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Guelph, ON Aug, 27, 2020 - Horse human interaction studies were discussed in a talk presented by Dr. Katrina Merkies, Ontario Agricultural College at the three day virtual conference hosted by the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES).   With around 50 recent horse behavior studies referenced in the 40 minute presentation (and apologies for the many not mentioned), there is an undeniable growing interest to understand our impact on physiological and behavioural states of our equine partners.  “The road to horse and human well-being” was the journey unfolding as Merkies expounded on the discoveries of her studies and those of fellow researchers.  Evidenced-based research stands to make great strides toward continually improving equine welfare.   What do we know about horses?   The talk began by introducing one of Merkies’ collaborative research studies on how humans perceive their bond with horses.  The survey indicated people would characterize their bond in several ways: the horse approaching them, vocally greeting them, trusting them in a frightening situation, taking care of them during hardships and physically touching them.  Another study showed humans can distinguish between positive and negative domestic horse vocalizations.    A study by Merkies PhD student, Cordelie DuBois, surveyed participants with surprising results.  When asked to rank welfare-compromising scenarios, most could easily pick out a physical threat to a horse but there was more variance in answers to questions where the effects of boredom or frustration were to be identified.       How do horses perceive us & what impact are we having on their welfare?   Since the advent of the ‘five freedoms of animal welfare’ and the evolution of ‘the five domains model’, increasing attention has been placed on animals not just surviving in our care but thriving and having their social/emotional needs met for a life worth living.  Scientific research continues to contribute to an ever increasing knowledge base.   Merkies’ latest collective paper on the Effect of Human Attachment Style on Horse Behaviour and Physiology during Equine-Assisted Activities was published earlier this year.  The pilot study aimed to determine the effect of the attachment style of at-risk adolescents on the physiology and behavior of therapy horses during a 10-week Equine Facilitated Learning program.  The therapy horses used during this study indicated a low stress response toward participants in the program.  In particular, a human insecure attachment style produced more predictable behavioural responses in the horses.   In another study, Merkies and her team discovered that, depending on the kind of stress, horses might blink significantly less when they’re experiencing acute stress.     Horses may understand us better than we understand them.  One study has shown that horses are adept at distinguishing human facial expressions.  Another study by Merkies’ graduate student, Abby Hodder, further supported this research and explored how this ability could influence the affective state of a horse.     Can we say we are as good at reading a horses’ expression?  Have a look at the research on facial grimace recognition in horses to see if you can distinguish between relaxed and pained expressions.   Merkies has also joined researchers in the quest to find out how horses listen to us and if the human voice could have a calming effect on horses.  She relays, horses in a round pen moved more quickly when a stern voice was introduced than when a pleasant one was used.  The horses were also more likely to turn their body toward a pleasant voice.  Merkies has also seen for herself in various studies that horses do not like being alone, instantly becoming calmer when a human enters a round pen scenario. Another study reveals horses are more likely to approach an attentive person over an inattentive one.     Studies on horses’ emotional intelligence have come out with conflicting results with some pointing out a confident handler could more easily lead a horse through an obstacle course, while other studies suggest horses are not stressed by a nervous handler.  Some studies have suggested horses can recognize different emotions but empathy or experience of those emotions are unknown.   The hot topics of positive and negative reinforcement in the training of horses had been a recurring theme throughout the ISES conference and was not to be left out of Merkies’ presentation.  Incorrect use of negative reinforcement (such as incorrect timing removing the pressure of an aid) has been linked to increased stress in horses.  Positive reinforcement has been shown to lead to anticipatory behaviour and a greater attentiveness to the trainer.  Other studies have also revealed horses kept on pasture desensitize to novel stimuli quicker.     The talk finished up on more recurrent themes of ‘social license to operate’ and charging the human handlers with practicing ‘agency’ for the horse.  Tuning in to the horses needs and allowing them to express themselves.  Not dismissing if they turn away when the bridle is presented, and similar cues delivered with body language.  Education is the key to recognizing positive indicators of welfare and picking up on warning signs.  Equitation science will continue to play an important role championing for equine welfare.   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions   Web Link(s): Story web link: https://thehorseportal.ca/2020/08/horse-human-interactions-studied/   Other web links: 50 recent horse behavior studies referenced https://equineguelph.ca/pdf/facts/A-Match-Made-in-Heaven-references.pdf   humans can distinguish between positive and negative domestic horse vocalizations https://equineguelph.ca/pdf/surveys/VOX lay abstract.pdf   Cordelie DuBois, surveyed participants with surprising results https://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=663   Effect of Human Attachment Style on Horse Behaviour and Physiology during Equine-Assisted Activities https://doi.org/10.3390/ani10071156   horses might blink significantly less when they’re experiencing acute stress https://equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=646   horses are adept at distinguishing human facial expressions http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2015.0907   facial grimace recognition in horses https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/figure?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0092281.g002   if the human voice could have a calming effect on horses https://thehorse.com/116430/study-tone-pitch-human-voice-could-affect-horses/   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.      

