digital pulses, heat (compared with the opposite foot), and sensitivity to hoof testers. A hot poultice worn for multiple days followed by careful paring of the sole by your vet or farrier will allow the abscess to drain. Occasionally the abscess may burst from the coronary band, in which case antibiotics may be required.

to a hollow, weak, and destabilized hoof wall. A secondary bacterial or fungal infection can then take hold in the abnormal hoof wall. We usually diagnose WLD based on a careful examination of the hoof wall, then aggressively but carefully remove the damaged wall and utilize hoof acrylics (with antibiotics) and corrective shoeing to reshape the foot.

LAMINITIS is a frustrating and crippling disease that can affect any horse. Laminitis is inflammation and eventual failure of the sensitive laminae of the feet that attach the hoof wall to the pedal

WHITE LINE DISEASE (WLD) is caused by abnormal stresses on the hoof wall that cause the hoof wall to separate from the underlying laminae. This leads

SMALL: 6” x 6 1/2” x 1/8” LARGE: 7 3/8” x 7 7/8” x 1/8” TWO DEGREE: 6” x 6 1/2” x 5/16”


#4: 6 3/8” x 5 3/4” x 3/16” #5: 7 1/4” x 6 5/8” x 3/16” #4: 6 3/8” x 5 3/4” x 1/4” #5: 7 1/4” x 6 5/8” x 1/4”




#8 IMPAK ABSORBER: 5 1/8” x 4 3/4” x 3/16” #8L IMPAK LARGE ABSORBER: 6 5/8” x 6” x 3/16” (For Prolapsed Frog)

White Line Apex of Frog




Central Sulcus of Frog Bulb

Collateral Sulcus Heel




HOOF ABSCESSES are common after

1-800-9-CASTLE The laminitis hoof wall (top) compared to the healthy hoof wall (bottom).

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Hoof with Acute Laminitis Showing Inflammation of the Laminae


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Hoof With Acute Laminitis Showing Coffin Bone Rotation Detached Distal Phalanx Rotates and Disrupts Weight Distribution







bone. This results in rotation or sinking of the pedal bone within the hoof capsule. Laminitis can be caused by several different mechanisms including metabolic, mechanical, or it can be secondary to endotoxemia. Metabolic causes are seen in horses in early spring when the grass has high levels of easily fermented starches, or in some horses that are predisposed to metabolic disease (equine metabolic syndrome). Mechanical laminitis is caused by excessive weight-bearing on one leg when the opposite leg is injured. The third trigger is severe illness that causes endotoxemia such as colic, colitis, and pneumonia. Chronic laminitis can be prevented by early recognition, diagnosis (x-rays), and treatment. Treatment is to remove the inciting cause, ice the feet aggressively in the acute stage, provide pain relief, and support the foot using deep bedding and special shoes. The goal is to halt the progression of laminitis. Together with a good farrier and careful control of pain we have been successful in returning horses to their athletic careers.


FOOT BRUISES are commonly seen the day after a hard training session. Soft tissue bruising resembles a hematoma with bleeding into the soft tissues of the foot between the pedal bone and the hoof wall. The most common sign is mild to moderate lameness with reaction to hoof testers. There is usually a pulse in the foot and horses can be sound in one direction on the lunge and lame in another direction. There is significant improvement with rest and anti-inflammatory medication,

Hoof testers are a valuable diagnostic tool to gauge sensitivity and pain response.

Available at your favorite Tack & Feed store or online







occurs due to the high levels of stress loads during exercise and by general wear and tear. Joints can become painful for many reasons, but usually this occurs secondary to trauma, excessive twisting, and/or landing and turning suddenly. This causes inflammation and results in heat, joint swelling, pain on flexion, and lameness. The most common diagnostic test is to administer five ml of a local anesthetic into the joint and quickly reassess the lameness on the lunge; there should be relief within five to ten minutes. X-rays are usually negative, although some cases may have mild changes at the edge of the joint called osteophytes, suggestive of degenerative joint disease. Treatment is easy and effective for months to years when horses are allowed a period of five to seven days of rest after injections with hyaluronic acid (HA) with or without steroids. We also now commonly use IRAP (interleukin-receptor antagonist protein) or platelet rich plasma (PRP) in order to provide antiinflammatory and/or regenerative therapy in conjunction with remedial shoeing to improve long-term success.

SOFT TISSUE INJURIES usually present as acute lameness during work or immediately following competition. The deep digital flexor tendon in the foot acts to help flex the foot and attaches to the bottom of the pedal bone within the hoof capsule. The deep digital flexor tendon can be strained or torn, and when this occurs we see acute lameness. The tendon cannot be palpated in the foot and tendon injuries in the foot cause lameness without heat, but deep palpation in the heel bulbs or just above may cause horses to react. Horses usually show significant lameness in a straight line. Horses will be negative to hoof testers, but there will be pain following flexion tests with increased lameness. Both nerve and joint blocks will be very important in fully localizing the lameness. Ultrasound and MRI are essential in the diagnosis of these cases and treatment depends on the structure injured and the severity of injury. Treatment can include rest, anti-inflammatory medication such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids, remedial shoeing, IRAP, PRP, stem cells, or surgery coupled with a specific rehabilitation program. Collateral ligaments of the coffin joint are another soft tissue commonly injured in the foot. These ligaments attach the pedal bone to the short pastern bone and stabilize the foot during exercises that involve changing direction quickly. Mild strain or tear in these ligaments is somewhat similar to rolling your ankle, as the coffin joint can become unstable after the injury. Treatment varies depending on the severity and degree of bone involvement, but can include IRAP, extra corporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT), rest, treatment of concurrent coffin joint inflammation, and even PRP injection into the lesion. NAVICULAR DISEASE and NAVICULAR BURSITIS are now recognized in all disciplines and all breeds. The navicular bone is a small bone in the back of the foot that sits between the pastern and pedal bone, allowing a smooth gliding surface for the deep digital flexor tendon to pass behind. A small fluid-filled sac






but recurrence after removal of medication is common. A nerve block will pinpoint the foot as the source of lameness, although radiographs may be normal. There can also be actual bruising of the pedal bone, which is a more serious injury. This can be diagnosed on bone scan where the bone has an increased uptake of signal or on MRI where bone edema of the pedal bone (P3) or pastern bone (P2) can be seen. Horses usually require a period of rest of one to three months, and may require medication such as aspirin, Osphos (clodronate Disodium), and low dose bute (phenylbutazone).

A veterinarian performing diagnostic blocking to pinpoint the source of lameness.

Internal Hoof Structure







Acute pain during or immediately following work can mean a diagnosis of soft tissue injury.

called the navicular bursa sits between the navicular bone and deep flexor tendon. Because of the close proximity of these structures, they are usually all considered when looking at lameness localized to the back of the foot. Most horses will present with a low-grade lameness, which waxes and wanes during the competition season. The lameness workup will localize the lameness to the back of the foot/heel region with no clear soft tissue injury seen after ultrasound. In some cases obvious changes can be seen on radiographs, but this may not be the case for younger horses that have been in work only a short time. MRI can also pick up bone edema (swelling) that cannot be seen on x-rays. Navicular disease cannot be cured



but it can be managed with remedial farriery (heart-bar or eggbar shoes), NSAIDS (bute, banamine), Isoxsuprine (a vasodilator), periodic rest, Tildren/Osphos (bone pain modification), ESWT, acupuncture, and navicular bursa injections.

FRACTURES are less common, and a quick and accurate diagnosis often allows a full return to function. Horses will often present with an acute lameness and radiographs will show a fracture line. Many fractures heal in three months with rest, but some may require surgery. We commonly use remedial shoes b and casts in combination with rest or surgery.

> Dr. Billy Hodge is a frequent contributor to this magazine — read his bio on page 90.









The Seven Deadly Sins of

HAYMAKING By Nikki Alvin-Smith There is a lot more to haymaking than “making hay while the sun shines,” though doing so is a necessary start. Sadly, each year horse barns and farmers’ storage barns burn down, and horses become sick from respiratory disease and colic, as well as myriad other diseases such as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID or Cushings disease). Many of these situations are avoidable so here are, in my opinion, the seven deadly sins of horse haymaking, in no particular order.

1 Hay Moisture

Baling hay that has a moisture content of over 14 percent can be a recipe for disaster and is not recommended. Once hay is cut it will “sweat up” for approximately two to three weeks. During this time if the moisture content is too high, the risk of spontaneous combustion within the haystack is also high if the moisture content is over 14 percent. There are lots of tools to help you ascertain the exact percentage of moisture in your hay including hay wands and moisture testers; some balers even read every bale as they go through the machine. Yes, farms are becoming more high tech each year. If you worry that your stack is becoming too hot, contact your Fire Department. Never try to take apart a haystack that is in a combustion state, however mild it may appear, without professional help. A haystack that is suspected — by either smell or heat measurement — of imminent combustion can explode into fire as it is taken apart when oxygen hits gases that have built up inside the stack. Hay that is baled with too much moisture will also “dust.” We all know the very real hazards to horses of dusts and moulds in hay, although you may not see or smell them. The reality is that early equine respiratory issues often start with just one bad bale, and colic can certainly be a real risk from bad hay. You can buy right from the wagons and will usually receive a discount from the farmer for doing so because it saves double handling. Just be sure to check the moisture and follow proper storage protocols.

To avoid colic always make changes in your horse’s hay slowly. Newly cut hay is going to be much richer than last year’s cut, and if it comes from a different source or field it will also have a different makeup than the hay previously fed. The equine digestive system needs time to adjust to changes, so be sure to add just a little bit of new with the old and switch over slowly. Try and store the hay two or three weeks before feeding, to cure.

2 Hay Preservatives

In order to cure hay, there are many different preservatives that can be added at time of baling and cutting. Most of these have been tested for safety with cattle but may or may not have been tested on horses. There is some evidence to suggest that certain preservatives, while undetectable to the eye or nose, may cause respiratory inflammation in horses. As your horse spends hours with his nose in hay for much of the year, it is not surprising that he might be affected in this manner. Why do farmers add these products? Simply put, using them saves time waiting for Mother Nature to dry the hay, and reduces dust in the hay that results as hay “sweats up” then cools down if it is baled with too much moisture. These products allow farmers to bale with more water content in the hay, which means if they sell by the ton they will receive a higher price. Many hay dealers prefer large heavy bales as they purchase hay by weight. The reality is that weight would be from water rather than tight compression of the product, or that the right compression is possible because chemical preservatives have been added to the product in the field during production. So be aware when you are buying hay that it is about more than the weight.

3 First Cut vs. Second Cut

Farmers charge a higher price for second cut hay than for first cut. This is because second cut is higher in protein and depending on the type of grass it is often softer than first cut, with less variety of grasses. Many horse owners prefer second cut for this reason. The yield of second cut is






Hay in windrows drying in the field.

often less than that of first. It is important to check the quality of the hay you use by core sampling and sending samples out for testing so you know its protein content and nutritional value, and how it will benefit your horse’s overall diet. Too much protein is not necessarily good for horses, although for dairy cows it is beneficial as it increases milk production, and for beef cattle it adds weight. High nitrogen content in hay can cause colic and digestive issues in the equine hindgut, and high protein and sugar content can cause and aggravate PPID. First cut hay can be a little less soft, but it is not generally as rich as second cut. It is also more “entertaining” for horses to eat as it takes more effort to chew and thus more time to eat. Personally,

unless I’m feeding a mare in late term gestation or with a foal at her side, or the horse is a high-performance Thoroughbred cross, I rarely use second cut for horses. I will use it as a supplement, but not as a main dietary source.

4 Hay Stacking Hay needs air circulation to keep it healthy. Store it with the string side on the vertical and cut side up to facilitate good drainage of any moisture to the bottom bales on the stack. We always sell the bottom of the stack for mulch hay and never feed it, but some farmers can depend on turnover and storage conditions, so practical use of the base layer of the stack

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for horse feed is open to preference. If hay is stored on a concrete floor, moisture will aspirate off the concrete up into the stack, so avoid that. Instead, add a layer of tarp and shavings on the surface of the concrete to help prevent moisture aspiration into the haystack. Leave a minimum of half an inch gap between and around every bale on the layer. Criss-cross the stack, i.e., one layer all in one direction, the other layer in the other direction, and repeat. This method of stacking improves airflow and helps mitigate the chance of spontaneous combustion within the stack while hopefully preventing it from tumbling down. If you have a hayloft do whatever you can to increase air circulation, and obviously no roof leaks should be allowed. Throwing a tarp on top of the hay under a leaking roof will not eliminate water and will allow water entry or runoff onto another part of the stack, and undesired moisture will inevitably be present in the building. Probably the very worst way to store hay is in a steel container because the repeated condensation of the metal sides, roof, and floor of the steel container produce moisture. If your feed merchant uses this method, beware. The front doors may be open but that won’t be enough to help maintain hay quality. Haylofts and older barns must be checked for integral strength in the joists to ensure they can handle the weight of the hay to be stacked. Haylofts in older structures may have been built for loose hay back in the day. Baled hay is much heavier than loose hay, and subsequent collapse of the loft floor can result if weight limits of the structure are not addressed with additional support.

