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Ontario Xtreme Cowboy (OXC) board member and Orton resident Karen Dallimore is bringing OXC races to Erin on June 9. Here Dallimore is competing in an OXC race with her horse Sweet Grass Jake at the Milton Fair in 2018. Photo by Lianne Head

Alberta cowboy David Cowley will be offering clinics during Horse Day Erin on June 8. He will also be judging the OXC races on June 9. Submitted photo

OXC racing, Horse Day Erin comes this June BY JAIME MYSLIK

ERIN - An Ontario Xtreme Cowboy (OXC) race is coming to Erin in June. On June 9 an OXC race will come to the Erin Fairgrounds for the first time ever. “A lot of people think because it’s called Xtreme Cowboy that it’s extreme,” said OXC board member and Orton resident Karen Dallimore. “It’s not really.” The race is actually a course of obstacles which would be experienced on a ranch or on a trail. “If you think of it as an interview to work on a ranch ... the judge is your trail boss,” Dallimore explained. “So you have 13 chances to show him that you need and want that job. “There are 13 obstacles or tasks set up in an enclosed

ring and you have to show that you can do them efficiently, and capably and quickly, but always with a mind to horsemanship.” Horsemanship is one of the key aspects of Xtreme Cowboy Dallimore said. “There’s nothing like getting the crowd involved, even at the higher levels, the tougher obstacles, those cowboys and cowgirls ... they are looking after their horse number one,” she said. “Because if you don’t have a horse left at the end of your interview you can’t come to work the next day.” The judge will evaluate each horse and rider on how they overcome the obstacle, how long it takes them as well as the horsemanship the rider shows while completing the task.

“There’s some tough ones out there ... if you’re out on the job it’s not predictable. If you’re out on the trail it’s not predictable,” Dallimore said. “So this is what you’re trying to create the mindset, ‘well

doesn’t complete an obstacle does not mean that the horse and rider are disqualified. “Xtreme Cowboy allows you to work to the best of your horse’s ability so you’re not heavily constricted by

“Xtreme Cowboy allows you to work to the best of your horse’s ability so you’re not heavily constricted by rules.” - KAREN DALLIMORE, OXC BOARD MEMBER

you know that looks pretty tough but this is how we can deal with it?’ and the way you can deal with it is by having a well broke horse. “And that’s what it’s all about.” Just because a horse

rules,” Dallimore said. “We’re not that picky. “We want safe. We want the horse and rider to be comfortable, it’s all about horsemanship. There’s a lot of leeway.” Entry for the Erin OXC

show won’t open until 30 days from the competition date and it is open to participants of all ages and skill levels, with classes for children as young as 7. OXC was established in 2012 and now has about 100 members. Dallimore anticipates many of the participants attending the Erin show will have traveled from a distance, as it is one of the 13 sanctioned shows in Ontario this year. “We’re just thrilled because this year we’re going right across the province,” she said. “We’ve hit some new areas this year, like Erin, we haven’t had a race here. “I live in Orton so I’ve just been dying for a race around here so I thought I’d better put my own on.”

She expects there to be 60 races, which would be about 30 or 40 horse and rider pairs. Teams can register for more than one race. Registration for the races will begin 30 days before the event and entry for spectators is free on June 9. The races will be judged by Alberta cowboy David Cowley. Cowley was the 2015 Reserve Champion at the Calgary Stampede “Cowboy Up Challenge,” 2014 Pro Buckle winner at the Extreme Cowboy Racing (EXCA) World Finals in Texas and 2015 Pro High Point Champion with Extreme Cowboy Alberta. The OXC racing comes a day after Horse Day Erin on June 8 when the Wellesley, CONTINUED ON PAGE 30 >




Horse breeder is happy in her work BY PHIL GRAVELLE

ERIN - For Gail Wood, operating a thoroughbred farm is all about doing a job that she loves. Woodlands Farm on the 4th Line near Hillsburgh has raised some very successful horses, and Wood has been prominent in the industry, but she still takes great pleasure in the small details of farm life, like opening up the barns in the morning. “I enjoy every part of it,” she said. “There’s a difference between working for a living and loving your work. I knew that if I could eke out a career in the horse business, I would be happier.” She’s done more than just eke it out. After 22 years of managing Hindmarsh Farms for Harry and Lynne Hindmarsh, Wood started Woodlands Farm in 1996. It is a full-service thoroughbred operation. “Our staff is committed to giving the best care possible to horses in our care, allowing them to become the best that they can be,” she said. Working at the Hindmarsh farm was a “tremendous education” that enabled her to go out on her own, she said, but that it can be a “brutal game” because of the financial risks and the uncertainties of raising and racing horses. “You have to decide if you love it enough, so the downs don’t drag you down,” she

said, noting one of her mares recently had a heart attack and died. In 2003, she lost 22 horses in a tragic barn fire. Her career has included being a director and chair of the sales advisory committee of the Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society (Ontario Division). She is a member of the Jockey Club of Canada, a past president of the Ontario Thoroughbred Farm Managers Association and

She was also praised for her efforts to improve horse welfare and post-race horse activity within the industry. In 2016, Gail sold a former race farm on the 5th Line of Erin to the LongRun Retirement Society. Through fundraising and volunteer work, with assistance from the Ontario thoroughbred industry, LongRun evaluates retired racehorses, cares for them on the farm and works to place them in permanent, loving homes.

