It's 1956 and a Jewish survivor of the Holocaust has turned up murdered at the Morrow Park harness racing track. With few clues and police at a dead end three Second World War veterans, all involved in the local harness scene, set out to solve the crime drawing upon their military training and experience. That's the plot for Ghosts From The Holocaust, a mystery novel by first-time author and Smiths Falls resident Barry P. Hall. The 74-year-old is already working on a sequel and envisions a series with the three sleuths as the central characters. Hall, who enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1961 and served six years as an electronics specialist, was born and raised in Coboconk and his sister lives on Buckhorn Lake. He never lived in Peterborough but was familiar with the city's harness racing history. That was a factor in his selection of Morrow Park as the backdrop for his whodunit. "I didn't want to set the book in a large centre like Toronto, Montreal or Ottawa," Hall said. "I was searching my brain to find where. I thought, Peterborough is a pretty good centre. It's nowhere near the population of those other places but it's still a good sized centre and the racing was very popular there back then. I remember it." Hall used the Peterborough Agricultural Society, Trent Valley Archives and Peterborough Centennial Museum and Archives for his research. He has always enjoyed harness racing and used long-time horseman and friend Neil Curran as a resource. "There is a fair bit about racing because that's where it happens and these guys are constantly at the track," he said. Hall says he set out twice before to write a book in the science fiction genre but this is the first one he's finished. He's sold 100 copies in six weeks. "I like mystery stories and I wanted to appeal to the widest audience I could possibly appeal to," he said. "Racing has a big following. "I've written with a lot of humour throughout the book hopefully to appeal to people who like a little bit of humour. There is a small religious theme that runs through it as well," said Hall. He's made a connection with Kawartha Downs, which opened in 1972 a year after the Morrow Park track closed in 1971. "Kawartha will have copies of Mr. Hall's book available for sale on 2016 race nights and are working on having the author on hand one race night to autograph copies," stated a press release from the Fraserville track. Hall will also be appearing at the Peterborough Spring Fling trade shows at the Evinrude Centre on March 13, April 17 and May 22. His book is also available for $26.95 on Amazon.com or can be ordered through any major book store. It is self-published through Author House. firstname.lastname@example.org By Mike Davies, Peterborough Examiner Reprinted with permission of the thepeterboroughexaminer.com site
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – “Why Do They Do That? Behavior and Training of Horses; is the over-arching theme of the upcoming Horse Management Seminar hosted by the Rutgers Equine Science Center and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The seminar, scheduled from 8:00 am 4:00 pm on Sunday, February 14, 2016, will feature presentations by several equine industry experts. For a discounted registration checks must be post marked by January 29th. “Horse training is an often-requested but tricky theme for this seminar because there are so many methods out there, so we will instead explain how horses learn and how that knowledge can be applied to training,” says Dr. Carey Williams, Extension Equine Specialist and Associate Director of Extension for the Equine Science Center. “Our goal in presenting this workshop is to give our audience an understanding of the concepts behind equine learning which are present regardless of discipline or training method and provide some of the research techniques that can be applied.” Williams has assembled presenters who are recognized as experts in their field to offer background and advice. The morning will start with topics including “Normal/Natural Behavior of Horses” by Dr. Carissa Wickens from University of Florida, “Using Learning Theory to Train Horses” by Angelo Telatin from Delaware Valley University, and “Psychological Stress and Welfare of Horses” by Dr. Betsy Greene from University of Arizona. In addition to the educational presentations, the seminar will feature informational displays, networking opportunities and door prizes from industry companies and area organizations, along with ample time for one-on-one discussions with the day’s presenters. Complete program, registration information, and seminar brochure are posted on the Equine Science Center website at esc.rutgers.edu under the ‘outreach & events’ tab. For more information, Dr. Carey Williams at 848-932-5529, Carey.Williams@rutgers.edu. Remember, early bird discount registration ends on January 29! About Rutgers Equine Science Center The Equine Science Center is a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Its mission is Better Horse Care through Research and Education in order to advance the well-being and performance of horses and the equine industry. Its vision is to be recognized throughout New Jersey as well as nationally and internationally for its achievements in identifying issues in the horse industry, finding solutions through science-based inquiry, providing answers to the horse industry and to horse owners, and influencing public policy to ensure the viability of the horse industry. For more information about the Equine Science Center, call 848-932-9419 or visit esc.rutgers.edu.