Hay should be stored with the string side on the vertical and the cut side up to facilitate good moisture drainage. Leave at least a half inch gap between and around every bale, and criss-cross the layers in the stack to improve air flow.

5 Big Rounds or Squares vs. Small Squares

The small squares are naturally much easier to handle than larger units of hay and may be a little more expensive because there is so much more labour required, but overall small squares are a better choice for hay feed in my opinion. Round or large square bales are hard to handle in the barn, though they can be easily taken to the field using a tractor with the right fork or blade and are often used for outside feeding. The wastage factor is higher for larger bales unless a hay feeder is utilized. This occurs because the outside third to half of the round bale may be poor feeding for horses due to water, mould,

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Farmers baling small square bales of hay directly onto a wagon in St. Clements, Ontario.

fungus, etc., and because the horses will trample it as they pull it out from the bale. Be careful not to use cattle feeders for horses. Foals can get legs and heads caught in them, and even adult horses can put a hoof through and get caught. Check the design carefully. Large round bales don’t easily break into flakes, making it difficult to smell or check the bale for dead rodents or other animal tissue. This poses a real risk of botulism to your horse. During the haymaking process the equipment may run over a fawn, rabbits, birds, snakes, rodents, and myriad other critters. While coyotes, foxes and other scavengers may be around to pick off the dead matter from the windrows, round and large square bales are often produced with much larger windrows, which means the dead animal parts may not be seen and pulled out before baling. If dead animal matter is located in the centre of a round large bale, the hay most certainly won’t smell significantly enough for a handler to detect it. When small square bales are handled individually they go through many hands. The farmer and his help will notice an off-smelling bale and discard it. If you or your help pull small bales apart to feed, the flakes will fall and separate (or should if it is good hay properly cured), and you will soon detect any poor smell or visual surprises.

6 Hay That Gets Wet

Hay that gets wet on the field may be dried and baled once it has had an opportunity to dry out. The nutrition of this hay will be diminished to some extent which will make it a poorer product, though these bales are still very suitable for cattle and pig feeding. The colour of the hay will not be as green, and may be quite brown. Personally, we never feed our horses hay that has been doused with rain and then dried; we simply mulch it or if it 40




is baled we sell it off to a local pig farmer at a hugely discounted price. This does not mean that it is a bad thing to do; we just don’t want to feed an inferior product to our horses.

7 Time of Cutting, Types of Grass, Know the Source For highest “sweetness” the perfect time to cut hay is around 10 am to 2 pm on a sunny day. This is when the sugars are up in the stalk. As dusk falls the sugars in grasses return to their roots, to a large degree. This may be relevant if you run a horse rescue and have horses that are not used to richness in hay that might make them sick, or for horses suffering from PPID or other metabolic disorders. When shopping for your own food you are likely aware of its source as much as possible; it pays to apply the same rule to your horse hay. The hay you buy should be “clean and green.” If your hay dealer delivers weedy hay, or hay that is brown, dusty, or of poor quality in general, find another source. There are many types of horse hay grasses and legumes, but that is a topic for a whole other article. A mixed grass bale will work best for most horses. Consult an equine nutritionist or your veterinarian about suitable hay to feed your horse. Remember, if you are throwing hay away because of poor quality you will not be saving money because you found a cheap product. Find a good source and stick with it. A farmer values regular customers and it will be a win-win situation as he will always supply his regular customers as a priority in times of shortage. b > Nikki Alvin-Smith is a new contributor to this magazine. Read her bio on page 90.

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Whether you run a large horse business or a small private barn, finding good employees to help with the daily duties of horse care, training, and lessons is usually a difficult task. Some horse owners freely admit that their “horse resources” acumen is better than their “human resources” insight. In reality, good management of both takes similar talent and is easier to achieve than you might think. Here are some tips to help you along the way. 1 Select Staff Carefully

In the words of leading entrepreneur and Shark Tank TV show’s legendary panelist, Barbara Corcoran: “When you 42




have chemistry with a potential hire, they will most likely become a great employee.” This is one good way to narrow down your selection for a new hire. The position you need to fill will most likely require certain skill sets. Some skills can be trained, while others may be innate. When you make a good choice there is a much better chance that the person you hire will stay and do well under your tutelage. As Corcoran also says: “Don’t teach talent that isn’t there.” It is a fact of life that if you hire people to work for you, at some point you are also going to have to fire people who work for you. Try to minimize the staff turnover

as much as possible by checking all job references, spending time with the prospective employee to get to know them, and thoroughly explain the job requirements in a realistic manner so you can gauge their reaction. During my career as an advanced rider, clinician, and coach I’ve often wondered why it is that folks will go to the end of the earth to select the perfect horse to purchase for themselves, yet when it comes to the person they will share their horse time with, who will care for the horse as the designated groom, barn help, or exercise rider, they rush into the final choice without due diligence.


Barn aisles should be kept clean and free of obstacles.

If, like many horse owners, your equine partners are part of the family, you should care very much about who is around them and how well they will be cared for on a daily basis, and ensure the help is an honest and reliable individual with integrity. Probation periods are an option for new employees. Much like a horse coming home on trial, they provide a valuable opportunity to assess the fit and suitability of your selection. But just as many folks won’t allow their good horses out on trial before buying, some prospective staff who have already earned a good reputation and have the


required talent to do the job often won’t agree to probationary periods of hire. 2 Provide a Safe and Harmonious Environment

Regardless of the level of training or instruction services at your facility, it’s imperative that all regular occupants and visitors to the property feel safe and secure when on the grounds. This is especially true for staff who will toil long hours doing sometimes arduous and possibly even dangerous work. The aisleways of the barn should be clear of obstacles and equipped with emergency release crossties, and must



Signs with important instructions should be placed in highly visible locations.






Your employees are your biggest resource and most valuable asset. As your brand ambassadors, they are the face of your company to your customers and clients.

Every member of your staff should understand what needs to be done, and be provided with the necessary tools and equipment to perform tasks safely and with confidence.





be wide enough that horse and human can safely navigate the space. Outside, the fences and gates should be in good repair, and heavy traffic areas such as entrances to barns and paddocks should be properly surfaced to avoid seasonal mud and ice issues. A clean yard is a safe yard. Equipment that might cause injury to horse or human should always be stored out of key work zones. Fire safety is of utmost importance at a horse facility. Exit signs, no smoking rules, and properly charged fire extinguishers should always be clearly evident throughout the barn (especially at both ends of a centre aisle) and indoor riding space. Emergency evacuation plans for hurricanes, floods, mudslides, and fire should always be posted with emergency numbers on hand. Barn rules should also be clearly posted, as well as labour law notices pertaining to the business that are a requirement for operation of the entity. Ensure that employees are provided with a safe location to store their personal belongings when on site, and a place to relax in comfort during their breaks. Breaks should be given as the law requires. A break room or space that is heated in

winter and cool in summer with a few simple provisions such as a coffee pot and a fridge with bottles of water will help refresh your staff throughout the day.



3 Put Training Protocols in Place

The great ideas in your head won’t see the light of day if you don’t communicate. Employees are not mind-readers. Don’t throw them in the deep end or expect them to just get on with it. We all have our particular ways and preferred methods of doing things, and taking the time to properly explain how and when you want tasks performed is key to minimizing the time you will spend supervising staff. Be fair-minded as you ease your new staff into your regimen. Ensure that they understand what needs to be done and have the necessary tools, clothing, and equipment to carry out their tasks with confidence and without risk of injury. Just as you wouldn’t ask a green off-thetrack Thoroughbred to jump an oxer, don’t ask your new staff member to take on more than they are trained to do and have the ability to successfully accomplish. Set your employees up for success, and help them learn their tasks inside and out with confidence in their ability to complete all facets of their jobs. For example, if your feisty Warmblood stallion requires adept horsemanship skills to handle, do not ask your newbie inexperienced employee to take on this responsibility. Ensure that there is a time schedule available for rotational staff shifts if they apply, and that the daily chore list is checked off with the time it was completed and initialed by the person who handled it. This will minimize the time you spend checking on where in the schedule your help is currently working and what still needs to be done, as well as being able to locate them if an urgent need arises, or if they are out of cell service range. A blackboard or similar highly visible signage at the barn entrance can alert employees to special needs that might have arisen during their absence, such as a horse showing signs of colic or lameness, or additional duties that need to be prioritized. Signs with feed times and amounts, turn-out schedules, and special instructions should be posted on individual stall doors. Include the name of any equine companion the horse should or should not be pastured with and any special paddock selection needs, e.g., for stallions or mares/foals. This information can save time and mistakes when administering feed, supplements, hay

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types and quantities, and address leg wrapping or medical needs that may be pertinent. If the barn has a designated feed room, feeding notes can be duplicated there too, adding an important doublecheck system in busy barns. All bridles, saddles, and halters should be tagged to indicate the specific horse’s name to avoid errors tacking up. This will save wasted time refitting equipment when horses are handled. Hopefully, each horse enjoys the important benefit of its own saddle professionally fitted for its individual needs, a bridle and bit that fit and work best for the particular horse, and a halter that won’t pull off over its head if it becomes fractious or excited during turnout and pulls back from the handler.


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It can be difficult to manage the budget when running a horse business, but investing in your staff is a key area that should not be overlooked. Training your employees takes time and effort, and even if they aren’t learning on the job, you don’t want them to be unable to dedicate the necessary time and effort to your work because they have to run between multiple employment places in order to earn a decent living. It’s not fair to expect free help after hours for no additional pay. Extra payment for overtime does not have to be monetary, it can be a training lesson or a paid clinic riding slot, or extra time off. Whatever the hours, the pay and the terms of employment should always be agreed to and in writing. “Money is not the only thing that motivates employees. It’s about making them happy.” — Barbara Corcoran 5 Show Respect and Communicate

The first step in good team management is to take responsibility if the fault or problem lies with you. For example, if you have never instructed your groom on how to correctly fit a double bridle, don’t just leave them to figure it out. Compare it to asking a horse that has never been off the farm to walk up on a stranger’s tiny horse trailer and settle quietly for the ride. It might happen and the result might be okay, but it also might not, so why take the chance? Training will help ensure a successful outcome. Always show respect for your staff and take them aside at a quiet moment to address any issues that may arise. If you determine that the error or fault lies with the employee, sandwich your criticism. Acknowledge what they are doing right, then explain what they need to improve on, and then recognize that

they are trying hard or doing their best. Always assure them that you are there if they have questions or need help. Staff grievances should always be listened to and remedied as soon as possible, and not left to fester and contaminate the work environment for everyone else. Open communication is very important in establishing good working relationships. 6 Lead by Example and Show Appreciation

Incentivize your employee to work hard and stay keen by offering a bonus for extra effort. The “carrot and stick” philosophy works to some degree, but just as with most horses, carrots are appreciated and people are reward-driven. The carrot is the kindest and fairest way to build trust, so be generous with a well-deserved pat-on-the-back or verbal recognition. It will reap far more benefits than a “stick” or threat of consequences if they don’t improve. Most people want to work at a job they enjoy, where they are treated with respect and have prospects for promotion and a larger paycheque or job training opportunity. As much as possible, give them what they need. Always remember that trust builds through transparency and leadership. Set the tone and actions in the barn by setting a good example that your staff can mirror. Remember horses behave by imitating others, too. A horse that is acting up sets a poor example to others nearby, creating a distraction at best and inspiring panic at worst. It’s a follow-theleader mentality. Just as you would take an experienced horse and rider as the lead pair the first time you take a green horse out on the road or trail aim to be that calm lead horse yourself and set a good example.

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7 Be the Herd Leader

Always select your staff with an eye to how they will get along with others. It is essential that everyone is aware of their chain of command and follows it. If you designate someone to be the barn manager, follow through on your delegation of duties and let them manage. In a horse herd there is a dominant member and a leader, and they are not the same individual. Which one are you? Or is your business so small that you wear both hats? If possible, be the herd leader and let your manager be the dominant member.

Take Home Message

We always learn best when we surround ourselves with others who have been successful at what we aim to do. Think of the gurus like Branson and Corcoran as your Olympic level clinicians and follow their advice to train yourself to be a better employer. Most of us did not go to school to learn how to manage staff, nor do we have degrees in human resources or psychology, but by learning and following a few simple rules, we can make life for everyone at the barn a whole lot better. “Trust and respect are two-way streets. We want the horse to accept us as leaders of the herd, to guide them safely and to provide protection and comfort. In return, they will give us their respect, and willing submission to our ideas about what to do next, and when and where. But this respect can only be based on well deserved trust.” — Walter Zettl, dressage master. Zettl’s advice could aptly be applied to the management b of staff, too. > Nikki Alvin-Smith is a new contributor to this magazine. Read her bio on page 90. SUMMER 2021




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When Things Go


in the Show Ring

How to turn mistakes into learning opportunities

Nip penalties in the bud by thinking about what might go wrong and how horses experience the competitive environment.







f you plan to step into the competition arena, expect the unexpected. Few sports have more variables than riding — a 1,000-pound partner that doesn’t speak or think like a human; judges with preferences; fluctuating footing and weather conditions; various competition venues; required patterns, courses and tests changing with each show. When equestrians take their horses off-property, it’s not a matter of if, but rather of when the unexpected and unplanned will happen. So, let’s plan for it. Anything that can go wrong will go wrong. Murphy’s law certainly applies. What might you expect to go wrong in the show ring? From my perspective as a judge, I’ll share common mistakes, so common in fact that every score sheet has a menu of these



will earn a five-point penalty in many Western events. But flight off the track or a spook-and-run-back may take you off pattern and out of the placings. Why does it happen? As a prey animal, a horse feels vulnerable in unfamiliar territory. A social creature, his instinct tells him there’s safety in numbers. The spook of one horse in a flat class inevitably triggers a flurry of flight! Performing individually while solo in the ring, your horse may feel vulnerable and on high alert for anything moving or changing. Interestingly, I’ve found some horses to be less spooky in the show venue bustle than on home turf. That scary shadow on the ground is now eclipsed by all the sights, sounds, and movement of the horse show.