MILTON, JULY 25, 2020 - Tattoo Artist collected his second Gold Series and fourth straight victory at Woodbine Mohawk Park on Saturday, July 25 as the harness racing three-year-old pacing colts met for the second time in their Ontario Sires Stakes season. Lining up at Post 1 with Bob McClure in the race bike, Tattoo Artist took a brief spin in the pocket as Aneto led the field of six to a :26.4 opening quarter, but was soon heading for the front where he rang up a :54.2 half and 1:21.1 three-quarters. Down the stretch the fan favourite had to contend with a hard closing Beach Blanket Book, hanging on for a neck victory in 1:49.1. Indictable Hanover finished two lengths back in third. "I think that three weeks hurt him a bit," said trainer Dr. Ian Moore, noting that Tattoo Artist had not raced since the Gold Series season opener on July 4. "I think that good horses have got to be trained or raced pretty well right to where they're going to go, or else if you don't and they have too big a gap there, they may struggle a little bit. And he certainly got a little tired on the end there tonight, which is uncharacteristic of him." Tattoo Artist and his peers face the same three week gap before the next Gold Series event, at Rideau Carleton Raceway on Aug. 16, and the North America Cup eliminations are scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 22. The North America Cup has been circled in red on Tattoo Artist's calendar for months, so Moore is a bit undecided about how the coming weeks will play out for the Hes Watching son. His preference would be to race the colt at Woodbine Mohawk Park in preparation for the North America Cup, but he also does not fancy putting the sophomore in against more experienced competition, which may see him make the trip to Rideau Carleton and head into the elimination on short rest. "I'll have to start looking somewhere and see what we come up with. I'm not taking him across the border anywhere, so we'll see if we can find something here for him," said the Cambridge, ON resident, who conditions Tattoo Artist for Frank Cannon of Sanford and Let It Ride Stables Inc. of Boca Raton, FL. "They don't want to train this time of year, they want to race now. Earlier on they're gung ho to train, and then once the racing starts they look forward to that, any competitive horse does, and he's a good competitive horse and he looks forward to it, so it's difficult. You want to keep their mind fresh and their body in good shape and ready to roll when it's time." Tattoo Artist The second $104,800 Gold division saw heavy favourite Beaumond Hanover and driver Jody Jamieson land in fourth from Post 2 as Rhythm In Motion rolled out to a :26.3 quarter. Jamieson sent Beaumond Hanover to the front heading by the :54.2 half and the colt cruised through a 1:22.4 three-quarters and one to a one and one-quarter length victory in 1:49.2. Rhythm In Motion stayed game for second and Springbridge Jim sprinted into third. "He caught the softer division, so I thought if everything goes right he should win it," said owner-trainer Jack Darling. "It all worked out good. He (Jamieson) was just kind of sitting there chilly through the lane." The win was also Beaumond Hanover's second Gold Series win and fourth of the season. The Sportswriter son prepped for Saturday's test with a 1:49.4 win in a July 18 overnight event at Woodbine Mohawk Park, but, like Moore, Darling is also considering his options heading toward the North America Cup. "It's just turned out, because of the situation this year, that the schedule isn't good, because you've got, like for my horse I've got a Gold at Rideau, which you hate to miss that, and then you've got the NA Cup, the elims and the final, then the week after is the Somebeachsomewhere, the week after that is the Simcoe, both good races, and then the week after that is another Gold, so it's just going to be tough to map out," said the Cambridge, ON resident. "If you're going to skip the NA Cup, then the schedule is just fine, but it's hard to skip the million dollar race." While Darling considers his options, Beaumond Hanover will maintain his usual routine, which Darling says has not varied much even as the racing season heats up. Beaumond Hanover "I try to train him light, but he's such a good trainer he seems to have to go a certain speed, or it's like he's done nothing," Darling explained. "I train him faster than I would another horse, but it's actually easier on him, he just needs to roll along. He just always feels good, always trains great. He's just a real pleasure to have around." Beaumond Hanover Complete results from Saturday's program are available at Woodbine Mohawk Park Results. Video: Race 1 - Tattoo Artist; Race 8 - Beaumond Hanover OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

Horsemen are advised that Harrah's Philadelphia Casino and Racetrack will hold pre-meet qualifiers on June 16 (Tuesday) June 18th (Thursday) and June 19th (Friday) mornings, with first post at 10:00 a.m. each day. Entries for the Tuesday June 16th Qualifier will be accepted on Sunday June 14th with the box scheduled to close at 11:00 a.m. The Tuesday June 16th Qualifier will be for 3 Year Old & Older Horses, the Thursday June 18th Qualifier will be for 2 Year Old Horses, the Friday Qualifier will be for All Ages. Please note that due to Covid - 19 pandemic shutdown, the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission is temporarily modifying the 45 day rule, horses who have started and have a clean line after February 1st, 2020 will not need to Qualify. This will only be in effect for a period of two weeks once the first live race resumes, after that the 45 day rule will be in effect. Opening Day for the 2020 Season is now scheduled for Sunday June 21st with a 12:40 Post Time. Following the Opening Day card, Harrah's Philadelphia will move to its traditional race schedule of Wednesday, Thursday, Friday & Sunday's. Horsemen are once again reminded to provide the Race Office with all applicable health documents for their horses, including Coggins, EHV and rabies paperwork dated 2020 and a health certificate from the last 30 days. They may be faxed to the race office at 484.490.2230. Additionally, racing applications are available through the Harrah's Philadelphia website: www.harrahsphilly.com, and following the "Horsemen" link. Barry Brown | Director/Racing Operations O (484) 490-1770 777 Harrah's Blvd | Chester, PA 19013 www.caesars.com    