After spending only five minutes browsing my email inbox, I am reminded of the need to promote Equine Guelph's Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop to anyone and everyone who ever plans to spend time in the company of equines. A horse has died while being hand-grazed. It's neck broken after stepping into a lead shank chain which was not being used over the nose but doubled through the halter instead. A Facebook video shows a toddler frolicking in a paddock with a loose pony. The caption is cute, but watching the clip fills me with dread. I see the pony going back and forth between inquisitive behaviour to defensive body language warning of an impending kick. An accident is waiting to happen if the parents continue to believe this pony is a harmless toy for their tot to play tag with. Photos of people with horses roll in - halter too low on the nose, handler in a precarious position if the horse spooks, the list goes on. An education in how horses react to what they perceive as frightening doesn't need to come from the school of hard knocks. As a horse-crazy child born of "non-horsey" lineage, I can tell my fair share of stories about learning the hard way. I wish this popular two-week online course had been around when I was driving my parents insane with demands for riding lessons. Now, as a coach, my lessons revolve around safety, starting with ground handling. The Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop teaches horse owners to read their horses body language and understand their motivations as a prey species. "We are pleased that horse people are interested in educating themselves about 'why' horses behave the way they do and how that translates into becoming better and safer handlers," says Equine Guelph Director, Gayle Ecker. Students of the program are 16 years of age and up and they are welcomed by a community where shared experiences further learning. Led by experts, this course has received high praise from parents, new horse owners and coaches who then pass the knowledge on to their students. This eWorkshop qualifies for Equine Canada coaches updating credits and is approved by the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians. Guest speaker, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, brings a wealth of experience, teaching horse handling skills all over the world in her Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue courses. She communicates from first-hand knowledge that horses can exhibit extremist behaviors; where fear and panic drive them to do things that most owners and handlers cannot imagine in daily life. "Ignorance is no longer 'bliss' when it comes to one's ownership and relationship with their equine partner, says Gayda Erret, previous student. "One gains vast knowledge they may never have realized they needed." It is so easy to become complacent in many of the ten topics covered such as: fire safety, trailer loading and safety around the barn and paddocks. This course is a great refresher for industry experts and an excellent start for those new to the world of equines. Don't miss out on Equine Guelph's Horse Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop February 22 to March 6, 2016, for $75 plus HST. Space is limited. For more details contact Susan Raymond at email@example.com or visit: http://www.equineguelph.ca/eworkshops/behaviour_safety.php by Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
The Meadows Standardbred Owners Association and The Meadows will hold a track walk and moment of silence, as well as support the fund set up by the Central Ontario Standarbred Association to help the victims of the Classy Lane Training Center fire.. Horsemen will gather in the paddock prior to the races on Monday, January 11 and walk in procession to the winners circle for the moment of silence in honor of the horses that lost their lives and in support of the horsemen affected by the fire this past week. A total of 43 horses from six different stables perished. All six trainers also lost all of their racing equipment. The MSOA and the track will be working together to make a donation to the fund set up by the Central Ontario Standardbred Association to assist those left in need by the tragedy. Additional details on the donation will be released soon. "This is every horse owner and trainer's worst nightmare," said Rich Gillock, MSOA President. "We hope that our horsemen will be generous in this time of need for our friends in Canada and visit the GoFundMe page. We would also like to thank The Meadows for working with us to assist these horsemen in need." To visit the COSA page, click here: http://cosaonline.com/featured/cosa-sets-up-classy-lane-barn-fire-fund/ HARRISBURG PA -- The United States Harness Writers Association (USHWA), North America's trade group of harness racing communicators, will be making a $1,000 contribution towards the fund created to assist the people affected by the tragic fire this past Monday at Classy Lane Training Center in Ontario, which claimed the lives of dozens of Standardbreds and severely impacted the lives of many owners, trainers and caretakers stabled at the farm. "The words 'barn fire' may be among the two scariest words in all of harness racing," stated Chris Tully, USHWA President, "and the devastating effects such an event has on a harness community cannot be overstated. Many of the people suffering losses in this fire were and are supporters of USHWA when they have a champion horse, and we feel that it is imperative to support these people in this extremely difficult time." “We are hopeful that our contribution, added to the large amount of financial support received from across the harness world, will help those affected to rebuild their stables and start them back on the road to competition and success." The Central Ontario Standardbred Association, whose president is Hall of Fame horseman Bill O'Donnell, has created an official page for donations at the GoFundMe website, at https://www.gofundme.com/abhm5afg. Horsemen and fans who want to contribute to the Fund can click on this link, or mail a check made out to “Classy Lane Barn Fire” and send it to the Central Ontario Standardbred Association, Box 297, Campbellville ONTARIO L0P 1B0.