Your horse navigates the trail gate on autopilot, sets up his own feet in showmanship, or jumps into the canter at the click of the announcer’s microphone. He seems to know what comes next, which is manageable until you try to upset the order. Anticipation shows up on the judge’s card in a variety of ways, usually reducing the movement or maneuver score, unless your horse’s “overthinking” culminates in a penalty-earning error.

By Lindsay Grice, Equestrian Canada coach and judge

mishaps and space to record their numerical deductions. These include minor miscalculations such as a chip before a hunter fence, a slight overspin in reining, or a not-quite-square dressage halt, as well as major blunders such as a refusal, buck, or spook. As a judge, I can only observe, record, and occasionally excuse competitors when things go wrong. Such is judging’s downside. For someone with the heart of a teacher there is little opportunity to explain and to coach. Why do these things happen? Now I’ll put on my hat as a specialist in horse behaviour (and a generally curious person with an inclination to ask why). Fixing what happened depends on discovering why it happened. Uncover the source and the symptoms begin to

fade away. Later in this article I’ll coach you through an action plan — when things go wrong, what do you do? How to manage in the moment while minimizing the incident’s impact to your score, to the other competitors, and to your longerterm training goals.

What Can Go Wrong in the Show Ring? Deductions differ across the disciplines, but judges recognize and penalize these common errors.


Your horse freezes or flees. For its affect to your score, in most disciplines the first option is preferable to the second. For example, a startle and stop

Why does it happen? A reiner’s tension builds at the centre of the ring because that’s where all the transitions, flying changes, and spins start. An unsettled horse dances at the start cone of a pattern while his nervous rider tries to hold him still, which only makes him feel trapped. In previous classes, upon the judge’s nod, the rider unintentionally stepped on the gas pedal, thus beginning this horse’s anticipation cycle and dread of the start cone as if it were the Bogeyman. A hunter jigs in the hack class at the sound of the announcer’s microphone clicking to call for the canter. No doubt he’s been startled once or twice by his rider’s hasty outside leg cue, particularly if other horses have begun to canter. Now he’s preparing to take off faster than a teen driver burning rubber out of a high school parking lot. Horses are creatures of routine, learning quickly by association (classical conditioning) and by trial and error, choices and outcomes (operant conditioning). Horse show routines soon become habits, often unintentionally. Behaviours learned in the presence of fear are not soon forgotten. A prey animal in nature doesn’t get a second chance to make a judgment error. SUMMER 2021





hunter, decrease the movement score in dressage, cost a penalty of .5 or 2 in reining or a deduction of 1, 3 or 5 points for most Western events, depending on the number of strides.


Horses express tension with busy mouths, hasty steps, and rigid necks when they feel trapped or confused with no clear option to find relief.


Practice go-forward and move-over cues during every training session so they are confirmed, reliable tools to persuade your horse to go where his instinct tells him not to.

might balk to a stop or dig in his toes, screeching on the brakes. These major faults ensure you’ll be out of the ribbons. Repeat two or three times (depending on the rules of your riding association) and you’ll be excused from the ring.

Why does it happen? Conflict behaviour describes the way horses respond when feeling trapped or confused and without a clear option to find relief. Examples include the horse held in place by a nervous rider or unrelenting training tack, stressed by the abrupt signals of a frustrated rider, or confused by the conflicting aids of a rider overwhelmed with navigating arena traffic while sorting through the announcer’s instructions and the voice of her coach from the sidelines!

Why does it happen? Contrary to what we’d like to believe, a horse doesn’t naturally love to jump. Hurdling over an obstacle into the unseen other side clashes with his strong survival instinct and caution about taking unnecessary risks. Do you have the tools in place to persuade your horse to go where his instinct tells him not to? As a judge, I wince to see a competitor who hasn’t trained their horse past the “head steering” stage before entering a show. Without confirmed lateral skills and a reliable go-forward signal, they’re unable to override the equine inclination to skip the trail obstacle, or to funnel a wary horse forward and over the fence. Circling after a stop for another approach only confirms an optional side exit. Moreover, the horse’s evasion is unavoidably rewarded as they’re excused from the ring.




Short rigid necks, busy mouths, fixed ears, hasty steps. Expressions of tension are more likely to reduce your score without earning an actual penalty.

Your horse veers off the path to evade the jump or avoid the trail bridge. He 54




Even the smallest dribble from canter to trot will earn an automatic low score in

Why does it happen? Typically, a horse that breaks gait isn’t light and listening to the aids. In a distracting environment, this education gap is evident. The “go” button is sticky and fails in the crucial stride between canter and trot. The lateral control is weak and unreliable to shift the hips or shoulders back on track. Selfcarriage is when the horse stays connected, on track, and in rhythm, whether you shorten or lengthen his stride, without having to hold him there — kind of like cruise control.

GATE ISSUES I’ve seen my share of in-gate issues from the judge’s chair, and I’ve tackled my share as a competitor. The arena entrance is the site of scorecards full of penalties: irregular circles, breaks of gait, cross-cantering (losing the hind lead), or even refusing to enter. In a trail or hunter class, bulging off-line on approach to an obstacle disrupts the canter rhythm and flow of the course, resulting in an awkward take-off distance or “chip.” Why does it happen? A horse’s tendency is to cut in one half of almost every circle and “bulge” out the other half. The rider may steer his head, but the remainder of the horse fishtails towards home. The magnet of the barn and buddies is a powerful draw for the herd-oriented animal. To a horse, there’s safety in numbers.

LEAD ISSUES Departing on the wrong lead, skipping to the incorrect lead, or slipping off-track to a disunited lead (cross-cantering) are costly errors. Like breaking gait, many disciplines ascribe a range of numerical penalties, depending on how many strides the horse is out of lead. Why does it happen? Some eager riders enter the show ring without a thorough knowledge of leads. As your horse’s teacher, you must be able to identify your canter lead by feel — anytime, anywhere. You can feel the lead, not only on the first stride, but as your horse is lifting off into that first stride. Comparing your horse’s body parts to a train, wrong leads result when one car derails — the hip slips off the tracks to the outside or the shoulder bulges to the inside. Penalties occur when


Anticipate trouble spots such as the spooky sections of the ring and the in-gate.

the rider is late to recognize the warning signs, or without the lateral aids to prevent evasions.

Every Mistake Is A Learning Opportunity


“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twentysix times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” — Michael Jordan

These are the show ring bloopers for which we have no one to blame but ourselves. They include asking for the wrong gait, wrong lead, or forgetting an element altogether. Other disqualifications arise from failure to be familiar with the rules. For example, failing to follow class protocol or sporting unpermitted tack (see The Science of Tack and Training Aids in the Early Summer issue of this magazine). Why does it happen? Mental lapses. Failure to deeply memorize the course. Neglecting to plan a step-by-step class strategy. I was the off-course queen as a junior rider. I remember that lost-in-thejungle feeling of not knowing what jump or turn came next. Vagueness has been my downfall more times than I can count. Too many pre-class instructions from a coach or supporter with the best of intentions can drown out your class plan if not decisive and deeply memorized. Things will go wrong in the show ring. Considering what might happen and why they happen ensures that we won’t be surprised. When riders consider how horses experience the competitive environment and how they view their world, it helps to nip penalties in the bud. 56




We explored common horse show mistakes seen and scored from the judge’s seat, and dug into the source of why mishaps happen. By gleaning insights from the science of how horses learn and think, we uncover explanations beyond excuses (she’s just being a mare) or traditions (seven falls make a rider). I use this evidence vs. emotions-based approach in coaching riders how to consider the horse’s perspective in order to fix the issue. Now, it’s time for an action plan. How do you manage in the moment to minimize the incident’s impact to your score, to your fellow competitors, and to your confidence? A snag in the show ring need not become a setback, unraveling your training progress. In fact, a snag reveals a weak area, which is an opportunity to build back better. Imagine catching your sweater on a stall door latch. You could keep walking, tugging on your arm in frustration as a little snag becomes a lariat loop and you

walk right out of your unravelling sweater. Or, you could unhook the snag in the moment, carefully carrying on with dignity despite the disappointing and embarrassing loop, until you can make the repair at home. I see a lot of frustrated riders at horse shows, “schooling” (jerking) on their horses after they’ve hit a snag in their class. While cooler heads prevail, here is a list of some general don’ts and dos, followed by more specific fixes for typical show ring mistakes.

DON’T GO TO THE SHOW WITHOUT YOUR TOOLS READY. But he never does that at home! When your horse responds to a cue “most of the time,” he hasn’t thoroughly learned it. A busy horse show atmosphere is sensory overload for a green horse. It’s like asking a kid to review multiplication tables on the park bench at Wonderland before going on the roller coaster; it’s tough to concentrate and recall!

DON’T BLAME YOUR HORSE. When I assume my horse “should know better” the truth is, at that moment of frustration and embarrassment, I’ve really just run out of creativity, patience, and my understanding of how horses learn and perceive the world.

DON’T BLAME THE JUDGE, YOUR SPOUSE, YOUR MOM, OR THE FOOTING. All competitors share the same conditions and officials. Control what you can, and do the best with the circumstances you’re dealt. Appreciate your pit crew. They could be on the golf course or in the garden this weekend instead of at a horse show.

At home, if you encounter a roadblock or resistance you can try another approach or simpler steps. In the show ring, it may be impossible to follow through on what you’ve asked your horse without disturbing other competitors or disrupting class procedure. Mistakes swept under the carpet will later on show up as anxiety, anticipation, and unwanted habits. Exiting the ring without taking the correct lead, not getting through the trail gate, or not getting over the jump can begin a downward spiral of “untraining” your horse. “In almost all training situations, the most effective way to ‘delete’ behaviours is to prevent them from being expressed,” — Dr. Andrew Mclean.

DON’T REWARD EVASION. Sadly, that’s what happens when we circle away from the jump or trail obstacle to take another shot at it. For example, we reward evasion when our horses prance in anticipation of a barrel pattern or the call to canter and we let them go before they settle.

DO ANTICIPATE TROUBLE SPOTS. Where are the magnets, potentially drawing your horse offline or off course? Be prepared for your horse to drift out and cut in somewhere on every circle. Where are the spooky sections of the ring? Which part of the pattern will be challenging for your horse? Perhaps certain transitions are sticky, or he tenses up when another horse comes up behind him. Through a few show seasons I managed a horse that reliably came unglued at applause. In the lineup, I watched for the judges to submit their cards so I could dismount before the placings were announced and divert her attention.

DO BLOW THE CLASS AND FIX THE PROBLEM… SOMETIMES. Sure, there is a time for camouflaging the mistake and showing to win. But for the long-term, invest in the training of




A side benefit of riding through those oops moments is the wisdom gained by experiencing them and living to tell the tale.

your horse even if it costs the class, and do so tactfully and with grace. Be gracious to your horse, because he won’t learn anything when stressed. Be gracious to other exhibitors and don’t compromise their safety or success. And be gracious to the judge who is letting you finish your pattern or jump a courtesy fence after you’ve technically been disqualified.

DO ASSESS THE SITUATION. Tell the story of exactly what went wrong. Put the facts into words: 1. My horse kicked at a horse cantering up behind me in the class. I noticed these warning signs — ears tense and turned back. Then, he raised his head and sped up. 2. My horse would not stand still at the start marker. The more I held him in place, the more agitated he became. He charged off at the judge’s nod, breaking into a canter instead of the

required sitting trot. 3. My horse switched leads, loping past the in-gate on the way to the lope-over obstacle. His hind end left the track at the gate and our approach to the obstacle was crooked.

DO PREPARE A PLAN B. Have it in your tool kit to patch a mistake in the moment (never mind — carry on). Your spare tire is not a permanent tire to drive on, but an imperfect substitute to allow you to finish your trip. A Plan B example might be: Next time, if my horse tenses at the start cone, I’ll walk a calm, little circle instead of forcing him to stand there.

DO DETACH FROM FRUSTRATION. Emotions can muddle the clarity of our aids or magnify them like a megaphone. A rider’s emotion stirs up her horse’s emotions. Emotions can cloud the logical solution to the issue. When SUMMER 2021




haunches. These are the tools you’ll need to override every hesitancy.