Guelph, ON June 10, 2020 - Could biologic therapies be the future for treating joint disease? Ontario Veterinary College researcher, Dr. Mark Hurtig and his team are investigating novel new methods to potentially repair tissue rather than just suppressing the signs of joint disease.   Hurtig also explains the mechanism and contributing factors to fetlock chip fractures stating they can be related to the surface that the horse works on and the intensity of that work.   Dr. Hurtig explains his research into biologic therapies & gives tips to avoid lameness as horses resume training in this 15 minute video.     As a rider and veterinarian, Dr. Hurtig provides some precautions when resuming training of a horse: Return to exercise slowly and incrementally with lots of walking When introducing trotting avoid hard surfaces. Avoid complex moves at first – promote relaxation. Allow an adaptation time when working on new surfaces and cross-train on the surfaces you intend to expose your horse to   Regarding the period of time required before a horse is ready for harder work, Hurtig says, “It depends on the bio-mechanical challenge to their muscular skeletal system.”   One could spend at least three months preparation before the horse is ready for high level performance. It can also take up to a year to get ligaments and tendons ready for Olympic level sport.   Hurtig is excited about his research on Intra Articular therapies that utilize direct injection into the joint as a targeted therapy but cautions against injections used for maintenance or as a preventative measure.   Learn more about Dr. Hurtig's research   Want to learn more about lameness?   Equine Guelph has free healthcare tools: Lameness Lab and Journey through the Joints  Test your knowledge and savvy for spotting lameness!   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Live racing returns to Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the Charlottetown Driving Park on Thursday evening as the Island track will be the first oval in the nation to host live harness racing since March. The Red Shores broadcast team will be back with Race Day airing at 5:30pm AST. First race post time is 6 P.M. for the 10-dash card with the $2,900 featured fillies and mares open pace lining up in race 9 for a much-anticipated match-up between newcomers. A field of top class mares will tussle in that featured event including Berazzled (To be driven by Mike McGuigan) who moves into the Jonah Moase stable of Warren Grove after a private purchase by his father Neal Moase over the winter months. The mare had been racing at Yonkers Raceway in New York and will leave from post 2 as the morning line favourite Thursday night fresh off an 11-length romp in 1:56.1 in her qualifier. Dreamfair Zenfire also turned in an impressive qualifier in her first charted line on the East Coast as trainer Marc Campbell steered her to a 1:57.3 going away victory Saturday at Red Shores over a muddy track with a two-second variant. Ryan and Everett MacLeod of Souris owns the four-year-old daughter of Sunfire Blue Chip who comes into the race riding a two-race win streak from the Ontario racing circuit. She will leave from post 6 on Thursday. Much Adoo has the respect of third choice on the morning line but will be saddled with post 7 for trainer Ron Matheson and owner Rollwithitharry Racing of Marshfield. Brodie MacPhee will be in the bike behind the Dover Downs ship-in. The Thursday card will mark the return to the driving ranks for the 34-year-old MacPhee, a former top driver on P.E.I., who has not driven in a pari-mutuel race since August of 2014. Other entries in the race 9 fillies and mares open are Collective Wisdom (Ron Matheson), newcomer Southwind Ion (Jason Hughes), Woodmere Chella (David Dowling) and Private Di (Kenny Arsenault). The fillies and mares back-up class is in the race Race 10 finale carrying a $2,400 purse with Miss Kabana making her Island debut from post 3 with Vincent Poulton in the bike for co-owner and trainer Gary Poulton and fellow Charlottetown owners Gail MacDonald and Trevor Warren. The Marc Three miss has been racing the claiming ranks at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Ontario. Other top entries are Arc Light (Campbell) from post 6 and Tell Me Why (Corey MacPherson) from post 5. The lone trot of the evening hits the track in race 5 with Osprey Delta favoured with rail control in the $1,750 class for owner-trainer-driver Paul Larrabee of Belle River. The Tad The Stud five-year-old last raced at Plainridge Park in Massachusetts for trainer Mike Stevenson. Customers on PEI will be able to watch and wager on the product through Horse Player Interactive (HPI). It is free to join at hpibet.com. Other customers and fans around the globe will have access through betting platforms on the season opener. Red Shores feature races will be available on Proline all summer long. For race programs, HPIBET.Com and Race Day broadcast go to redshores.ca By Nicholas Oakes For Red Shores

MILTON, June 1, 2020 - Woodbine Mohawk Park's Race Office would like to inform harness racing horsepeople that sign-up to train this week at Mohawk Park opens later today (June 1) at 3 p.m. Training at Woodbine Mohawk Park is available on Wednesday (June 3) and Saturday (June 6) from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Training hours will be allotted by signing up on a first-come, first serve-basis. Sign-ups will start at 3:00 p.m. on Monday, June 1. Trainers are limited to no more than 10 horses per day. A limit of 50 horses are permitted in the paddock during a training time slot. Training time slots will be in 2.5 hour increments (6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., 9:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m., 12:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.). All paddock COVID-19 safety protocols will be in place for training hours, including the requirement to have all personnel wearing a face mask. Only trainers and essential licensed personnel over the age of 16 will be permitted through the Security check point. The link to sign-up for training is available here: Sign-Up for Training at Woodbine Mohawk Park. Please contact Dylan Allain with any questions at dallain@woodbine.com. Mark McKelvie

Guelph, ON - May 27, 2020 - How would equine industry members describe the welfare status of Canadian horses? Which horses do they believe are the most at risk? And what do they believe threatens horse welfare? These are just some of the questions a research team at the University of Guelph set out to answer. In 2015, Master’s student, Lindsay Nakonechny, with the support of supervisor Dr. Katrina Merkies and PhD student Cordelie DuBois, created a survey to find out what adult members of the Canadian equine industry think about horse welfare. The online survey results revealed that participants largely agree on some of the top perceived threats to horse welfare, but also uncovered a few surprises.   Almost one hundred percent of survey participants agreed that there were welfare issues in the Canadian equine industry, citing unwanted horses, inappropriate training methods, and unknowledgeable owners as some of the key issues within the industry. The majority of participants also highlighted ineffective legislation and the incapacity of law enforcement to protect horses as important.   