Columbus, OH---The Harness Racing Social Marketing Initiative conducted in partnership with Converseon, the New York City-based, full-service social media consultancy, has released the year-end results for 2015 activities. In only its second year, the initiative has achieved substantial growth and engagement across the board while exceeding its goals for the year. “By every available measure, this effort continues to surpass all stated objectives and we thank all the partners involved,” said USTA Executive Vice President and CEO Mike Tanner. “I am heartened by the support and recognition we are receiving from many quarters, including from our colleagues around the world. While one tactic will not be a silver bullet, all these activities in aggregate and over time have already begun to move the needle. Success now is contingent on additional industry involvement and collaboration. We look forward to that happening in 2016.” Following are some of the key accomplishments of the initiative in 2015: • Impressions (the number of times audiences saw Harness Racing FanZone content or ads) grew 64 percent from 13.5 million in 2014 to approximately 21 million in 2015. • Engagement (the number of times consumers engaged, shared and reacted to the content and ads) increased nearly 300 percent (282,000 vs. est. 652,000). • Overall online buzz about harness racing grew 28 percent compared to 36 percent for Thoroughbreds (who benefited from a Triple Crown winner and have made a substantial investment in social and digital marketing). • Online buzz about this year’s Hambletonian grew more than 150 percent over 2014. • Videos generated more than 600,000 views, with the “Harness Racing in History” video alone reaching nearly 500,000 views in less than three months, making it the most successful promotional video in the sport’s history. • Generated more than 130 potential owner leads via a limited digital advertising test, which demonstrated great promise for an expanded campaign. On the development front, key highlights included the development and launch of the Harness Racing FanZone mobile application for both iOS (available for free at the iTunes store) and Android. Users of the mobile applications gained access to videos, photos, stories, the sport’s social Ambassador program, track information and more. Given the greater use of mobile technologies among key target audiences, enabling engagement with the sport through a mobile application was essential. With 2016 fast approaching, the initiative’s key objectives for growth in the coming year include: • Continue to rapidly expand positive visibility and engagement with the sport through more compelling content, engagement, promotions and contests. • Conduct a focused owner recruitment initiative to identify more than 2,000 new potential owners. • Expand efforts with horsemen’s groups and key tracks to enable better tracking of efforts to on-site attendance and handle. This will require deeper integration with tracks around efforts like online redeemable coupons and other activities. • Work more closely with key global partners for potential expansion and collaboration. Discussions have been already been held with countries ranging from Australia to Sweden to participate in efforts and expand the initiative. • Potential integration with a Harness Racing online channel to deliver key content more directly to audiences and help monetize the effort through subscriptions. • Conduct the updated, high profile Grand Circuit promotional challenge. Among media, production, content and other resources, the initiative spent approximately $331,000, of which $250,000 was provided by the USTA, $25,000 via a pledge from the Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association with the remaining $56,000 contributed by Rob Key, CEO of Converseon. the USTA Communications Department
DOVER, Del. --- War Cry Hall took the lead on the last turn on the way to a 1:53.2 win in the $20,000 Open Handicap trot on Wednesday, Dec. 9 at Dover Downs. Meanwhile Bullett Blue strikes at 90-1. Harness racing driver George Dennis drives a grand slam. RBH Ventures' War Cry Hall came at leader Tough Mac on the final turn and then rolled right by in the lane to notch his 12th win of the campaign with Ross Wolfenden driving for trainer Jim King. The triumph was the second straight and third in five starts for the Cash Hall-Winners Only six-year-old gelding. He has now earned $118,890 this year. Ashes Cash (Vic Kirby), a winner last week, came on fast in the stretch to take second-place. Hemi Seelster (Brett Miller) was third. It was Ross Wolfenden's second win on the card. Earlier, Bullitt Blue, owned and trained by veteran Howard Birney, became the longest-price payoff of the meet as Sean Bier guided the Cams Fortune-Blue For You homebred to a 90-1 victory in a 2,3&4-Year-Old pace. The 1:54.2 second career win was his first in more than a month. I'm So Striking returned to the winner's circle for the first time this meet chalking up a 1:54.1 life-time victory in a $12,000 conditioned trot. An altered son of I'm Striking. I'm So Striking-Ringside