Tension in the rider builds tension in the horse. An unsettled horse that won’t stand still in the lineup or at the start cone feels trapped if held in place by his rider.

hitting a snag in the warm-up or show ring, take a deep breath and assess the communication gap with your horse.

Practical Fixes For Common Errors on the Judge’s Scorecard GATE ISSUES AND GAIT ISSUES The gate is a powerful magnet, drawing the horse’s attention out of the ring and towards his barn buddies, derailing him out of lead (hind end drifts off the track toward home) or out of gas (break of gait). Riders can counteract the draw to the gate by doing the opposite of what the horse is inclined to do. Here are some ideas: In the practice ring, leg yield away from the gate with every pass. Accelerate past the gate every time if deceleration is your horse’s

default. Don’t stop to rest or dismount at the gate. School in the gate — make it part of your routine by trotting in and out, backing out, and so on. Use your imagination.

REFUSALS AND RUNOUTS To convince your horse to go where his instinct tells him not to, you need the proper tools at your disposal. Are your go-forward and move-over cues reliable? Does he yield to leg pressure every time, everywhere? With no tools to guide a wary horse over an obstacle, the rider is inadvertently rewarding the evasion as they’re excused from the ring. Sprinkle lateral movements liberally into every training session — side pass, leg yield, turn-on-the-forehand and turn-on-the-


Our default, when nervous, is to clutch the reins and grip with our legs. Conflicting aids create confusion and transmit tension.





Take a deep breath. Keep all signals to your horse distinct and deliberate. Communicating calmly and clearly gives him a chance to process each cue. Our default when nervous is to clutch the reins and grip with our legs. Conflicting aids create confusion, confusion breeds tension, and tension triggers the horse to escape the stressful situation. Avoid abrupt signals. With your horse on high alert, combined with your own survival instinct, you’ll be inclined to overreact, triggering your horse’s flight response. There’s a delicate balance between riding defensively on the lookout for potential danger, and riding with relaxation. Arrive at the show grounds in plenty of time to acclimatize your horse to the show ring and desensitize him to anything that might capture his attention. When mishaps happen, aim to recover quickly. Four elements fall apart when your horse shies, stumbles, or slips into another lead or gait: pace, path, package, and position. Your pace changes and the horse may scoot forward, break gait, or stop. Your path detours and the horse may spook to the safety of the arena centre, counterbend to gawk at something scary, or lose balance and drop his shoulder. Likely, the package or shape of the horse changes as he elevates his head and spills out of a round frame. And finally, your position changes and you may pitch forward, slip sideways, or get left behind. As you gain confidence, aim to recover these elements within a few strides of the incident. I’ve salvaged many classes after my horse jumped off the rail by getting back on track while maintaining composure before the judge could turn around to check out the commotion. A side benefit of riding through those oops moments is the wisdom gained by experiencing them and living to tell the tale. As long as there are horse shows there will be things that go wrong in the show ring. By contrasting our own perceptions with those of our horses, we can opt for a solution with more logic and less emotion. We can carry on in the moment and (eventually) appreciate the b learning opportunity! > Lindsay Grice is a regular contributor to this magazine — read her bio on page 90.



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Canadian Sam Walker riding Waldo in the victory gallop at the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Championship in 2018.

Winning THE



he ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Championship, known simply as “the Maclay,” is the most prestigious equitation class for under 18-yearolds in North America. Held every fall since 1933, the championship is considered a proving ground for future champions and many teens tailor their junior riding years specifically toward the class. The winners’ list is a who’s who of the North American hunter-jumper world and includes American riders William C. Steinkraus (1941), Frank Chapot (1947), George Morris (1952), J. Michael Plumb (1957), Conrad Homfield (1967), Leslie Burr (1972), and Jessica Springsteen (2008), among others. Four Canadians have also won the coveted championship trophy — Laura Tidball (1980), Erynn Ballard (1998), Brian Walker (2001), and Sam Walker (2018) — and all four of them have subsequently represented Canada in show jumping competitions.

By Tania Millen

Sam Walker is the most recent Canadian to win the Maclay but didn’t plan on being an equitation rider. “I didn’t really know what the Maclay was until I was about 13 years old,” he says. But after seeing the class for the first time in Florida, he decided to enter one. He admits, “I was always a little hesitant to do the equitation because I love the jumpers. But once I did



In 1980, Laura (Tidball) Balisky was the first Canadian to win the Maclay Championship. She went on to represent Canada as a member of the Canadian Show Jumping Team including at the 1987 PanAmerican Games where they won the team gold medal. (L-R) 1987 Pan Am Gold Medal Team Hugh Graham, Laura Tidball Balisky, Lisa Carlsen, Ian Millar.





In 1998, Erynn Ballard was the second Canadian rider to capture the Maclay. She is now a sought-after coach, rider, and catch rider, and has established her reputation as one of the hardest working my very first professionals in the Maclay class, I knew industry.

that competing in the [Maclay] final was going to be a really big goal of mine.” Walker says that after a few classes, “The better I got at equitation and the Maclay class, the more my riding improved. So, the more equitation I did, the better I got in the jumper ring, which meant I wanted to continue doing equitation.” Walker’s explanation of how equitation subsequently helped him in the jumper ring reflects the historical roots of the ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Horsemanship Championship, which originated when a humane society (ASPCA) and an ethical horseman (Alfred B. Maclay) combined to sponsor a trophy at the longstanding National Horse Show in the United States. The National Horse Show was founded in 1883 by influential American sportsmen and was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City until 2001, when it had to move as the Gardens were slated for demolition. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was created in 1866 and was the first humane society to be established in North America. It was founded on the belief that animals are entitled to kind and respectful treatment at the hands of humans and must be protected under the law. Alfred Barmore Maclay was born in 1871 and subsequently became president of the National Horse Show from 1922 to 1924, after which he was elected president of the American Horse Shows Association (the predecessor to the United States Equestrian Federation) for 12 years. Mr. Maclay believed that horse shows were important for the dissemination of knowledge about horses, hence he wanted to






Erynn Ballard and Fellini S.

create a trophy that would inspire younger riders to develop exceptional horsemanship skills along with respect and compassion for their equine partners. These three created the Maclay class, which was first held at the National Horse Show in 1933 and was described as “a Horsemanship Cup presented by the ASPCA and donated by Alfred B. Maclay.” That year, Audrey Hasler Chesney bested the 29-rider class, which had a stated purpose of “development of skill in jumping, combined with kindness and gentleness in handling the reins.” Today, approximately 175 junior riders from across North America compete at the Maclay finals, which are still held at the National Horse Show — the longest-running horse show in the USA. Jennifer Burger is the current president of the show, which is held during the last week of October and the first week of November at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky. She says that the show features equitation championships for juniors and adults, plus junior, professional, and adult hunter divisions earlier in the week, but says, “When the Maclay warm-up starts, the whole atmosphere and energy shifts in the arena. The young people come in and they’re very serious. It’s the culmination of their effort, dedication, and years of hard work with their trainers and horses.” Riders qualify for the finals through eight regional competitions across the USA where each rider is only allowed to compete on one horse, and riders must be members of the ASPCA to enter. “They’re all winners for even getting there,” says Burger. “But there’s a lot of hardship and emotion as the day goes on. You can see it when a horse goes lame at the last minute or has a rail at the first fence, or a stop. You can feel the heartbreak because the kids put so much into this.” The class is judged whereby 50 percent of the riders’ overall


Sam Walker was 16 years old in 2018, and only the fourth Canadian rider ever to win the Maclay.

mark is determined from jumping performances and 50 percent is determined from flat performances, with riders judged on their seat, hands, guidance, and control of the horse. Burger says, “The talent and effort necessary to be one of the 175 to compete in the Maclay finals — the precision, dedication, hard work, execution, care of the horse, the overall commitment to the time and intense work needed — would teach you so much. Not only to be a professional rider or trainer but a professional anything: a doctor, a lawyer, a professional in the industry. There are so many wonderful life lessons that you learn within the sport of riding, especially at the Maclay level, that riders will carry with them for the rest of their lives no matter where they go and what they do. It’s a brilliant character-building opportunity.” The Maclay finals begin with a jumping round after which the judges select a smaller number of entries to proceed to the next phase, which is equitation on the flat. For the flat portion, riders are required to walk, trot, and canter, plus judges may request additional flatwork. Following the flat phase, another “cut” is made and the remaining riders are asked back to ride a second jumping course. It’s up to the discretion of the judges whether there is further testing after the second round. The jumping courses must be 1.05 metres (3 feet, 6 inches) high with or without wings, include at least one change of lead and a combination including an oxer, plus one-third of the obstacles must be oxers. Additionally, all courses must include at least three of the following: a bending line, narrow jump, roll-back turn, end fence, and a long approach to a single jump. 64




In 2021, the winner of the Maclay finals will be crowned at the National Horse Show on November 7, a date many junior riders are already preparing for. Burger explains, “These equitation championships are very important to the juniors, they’re a lifelong goal. It’s the best younger riders in the country who have just worked so hard and it’s wonderful we’ve had four Canadian winners.” Since Maclay classes are held at American horse shows, qualifying for the finals and winning the championship trophy is extra challenging for Canadians. However, meeting those challenges has certainly paid off for the four Canadians who have managed to win the trophy. Laura Balisky (nee Tidball), whose family operates Thunderbird Show Park in Langley, British Columbia, was the first Canadian to win the Maclay Championship in 1980. Balisky was subsequently a member of the Canadian Show Jumping Team at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Games, the 1986 World Championships, and was part of the gold medalwinning team at the 1987 Pan-American Games. She represented Canada at five FEI World Cup Jumping Finals. She now operates Thunderbird Show Stables in Langley with her husband, Brent Balisky. Erynn Ballard was the second Canadian to win the Maclay in 1998. At the North American Young Riders championships in 1999 she captured the individual gold medal, and in 2000 she won silver medals in both the team and individual events. She made her Nations Cup debut at the 2006 Spruce Meadows ‘Masters’ tournament, helping her Canadian team attain victory for the first time in the event’s history. She is now a sought-after trainer and coach, plus a regular rider on


In 2001, Brian Walker became the third Canadian to win the Maclay. Walker and Carlson 93 are shown competing for Canada at CWIO3* Samorin, in Slovakia in September 2017.






Missy Clark, who owns Waldo, the grey Warmblood gelding ridden by Sam Walker in the Maclay, says that equitation helps riders develop their skills, regardless of their end goals. “It’s just about correct riding.”

Canada’s Nations Cup Show Jumping Teams. She operates Looking Back Farm in Ontario. Brian Walker (no relation to Sam Walker) was the third Canadian to win the Maclay when it was held for the very last time at Madison Square Garden in New York City in 2001. Brian made his Nations Cup debut on Canada’s Show Jumping Team in 2017 and is currently based in Europe where he develops quality horses for the hunter-jumper rings. Sam Walker competed in Maclay classes for four years, from age 13 until he won the championship at age 16 in 2018, and says, “It [competing in Maclay classes] was a huge commitment. It took a lot of people and a big team to make everything happen… and I was very lucky to ride with Missy Clark and John Brennan of North Run.” Coaching plays a big part in junior rider equitation success, and Missy Clark and her husband John Brennan are wellknown for producing top equitation riders. They operate North Run stables in Vermont and Florida and for the past 30 years have coached national level equitation champions, including Canadians Erynn Ballard, Brian Walker, and Sam Walker. Clark says she never intended to become an equitation coach but explains that equitation classes help riders develop their skills, regardless of what their goals are. “Whether you want to be the best jumper rider you can be or the best hunter rider or just the best rider per se, equitation is a by-product of what I teach… which is correct riding,” she says. “Good equitation over big fences is what it’s all about,” continues Clark. “I’ve always believed that none of this


Rounds 1 and 2 from the 2020 ASPCA Maclay Horsemanship championship. Course architect Bobby Murphy says the courses are very technical and designed to test the riders, but not to excessively challenge the horses.






by op ding.”