When examining which groups of horses were perceived to be “at risk”, however, opinions were much more divided. Welfare issues connected to auctions or feedlot horses were less divided. Horses intended for slaughter and horses with owners who lack knowledge, were also suggested as affected groups by survey participants.   Lack of knowledge continued to emerge as a re-occurring survey theme. This, along with financial difficulties was considered one of the biggest challenges to “good” equine welfare. This supports the need for educational programs and targeted knowledge transfer. Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph could not agree more. “What this survey tells us is there is a need to work together with strong support from the industry to extend the reach of welfare education,” says Ecker. “Improved information outreach to the industry incorporating human behaviour change approaches are vital if we are to have an impact on improving equine welfare.”   Close to 1,000 participants from multiple disciplines across Canada took the survey and self-identified as at least somewhat knowledgeable regarding horse care. Of the five options regarding horse care knowledge, participants were most familiar with body condition scoring (BCS; 78.6%,). Surprisingly, under 55% were aware of the national document: the Canadian Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines (NFACC). Participants were even less familiar with the American Association of Equine Practitioners Lameness Scale (35.6%), the Five Freedoms of Animal Welfare (29.7%), and Equitation Science (20.4%).   Alongside examining the participants’ views on equine welfare within the industry, researchers also examined what factors, such as a person’s gender or view on their horse’s ability to feel emotions, most often affected their answers. Researchers found that whether a person considered their horse to be livestock or a companion animal, as well as what discipline they were involved in, most often influenced their perception of welfare issues. People who considered horses livestock, for example, were less likely to believe that horses at auction or on feedlots were an “at risk” group.   Additionally, eight scenarios were included in the survey, each outlining a scenario in which horse welfare could be compromised. Those ranked the most welfare-compromising involved horses being pastured without water during the wintertime and a horse given a sedative prior to training. While participants of this survey almost unanimously indicated that they believed horses could feel a variety of emotional states, this belief was not always reflected in their ranking of the scenarios. Several scenarios described situations in which horses could be suffering the effects of boredom or frustration (e.g. a horse on extended stall rest), but these scenarios were not considered as welfare-compromising as others. The intersection between what individuals think horses are capable of feeling and how this translates into practice (i.e. what situations cause horses to feel emotions such as boredom or pain) is an interesting one, and a challenge to all educators looking to bridge the gap between “knowing” and “understanding.”   To learn more about the survey questions, the diversity of the survey participant’s answers, and how they related to their involvement in the equine industry, read the full publication: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30405030.   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   Story by: Equine Guelph

Guelph, ON May 21, 2020 - Lameness is a huge focus for Dr. Judith Koenig as a clinician, researcher and instructor at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC). Koenig is also a rider with a keen interest in helping grass roots riders and upcoming high-performance athletes. In the accompanying video Dr. Koenig explains her current research endeavoring to heal tendon injuries faster and also takes some time to talk about prevention. Stimulating stem cells to heal faster through the use of shock wave therapy is part of the exciting new research being conducted at the OVC by Dr. Koenig.  They were investigating whether shock wave therapy performed after injecting stem cells into a tendon will result in better quality healing.  Then they came up with the idea of pre-treating stem cells with shock wave prior to injection!    Dr. Koenig is also leading a clinical trial, currently enrolling thoroughbred racehorses.  The trial performs repeated injection of stem cells that have been harvested from umbilical cord blood, frozen and stored in Dr. Thomas Koch’s lab.  These stem cells are from unrelated horses.  Funding from the Ontario Equestrian federation has enabled OVC researchers to also follow a control group treated with platelet rich plasma as a comparison for this study. Reduced healing time is an obvious benefit to the welfare of the horse and of course the horse owner will be pleased about a quicker return to their training régime.     Realizing many will soon be in the position of starting horses back into training after a significant amount of time off, Koenig offers some important advice.  “You need to allow at least a six-week training period for the athletes to be slowly brought back and build up muscle mass and cardiovascular fitness,” says Koenig.  “Both stamina and muscle mass need to be retrained.”  She stressed the importance in checking the horse’s legs for heat and swelling before and after every ride and picking out the feet.  A good period of walking is required in the warm-up and cool down and riders need to pay attention to soundness in the walk before commencing their work out.     Want to learn more about lameness?     Equine Guelph has free healthcare tools:   Lameness Lab and Journey through the Joints    Test your knowledge and savvy for spotting lameness!   Learn more about Dr. Koenig and her research.   Biography: Judith Koenig, Mag vet med, Dr med vet, DVSc   Dr. Koenig is originally from Austria and came to Canada 1996 after graduating from vet school to gain some research experience and complete the research for her MSc. Following a large animal internship at the Ontario Veterinary College she went to Oregon State University where she did a one-year large animal fellowship. The year in Oregon gave her good exposure to Western Pleasure horses as well as Walking horses, which complemented her previous experience with Sports and Racehorse practice.   Judith came back to the Ontario Veterinary College where she did a 3-year large animal surgery residence with a concurrent graduate degree (DVSc). Judith became board certified with both the American and European College of Veterinary Surgeons and started to work as faculty in Large Animal Surgery in 2003. Since then she has been working half of the time as a surgeon with a strong interest in Equine Sports Medicine and the other half as researcher and teacher. In 2016 Judith became a board-certified diplomate for equine sports medicine and rehabilitation.   