Katie is trained and driven by Eddie Dennis for Lois and Earl Walters and E&K Stable. The six-year-old has earned $273,553 in his career. Five Towns (Corey Callahan) and Cashontherocs (Allan Davis) were second and third respectively. Ragazzo Dolce is currently king of the $15,000-$20,000 Claiming Handicap trotters. The Muscles Yankee-Bella Dolce four-year-old gelding reined by Jim Morand, won for the fourth consecutive start scoring a 1:55.1 triumph for owners Mike Casalino and trainer Dylan Davis. Aventure (B.Miller) was second. Vimy Ridge (A.Davis) was third, ending his four-race win streak. George Dennis had a big night recording four winning drives. Jim Morand, trainer Eddie Dennis and owners E&K Stable had two wins apiece. PL HOOFHEARTED, LAUGHING MATTERS LEAD $20,000-$25,000 CLAIMER PL Hoofhearted is the lone winner last time as a field of eight meet in a $20,000-$25,000 Claiming pace for 4&5-year-olds on Thursday, Dec. 10 at Dover Downs. First post is 4:30 p.m. Marcus Miller put Curran Racing’s PL Hoofhearted right on the lead and sped to a 1:53.2 victory in last Thursday’s feature. PT Stable claimed Laughing Matters two starts back and makes his second start for its new owner with Art Stafford Jr. driving. Movie Sequel was overmatched last time starting from the rail, but now gets a better post position and driver Corey Callahan. Toby Lynch owned, trained and driven Major Bucks makes his career debut in a claiming race but must overcome starting from post 8. The other starters are Troy Tribbet’s Big Secret with Jonathan Roberts driving, Mike West and Danny Walsh’s Militia Man drew post 1 with Allan Davis driving. Angela Coombs’ Regal Hope with Vic Kirby and Kathleen Brewer’s Jackson Brady handled by Ross Wolfenden return to the claiming ranks. Marv Bachrad
TUCSON, AZ --- Innovation is the theme of the 42nd annual Symposium on Racing & Gaming in Tucson and the two-day program got off to a lively start on Tuesday morning with a whirlwind of new ideas for attendees to contemplate. The opening session was titled “45 Ideas in 45 Minutes” and a diverse panel of racing experts tossed out new ideas to the audience in a fast-paced session. “Tracks should hire a Director of Animal Welfare, whose tasks include full public communications on incidents,” said Amy Zimmerman, Vice-President and Director of Broadcasting for the Stronach Group. “It’s time for us in racing to tell our story and how much we really care.” “Racing should take its show on the road,” said Darryl Kaplan, editor of Standardbred Canada’s Trot magazine, “Horses should race down city streets, on beaches, and over frozen canals. Take risks, and bring horse racing to the people.” Steve Byk, host of “At the Races with Steve Byk,” said that racing should emulate the tax-free shopping day concept by offering takeout rollbacks on target days that generally produce lower handle. Byk suggested that tracks try a “Tax Free Tuesday.” The ideas came so fast and furious that attendees were told in advance not to take notes because a synopsis of the 45 ideas would be distributed afterwards. The Racing & Gaming Symposium is sponsored by the University of Arizona’s Race Track Industry Program and was held at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in the foothills north of Tucson. Racing executives and vendors from around the globe gathered in the desert to exchange ideas and to meet students interested in careers in racing. At the awards luncheon, Bob Baffert, trainer of American Pharoah and a graduate of the University of Arizona accepted the “Big Sport of Turfdom” for Team American Pharoah from the Turf Publicists of America. Baffert later reminisced in a conversation with Amy Zimmerman about how he fell in love with racing when he trained Quarter Horses in Tucson and also talked about the 2015 season with American Pharoah. When American Pharoah won the Triple Crown, Baffert said he thought of his now-deceased parents and asked himself, “What did I do to deserve this horse?” He said that the Kentucky Derby is the hardest of the three Triple Crown events to win. “If you win that race, you can’t wait to win it again,” Baffert said. “The winner’s circle at Churchill Downs must be the most expensive real estate in the world because so much money has been spent trying to get there.” A trio of panelists talked about efforts to attract new owners to horse racing. Andrew Offerman, Director of Racing Operations at Canterbury Park, said that the Minnesota track created a Canterbury Racing Club to allow fans to buy into a horse at a reasonable price. “Every time their horse races we have 500 extra people at the track,” said Offerman. Sophia McKee, Vice President of Marketing at Emerald Downs, said that her track realized in recent years that it didn’t have a horse shortage as much as it had an owner shortage. Emerald borrowed from the Canterbury concept to create its own racing club. There is now a waiting list to get into the Emerald Downs Racing Club. The goal is to give people a taste of horse ownership with minimal expense and risk, McKee said, and hope that they later graduate to