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EQUINE

APRIL 28, 2017 | THE WELLINGTON ADVERTISER | 19

Busy barn - With over 60 horses, The Stable’s barn just south of Puslinch is a busy place for horses, trainers and drivers. Photo by Olivia Rutt

Local stable brings racehorse ownership to the masses BY OLIVIA RUTT

PUSLINCH - The idea of owning a racehorse may just be a dream for some, but The Stable’s Amy and Anthony MacDonald are hoping to make it easier for people to get into the industry. The Guelph couple is using fractional ownership to make standardbred racehorse

ownership accessible to more people. Anthony compares it to crowdfunding a horse: interested participants can buy shares of horses (one share is one per cent) available at thestable.ca. Owners have a percentage of the expenses and a percentage of the earnings, based on

how many shares they own. “(The Stable) is the fastest growing fractional ownership site in standardbred racing,” said Anthony. Since its inception in 2015, The Stable has grown from three horses to 62 horses, from zero employees to 16, and from three investors to 241.

Anthony is a driver and trainer and has been involved with horses his entire life. Amy, a University of Guelph graduate, has also been around horses for many years. The couple trains over 60 horses at a barn they rent just south of Puslinch Township. “We made it affordable and exciting and fun for

people to get involved,” said Anthony. “You get to be involved in horse racing from the fledging portion of the very first step into it, right up to hopefully the winner’s circle.” While Amy and Anthony own a portion of some of the horses they train, many are owned by other farms.

All of the available horses, with the prices per share, are listed on their website. “There’s horses that were sent from a breeding farm, so the farm owns it and they tell us how many (shares) they want to sell off,” said Amy. “We have a lot of different ways that people send horses CONTINUED > PAGE 21

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20 | THE WELLINGTON ADVERTISER | APRIL 28, 2017

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‘Mane’ event - The Centre Wellington Equine Trade Show and Used Tack Sale took place at the Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex in Fergus on April 9. LEFT: Attendees could visit the booths of vendors selling used tack, promoting equine clubs and offering equine-related services. RIGHT: Woody Woodfine, owner of Tack-Two Emergency Medical Services and Fire Suppression Inc., was on hand to show visitors the company’s horse ambulance. Photos by Jaime Myslik

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APRIL 28, 2017 | THE WELLINGTON ADVERTISER | 21

Fractional racehorse ownership offered at local stable FROM PAGE 19

to us, and a lot of ways we sell them,” added Anthony. He said having multiple owners of a horse hasn’t sparked any problems with decision-making. Though he includes investors in the process, they have trusted the couple’s training and driving decisions. The MacDonalds have investors from all over the world, including England, Italy and Ireland. Twice a month they film training sessions with a drone and broadcast them on Facebook Live or YouTube. “[Owners] can just log in on their computer on a Saturday and watch their horses train,” said Amy. “It doesn’t matter if they live in New York or Ohio, down the road; it doesn’t matter, they can see their horse train live.” The barn is also open to all investors to visit. “You’re going to be able to bring ... your friends and family out and get pictures taken and watch the horses train… (you can) be a handson investor,” said Anthony. For one investor, this was a way for him to get involved. Ken Weese of Toronto said he has followed the racing industry for 50 years. He decided to invest 36 shares into three horses from The Stable. “I’ve always wanted to get involved, but it’s pretty expensive ... with Anthony’s program, it’s great, you can get a percentage, whatever you can afford and it’s easy to manage,” said Weese. He added the program made it easier to break into the horse racing industry. “It’s hard to get in, I find; I want to have a racehorse, but how do I get into it?” he said. “With this program, it

provides, number one, an avenue to get into the racing … and it’s affordable.” Weese said he likes to come to visit the barn as much as possible. “I come as often as I can; that’s what I got involved for. The money is nice, but it’s not all about the money for me. I like to come to the barn, to the training track, to the races for sure. I just love the whole thing,” he said. Anthony and Amy were

said he was able to gather vital information about the industry from his discussions with the public. “What we did was really cement an equation that built thestable.ca and now that it’s built, I think the rest of the industry is finally realizing how important it is for the industry,” he said. In October, the provincial government announced further subsidies for the industry, pledging $93.4 million

With this program, it provides ... an avenue to get into the racing ... and it’s affordable. - KEN WEESE

inspired to start the fractional ownership program after Anthony lost his bid to become Guelph’s MPP in the 2014 provincial election. Anthony ran as the Progressive Conservative candidate due to the turn of events in the racing industry. In 2012, then-premier Dalton McGuinty announced he would scrap the slotsat-racetracks program, withdrawing $347 million in annual support for racetracks. The announcement affected Anthony’s career in the racing industry. “It all came crashing down on me,” he said. In 2014, Anthony decided to run as the PC party candidate in Guelph over the race track issue. “What kind of person would I be if I didn’t try to stick up for my industry the best way I could?” he said. Though he lost, Anthony

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each year until 2038. Anthony said that is a step in the right direction, but he hopes the industry will be able focus on its own revenue streams. “I think the industry could be structured in a different way,” he said. “We’ve done a pretty good job at staying along, but to actually grow the industry, you’re going to have to market better, you’re going to have to advertise better, you’re going to have to find a way to connect with millennials.” Amy and Anthony hope the fractional ownership model can help create change within the industry. “We can show the industry in a tangible, real way that there is growth right there, you just have to work at it in a different way,” said Anthony. “That’s what thestable. ca brings to horse racing. It brings hope to horse racing.”