[hunter, jumper, equitation, and other horse events] is a separate sport. It’s just about correct riding and where you go with it. That’s why I don’t treat equitation as its own discipline.” Clark also believes there are no shortcuts to success, saying, “A lot of the riders that have gone on to do great things in the jumper ring have great basics.” She continues, “Every day we go back to basics: fundamentals of position, and good hands and seat. Then you can add pace management, line, and track.” But it’s not just great riding that produces winners. Clark notes that the majority of riders who win the Maclay have natural talent, can handle the pressure, have great feel, plus have an exceptional attitude. She also says that riders need parental support, experience, mileage, as well as the right horse, although finding the right horse can be challenging. “The best equitation horses have to be very patient and have athleticism, great lead changes, good balance, a very good attitude, and be brave and careful,” she explains. “I’ve had people call me about jumpers that weren’t good enough… maybe not careful enough or comfortable jumping 1.40 metres, and many of those horses have become great equitation horses.” Sam Walker’s Maclay ride was named Waldo, a 17-plus hand, grey, imported Warmblood gelding owned by Clark. She says, “When I initially saw Waldo [as a four-year-old], I immediately liked what I saw and we bought him. He had a huge stride, an excellent jump, and he’s very handsome. But he was a long project. It took us a good four years. But he was so careful… so we just took our time and never rushed.” “He was an unusual horse,” laughs Clark. “He was either going to be one of the best ones I ever had or I was going to jump in a lake with sandbags on my feet. I wasn’t sure which for a lot of years, but I really believed in the horse and thought that he would be great.” Clark says that Walker and Waldo connected from the beginning. Walker says, “Having a partnership with your horse is, in my mind, the most important thing. Before I rode Waldo, nobody knew who he was. We started together and the first few lessons were not great. But we just kept working on it, working on it, working on it, and when we went in our first show it was like someone flipped a light switch. From then on he never really put a foot wrong and always tried his best.” Waldo was a very unique ride,” continues Walker. “He goes a little in two pieces — his back end and his front end. But when you put the two together, I think he’s one of the nicest horses of all time in the equitation. He’ll land any lead. He does everything the first time you ask. He’s extremely careful. He has all the characteristics of a very nice Grand Prix dressage horse and a very nice Grand Prix jumping horse, except he has the brain of a nice quiet equitation horse, which makes for a perfect package when you put it all together.” However, good riding, coaching, and horses only go so far. Jump courses that allow riders to show off their skills are paramount, too. Bobby Murphy has been designing the Maclay Championship courses since 2013 and explains that equitation is the art of riding on horseback, so his job is to create a course that allows the riders to show off their art. As such, he considers himself a course architect, rather than a course designer. Murphy explains that his courses are created to test the riders’ skills at developing pace; using control and balance going forward and coming back; following a track; keeping the horse between the hand and leg; choosing strides; angling fences; getting correct leads; being organized; maintaining position from a forward seat to a balancing seat and sitting in the tack; plus presenting a polished look. However, Murphy explains that the courses are

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not designed to excessively challenge the horses, saying, “If I can find a way to help the horse out, that’s what I go for. I’m purely looking to test the riders.” But Murphy also states, “[The course] is very technical. The distances we use are at such a sophisticated level — fine-tuned down to the inch — because we really want the questions answered correctly. These riders are getting judged on their position and flow, but they also need to achieve the goal of doing the test correctly.” To help the judges do their job, the jumps have evolved so that every moment of every ride can be seen. Most of the jumps no longer have wings and Murphy explains, “When you take the wings away, then the judge can watch the rider better. There’s nothing blocking their view. It really shows off the art.


Recreating yesteryear. The jumps are custom-built, and every year Bobby Murphy creates jumps that reflect the historical look of the class.





The riders’ legs have to be perfect; their hands have to be perfect. There’s no room for error.” Every year, Murphy tries to ensure that the Maclay jumps reflect the historical look of the class. All the jumps are custom-built specifically for the class. “This year, hedges are on my mind,” says Murphy. “So, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to see a hedge-to-hedge combination or something at the 2021 Maclay finals. “We will always be asking the same questions, we’ll just be changing the canvas that the riders are jumping on.” When Sam Walker won his Maclay trophy, it was Murphy’s courses and tests that allowed him to show off his skills. “I was in second place most of the way through [the 2018 Maclay finals], says Walker. “I went quite early in the class and was leading [after the jumping phase] then got beat by another boy. I flatted quite well, and he and I stayed in the same positions — first and second. Then we rode the second jumping round, and I was moved up to first. Going into the test [the very last judging round where riders are asked to perform specific tasks both on the flat and over fences] I was in first place and had a nice safe round, so the judges decided it was my turn to win that day. “Winning the Maclay has given me a lot more exposure and allowed me a much bigger audience,” says Walker. “Experiencing the pressure of that class has helped me in terms of the way that I go into a class now. It puts a lot of confidence in you as a rider and teaches you how to handle pressure and deal with different environments.” After his win, Walker achieved another of his goals: riding on Canada’s senior show jumping team. In February 2020 at age 18, Walker was a member of Canada’s FEI Jumping Nations Cup Team at Deeridge Farm in Florida where the team finished fourth in the CSIO5*, a maximum 1.60 metre class. Incidentally, the team included Tiffany Foster, who rode at Thunderbird Show Stables with Laura Balisky as a junior Bobby Murphy creates courses that allow riders to show off the art of their equitation. Most of the jumps have no wings to allow the judges to see the riders better.

before winning two prestigious equitation classes, and Erynn Ballard. A clear testament to the value of equitation. That value is part of what continues to draw junior riders from across North America to Maclay classes, almost 90 years since the first ASPCA Alfred B. Maclay Championship Trophy was awarded. Walker explains, “Good equitation has a place and there’s value in it. I got tonnes of value out of it to further my career. It’s worth putting in your hours, putting in your time, getting recognized, and a lot more opportunity will come up than you might think.” Clark concurs: “The Maclay is a really special class and it serves a great purpose for many kids to develop their skills in riding and gives them opportunities to go on to other things in life. I think a lot of kids [who compete in Maclay classes]

stay in the sport and want to make riding part of their life. [Winning] is a great accomplishment — it’s borne out of your talent and hard work and determination — but once it’s over you have to continue to prove yourself. If you look back at the winners, many have gone on to do great things, especially in show jumping.” To that end, hopefully, there will be more Canadian juniors who choose to venture south of the border and challenge themselves by riding in Maclay classes. Maybe they will also be lucky and skilled enough to win the championship trophy, then continue to practice their art and ultimately ride for Canada, too. b > Tania Millen is a regular contributor to this magazine — read her bio on page 90.


Sam Walker and Waldo connected from the start. “Having a partnership with your horse is, in my mind, the most important thing,” says Walker.








Moving Well by Breathing Well By Jec A. Ballou

At some point, most riders aboard a horse that is breathing heavily will draw a conclusion about its fitness. Respiration, though, can be a fickle fitness marker. And it might sometimes tell you more about a horse’s mental state, physical tension, or plain old natural aptitude than his current fitness. Respiratory rates are always telling us something important. The key is figuring out what the message is. An unfit horse will indeed breathe heavily and hard when exercised. Our goal with better conditioning is to see the horse perform the same degree of exercise with very little elevation in his respiratory rate. Occasionally, however, a well-conditioned horse will still get winded when exercising at only a 70



moderate level. This is explained by several factors including the need to shed heat, a humid environment, underlying fatigue or a stressed immune system, dehydration, carrying extra weight, or poor air quality. Most often when a horse with reasonable fitness begins panting during a routine trail


outing or arena session, he is hot and trying to cool down. This is especially true for senior horses and naturally heavy-bodied breeds. It would be a miscalculation to automatically assume in this case that the horse is not fit enough for the task at hand and that activity should be ceased.

Instead, the horse’s heart rate is a more accurate indicator of this, and it would be a good idea to take a reading to compare to his breathing rate. If the heart rate is in a normal range (32 to 40 beats per minute) but the horse is panting, he is likely just hot. Does this mean you should stop what you are doing? Not necessarily. Make a habit of recording the time it takes your horse to regain a normal resting respiration rate when you pause activity. A horse’s average respiration rate at rest is between 8 and 15 breaths per minute. In hard efforts, it can briefly jump to 100. A hot horse will take



rapid, shallow breaths in order to dissipate heat. The only time for concern is if breathing becomes laboured, irregular, or it remains higher than his heart rate. If he regains a resting rate within five minutes, it is generally fine to carry on with your ride. But if he keeps panting for well over 10 minutes (and his heart rate is in a normal range), it is worth stopping and figuring out ways to modify your schedule to exercise him without generating so much heat. First, can he lose some weight? Can you ride when it is cooler outside? Can you pre-cool the horse by wetting his body before riding? If the heart rate is not in a normal range and he is panting, he has exceeded his fitness level. The take-home message is that as your horse’s fitness increases, using respiratory rates as your primary marker is not entirely accurate as discussed above. But even when not providing fitness calculations, respiratory rates are always telling you something important. Very often, horses’ breathing rates get compromised from stress or physical restriction, which is unfortunately overlooked during training. When a horse does not breathe rhythmically and deeply, does not blow out through its nose regularly throughout a ride, or makes little grunting noises at trot and canter, its respiration becomes compromised. This means less oxygen is taken in and shuttled — along with blood — to working muscles, which in turn leads to faltered nerve signals. Put simply, the horse cannot move with ease and balance, and the

Taking the horse’s heart rate.

Equine Heart & Respiration Heart rate at rest. . . . . . . 32 – 40 beats per minute Respiration at rest.. . . . . 8 – 15 breaths per minute Heart rate can be measured most easily by using a

stethoscope on the left side of the chest, directly behind the elbow. You can also take the heart rate using your fingers underneath the horse’s jaw, as shown. Curl your fingers and place them in the groove between the large jaw bones. Drag them back toward the nearest jawbone until you feel a cordlike structure; press this against the jawbone and you will feel the pulse beating. Respiration rate can be measured by looking at

the abdomen/flank area of the horse and watching its rise and fall. An inhale followed by the exhale equals one breath.

programming for correct movement will not take place. Any number of factors might cause a horse to hold its breath during exercise, including tension and anxiety. Common explanations include conformational issues, sore feet, and muscular imbalances. Regarding conformation, horses with wide jowls or thick poll muscling can suffer when asked to work in a collected frame. The nasopharynx and larynx can become obstructed due to this extra fleshiness and im-

pair airflow. Similarly, blockages in the lower cervical vertebrae can compromise the phrenic nerve, which exits here. This is a major nerve that controls breathing. The nervous system’s communication to the diaphragm then weakens along with oxygen uptake and utilization. The diaphragm has attachment points along the lower back and rear portion of the ribcage. If a horse has overly tight loin muscles or intercostals between his ribs, the action of the diaphragm

will be hindered. Sometimes horses that were worked too early in collection also have tension or imbalance in the scalene muscle at the base of their necks. This muscle helps stabilize the ribcage and plays a role in respiration. If it cannot function well, the horse will move with short choppy strides and shallow breaths. These are just a few of the most commonly restricted areas among shallow breathers, and I offer them as a starting point for your own exploration of whether your horse is breathing in a way that leads to better mechanics and fitness. For students to whom this is new territory, I offer the following tips: First, take note of how long it takes your horse to first blow through his nose during any session. Is it within the first five minutes? Excellent! Is it longer than 25 minutes? Uhoh, he is holding his breath. Second, listen to your horse’s breathing when cantering. Mother Nature wired a horse’s nervous system to breathe during canter by coupling his breathing rate with his stride rate in a 1:1 ratio. For every canter stride, the horse needs to breathe in and out once. The exhale should be audible. Imagine the forceful, rhythmic exhalations of a galloping racehorse or eventer. One of my mentors is fond of saying that when your horse blows through his nose, it is like he gives you a bouquet of flowers. I enjoy counting how many bouquets of flowers I can accumulate during a ride. This metaphor captures the beauty and pleasure of a horse that is moving well by breathing well. b > Jec A. Ballou is a regular contributor to this magazine — read her bio on page 90.






Build Supportive Cultures PHOTO: SUE FERGUSON

IN OUR BARNS By Annika McGivern

You may think your barn community is too small to have something as fancy as its own culture, but it does. Whenever groups of people come together through common goals, interests, and patterns of behaviour, a culture is formed. A culture is a set of shared beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, practices, and behaviours. A strong culture can help all involved reach higher and further than they can alone. However, when a culture isn’t shaped intentionally, it may not serve its full potential. In some cases, a culture can even become harmful to those within it. We all spend a lot of time at our barns. We dedicate this time to being with our horses, taking an hour or two for ourselves, and furthering our dreams and goals. Most of us can relate to how 72




frustrating it is when this time is hijacked or interrupted by the ill effects of a harmful culture, especially when we realize that the culture of our barns is ours to shape. This article will outline some simple steps we can all take to strengthen the culture of our barns for the good of ourselves, our horses, and the people we share the space with.

A strong culture knows what it is trying to achieve and why. The first step to building culture is to decide on and declare a common purpose statement. A purpose statement answers the question: Why are we all here at this barn? The answer could be as simple as creating a peaceful place where everyone can enjoy time with their horses, or as

complex as fueling each group member’s confidence and skill to continuously progress upwards in competition. To identify this common purpose, ask everyone at your barn what is important to them about the time they spend there. Look for themes to emerge. A purpose can be absolutely anything. The impact comes from collectively deciding and declaring it. Alternatively, if you are the head coach or barn owner, you may wish to declare a purpose that you feel aligns with your vision for the barn. However, the group buy-in will be stronger if everyone has a chance to contribute. Taking the time to speak with everyone about what is important to them will ensure that everyone feels they have contributed to the process.

In a winning culture, all members know exactly how to achieve the purpose.

Once again, clarity is the key ingredient here. Once we know what our purpose is, it is essential that we decide how we will go about achieving this purpose. What types of thoughts and actions support the collective goal? For example: Purpose Statement: To support each other to continuously improve as riders and create a safe, fun space for everyone to enjoy. Why is this important to us? We all cherish the time we spend with our horses and care deeply about progressing our skills and competitive achievements. How we will live to our group purpose (supporting actions): 1.Communicate with honesty and kindness; 2.Leave the stress of the day in the car. Allow yourself and everyone to just be in the present moment; 3. Cheer each other on through success and support each other through challenges; 4. Believe in everyone’s potential to grow and improve (including your own). With the right support, the purpose statement and associated actions will become the framework for how every barn member interacts and conducts themselves. They become a mutually held set of values that inform the choices and actions of the group. Once decided upon, display your purpose and supporting actions in a common area such as the tack room, as a daily reminder for everyone. The most successful sport cultures in the world (for example, The New Zealand All Blacks), keep their purpose front of mind by reinforcing it visually and verbally, again and again for its members. The magic happens when everyone knows exactly what that purpose is. With that knowledge comes the ability to self-assess whether your actions are supporting or hindering that purpose.