ownership of horses on their own. That doesn’t happen all that often, she admits, but said that one couple started with a $500 investment one year and got so enthusiastic that they invested $470,000 in horses the next year. Ellen Harvey of Harness Racing Communications detailed the efforts of the U.S. Trotting Association to appeal to new owners with seminars and camps. One advantage that harness racing offers, she emphasized, is that owners can jog, train, and perhaps drive their own horses which is unlike owning Thoroughbreds. Harvey said that attendees for the seminars hail mostly from the ranks of racing fans and that efforts to recruit pleasure horse owners have been unsuccessful. She said that almost 20 percent of the attendees at the USTA owners seminars have followed up by purchasing a horse. In many cases they purchase more than one horse and also bring in partners. Digital marketing strategies for horse racing were addressed by Sean Frisby and Rob Key. Key spoke about his family’s background in harness racing and the social media efforts of his Manhattan-based firm Converseon for the United State Trotting Association. “Word-of-mouth is the most credible and powerful form of advertising,” Key said. “Social media is word-of-mouth turbocharged.” Key detailed the success of the Harness Racing FanZone and the “Ambassadors” programs in creating more “buzz” for harness racing on social media. Frisby, the founder and principal of Brand Tenet, talked about “big data” and defined that term as “data sets with sizes beyond the ability of commonly used software tools.” The four drivers of the value of big data are volume, veracity, velocity, and variety. Frisby admitted that some data sets “wind up looking like eye charts,” but said that presenting data in a pictorial format makes it much easier to grasp. The Racing & Gaming Symposium concludes on Wednesday evening after a day which will be highlighted by the “Innovators’ Circle,” racing’s first “pitch session” where contest finalists will unveil their ideas to a panel of judges. ABOUT THE RACE TRACK INDUSTRY PROGRAM: The University of Arizona Race Track Industry Program offers both a Bachelors and Master’s degree program with an emphasis on the pari-mutuel racing industry and hosts the annual Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming held every December in Tucson, Arizona. Betty Prewitt Administrative Assistant UA Race Track Industry Program
YONKERS, NY, Friday, December 4, 2015 - They can't stop Sell a Bit N (Jordan Stratton, $11.80). They can't even hope to contain her. The leading lady continued her distaff derby dominance Friday night, winning Yonkers Raceway's $32,000 Filly and Mare Open Handicap Pace for a fifth consecutive victory. Ordered outside her seven rivals, Sell a Bit N paid a :27.4, opening-quarter price to get the lead, looping Gallie Bythe Beach (Matt Kakaley). After a soft :57.1 intermission, "Gallie" moved from third, with Al Raza N (Eric Carlson) slightly gapping that one. Sell a Bit N maintained her advantage in and out of a 1:2.52 three-quarters, taking a length lead into the lane before winning by a length-and-a-half in 1:53.1. Jonsie Jones (Tyler Buter) chased the winner home from a loose picket, with Gallie Bythe Beach, Request for Parole (George Brennan) and Al Raza N rounding out the payees. Secret's Out N (Brian Sears) was a non-factor sixth as the slight 2-1 favorite. For fourth choice Sell a Bit N, a 5-year-old Down Under daughter of Julius Caesar owned by Harry von Knoblauch and trained by Peter Tritton, it was her 10th win in 21 seasonal starts. The exacta paid $158, with the triple returning $903. Frank Drucker
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – “Why Do They Do That? Behavior and Training of Horses” is the over-arching theme of the upcoming Horse Management Seminar hosted by the Rutgers Equine Science Center and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The seminar, scheduled from 8:00 am – 4:00 pm on Sunday, February 14, 2016, will feature presentations by several equine industry experts. “Horse training is an often-requested but tricky theme for this seminar because there are so many methods out there, so we will instead explain how horses learn and how that knowledge can be applied to training,” says Dr. Carey Williams, Extension Equine Specialist and Associate Director of Extension for the Equine Science Center. “Our goal in presenting this workshop is to give our audience an understanding of the concepts behind equine learning which are present regardless of discipline or training method and provide some of the research techniques that can be applied.” Williams has assembled presenters who are recognized as experts in their field to offer background and advice. The morning will start with topics including “Normal/Natural Behavior of Horses” by Dr. Carissa Wickens from University of Florida, “Using Learning Theory to Train Horses” by Angelo Telatin from Delaware Valley University, and “Psychological Stress and Welfare of Horses” by Dr. Betsy Greene from University of Vermont. The afternoon will continue the behavior