Judith’s main area of interest in research is tissue healing, particularly wound and tendon healing. She has investigated the use of different modalities (for example shockwave or stem cells) to see if they accelerate tissue healing and which cellular pathways are affected. This will help to direct treatment of tendon injuries and wounds in horses.   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Guelph, ON - May 14, 2020 - There are many important questions pertaining to equine conditioning and fitness as we all look forward to returning to work.   Dr. Hilary Clayton recently shared some cautions and considerations in a Skype interview with Equine Guelph.   Dr. Clayton is a veterinarian, researcher and horsewoman.   For the past 40 years she has been conducting amazing research in the areas of equine biomechanics and conditioning programs for equine athletes.   Dr. Clayton has also been a guest speaker in Equine Guelph’s online course offerings.   1. What are the differences between conditioning and training?  training is the technical preparation of the athlete  (learning the skills and movements they will need to perform in competition) conditioning strengthens the horse, progressively making them fit and able the goal of conditioning is to maintain soundness while maximizing performance 2. Considerations for horses that go from full work to just pasture turn-out?  a gradual decrease from full work to less days a week, lessening intensity is ideal. also, ideal that they stay in light work a day or 2 a week, however horses are resilient. when workload decreases, diet decreases do not change things suddenly 3. How long before a horse begins to lose muscle mass and fitness? What about bones/connective tissues? horses maintain their muscle and cardio-vascular ability longer than humans a month before horses start to lose cardio-vascular capacity and muscular strength bone and tissue adapt in accordance with the work they are doing with no work bones become weaker, muscles smaller and endurance decreases good news is the strength of bone & muscle will increase again when work resumes ligaments, tendons, cartilage of horse mature by 2yrs and are a bit more of an unknown resilience is the ability to stand up to the performances 4. When getting back to work, where do you start and how do you know how to move forward? 1st address condition of feet, saddle fit, and plan for increasing nutrition requirements. start very gradually with walking for the first 2 – 4 weeks. start with 10 min under saddle, working just 3 – 4 days in the first week increase amount of walking by 10 min/week  by 3 weeks = 30 min walk/day, start introducing 20 seconds of trot then slowly introduce short canters performing lots of transitions between gaits is great for improving fitness 5. What are the signs of “too fast, too long and too soon!” and how do we avoid this? back pain, limb pain, inflammation monitor any changes carefully horses will fool you with their cardio-vascular fitness improving before their strength. to avoid injury, don’t let an energetic horse dictate how much work you will do. 6. What are some of the similarities and differences in training programs for different disciplines? initial phase of conditioning is similar, building aerobic capacity and strengthening muscles first 2-3 months can be dedicated to general conditioning then start specializing depending on the intensity and endurance required for your sport. 7. What advice do you have for horse owners that are worried that leaving the horse alone is detrimental to its well-being? Plenty of horses living outside 24/7 with little exercise that are doing just fine. Horses are far from their natural lifestyle Maximizing turnout and forage are ways to benefit our horses welfare. They need water, food, shelter and an attentive care-taker. Biography: Dr. Hilary M. Clayton, BVMS, PhD, Dipl. ACVSMR, FRCVS is a veterinarian, researcher and horsewoman. For the past 40 years she has performed innovative research in the areas of equine biomechanics, conditioning programs for equine athletes and the effects of tack and equipment on the horse and rider. She has written 7 books and over 250 scientific articles on these topics. She is a charter diplomate and past president of the American College of Veterinary Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation, an Honorary Fellow of the International Society for Equitation Science and has been inducted into the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame, the Midwest Dressage Association Hall of Fame and the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame.   From 1997 until she retired in 2014, Dr. Clayton was the Mary Anne McPhail Dressage Chair in Equine Sports Medicine at Michigan State University. She continues to perform research through collaborations with universities in many countries and is active in publishing and presenting the findings. In addition, she is president of Sport Horse Science through which she applies the results of scientific research in the development of practical tools and techniques to help riders, trainers and veterinarians.   As a lifelong rider Dr. Clayton has competed in many equestrian sports, most recently focusing on dressage in which she competes through the Grand Prix level.    

Guelph, ON April, 15, 2020 - From adding special online course offerings to updating a Covid-19 resources page daily, Equine Guelph has been responding to harness racing industry requests during this difficult time. You can take a survey right now to let them know of any additional courses you would like to take while you are staying home.   New students are signing up daily for the extended online offering of Horse Behaviour and Safety! Register anytime in April – Adult and Youth offering (13-17).  Check out the BOGO deal!  Buy the adult course for $85 (for provincial federation members & partners) and get the youth one for free ($45 value) Join the Herd at TheHorsePortal.ca       Fire & Emergency Preparedness online course from May 4 - 11 (with extended access to June 30) Newly updated with: developing plans for business disruptions, back-up planning and information regarding COVID-19.  Guest speakers: Dr. Rebecca (Gimenez) Husted and Mike King. This special offering will be available for $60 ($25 savings).     Great news announced for the May offering of 12-week online courses with Equine Guelph - the Early Bird Rate of $549 will not expire = $50 in savings! (special offer for summer semester 2020).     While the Free Sickness Prevention course filled to capacity within 24 hours of the announcement, Equine Guelph does have a free Healthcare Tool - Biosecurity Risk Calculator to help you find out your farm's biosecurity score.     Equine Guelph is thinking of adding more online short course offerings to help horse-people out while they are staying home. What courses would you like to take?  One-minute survey.    Equine Guelph  