“There’s a difference between working for a living and loving your work. I knew that if I could eke out a career in the horse business, I would be happier.” - GAIL WOOD, OWNER OF WOODLAND FARMS

was voted Farm Manager of the Year in 1990. During a ceremony at the 2018 Erin Fall Fair, Wood was inducted to the Erin Fair Horse Heritage Hall of Fame for her leadership in the industry. Presenter Alf Budweth, of Budson Farm and Feed, sponsor of the Equine Tent at the fair, said Wood “was not just raising horses, but raising people – a team of young people.”

Woodlands promotes the benefits of the purse structure for Ontario-foaled horses, supported by the provincial government, which can be attractive to those looking to invest in breeding. Foals by Ontario sires, regardless of the country, province or state of foaling, are eligible for Ontario sire stakes races. She said the government support recognizes the huge benefit that horse racing provides to the economy, trick-

Gail Wood, owner of Woodland Farms, was inducted to the Erin Fair Horse Heritage Hall of Fame for her leadership in the industry, at the 2018 Erin Fall Fair. She is pictured with Hillsburgh trainer Danny O’Callaghan, who paid tribute to the horse Edenwold, who was also inducted. Photo by Phil Gravelle

ling down to the purchase of feed, equipment and fuel, and wages for staff at farms and tracks. Racing was once the only legal gambling outlet, she said, but now governments are “addicted” to the gambling revenue of slot machines. By bringing slot machines into the tracks, the government “brought in an enemy,” she said. While traditional horse racing fans often put a

lot of effort into their hobby, slot machine users are “gambling mindlessly.” Other changes in the horse business over the years include the much higher cost of starting up a new breeding operation, making it almost impossible for younger people to get into the game. Also, with the increased urbanization of southern Ontario, fewer young people spend time with large farm animals, resulting in fewer

being interested in working on a farm. Fortunately, the business has brought her some highs to enjoy. With more than 40 years of experience in the industry, Woods can offer expert advice to her customers. “It’s been a wonderful life – I’ve done exactly what I wanted to. The horses have been so good to me,” she said. “I’m lucky to have been able to do the work I like.”

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Edenwold (shown with jockey Emile Ramsammy) was bred and foaled in Erin at Woodlands Farms and became the two-year-old thoroughbred champion of 2005 and the Queen’s Plate winner in 2006. Supplied photo


15th annual International Society for Equitation Science Conference coming to Guelph in August GUELPH - The 15th annual International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) Conference is being held at the University of Guelph, Canada’s largest agricultural university from Aug. 19 to 21. The theme for this year’s conference is “Bringing Science to the Stable,” highlighting our past relationship with horses and examining where we are headed. Both conference registration and abstract submissions opened in January. Participants will join a line-up of thought-provoking speakers journeying through history and into the present,

supporting and challenging the way humans interact with horses through scientific research. Dr. Sandra Olsen (Curator-in-Charge, Biodiversity Institute and Natural History Museum, University of Kansas) will trace how the relationship with horses began. Dr. Camie Heleski (senior lecturer, University of Kentucky) will describe the field of equitation science and what has been learned about horse-human relationships. Dr. Nic de Brauwere (head of Welfare, Rehabilitation and Education, Redwings

Horse Sanctuary, UK) will discuss how human behaviour changes and can improve equine welfare. Dr. Andrew McLean (Equine Science International, Australia) will present similarities and differences in the application of learning theory across species. The ever-popular Clever Hans talk will be hosted on Monday evening with guest speaker Dr. Jonaki Bhattacharyya, Ethnoecologist and senior researcher with Firelight Group. Bhattacharyya has spent time in the interior of British

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Columbia, observing the wild horses and their impact on the land and interactions with the indigenous peoples. She will highlight how modern research can fit into other ways of knowing and approaches to managing both wild and domestic horses. The third day of the conference will include a short course on large animal rescue training (additional fee applies). Demonstrations and seminars from equine behaviourists, technology entrepreneurs and saddle fitting experts will fill the remainder of the day. Registered delegates can

also attend two free pre-conference workshops on Aug 18. Cristina Wilkins and Kate Fenner (Australia) will workshop on how to communicate scientific information to equestrian communities. Dr. Marc Pierard (Belgium) will lead a discussion in describing equine behaviours for the equine ethogram. Early bird conference registration pricing is available until June 1. After that date regular conference fees apply. Check the ISES website https://equitationscience. com/conferences/ or the