theme, including “Problem Solving Using Learning Theory” by Angelo Telatin, “Stereotypic Behaviors: Understanding Cribbing, Weaving, and Other Behaviors” by Dr. Carissa Wickens, and “How Nutrition Can Affect Behavior” by Dr. Carey Williams. The day will conclude with a panel of each of the speakers for additional question and answer opportunities. In addition to the educational presentations, the seminar will feature informational displays, networking opportunities and door prizes from industry companies and area organizations, along with ample time for one-on-one discussions with the day’s presenters. Complete program, registration information, and seminar brochure are posted on the Equine Science Center website at esc.rutgers.edu. For more information, contact Laura Kenny at 848-932-3229, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Carey Williams at 848-932-5529, email@example.com. Early bird discount registration ends on January 29! About Rutgers Equine Science Center The Equine Science Center is a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Its mission is Better Horse Care through Research and Education in order to advance the well-being and performance of horses and the equine industry. Its vision is to be recognized throughout New Jersey as well as nationally and internationally for its achievements in identifying issues in the horse industry, finding solutions through science-based inquiry, providing answers to the horse industry and to horse owners, and influencing public policy to ensure the viability of the horse industry. For more information about the Equine Science Center, call 848-932-9419 or visit esc.rutgers.edu. Carey A. Williams, Ph.D. Equine Extension Specialist esc.rutgers.edu
Puslinch Firefighters' were dispatched to a Public Assistance call for a horse stuck in a horse trailer on October 12th, 2015 around 09:30 hours. Ten Firefighters were in attendance for the nearby horse farm on Wellington Road 34 in Puslinch Township. The crew responded quickly; and were at the scene within 7 minutes from the initial pager activation. A 14 yr old mare named "Heidi" was trapped halfway through the side door of the trailer and could not move forward or backwards. The owners and by-standers assisted in keeping the horse calm and relaxed while fire personnel quickly derived a plan of action to free the trapped horse. It was determined that the best and safest option was to use hydraulic spreaders above the horse to spread the opening apart. It was quickly determined other hydraulic devices and cutting options were out of question due to safety and noise that could further hinder the stuck mare. Dealing with a matter of inches, Heidi was quickly and successfully freed. Miraculously, she sustained zero damage or injury throughout the entire event; not even so much as a cut or scratch. The horse trailer also sustained minimal damage. The entire process from arrival on scene to complete extrication of the horse took a total of 13 minutes. Among the firefighters who responded, three of them had recently attended the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) course only eight days earlier, organized by Equine Guelph, University of Guelph through Susan Raymond, PhD. Communications & Programs Officer. The TLAER course, instructed by Dr. Rebecca Gimenez (TLAER Inc.) was conducted over 2 days (October 3rd & 4th) at the Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON. The course was very informative and covered both in-class sessions and practical scenarios on both artificial and live animals. "Utilizing the information from this course proved valuable both in maintaining personal safety zones around the animal and scene while coming up with an effective plan to quickly and safely extricate the large animal," said firefighter Michael Dailous. This was the second horse rescue call for the month of October; both calls only days after several firefighters in attendance had taken the TLAER course. Story by: Michael Dailous Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Equine students at Community College Gippsland's harness racing training centre welcomed a visit from Training and Skills Minister Steve Herbert, who toured the stables recently and met two of the centre's star racehorses. Staff and students achieved a record recently when Break a Wrist and Mystic Castle both won races at Cranbourne. Community College Gippsland chief executive officer Sue Geals said the visit was a great opportunity to showcase the accredited training available in equine studies and racing training in Gippsland and for the minister to speak to staff and students. "He was particularly interested in seeing how our students learn hands-on in our racing stables and what impact it has on their lives and careers. Some 60 students who have graduated from the centre in recent years are now employed in the equine industry 17 year old student Abby Orchard is about to complete a Certificate III advanced stable hand qualification and is also training to be a driver. She told the minister how her training with horses had given her ambition and