When is a culture harmful?

A culture becomes harmful when it encourages people to act from a place of fear. Remember that a culture is a set of shared beliefs, attitudes, knowledge, practices, and behaviours. It’s important to ask ourselves what beliefs and attitudes we are reinforcing at our barn.

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What is our default way of behaving as a group? Collectively, do we tend to lift each other up, or pull each other down? Why do we pull each other down? We are all easily triggered by the success of other riders, particularly when we feel that things aren’t going well for us and our horse. Watching other people achieve what we want to achieve triggers uncomfortable feelings like anxiety, jealously, or frustration. When we are triggered, our brain is operating from a fear state. We are fearful of not reaching our goals, not being good enough, or falling behind. In this mindset we are more likely to lash out or withdraw our support. This type of behaviour usually creates more of the same and lowers the overall sense of safety for everyone in the group. Before you know it, everyone is acting from fear instead of supporting each other. Next time you feel triggered by a member of your barn or riding community, take a moment to pause and reflect on where those emotions are coming from. Recognize that the feelings reflect how you feel about where you are in your riding journey, and therefore are your responsibility to resolve. Remember this: everyone around us is a teacher. Riders who are currently achieving what you want to achieve have learned key information and skills that support their success. They have knowledge of skills that you can learn and implement. Take a deep breath and ask yourself: What can I learn from this rider?

Strengthen your culture with choice, improvement, and belonging. A culture is always the sum of its individual parts: the human beings involved in it. When everyone feels safe and heard, this has a powerful positive effect on the group. So, how can we bolster our sense of safety and connection and that of those around us? There are three important ways: 1. Having choice and control over what happens to us; 2. Feeling supported in improving and progressing towards our goals; and 3. Feeling a sense of belonging to the group. Are you actively contributing to your barn culture? If so, what impact are you having? Get involved and share your thoughts whenever possible. This builds a sense of contribution to, and ownership of, the resulting environment. Giving fellow barn members an opportunity to contribute, and acting based on those contributions wherever possible, has a positive impact on barn culture. Our individual and collective sense of purpose and meaning is fueled by the feeling that we are making consistent progress towards our goals. As a group, encourage each other to track and celebrate the growth and progress of every barn member. Doing so will create positive ripples through your barn environment. Belonging is easily fostered and supported through small but significant gestures. Smile and say hello. Make eye contact. Really listen when someone is speaking to you. Clearly communicate your boundaries. The bottom line is this: To have a strong culture, everyone doesn’t have to love each other. However, everyone must be willing to respect each other, share space, and work alongside each other to fulfill their goals and the purpose statement of the group. Choice, improvement, and belonging might occur naturally on their own, but why leave them to chance? Strong cultures ensure everyone is contributing to safety and connection by declaring what they stand for and naming the behaviours that support those values.

Every interaction matters. Susan Scott, an expert on successful culture and author of Fierce Conversations, tells us that culture is built one positive interaction at a time, or destroyed one negative interaction at a time. Every interaction matters. To build strong, supportive cultures in our barns we can work together to name, understand, and reinforce our common purpose. Each of us can take ownership of our own mental and emotional states by investing time in developing self-awareness and strong mental skills. Lastly, we can support ourselves and others to exercise our choice, track and recognise our progress and achievements, and develop mutual respect and commitment to common goals. So, here is your homework: • Collect feedback from your fellow barn members; • Decide and declare your purpose statement; • Outline how you will work towards that common goal and display the result proudly in a common area. Every one of us has the power to impact our barn culture for the better, so let’s get started. b > Annika McGivern is a regular contributor to this magazine — read her bio on page 90. SUMMER 2021







By Alexa Linton, Equine Sports Therapist





As I write this article, I find it ironic that I am laid up

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up to the task. From my recovery position, it seems fitting to attempt to grapple with the rather sticky topic of traditions, and why we often feel so compelled to stick to them. I’ve touched on this a little in my past articles, but today I want to really dig in and unpack why and how traditions become traditions and what keeps us practicing them, sometimes long past their best before date. Online I found traditions defined as: the transmission of customs or beliefs from generation to generation, or the fact of being passed on in this way. It seems fitting to confess a few of the traditions inherited from my riding instructors, mentors, and friends as I learned about horses and riding. Here are a few of the traditions that were drilled into my head by well-meaning instructors and mentors:


• Horses should be led and mounted from the left (this came from way back, when mounted soldiers carried their sword over their left leg); • Tack should be cleaned after every ride (I really wish this tradition had stuck, but alas, it did not); • Horses must be ridden with a bit and a saddle (apparently that one didn’t stick either!); and,


• Doing anything much with horses other than riding is not the point. Each one of us can look at our previous or present way of interacting with horses and think of at least a few things we do that we learned from someone we looked up to. When asked why we do these things or hold these beliefs, we say it’s because we’ve always done it this way, or because our trainer told us to. I propose that our traditions, which are an important part of the human experience and play a valuable role in passing down knowledge and wisdom, receive a healthy dose of skepticism. I wanted to write on this topic for a few reasons, but mainly to highlight the potential use of a traditional way of doing something as an excuse to do harm. An example would be using a particular bit because my trainer or family or method of riding has always used this bit, even though it doesn’t fit my horse, my horse shows discomfort when wearing it, and there is scientific evidence that this style of bit is harmful and outdated. My continued use of this piece of tack is obviously harmful, and yet my need to stick with tradition justifies its continued use.

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Mounting from the left side is an age-old tradition that few riders question.

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I spend an annoying amount of time questioning my motives, and more often than not, find that it is habit and not a conscious awareness that drives my behaviour. I know I’m not the only one. It’s part of what makes traditions so important, as we follow in the footsteps of those who have gone before without having to constantly reinvent the wheel, and we hopefully learn from the wisdom and mistakes of those whose footsteps we follow. However, labelling something a “tradition” when it is really just a habit or a pattern that is easier to stick to rather than change, one that is not guided by wisdom but rather by convenience, is an easy rut to fall into. Our horses are better off when we question ourselves, our motives, and the parts of our horse care and horse training that fit into the category of traditional. After all, except for the ways horses are specifically impacted, they don’t really care about human traditions. So, are traditions harmful or helpful? The example of mounting from the left is a fairly neutral and common tradition, but it is impactful. Being a body worker, I notice that the body shows a tension pattern when everything is being done from one side, including mounting. And for a horse, having their

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I propose that our traditions receive a healthy dose of skepticism.

rider mount from both sides develops new and helpful neural pathways, as does leading from both sides. I have a suspicion one of the reasons people don’t shift this tradition is because they would also have to develop new neural programs and movement patterns, and for anyone who has tried to shift their side when doing other tasks, you know how challenging that can be. Moving to a less neutral space is horse care. Recently, a controversy occurred when a well-known international rider shared publicly that she doesn’t turn her performance horses out for fear that they will injure themselves. Her horses spend every waking moment in a stall, except when they are ridden. In her opinion, this is a perfectly acceptable and normal way of caring for her horses and makes complete sense to avoid injury and expense. As you can imagine, many others in the horse world, including scientists and equine researchers, had a different view, leading to heated discussions and much upset about the potential harm this kind of environment might cause to her horses and others living this way, and the impact it would have if people follow her lead. When I examined the tradition at work here, I realized with sadness that it was numbness, or the inability or unwillingness to understand, empathize, or connect to how a horse feels or what they need. Sadly, this type of situation is all too common in the horse world, often because it is convenient, easy, less expensive, and popular. Horse care traditions can be tricky. Just remember back to the days of your first or even your current horse, and the deluge of opinions from every corner of the barn

telling you to feed this hay in these amounts, use this blanket, trim or shoe his feet this way or that. It can be overwhelming. I still have moments when I wonder about the best way to care for my horses, remembering how easy it was to sink into the traditional ways of doing things. Thankfully, I have a horse that doesn’t allow complacency; she made her opinions about her care very clear. For example, when I attempted to separate her from her buddies in a small paddock with an electric fence, she would have none of it and became increasingly challenging to handle. After a few years of trying unsuccessfully to shove her into a traditional box of horse care, we moved to an acreage in the Cowichan Valley where her needs of freedom, friends, and movement could be met. I learned as I went and made lots of mistakes as I moved from what I still refer to as a more traditional way of doing things into rather uncharted territory, from numbness to feeling, and from disconnected to connected. When it comes to the traditions with horses that have been passed down to you, I encourage you to approach each one with a healthy skepticism, and these simple questions.

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• What is my personal attachment to this tradition? Does the motivation behind this attachment have the well-being of my horse in mind? • If I change or let go of this tradition, what might I lose and what might I gain? As always, I hope this helps you build a more solid foundation for connection with your horses, and more clarity around your steps forward. Traditions are important, but they are also constantly evolving as we learn more and grow our capacity for understanding these amazing animals. Good luck and happy trails! And by the way — my back is on the mend thanks to a good solid week of rest and letting go of my tradition of pushing too hard. b > Alexa Linton is a regular contributor to this magazine. Read her bio on page 90. SUMMER 2021




Switching Coasts

Hilary MacDonald finds the Alberta horse community to be quite different than that of Nova Scotia, but says no matter where you live, you’ll find an instant connection with horses.

Horses and their people can be found almost everywhere in Canada from the Pacific Ocean in the west to the Atlantic Ocean in the east, and every region offers unique opportunities for riding, driving, and horse ownership. So, when adventurous equine enthusiasts move across Canada for work, lifestyle, or adventure, they will undoubtedly need to navigate a new horse fraternity. Planning a new life on distant shores can be a massive undertaking, but no amount of planning will answer every question, and sometimes just going for it — enthusiastically gambling that moving across the country will work out — pays off.

80 :: SUMMER 2021



By Tania Millen

Sixty-year-old Elaine Abbott is a great example. She rode horses as a child in Scotland, then started riding again when she moved to Canada about 30 years ago, before a bad fall ended her riding dreams. However, in 2012 while living in Victoria, British Columbia, a work colleague told Abbott about holidaying on Prince Edward Island (PEI) and how inexpensive housing was. That innocuous chat got Abbott and her husband thinking about moving. “We felt we were done with the west coast. I don’t know what it was, but we didn’t feel settled,” she says. “Here was this

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opportunity and we thought — what the heck, you’ve only got one life, let’s just go for it. I think you have to be adventurous. So, we sold our house [in Victoria] and hitched up the fifth wheel, then took our time going to the east coast.” They were initially headed for Nova Scotia, but Abbott says PEI just felt like home, so that’s where they stopped and began building a new life for themselves. The move also provided an opportunity for Abbott to get back into horses. “It was always at the back of my mind to get a horse,” she says, and explains that with other life events the opportunity didn’t arise. However, at Christmastime about four years ago, a local stable that operates a farm animal rescue advertised that they would be teaching women’s riding lessons as a fundraiser. Abbott saw the poster and excitedly signed up. After the initial set of lessons, Abbot continued taking lessons for about five months before switching to another instructor for the following two years. At that point, she told her instructor that she was interested in buying her own horse. Fortuitously, her instructor was selling her family horse, Candy, and decided Abbott would be a great fit for her. “I’ve had Candy for about a year now, and getting her was a dream come true,” says Abbott. “I still don’t believe I own a horse. It’s just a wonderful feeling. Once we were here [on PEI] everything just fell into place. I think it was meant to be.” She says that she’s fortunate to have a supportive husband and the small, friendly horse community is welcoming,






When Elaine Abbott and her husband left Victoria, BC they were originally headed for Nova Scotia, but Prince Edward Island just felt like home, so that’s where they built a new life.

too. “There are lots of trails, plus beautiful beaches and heritage trails that are open to horses.” She notes that her $300 per month boarding fee includes the use of an indoor arena and is less expensive than many other places in Canada. There are lots of veterinarians on the island, and a local farrier. When asked what she’d tell other horse people who may be interested in moving east, Abbott doesn’t hesitate: “Definitely come to PEI.” It’s clear from Abbott’s experience that horses provide a common touchpoint for many Canadians — something that Hilary MacDonald has experienced, too. MacDonald is a 30-something equestrian who grew up in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia and now lives in Calgary, Alberta. She is a trained geologist but doesn’t own a horse, which simplified her move from Nova Scotia to Louisiana in 2015, for work. “I was hired as a hydrographer and we mapped the ocean floor. It was pretty neat,” she says. MacDonald was also fortunate to connect with a Louisiana-based jumper trainer, so when she wasn’t out on the ocean she was riding high-quality jumpers. Although it was tempting to stay in Louisiana when her work contract ended just to ride those horses, MacDonald says, “I was looking for something else, but the United States wasn’t where I wanted to settle, so I started considering other options.” MacDonald moved to Alberta in 2016 and says, “I thought by moving to Alberta I would have a better chance of getting a position in the geology or geomatics fields. I also felt Calgary was a really good option as I knew folks there.” When she was unable to find a geology job, MacDonald used her equine experience to get work at Spruce Meadows. She has since moved on, but to date hasn’t worked


Hilary MacDonald grew up in the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, and after working in Louisiana for a year, she moved to Calgary, Alberta, which she now calls home.