Horse Portal to learn more. Check back regularly to the Horse Portal for updates, sneak peaks, and local information. About the International Society for Equitation Science The International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) is a not-for-profit organization that aims to facilitate research into the training of horses to enhance horse welfare and improve the horserider relationship. For more information visit


Ontario-based Cowley will be offering featured clinics. Horse Day Erin will begin with a cowboy breakfast at the Erin Fairgrounds at 8am and will continue until 5pm. The day will include a slew of family entertainment including Bishop’s Wild West Show featuring four-horse bareback roman riding and trick riding, Bold Canine’s Mega Dogs agility show and Cowley demonstrating his two-way trust horsemanship with his horse Tucker. Kids’ activities will include

pony rides, a petting zoo, games, and a chance to meet a “real” unicorn. Erin’s horse heritage will be on display with archive photos, vintage tack, and horse-related antiques featuring an authentic Erin to Guelph stagecoach. The day will also include equine educational exhibits, live horse demonstrations, an equine equipment display, musicians, an equine trade show and food vendors. Tickets are $5 for a child, $10 for an adult and $25 for families (two adults and two children) and are available

at https://www.ticketscene. ca/events/23422/. Tickets can also be purchased in person at Budson’s—Provisions for Country Living in Erin. A percentage of the proceeds will be donated to the Erin Agricultural Society Building Renovation and Accessibility project. For a full list of activities and times visit https:// horse-day-erin/. For more information or to get involved contact Bridget Ryan at or 519-855-4562.

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First Fergus Tack Swap took place April 20 The first ever Fergus Tack Swap and Equine Trade Show took place at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex in Fergus on April 20. LEFT: One of these exhibitors was the Maple Rock Stables in Gowanstown, whose members showed off their vaulting skills. ABOVE: Another was Donna Coulter-Grace, who created The Repurposed Equestrian a year and a half ago. She takes broken equestrian items and re-purposes them for decor or personal items. Ten per cent of Coulter-Grace’s sales was going to LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society in Erin. Photos by Jaime Myslik

Guelph research looks at tools to help predict disease spread in horse population GUELPH - Researchers at the University of Guelph are studying tools that may help predict disease spread in horse populations. The studies were published in early January. In the first study, researchers looked at using small, non-invasive radio frequency identification (RFID) tags, placed under vet wrap on each horse’s halter, to collect data on which horses came into contact with one another on horse farms. In the second study, researchers used data collected with the RFID tags to help create and compare contact networks at horse facilities in Ontario.

“ ... extra care should be taken to keep the horses separate to prevent the disease from spreading throughout the entire farm.” Scientists use contact networks to help understand how a disease might spread in a population. To understand what a contact network is, picture a big map with different dots. Each dot represents a person. When one person comes into contact with another person, a line is drawn to connect them. So, if Kathy met Laura for coffee, there would be a line between Kathy and Laura’s dots. There would also be lines connecting Kathy’s dot and Laura’s dot with the peo-

ple they interacted with while they went for coffee, like the cashier at the coffee place. It’s like a scientific “connect the dots,” where the lines you draw are based on who comes into contact with who. Now try picturing this for your horse. What lines would you draw between your horse and others at your facility? Rachael Milwid, a former OVC PhD student and the lead author of the studies, comments on several important findings from the work. “Groups of horses that are turned out together had the most contact with one another which was to be expected, however the data also suggests that even horses that are not turned out together or that are not neighbours in the barn actually have significant contact with one another over the course of each day. “These results imply that in the case of a disease outbreak, extra care should be taken to keep the horses separate to prevent the disease from spreading throughout the entire farm.” The authors of the studies are Milwid, Terri O’Sullivan, Zvonimir Poljak, Marek Laskowski, and Amy Greer. T he work was supported by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Canada Research Chairs Program and the Ontario Veterinary College. Find out what to do to prevent disease spread at a facility with Equine Guelph’s online Biosecurity course ( course/sickness-preventionin-horses-f19/). Story by Terri O’Sullivan, Equine Guelph