Guelph, ON Feb. 13, 2020 - In 2015, Lara Genik and Dr. C. Meghan McMurtry from the University of Guelph’s Department of Psychology conducted a survey at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, looking into the prevalence and impact of less studied painful incidents among children while handling and riding horses. Some of the results may surprise you. “There hasn’t been much work conducted about less serious incidents”, says Genik. “When I looked at the literature that did exist, I found that it has primarily focused on serious injuries that led to hospitalization. For example – we don’t know much about how often less serious incidents are occurring, when or where they are occurring, and what the impact is on youth and their parents.” Genik’s research survey set out to understand common painful incidents associated with riding and to gain insight that could potentially lead to intervention through safety and educational programming.   With the help of Equine Guelph and their EquiMania! youth display, data was collected at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto. 120 children aged 8-18 (who participated in riding at least once per week) and a parent completed brief questionnaires about their riding habits including helmet use, supervision, painful incidents that have occurred, and their impact.   A startling result indicated that 75% of the children surveyed had experienced at least one type of painful incident more than once, yet only 7.3% said they had modified their behavior (e.g., keeping fingers away from the horse’s mouth after having been bitten). “We were quite surprised that these incidents had little impact on children’s behavior around horses,” says Genik. “This implies that the incidents may continue to occur even if they could be prevented – and we know from recent work that many incidents around horses may actually be preventable.”    Responses from parents and children were quite consistent and revealed regular and consistent helmet use and supervision were more commonly endorsed when riding horses compared to handling them on the ground. There were just a few responses that differed; specifically, parents believed children’s helmet use occurred more frequently when handling horses on the ground compared to their children’s reports. The same was true for the answers regarding supervision when working around horses from the ground.   'Once Bit, Twice Shy' not the case in equine research study   When incidents did occur, it was mainly parents and coaches who addressed them. Therefore, a proactive suggestion would be for both coaches and parents to have current first aid training and knowledge about concussions. The study also identified many benefits associated with riding, which Genik identified with, having been involved with horses since a young age herself. “It is a fantastic sport and there has been many positive changes in regards to safety around horses over recent years,” says Genik, “but we still need to do more. Specifically, we think there would be value in learning more about how and what is happening when these incidents occur – this could allow us to more specifically inform, develop and implement targeted interventions to relevant stakeholders.”   Genik hopes future research into the relatively unknown prevalence of minor incidents around horses will help parents and riding coaches supervise and educate children in proactive ways, as well as work through incidents and talk about prevention strategies. The development of problem-solving skills was one of the benefits of riding, according to survey participants. This is a great opportunity for parents to apply these problem-solving skills with children.   Future studies collaborating with stables could provide a better understanding of incidents to tailor and update safety programming. Detailed incident reporting and real-time reporting are just a few of the items cited for potential research that could contribute to education influencing behavioural change.   Read the full research paper at ScienceDirect.com   Equine Guelph has been happy to support this important research. With the same goals for increasing safety through education, Equine Guelph offers online courses benefiting anyone who handles horses. Visit TheHorsePortal.ca for the next offering of Horse Behaviour & Safety. This short course is available for both Adults and Youth (age 13 – 17) and our students say, “I recommend this course for everyone involved with horses to gain a better understanding of their behaviour and how we can make safety our top priority.”   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

CHARLOTTETOWN, PE - Good things don't last forever but 2020 has been very good to Killean Finale and she will look to continue that trend Saturday afternoon at Red Shores Racetrack and Casino at the harness racing Charlottetown Driving Park. The 12-dash Saturday card kicks off at 12:30 P.M., with the top pacing mares around facing off in the $2,500 final race. Killean Finale has yet to be defeated so far in 2020 with three-straight wins since the calendar turned for driver Ken Murphy, trainer Clifford Murphy and owners Dr. Mary McNiven and Pacemaker Stable of Nine Mile Creek. The seven-year-old daughter of Sportswriter will have her work cut out for her from post 6, after drawing inside every start this year. Collective Wisdom has been razor sharp as well with a string of top three-finishes but is saddled with post 8 this week. Charlottetown native Drew Neill is visiting this weekend from his Ontario base and will pick up the catch drive for trainer Jackie Matheson. To watch a replay of Killean Finale as a yearling in 2014 click on this link. Race analyst Les MacIsaac is looking at another entrant as the spoiler with post 5 starter Tell Me Why and the combo and driver Corey MacPherson and trainer Joe MacDonald of Breadalbane. "Longshot players may want to have a look at Tell Me Why," MacIsaac said. "This mare has a great finishing kick and if Corey can work her into the right position she's a potential sleeper." Also in the field are Outrageous Spirit (Driven by Gordie Hennessey), Charlottes Western (David Dowling), Private Di (Kenny Arsenault), Paythelinebluechip (Marc Campbell) and Indywheelbarrow (Adam Merner). The $2,950 preferred pace hits the track in race 11 with Winter Blast (Jason Hughes) and Creepin (Dowling) set to spar again this week after the latter was scratched from action last Saturday. Winter Blast has rail control in the six-horse field while Creepin leaves from the far outside. Pictonian Storm nearly lit up the tote board at this level last week and retains the services of MacPherson from post 3. The final card of the winter meet is Saturday February 1st. For race programs, live broadcast and 2020 race dates go to redshores.ca By Nicholas Oakes For Red Shores