Amy and Anthony MacDonald, owners of The Stable, are hoping a new formula of fractional ownership will open up the horse racing industry to more people. Photos by Olivia Rutt

Trainer and driver Anthony MacDonald trains one of the young standardbred horses at a training centre just south of Puslinch.

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22 | THE WELLINGTON ADVERTISER | APRIL 28, 2017

Western rider aims for top five in novice championships BY JAIME MYSLIK

ALMA – Western rider Teghan Tanner is set to compete this summer in close to 20 horse shows across North America. The 15-year-old, who lives just outside of Alma, competes with the Ontario Quarter Horse Association (OQHA) and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), training her horse at Rick Fleetwood Show Horses in Cambridge. As the season begins Teghan’s attention is focused

“It was pretty cool,” she said. “There’s a lot of other people in that ring.” Teghan competes in four different western disciplines: horsemanship, western pleasure, showmanship and western riding. In horsemanship riders are judged as they appear individually in the ring and complete a set pattern. In western pleasure it’s the opposite; the horse is judged when the duo completes a set pattern. Western riding is “pretty much just showing off how

It’s fun but it’s still a competition. - TEGHAN TANNER

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on the AQHA Level 1 Championships for novice riders in May. “It’s fun but it’s still a competition,” Teghan said. “I love it.” OQHA and AQHA riders earn points based on their placing in shows. The larger the show class the more points the winners earn. It’s those points that determine whether a rider can compete in the novice division. According to the AQHA handbook, Level 1 eligibility is calculated yearly based on the “cumulative average of all Level 1 competitors, per class, during the three immediate previous calendar years.” It says the point cap will be greater than 25 or the 90th percentile. Teghan is not new to the category. She has competed in the Level 1 Championships for two years, placing in the top 10 in 2015 and top 15 in 2016 for horsemanship.

well your horse can change leads,” Teghan said. “So we’re on the left lead and then you go across the ring and you have to change to your right lead within a designated area.” Again the team has to complete a set pattern. Lastly, she competes in showmanship, where she leads her horse through a specific pattern. In this discipline both horse and human are judged. This year Teghan will be competing in the AQHA Level 1 Championships in Raleigh North Carolina in May, where she’s hoping to earn a top five finish. Her mom, Meghan Tanner, is hoping Teghan places in western riding. In an average year Teghan attends 20 shows with her quarter horse, Little Pokemon. “He’s an older horse, he knows that much more, and

he can teach me more about it because he’s been doing this for longer than I have,” Teghan said. The duo travels to shows throughout Ontario and the United States, which offer quite different experiences. In the U.S there are hundreds of riders competing in one class, whereas in Ontario there are far less. “It’s bigger, there’s more kids, I get to see more things,” Teghan said of the Level 1 Championships. “There’s more competition and there’s different horses. “I show against the same horses in Ontario every time I show. “I know who the horses are. This one there’s different horses that I don’t exactly know that I’m showing against.” Meghan said Teghan and Little Pokemon usually cross the border for shows because of the increased number of competitors. At the end of each season the OQHA and AQHA hold banquets to distribute top points awards. However, Teghan’s end goal is to get to the All American Quarter Horse Congress in Ohio and compete in the National Youth Association Team Tournament (NYATT) on the Ontario team. Last year she competed in NYATT for the first time. “They have to apply ... to the Ontario Quarter Horse

Association ... and then they have to be accepted to get onto the team for the kids who are going to go,” Meghan explained. Each team member brings a different talent to the ring. “I did showmanship because I have the most showmanship points out of everyone on my team,” Teghan said. Though her riding is usually an individual sport, Teghan said it didn’t take much to adapt to the team atmosphere.

Alma resident Teghan Tanner and her horse Little Pokemon compete in about 20 horse shows per year. ABOVE: Photo by Jaime Myslik; LEFT: Submitted photo

“It’s not that different because you have your own class that you’re competing in,” she said. “So, you’re not fighting with someone on your team to get the points. So, it’s just you fighting the other teams to get your points.” Teghan also competed individually at congress, earning two personal bests. “I didn’t place but my

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APRIL 28, 2017 | THE WELLINGTON ADVERTISER | 23