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Make a point to discuss vaccinations with your vet to guard against influenza and disease GUELPH - More than 100 racing yards were on lockdown in February as horse races were called off due to a flu outbreak in Britain. All horse owners need to guard against the very real and present threat of equine influenza. According to a recent FEI health update in response to equine flu outbreaks, the virus can be easily transmitted between horses that are in close contact, such as attending events, group training and hunting, or between vaccinated and unvaccinated horses in the home yard. “Vaccinating horses against equine influenza is key to combating the spread of equine influenza,” FEI veterinary director Göran Åkerström said. “It is important that all horses are vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they compete or come into contact with other horses, but there are also biosecurity measures that should be put in place, including best hygiene practices.” Plan ahead Spring’s arrival and the anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens means it is time to book the vet for shots. How well do you understand the vaccines currently available and the discussions you should have with your vet? Six questions are asked in Equine Guelph’s healthcare tool – the Vaccination EquiPlanner, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, to help horse owners start those conversations. Every farm has different risk factors including: age, use, sex, exposure to outside horses and geography. Whether you are the proud owner of a young foal, competition horse, hobby horse or broodmare, the Vaccination Equi-Planner

The personalized questions in helps horse owners start conversations with their vet for an annual plan. Here Dr. Amy Bennet, Veterinarian and Ontario Association of Equine Practitioner president gives and intra-nasal vaccine. Submitted photo

( points out considerations for each and discusses different core and optional vaccines your vet may recommend. Your veterinarian will be up to date on what diseases are endemic in your location. Did you know horses aged 1 to 5 tend to be more susceptible to influenza? Horses that travel or are exposed to travelling horses or new arrivals are also at increased risk. “Equine influenza is one of the most frequent respiratory tract disease in horses. As such, it has a significant impact on equine populations worldwide,” said Dr. Serge Denis, Equine Consultant with Merck Animal Health. “Vaccination along with appropriate biosecurity measures remains one of the most

effective ways to prevent this highly contagious disease.” However, immunity is short lived so some horses will

“Also, as the influenza virus constantly changes through antigenic drift, best practice calls for using a

“It is important that all horses are vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they compete or come into contact with other horses, but there are also biosecurity measures that should be put in place, including best hygiene practices.” - GÖRAN ÅKERSTRÖM, FEI VETERINARY DIRECTOR need a semi-annual booster. “Horse owners should discuss with their veterinarian the most appropriate vaccination schedule based on their horses’ specific circumstances,” Denis said.

vaccine that includes recent strains of influenza as recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). “An influenza modified live virus vaccine can also

provide coverage against current strains through broad cross-protection.” What is a modified live vaccine? A modified live equine A/ Equine 2 influenza vaccine for intranasal administration is commercially available in Canada. “I have had some interesting conversations with horse owners regarding vaccinations,” said Veterinarian and Ontario Association of Equine Practitioner president, Dr. Amy Bennet. “There does seem to be some misconceptions regarding specific vaccines, especially the modified live vaccines. “By far, the biggest concern I hear from horse owners is that their horse could potentially become sick from the modified live vaccine and they are concerned that their horse could then pass this disease on to other horses. I also hear concerns of unvaccinated horses becoming inadvertently vaccinated from a recently vaccinated horse within the herd.” Bennet explains, a modified live vaccine is derived from the naturally occurring pathogen but is modified in a way that it doesn’t produce clinical disease, while still mounting a strong immune response. Modified live vaccines for influenza are given intranasally. When the vaccine replicates in the horse’s nasal mucosa, a rapid local immune response occurs. The horse develops an immune response that combats disease similar to when the horse is exposed to the wild strain equine influenza virus, making sure that the tissues that would be first exposed to the disease have the strongest immunity to it. By giving a modified live vaccine, your veterinarian is administering a live patho-

gen, that has been modified so it will not cause the clinical disease but will mount an immune response to help provide protection against the disease, should the animal ever be exposed. More about the science behind modified live and inactivated vaccines can be found at EquineGuelph. ca/vaccinationtool under resources. Know the rules Given the highly contagious nature of the disease and the impact on horse health and industry economics, some racing regulators, like British Horse Racing Authority, and racetracks, such as Woodbine, as well as organizations including the United States Equestrian Federation, Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and Equestrian Canada have rules requiring vaccination against equine influenza. Check on the records required. For example, Equine Canada passports must be signed and stamped by your certified veterinarian and filled in with the date of administration, name and batch number of the vaccine, method of administration (Intra-muscular or Intranasal) among other specified details. There are also windows of time before competitions for the administrations of vaccines to be aware of. “Equine Guelph and Merck Animal Health are pleased to provide a comprehensive starting point for horse owners to begin drafting their annual personalized immunization plan with Vaccination Equi-Planner at,” officials say. “This information will help when discussing vaccinations with your vet.” Story by Jackie Bellamy Zions, Equine Guelph

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Equine Feature Supplement April 25 2019  

Feature Supplement of The Wellington Advertiser.

Equine Feature Supplement April 25 2019  

Feature Supplement of The Wellington Advertiser.