> Tania Millen is a regular contributor to this magazine — read her bio on page 90.

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in geology as originally planned. Instead, MacDonald has continued to work in the horse industry, and currently has a position at an equine sports organization. When asked to compare the Alberta and Nova Scotia horse communities she’s familiar with, MacDonald says, “I find Alberta quite different from Nova Scotia.” She explains that, unlike Alberta, the calibre of competitions in Nova Scotia is not as high because the infrastructure and population aren’t there to support them. She says, “The Alberta horse industry is quite intense, which might be because Calgary is a big city and Spruce Meadows is close by, along with other large facilities.” MacDonald has also found Alberta’s horse industry expensive, with boarding rates more than double those in Nova Scotia, which she says, “…was a bit of a shock to me.” Another shock was the price of horses in Alberta, which MacDonald says can be four times what riders pay in Nova Scotia. So, for horse people from the east coast who may be considering moving to Alberta, MacDonald advises that having a job that pays well is helpful. Alternatively, for Westerners who may be considering moving to Nova Scotia, MacDonald says, “If you’re looking to have a relaxing horse experience, pretty much anywhere in Nova Scotia is great.” But she notes that competitive riders thinking of moving to Nova Scotia should carefully consider where they want to live as some areas of the province simply don’t have many competitions. But she wisely notes that regardless of where you are in the world, you instantly have a connection with horses. From both Abbott’s and MacDonald’s experiences, it’s apparent that moving from one side of Canada to the other can provide substantial personal and professional opportunities. But owning horses in some areas of the country costs more, and every horse community has its own unique flavour. So before pulling up stakes and moving across the country, it’s worth researching the horse activities that are prevalent in areas you’re considering, along with the costs of ongoing equine expenses and the availability of professionals to support your equine dreams. Fortunately, horse enthusiasts can be found scattered throughout the 7,000plus kilometres of countryside between Canada’s east and west coasts, so regardless of where horse people end up, they will undoubtedly find others who share their b language and love of horses.






Equestrian Parking Spaces We ALL love getting outdoors, and the influx of people exploring beautiful British Columbia has posed some challenges for equestrians. We have been hearing over the past year that many trailheads are packed with cars, making it challenging to maneuver a horse trailer and sometimes even get a parking space. We are happy to hear about a success story in the Nanaimo Regional District, where the Central Vancouver Island Chapter of the Back Country Horsemen of BC (BCHBC) worked together with the district to create an equestrian parking and staging area at a trailhead for The Great Trail. If you are interested in getting involved with your local BCHBC chapter, find more information about them here > This is a great group to be a part of to advocate for trail improvements in your area.

We are happy to see the work that has been done at some equestrian staging areas, but we are hearing about difficulties at others. That’s why we have created equestrian parking handouts that you can use if you find yourself in a sticky situation. Our goal is to educate other user groups in a respectful and lighthearted manner. No matter which outdoor activity we choose, we all have the same goal of enjoying our time outside. Feel free to place the handout on a vehicle windshield or at a trailhead kiosk. You can print off your own at home by going to this link > trailsrec/knowledge-base. Or you can email to request a bundle to be mailed to you.


BC Summer Games 2022

The Road to Prince George Starts Now! If you are an equestrian athlete competing in Dressage, Jumping, Vaulting, or Eventing and will be 12 to 18 years of age as of January 1, 2022; or if you are a Para Equestrian athlete, 13 to 30 years of age, you are invited to qualify for the 2022 BC Summer Games being held in Prince George, BC, July 21–24. Make it your goal and part of your yearly training plan to set your sights on competing at the BC Summer Games!

What Are the BC Summer Games?

The BC Winter and BC Summer Games are British Columbia’s biennial celebration of sport and community. Since 1978, the BC Games have taken place in 38 communities and involved over 350,000 participants and volunteers, and thousands more as spectators and supporters. The purpose of the BC Games is: “To provide an opportunity for the development of athletes, coaches, and officials in preparation for higher levels of competition in a multi-sport event which promotes interest and participation in sport and sporting activities, individual achievement, and community development.” 84




The BC Games bring together British Columbia’s best emerging high performance athletes, trained coaches, and certified officials for three days of competition. This experience is an important development opportunity and a stepping-stone towards higher level sport competitions. Host Communities of the BC Summer Games will realize a direct economic benefit of over $2 million, while also building volunteer and community capacity, and promoting sport and healthy living.

Rise above. Reach beyond.

CONTACTS Provincial Sport Organization Equestrian Horse Council BC (HCBC) (604) 856-4304

Provincial Advisor Equestrian Lynda Ramsay (250) 470-0424

More information, Athlete Declaration Forms, and Technical Packages are available at


Monday to Friday, 8:30 am to 4:30 Pm OFFICE ADDRESS:

27336 Fraser Highway, Aldergrove, BC, V4W 3N5 PHONE: 604-856-4304 FAX: 604-856-4302 TOLL-FREE: 1-800-345-8055 WEBSITE:


Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association

BY ANN CAINE, SUNRISE THERAPEUTIC RIDING & LEARNING CENTRE BOARD PRESIDENT AND VOLUNTEER FUNDRAISER Sunrise Therapeutic Riding & Learning Centre of Puslinch, Ontario is a registered charity and a member of the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA). Since 1982, Sunrise has provided many community programs including therapeutic riding, inclusive summer day camps, an introduction to horses and the farm for very young children, Life Skills programs for young adults, and other Equine Assisted services. In addition, there is a residential therapeutic riding instructor training opportunity. When the pandemic was declared in March 2020, our first thought was how we would manage to maintain and care for our team of 21 horses, who are the backbone of our therapeutic riding and other related programs. Hundreds of children and adults with special needs come to the farm every week throughout the year. This is the highlight of their week, and the grooming and riding programs motivate them to reach their full potential. Suddenly this was on hold — indefinitely. This has been hard for all of us to process, but for children and adults with diagnosed special needs, this has had a profound impact on their emotional, physical, and mental well-being. Our program participants, for whom the horses have become a huge part of their lives, also lost all their other therapies, both physical and counselling, during lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic. But not connecting with their therapy horse became the most challenging. As a charity we rely on the support of individual and corporate donors, but most of all we rely on our own efforts through “in person” fundraising events — also cancelled. At a time when food insecurity and the need for affordable housing was paramount, we wrestled with how the community would respond to an appeal 86




to help maintain our invaluable team of horses. However, these animals are our responsibility and, with no foreseeable cash flow, the “HAPPY HORSES” campaign was launched. Together with the media release, we provided the infographic shown with this article to illustrate the level of care and training needed to ensure the well-being of our horses, and how crucial they are to so many young people. We spread the word through every level of the media. Our local print and television media took up the story and donations began to arrive. In the first week we raised an amazing $10,000. By mid-May the total was just short of $58,000! The generosity of our local communities was overwhelming. This also highlighted once more how valuable every donation is, however small, when the need is great. The majority of people cannot manage to sponsor or co-sponsor a therapy horse for the year, but so many more are able and willing to be part of a “crowd funding” initiative of this kind. And so, another valuable lesson was learned during the constraints of this pandemic. CanTRA member programs coast to coast have been struggling for survival since Spring 2020. Some of these programs have had to close their doors, which is a huge loss to their local communities. We all love and value our horses, and the magic and empowerment they bring to the lives of children and adults with special needs is immeasurable. Despite our many Sunrise programs being shut down, we continue to ensure that the physical and mental needs of our horses are met, and ongoing exercise and training continue, so we are ready for the eventual return of our many participants.

For more information or to find a centre near you please contact our Head Office at Follow us on Facebook @ Cantra_ACET and visit > or donate at >


“HAPPY HORSES” Fundraising Campaign Amid COVID-19 Lockdown


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Ruth Adrienne Flack Ruth Adrienne Flack passed away at home in Pritchard, British Columbia on March 4, 2021 at the age of 84 years. Ruth was predeceased by her parents William and Mabel Orr; sisters Helen Gardiner of Clearwater, Manitoba; Joyce Hewitt of Edmonton, Alberta; and brother Wayne of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Ruth grew up on the family farm with her four sisters and two brothers. She


moved to BC in 1957 and worked as a telephone operator in Chilliwack for many years, but her love of horses and farming was always strong. Ruth and Cary were married on July 7, 1972 and a few years later bought a farm in Aldergrove, where they raised beautiful Arabian horses and purebred Hereford cattle. The awards and trophies they won for both the horses and cattle

Ultra-Kelp Continues Under New Ownership As of May 1, 2021 Brigitte MacKenzie became the new owner of Ultra-Kelp. Brigitte and Ruth had known each other since October 1987 where they met at a dog show. They have been working together ever since at trade shows and retail, and Ultra-Kelp also sponsored Brigitte’s Barrel Futurity horses. An equestrian herself, Brigitte has fed Ultra-Kelp to all of her horses since 1987. The business mentorship and friendship continued to grow over the years, and now with the greatest respect, Brigitte has chosen to continue to advocate Ruth’s life passion of good health with kelp! For more information, visit >


Plans for a New Saskatchewan Racetrack

Moosomin First Nation Economic Development Corp Announces Moosomin Downs at Moosomin Plains


With the news that Marquis Downs and Prairieland Park will cease to operate after this year, plans were revealed on May 28, 2021 for a new Thoroughbred and Standardbred racetrack in the Saskatoon area. In a joint press release, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) and Moosomin First Nation announced that they plan to build an equine facility in the





Rural Municipality (RM) of Corman Park on land located just northwest of Saskatoon. The release also stated that operators of the new track will obtain some of the assets of Prairieland Park to use at the new facility, which will be called Moosomin Downs. Horse people from Manitoba still plan to conduct a small harness racing meet at Prairieland Park later this year. The release from the FSIN and Moosomin First Nation appears below: Many First Nations and non-First Nations people in the horse racing industry have been impacted by the closing of Marquis Downs in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Moosomin First Nation Economic Development Corporation is happy to announce the launch of Moosomin Downs. Moosomin Downs will be the answer to a renewed and diversified equine sporting industry. Prairieland Park assets will be

donated in kind to this First Nations endeavour, passing the torch of generations of horse racing from Marquis Downs to a new generation. They will host Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing, chariot and chuckwagon racing, 4-H and rodeo events, equine therapy, industry training with youth and equine professionals, and the original extreme sport of Indian Relay. “Over the last 25 years, our First Nation had a dream of developing our Treaty Land Entitlement lands in the RM of Corman Park. We will now be breaking ground and participating in the economy by utilizing the lands our Treaty promise ensured us,” says Moosomin Chief Brad Swiftwolfe. “We’re going to be inclusive and will be reaching out to all stakeholders and interests when our implementation plan is more substantive.” “It has been months since first discussions and with anticipation, we have

IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII would fill a small room. In Aldergrove, Ruth started to study about kelp and how this natural product could benefit crops, animals, and humans. This turned into a thriving business named Flack’s Bakerview Kelp Products Inc. (Ultra-Kelp), and both Ruth and Cary poured their hearts and souls into it. If you wanted to see the sparkle in Ruth’s blue eyes you only had to mention her animals or business. Ruth, we will all miss you so very much, but we know you are watching, and saying “get on with your lives.” Ruth is mourned by her husband, Cary; sisters Edith McKay of Calgary, Alberta; Doreen Hayward of Anola, Manitoba; and brother William (Bill) and wife Carol of Agassiz, BC. Ruth has numerous nieces, nephews, and many good friends. Her husband Cary and family will always be grateful to George Coey and the home aid ladies who worked so hard to make Ruth’s life as comfortable as possible in her last days.


been eagerly waiting to announce together that the RM of Corman Park can look forward to Moosomin First Nation’s development,” says Corman Park Reeve Judy Harwood. “In the spirit of reconciliation, we support our Treaty partners and neighbours.” “The FSIN Chiefs-in-Assembly voted unanimously in favor of supporting Moosomin First Nation to be the host of an all-inclusive equine sporting development that will provide the foundation for revitalization of a part of our identity as First Nations people that was on the brink of being lost,” says FSIN Chief Bobby Cameron. “We honour the cultural and spiritual impact of our sacred relationship with the horse spirit, and we are proud to see its sacred teachings once again throughout our Treaty lands.”

Manitoba Horse Council Serving Manitoba’s Equine Community

By Linda Hazelwood, MHC Business Manager and ex-Recreation Chair

Thank You to our Sponsors and Supporters It’s award season, the time when we recognise people for their achievements, sportsmanship, and the support of our community. It may not be the Junos, but we have every reason to celebrate the contributions and active involvement of so many in our sport — and way of life — that we love. In addition to our annual Manitoba Horse Council Industry Leader Award, it is appropriate that we also recognise and express our thanks to our sponsors. Many have consistently supported us in the past, but this year in spite of the uncertainties we have faced, new businesses and individuals have stepped forward to offer financial and material support to the Manitoba Horse Council (MHC), our Equestrian Facility, and our many activities and programs. Every year at the end of June we will recognise our sponsors and make sure all our members understand the true value of their contributions and involvement.