Hound club offers summer rides Twice-weekly rides open to everyone not just club members W E L L I N G T O N COUNTY - A sunny morning in June, a lovely ride throughout the countryside with good friends, followed by lunch at a local restaurant or a barbecue at the home of one of the riders – Eglinton and Caledon Hound Club officials say it can be a great way to spend a summer day. Every year, the club offers a summer rides program, after the spring season ends for following the hounds. Members go out from a different location each week for two or three hours on a Saturday or Wednesday morning. They ride through Wellington County, as well over the Caledon Hills and around Mono, Mulmur and Dufferin Counties. Members take turns organizing the rides on trails, back roads and across the fields where they have the landowners’ permission. People enjoy the opportunity to relax and chat about their horses, officials say. The pace is varied, as there are usually two groups, a faster group who enjoy moving on with a brisk canter or two, as well as a group who likes to ride at a slower pace. It’s a great way to get to know the countryside, watch the crops growing in the fields and appreciate nature, club officials state. For those who have never ridden to hounds, it’s a good way to introduce a horse to riding in a group and to meet

University researchers studying horse contact patterns BY JAIME MYSLIK

the members of the Eglinton and Caledon Hound Club. One of the farms which will be hosting a ride this year is Weybread Hill Farm, located between Fergus and Orangeville. Priscilla Reeve, farm owner and president of the club, has been an enthusiastic follower, riding to hounds for many years. “I really enjoy the sum-

mer rides program, when the more formal part of our activities comes to an end,” she said. “I like riding with a group of knowledgeable horse people in a non-competitive environment, when I can enjoy my horse and get out and about.” Weybread Hill Farm offers personal coaching in riding to

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hounds, as well as lessons for beginners and those getting back into riding after a break. Non members of the Eglinton and Caledon Hound Club are invited to come out on the summer rides program. The cost is $25. Contact secretary Tina Walker at secretaryech@ gmail.com or visit www. eglintoncaledonhounds.com.

GUELPH – University of Guelph researchers are delving into equine contact patterns for the first time. PhD candidate Rachael Milwid and investigators Amy Greer and Terri O’Sullivan are conducting a study to determine who comes into contact with whom in equine racing, as well as sport and competition, facilities. “We know ... where [the horses’] stalls are and which pasture they go to, but do they actually come in contact with all of the horses in the facility or all of the people, that kind of thing,” Milwid said. “We want to see ... are they consistent throughout other facilities and other facility types, so we can get an idea of what’s happening.” The Equine Contact Study requires equine facilities to volunteer to participate. For a week barn staff will wear a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip on a lanyard every time they are in the barn. Horses will have their RFID tracker attached securely to the nose band of their halter. “These tags specifically have been used in hospital studies ... they’ve also been used on kids, and then another brand has been used on animals before,” Milwid said. “So these are 100 per cent safe.” Each tracker will be attached to a specific person and horse, but they will remain anonymous when the

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data is collected. “It sends out a little radio frequency at very frequent and regular intervals,” Greer said. “It’s constantly sending out this ... frequency and listening to hear if it gets a signal back.” When the chip hears a responding signal it identifies which tracker is close and for how long. “It essentially takes a time stamp of who comes in contact with whom, how long they were in contact and then when that contact ends,” Greer explained. The RFID tag isn’t monitoring personal information, just interactions throughout the barn. One of the main concerns the team hears is that barn workers are worried all of their activities are going to be closely tracked. “We’re really not interested in any of that sort of thing,” Greer said. “They are anonymous ... when we collect them back up they’re just a number.” However, the researchers did say they identify whether the tag represents human or horse movement. “If we get a horse going into a feed room we’ve got problems,” Milwid said. The team also put RFID tags in frequently used areas around the barn, like the wash stall. “Then we can identify who’s coming and going from different locations,” Greer explained, adding each trial will take just one week.

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24 | THE WELLINGTON ADVERTISER | APRIL 28, 2017

U of G researchers looking at disease spread potential FROM PAGE 23

“We’re interested in contacts ... which are direct face-to-face contacts within close proximity ... because ultimately we’re interested in contacts which present a potential opportunity for disease transmission,” Greer said. “We’re interested in iden-

tifying contact patterns that might create opportunities for disease spread or contact patterns which actually might prevent disease spread.” Greer explained the idea is if certain horses never have contact with other horses at the facility, even through human contact, there is far less risk of spreading disease

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throughout the entire barn. “It helps you ... make more informed choices or have a better idea of what might work and what might be more challenging in terms of biosecurity,” Greer said. The research project is Milwid’s PhD thesis and she will be collecting data this spring and summer. She is unaware of any other studies of this type within the equine industry. Individual results will be sent to each facility, but the identity of horses and humans will remain anonymous. “Barn managers will be able to say ... ‘it looks like all of our barns are essentially isolated units,’ which might be useful ... should you then have a sick horse to be able to ... inform your decision making,” Greer said. “Our participants so far have been really enthusiastic and interested in participating in research ... They want to see what their graph looks like.”

Amy Greer and Rachael Milwid, along with Terri O’Sullivan, are researching horse contact patterns at racing, sport and competition facilities. Photo by Jaime Myslik

Greer said it’s important for researchers to build trust with the equine industry. “It’s really having feedback that ... there’s something use-

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ful that came out of it and we learned something new that’s potentially going to be able to contribute to improvements in horse health, in biosecurity

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Feature Supplement of The Wellington Advertiser.

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