Abortions in horses continues to be a very frustrating problem for breeders and veterinarians. So much time and effort is put into producing quality horses and it is heartbreaking when it does not work out; even more so when you don’t know why. “About 40% of abortions in horses that are submitted to the lab come back with no diagnosis, and an unknown cause; this means we are missing a significant number of potentially infectious and potentially preventable abortions in horses” shares Dr. Tracey Chenier at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).   Dr. Chenier has been a researcher in equine reproduction at the OVC for almost 18 years, investigating equine infertility, reproductive efficiency, and embryo freezing. Her next project will investigate the exposure rate or the seroprevalence of a parasite, Neospora caninum, and its potential link to equine abortions.   Neospora caninum is the single most important cause of abortions in cattle in Ontario and has a significant impact across North America. Previous studies have looked at the seroprevalence of this parasite in Europe and the United States but no studies have been conducted in Canada. Recently, this parasite was found in an aborted equine fetus in Israel. This discovery sparked the interest of researchers in Israel who then reached out to Dr. Chenier to conduct a collaborative study. This amazing team of researchers includes Dr. David Pearl and Dr. Robert Foster from the OVC who have special expertise in disease surveillance and Neospora caninum in cattle, as well as Dr. Amir Steinman and his lab in Israel who are very familiar with the detection of this parasite.   This collaborative study will be the first of its kind in horses in Canada, and will be focusing on Ontario broodmares. Research begins this September taking place over the course of three years thanks to industry partners and OMAFRA. “It’s not possible without both industry funding and industry involvement,” says Dr. Chenier. The first step is to collect blood samples from broodmares on randomly selected breeding farms across Ontario. The owners will be involved in a comprehensive survey, so researchers can have a full understanding of the horses’ history, farm management practices, and risk factors like dogs and coyotes on or near the farm (known to increase risk levels in cattle). Next, the researchers will be looking at aborted fetuses for the presence of the Neospora caninum parasite.   This study will provide insight on the unknowns surrounding the seroprevalence of the Neospora caninum parasite in Ontario broodmares, risk factors for exposure, and if it plays a role in equine abortions. It’s important to address these unknowns in order to take precautions and work towards minimizing unknown diagnoses.   Planning on breeding your mare? Dr. Chenier has great tips and videos in Equine Guelph's Mare & Foal Care Tool sponsored by PFERA to make sure you are prepared!   https://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/Mare-&-Foal-Care.php   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   Story by: Melissa McGilloway

INNISFIL, JULY 7, 2019 - Twenty-eight freshman harness racing trotting colts invaded Georgian Downs on Sunday night as the Innisfil oval played host to the first Ontario Sire Stakes Grassroots event of their season. Coming into the event off a June 28 win in qualifying action, fans sent Horse Trader off as one of the favourites and the young trotter did not let them down. After starting from Post 6, Horse Trader sat second last through much of the mile as Enduring Strength rang up fractions of :29.2, :59.3 and 1:29.1. Coming off the final turn trainer-driver Paul Walker sent Horse Trader out three-wide, and when the colt squared up in the stretch he shifted into high gear and sprinted by the field to a one and one-quarter length victory in 2:00.1. Lifeisgood Hanover also closed well to be second, leaving pacesetter Enduring Strength to settle for third. "We were wondering at the three-quarter pole if he was going to be able to do a lot, but he trotted home like a champion," said Dr. David Grant, whose Oaklea Farm Inc. bred and owns the son of Wheeling N Dealin and Oaklea Wand. "He was down in Georgia and Paul did tell me that he had a big motor right away, but I've learned not to get too excited," said Grant. "And he's a late May colt so I thought that if we could race him a bit at two that would be great." Horse Trader also used a late kick to win his qualifier at Woodbine Mohawk Park by three-quarters of a length in 2:01.4. With that effort and Sunday's Grassroots win under his belt, the colt looks poised to exceed Grant's modest expectations. "He just loves to be on the track. I've never actually had a horse that was so much like that," said the Simcoe, ON resident. "His barn manners aren't maybe the best, he's a bit of a twerp, but as soon as he gets on the track he's perfect. We're very lucky to have a colt like that." The second $23,150 division went to local colt Aussie Lover, who left smartly from Post 7, took command heading for the half and went on to a one length victory in 2:01.4. Remember Titan closed well to be second and pocket-sitter Lexus Markus completed the top three. Thornton, ON resident Stephen Byron drove Aussie Lover to the win for owner-trainer Gino Cicero of Melancthon, ON. Byron also piloted the Angus Hall colt in his first lifetime start, a fifth-place finish in a June 30 two-year-old race at Georgian Downs, and said that outing helped Cicero prep Aussie Lover for his Grassroots debut. "I thought last week there he raced good, but I didn't think he was getting a hold of the track, so they changed a few things on him and it turned out to work, so that was good," said Byron. "He raced well. He's going to be a steady horse, he might not be the fastest, but I think he'll be a steady horse," the driver added. JCs Royal Tease rounded out the Grassroots winners with a 2:02.3 effort in the last $23,500 division. Like Aussie Lover, the Royalty For Life colt left sharply from Post 6 and led the field to a :30.1 quarter. Driver Trevor Henry and JCs Royal Tease then watched from the pocket as Fit Bit and Tuscan Titan battled for control through the 1:01.2 half and 1:32.1 three-quarters. In the stretch Henry sent JCs Royal Tease after the leaders and the colt powered home to a one and one-half length win in 2:02.3. Fit Bit and Tuscan Titan settled for second and third. "He should make a nice horse," said Arthur, ON resident Henry, who leases the colt in partnership with his wife, trainer Shannon Henry. "He has a few driving issues, but can go fast for a piece." JCs Royal Tease also qualified at Woodbine Mohawk Park on June 28, finishing third, 12 lengths behind Horse Trader. The pair may meet up again when the two-year-old trotting colts and geldings head to Kawartha Downs for the second Grassroots event of their season on July 20. The Ontario Sires Stakes will be back at Georgian Downs next Sunday, July 14 with the first Grassroots event for the two-year-old trotting fillies. Post time for Sunday's program is 6 pm. Complete results from Sunday's Grassroots event are available here. OSS Program Information For rules, notices, Program changes, up-to-date point standings, race replays, and more, visit: www.ontariosiresstakes.com Ontario Racing