Thank You to the Major Supporters of our 2021 Program Central Veterinary Services Elders Equine Greenhawk Winnipeg Old Dutch Foods Taras Gravel Supplies Lily Ridge Ranch Masterfeeds Equine Guelph Celtic Moon Healing BP Sport Horses Levade Equestrian Activity Tracker We are still at the discussion stage with other businesses, so we encourage you to visit to see a current list. We thank every sponsor who has contributed to MHC and played a part in supporting our equestrian community.

As part of MHC’s sponsorship opportunity for 2021, some businesses also chose to take space in the upcoming Guide for New Riders, due to be published mid-summer. The Guide is a comprehensive aid to parents and wannabe riders, to explain the different types of riding to be enjoyed, how to dress for riding, how to act around a horse, and so on, and what could be expected at the early stages of learning to ride. If you would like a copy, please email our office to be put on a list to be advised when the Guide comes out, and where it can be obtained. The Guide will be distributed across Manitoba in a print version, and will also be available as a digital file on our website. Speaking of websites — specifically MHC’s website — there are exciting happenings going on in the background. Our current site has served its purpose extremely well for almost seven years, but times change and so our website is changing! Over the years, we’ve found it difficult to place some of the content that is a priority for riders and parents of riders, such as Safe Sport information, Coach Licensing changes from Equestrian Canada, and the types of news coming from our member clubs. Those not on Facebook can miss out on many activities and happenings. Our website changes will include a fresh new easy-to-update News page, with better information for Coaches and Officials, and ways to deal with vital news such as COVID and animal disease outbreaks. The plan is to launch midsummer, so by the time you read this you may be able to check out our new look at

How to Reach Us Manitoba Horse Council, 145 Pacific Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3B 2Z6 PHONE (204) 925-5719 EMAIL WEBSITE FACEBOOK Manitoba Horse Council; Manitoba Recreational Riders






Annika McGivern is a Mental Performance Consultant who grew up as a Three-Day-Event rider in British Columbia. Her passion for eventing took her to Ireland, Australia, and America as a working student to world class riders, where she developed a keen interest in the psychological side of sport and performance. Annika has a BA in Psychology, an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology, and seven years experience as a certified Equestrian Canada Competition Coach. Annika works with athletes and coaches, in person and online, to help them find enjoyment and satisfaction in their sport through achieving their best possible results and outcomes.

Lindsay Grice

Tania Millen

Tania Millen is a former Canadian Team groom, a trained scientist, an environmental consultant, a former event rider turned backcountry rider, and an author of several books including Pack em Up, Ride em Out: Classic Horse Pack Trips in British Columbia and Alberta; The Joys of Horse Packing; Rockin’ Whitewater; and Go Horse Camping: A funny illustrated guide to camping with your horse.

“Is it me or my horse?” Horse show judge, coach, trainer, and specialist in equine behaviour, Lindsay Grice helps riders solve their “horse puzzles,” sharing keys from the science and research of how horses think and learn. She holds judging certifications in multiple disciplines — Western, hunter/jumper, dressage and obstacle events. Lindsay has taught classes and seminars in Equitation Science for provincial equine associations, therapeutic riding facilities, and courses offered by the University of Guelph. She regularly conducts clinics for horse clubs and private farms.


• Renew your subscription? • Give a gift subscription? • Change your address? • Report a delivery problem? • Ask a question? 1-800-299-3799 • (250) 655-8883 From time to time, Canadian Horse Journal makes its names and addresses available to carefully screened organizations who want to let you know about a product or service that might interest you. If you do not want your name, address, or email address made available, please let us know.


1-800-299-3799 • (250) 655-8883 MAIL: Suite 202, 2400 Bevan Avenue, Sidney, BC, V8L 1W1

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Dr. William Hodge

Dr. William (Billy) Hodge joined Meadow Lane Equine Clinic in Surrey, BC in 2020, and is a certified ISELP member and one of only two elite veterinarians in Canada with these credentials. Dr. Hodge trained in Europe and spent six years in England after completing a year-long equine/anaesthesia internship at the Minster Equine Hospital in York. He then focused on equine sports medicine by joining a predominantly lameness-based practice performing equine MRI scans, lameness workups, and running anaesthesia for surgical cases. In 2012 he moved to the Hamptons (Long Island, NY) and continued working predominantly in equine lameness on sport horses and racing Thoroughbreds before moving to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest in 2015 where he gained valuable experience in gamma scintigraphy (bone scan), and Western performance horses. ISELP allows him to utilize ultrasound, MRI, radiology, and scintigraphy to enhance his veterinary care. Combining his experience and ISELP certification he has focused on regenerative medicine to treat injuries and return horses to competition.



Shelagh Niblock PAS

Shelagh Niblock PAS is an equine nutritionist with an extensive background in both ruminant and equine nutrition as well as forage science as it relates to both horses and dairy cattle. She has spent more than 35 years in the feed industry in British Columbia and her lengthy experience working initially as a dairy nutritionist piqued her interest in the nutritional contribution made by forages to the diets of our horses. Shelagh currently practices as an equine nutritional consultant offering advice on the successful feeding and husbandry of horses. Shelagh also teaches Equine Production as well as Ruminant Health at the University of the Fraser Valley. Shelagh is a horse owner herself and an enthusiastic pleasure rider who is especially interested in the disciplines of Mountain Trail, Dressage and Three-Day Eventing. Shelagh is active as a volunteer in the 4-H program in BC, BC Pony Club, and is a member of the Board of Directors at Circle F Horse Rescue, a registered non-profit horse rescue in Abbotsford, BC. She is a member of the Equine Science Society, the American Dairy Science Association, the American Society of Animal Science, and the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists.


Alexa Linton

Alexa Linton is known for lighting up her world with her infectious personality, bold facilitation style, and often irreverent, tonguein-cheek writing, and for her menagerie of a therapeutic practice. The latter combines her degree in Kinesiology with over a decade of training in BodyTalk and animal communication, and her current passion as a fifth year student of osteopathy. From over 14 years of working with horses as an Equine Sport Therapist, and helping thousands of animals and people, Alexa has developed a therapeutic style that is intuitive and highly collaborative. She is the co-founder of the Cowgirl Re-union, the creator of the Whole Horse Apprenticeship and Podcast, and author of Death Sucks: A Straight-Up Guide to Navigating Your Pet’s Final Transition. She resides in the Cowichan Valley, unceded territory of the Cowichan and Coast Salish Peoples, on Vancouver Island, BC, with her horses Diva and Raven, dogs Reilly and Solo, and cat Parker.



Finding Permanent, Loving Homes for Retired Racehorses. Do you have room in your heart and home for a new friend? See our web page for horses available for adoption.

Volunteers are always welcome! Donate Today – Help a Retired Racehorse!

Gunningforfranks, LongRun Graduate

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Jec Aristotle Ballou

Jec Aristotle Ballou trains in Santa Cruz, CA, when not giving clinics around the United States. She is the author of 101 Dressage Exercises for Horse and Rider, Equine Fitness, and 101 Western Dressage Exercises for Horse and Rider. For further resources on the above topics, she recommends Beyond Horse Massage by Jim Masterson. Jec’s newly published book, 55 Corrective Exercises for Horses, helps resolve chronic postural imbalances and challenges that inhibit many performance horses.

Nikki Alvin-Smith

Nikki Alvin-Smith is a professional writer and Public Relations/ Marketing Specialist. Her works have been published in over 230 magazines worldwide. Nikki is a British international Grand Prix dressage trainer/ clinician who has competed in Europe at the Grand Prix level earning scores of over 72 percent. Together with her husband Paul, who is also a Grand Prix rider, they operate Willowview Hill Farm, a private horse breeding and training farm in Stamford, NY.

Dedicated to finding adoptive homes and new careers for former Thoroughbred racehorses. • ADOPT • • VOLUNTEER • • DONATE • 778-985-5673 •

5 Star Equine Products................................................. 71 Absorbine (Silver Honey)............................................55 Absorbine (UltraShield)...............................................35 Absorbine (Flex+Max)....................................................63 Absorbine (ShowSheen)..............................................65 Actistatin EQUINE............................................................ 11 AFAB Industries................................................................45 Affordable Barns ........................................................... 48 Anvil Brand.........................................................................29 Arenus Animal Health.....................................................9 Aservo EquiHaler.............................. Outside B/Cover BC Appaloosa....................................................................79 Bear Valley Rescue ........................................................91 Black Diamond Equine Gates & Corrals...............47 Boondocks Equestrian................................................. 83 Brattebo, Amy – ReMax..................................................3 Canadian Horse Journal.................................50, 87 Canadian Quarter Horse Association....................78 CapriCMW..................................................................... 24-25 Castle Plastics................................................................... 31 Celebration of Horses Photo Contest................. 2 CF Fence...............................................................................18 Circle F Horse Rescue................................................... 83 CONTERRA Arena Rakes & Groomers................... 46 CURT.......................................................................................23 Denco Storage Sheds....................................................39 Dr Cook Bitless Bridle (The Original)..................... 77 Eaglewood Equestrian Supplies............................. 83 Equiade................................................................................ 21 Equine Essentials Tack & Laundry Services.......47 Equine Foundation of Canada, The........................81 EQyss Grooming Products...........................................33 Flax Farm Premium Bedding..................................... 20 Flexineb..........................................................................14-15 Four Oaks Farm (Natural Release)............................ 1 Goldenwings Horseshoes............................................32 Haybury Farms..................................................................81 Hi-Hog Farm & Ranch Equipment.......................... 49 Horse Council BC............................................................ 85 Horse Habit, The..............................................................32 Integrated BioSystems..................................................67 KIOTI.......................................................................................19 LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society.....91 Mane ‘n Tail (Ultimate Gloss)....................................59 Maréchalerie Bromont..................................................27 Maple Lane Equestrian Trailers................................ 71 MC Quarter Horses Daily Horse Supply............... 83 McIntosh Pro Line...........................................................47 Menhinick, Casie/Carriage Trade Luxury Properties........................................................................... 51 Myles Herman - Equine Bodywork.........................79 New Stride Thoroughbred Adoption Society.....91 Northern Acreage Supply Ltd....................................45 Otter Co-op..............................................Inside F/Cover Peruvian Horse of Canada..........................................79 Petersen Trailers Ltd...................................................... 71 Pferde Traum Farm.........................................................79 Professional Farrier Supply........................................34 Pyranha.....................................................Inside B/Cover Quinis Equestrian............................................................ 41 Radmore, David/ReMax................................................ 51 Saugeen Bluffs Horse Campground...................... 83 SciencePure Nutraceuticals Inc.................................5 Sports Saddle....................................................................75 Summerside Tack & Equestrian Wear..................... 7 ThinLine Canada................................................................ 7 Tractor Company, The................................................... 49 TRAM Sales Ltd................................................................ 38 Ultra-Kelp............................................................................45 University of Guelph..................................................... 28 Velsen, Martin/ReMax................................................... 51 We Cover Structures......................................................13 Western Stockman..........................................................74 Whole Horse Apprenticeship - Alexa Linton......75 Wisdom of the Herd...................................................... 83 SUMMER 2021





Source: Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada





threatening) and may include diarrhea and dehydration. Both symptoms have a weakening effect on the horse. Again, such

things were likely not what was intended. Should we excuse such practices because of the good intentions? Do we complain amongst ourselves? Or do we promote and participate in education so that people consider consequences beyond their intentions? Consider what would be most beneficial to the wildies. b For more information on the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada, visit > For information on The Wild Horses of Alberta Society, visit >


What makes a deed good? Is it good intentions or is it good results? Or are both elements required for a deed to qualify as good? When it comes to the “wildies” (loose, wild, and feral horses), some people have turned their good intentions into action by putting out feed for the horses wintering on the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Putting out hay along roadways certainly attracts wildies (as well as other species), but it also puts them in jeopardy. Normally, the wildies do not spend much time on or near the roads in their habitat, even though they have become more accustomed to the logging trucks, oil and gas vehicles, and recreational travellers on those roadways. Baiting them with feed means they have to choose between following their instincts to stay away or going for the easy eats. The people who put out the hay likely did not intend for horses to be struck by vehicles or for drivers to be at risk because of the animals on the road, but those things happen. When humans are at risk, the animals often bear the brunt of the consequences by being viewed as nuisances or by being removed from the area. Such results may not have been considered when the wellintentioned feeders dropped off the hay. And what of the hay itself? What are the consequences of distributing high-percentage alfalfa hay for animals that are conditioned to exist on native grasses? Because alfalfa is a legume and a lot richer in some nutrients than the grass the wildies are accustomed to eating, their digestive tracts, like those of any horse, react to such a sudden change in diet. Bob Coleman, Extension Horse Specialist at the University of Kentucky and a former Albertan, advises that such a change can easily lead to gastrointestinal stress, the symptoms of which can range from mild digestive upset to severe colic (potentially life


Should We Feed Wild Horses?

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