JUNE 28, 2019 – For the past five years the Ontario Sires Stakes program has been featured on Dresden Raceway’s popular Canada Day harness racing program and this Monday the half-mile oval will play host to four Grassroots divisions of three-year-old trotting fillies. Tyler Borth will steer Luckyjohanna in the second Grassroots division and Dresden Raceway’s leading driver expects the Eli Wagler trainee to be in the hunt for a share of the $22,100 purse. “He took her there last week, which was a good idea, just to get her used to it,” noted Borth. “She raced good, she closed up well. As long as it’s not too tough she should be all right.” Luckyjohanna finished second in the overnight event last weekend, one-half length behind five-year-old mare Massivepajamaparty. Ingersoll resident Wagler bred, owns and trains the daughter of Archangel and Shine Again, who has two wins and $10,532 to her credit through 12 sophomore starts. “She’s really come around her last four or five starts. I think she’s getting a little bit better with age and more experience,” said Borth, who also hails from Ingersoll and will line up at Post 5 with the filly in Monday’s six-horse field. “You’ve kind of got to watch her on the first turn so I’ll likely just settle her away. I think the game plan is just get around the first turn and then go from there, but the short field definitely helps, that way she’s not too far out of it. As long as you keep her on the bit she seems to be able to kick home pretty good.” Borth will also steer two of the favourites in the second leg of the Mark Austin Pacing Series, Toxic Hanover from Post 1 in the first split and Township Willy from Post 2 in the second division. “They both raced good last week. They’re pretty simple, they can both leave,” said the reinsman. “Toxic Hanover is maybe a little bit better than the other one, that’s probably the one I’ll drive in the final, he’s a nice big horse.” In addition to the exciting program of racing, fans will be treated to Canada Day giveaways and cupcakes along with the usual range of community-sponsored prize draws. “The first 150 people get Canada Day pins and Canada Day flags and we’ve got 500 cupcakes we’re giving away to celebrate Canada Day,” said Dresden Raceway’s Gary Patterson. “And we have a slew of giveaways every week from Tim Horton’s, Harvey’s/Swiss Chalet, Shoppers Drug Mart, McDonald’s, Mario’s Pizza Plus, The Track Kitchen, Lisa Fox essential oils, Subway, and there will also be some surprise draws. The Chase The Ace draw we have going along, we’re expecting it to be almost $800 on the weekend “So a great day of racing and Canada Day festivities.” Borth adds that fans will be in for a treat as some of the top drivers in the country travel to Dresden for the Ontario Sires Stakes divisions, including Sylvain Filion, Trevor Henry and James MacDonald who currently sit first, fifth and sixth among all drivers in Canada. “They always do a good job there, they’ve always got giveaways and stuff going on in the grandstand,” Borth noted. “Canada Day, with the Sires Stakes there’s some other drivers coming so they’re always nice to watch.” Dresden Raceway’s Canada Day program gets under way at 1:30 pm, with the three-year-old trotting fillies featured in Races 1, 3, 5, and 7 and the Mark Austin Pacing Series divisions slated as Races 8 and 9. Complete entries for Monday’s program are available at https://standardbredcanada.ca/racing/entries/data/e0701dresn.dat. Ontario Sires Stakes

Guelph, ON June 12, 2019 - Equine Guelph’s education partner, Merck Animal Health, recently launched its national Equine Biosurveillance Pilot Program to fill an unmet need in Canada. Although there are some initiatives at provincial levels, there was currently no nationwide equine biosurveillance program in the country, until now!   In event of an outbreak of common equine respiratory diseases, this program is designed to support equine clinics with the diagnosis. It will also enable collection of information at the national level on the epidemiology of the main equine respiratory pathogens. This information can then be communicated to the horse industry to promote a better knowledge and understanding of the ever-evolving nature and dynamics of those pathogens.   ‘’At Merck Animal Health, we are both very excited and proud about this new and unique initiative which will not only benefit participating clinics but the whole equine industry,” says Dr. Serge Denis DVM, Equine Consultant for Merck Animal Health. “By sharing the information collected through the program, we hope to contribute to a better knowledge and understanding of the epidemiology of the main equine respiratory diseases by the various stakeholders be it veterinarians, horse owners, barn managers or trainers.’’   In the initial phase, Merck’s Equine Biosurveillance Program will be offered to a limited number of equine clinics. Future plans include rolling it out to a significant number of practitioners.   Pathogens tested through the program:   Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing is available for: Equine Herpesvirus types 1 & 4, Equine Influenza Virus, Equine Rhinitis A and B Viruses, and Streptococcus equi subsp. equi.   Participating clinics are provided with a diagnostic kit containing all necessary material to collect and submit samples to the Diagnostic Service of the Faculté de Médecine Vétérinaire in St-Hyacinthe, University of Montreal.   There is no cost for participating clinics. All costs of the program are covered by Merck Animal Health.Veterinarians interested in this initiative can contact their local Merck representative.   ‘’This innovative program is a powerful addition to our unique value offering and reflects Merck Animal Health’s commitment to support the Canadian equine industry through science-based products and services,’’ says Douglas Wong, Product Manager, Farm Animal Business Unit with Merck Animal Health.   Equine Guelph supports this national program as it aims to benefit overall welfare of horses in Canada. "The possibilities for developing best vaccination strategies through information gathered in this biosurveillance program are quite exciting,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "We encourage all horse owners to learn more about the importance of vaccinating by visiting our vaccination resource at EquineGuelph.ca/vaccination tool."  Should you have any questions or concerns about the health of your horse, please speak to your equine veterinarian.     by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

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