purpose. "I wasn't enjoying school and was considering leaving. The college suggested I try equine as a VET in schools subject and while I had never been around racehorses, I thought I'd give it a go. "It has changed my life. I'm now working towards a career as a Driver in harness racing. It's hard work but it's such a great feeling to be out on the track and working with horses. " Former student now assistant trainer Brad Walters has achieved his professional driver licence and said he too had come to the centre with no horse experience after leaving school early. "It's like a family here. Once the horse bug gets you there's no turning back you just can't leave." Mr Herbert, who has a keen interest in horses, said the visit was a great way for him to connect and hear from staff and students about training programs aimed at engaging youth who may be at risk of falling through the cracks. The Gippsland Racing Training Centre is run by Community College Gippsland at Logan Park, Warragul. The centre provides accredited training for people to work with horses both in the thoroughbred or harness industries. Courtesy of Community College Gippsland and the West Gippsland Trader
ELORA, ON - Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON is seeking input from its on-track harness racing guests for its annual season-end research project. Grand River Raceway continually strives to improve the guest experience. In 2014, the track launched a Guest Care Experience Survey and immediately began to apply the learnings to staff training, programming, food and beverage, promotions, and facility upgrades for the 2015 live racing season. The current survey is an extension of that work. Leading the research project is 365 degrees Integrated Inc., a consumer insight and strategy firm which has conducted past projects for Grand River Raceway. Their other clients include NHL teams, SickKids Foundation, Corby Distillers, BDO, The Source, National Art Gallery of Canada, and clients in many sectors, including online slots, broadcasting, food & beverage, consumer packaged goods, retail, loyalty, financial, property and insurance, to name a few. The survey requires approximately 10-15 minutes, and includes opportunities for respondents to (voluntarily) provide additional comments. Twelve winners of $20 Tim Horton's gift cards will be randomly drawn from the completed surveys. If you attended Grand River Raceway for any purpose in 2015 (live horse racing, simulcast racing, dining, slots, special event, etc.) and are interested in having your voice heard, please visit http://grr2015.365integrated.com The survey is now open and closes on Friday, November 20 at 12:00 a.m. (EST). Kelly Spencer
Jesse was a 20 year old Canadian who represented the breed by being distinctively beautiful and sweet. She stood proud at the best of times and was always a pleasure to visit at the barn. She will be greatly missed by all her barn friends especially her pasture buddies, Hannah, Porscha and Nicole. I was first introduced to the Canadian Horse when I met Rose 7 years ago at a local fair. I was intrigued by the horses beauty and historical background. I am pleased that the horses became part of my life and thank my good friend Rose for allowing me to be part of sharing their heritage to the public by traveling with her to local fairs. She will be greatly missed by her owners Rose and Gary Cook. Thank you Rose for allowing Jesse to be part of my life. A beautiful and loving horse. Laura Spies Equine Guelph's Hoofprints Tribute program gives grieving horse owners a positive means to cope with the devastating loss and a loving way to honour the memory of a horse. By dedicating an Equine Guelph donation in their name, their legacy will live on by contributing to longer, healthier lives for other horses. Hoofprints is kindly sponsored by Intercity Insurance Services. Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Hiding pain is one of the top survival skills of the horse. An important part of horse ownership is learning to recognize the signs a horse may be in discomfort rather than dismissing certain subtle cues as just bad behaviour. Dr. Brianne Henderson recently gave a well-received lecture to a room full of horse owners in Hillsburgh, ON. The attendees were interested in ensuring the welfare of their equine companions by honing their skills for detecting pain. There has been increased awareness of pain recognition and management in small animals and this science is also gaining more acknowledgement in the world of horses as well. The Facial Grimaces Score used originally to identify pain in rodents and rabbits has been incorporated into a “grimace scale” for equines as well. It uses ear position and tightening of the muscles around the eyes and mouth to come up with a score (0 – no pain, 1 – moderate, 2 – obvious). Everyone wants to be greeted by a bright-eyed, soft and relaxed face. The horse is telling you something hurts when they avoid looking at you, appear despondent, clench their jaw, flatten ears back and/or squint their eyes. Dr. Henderson went on to briefly explain pain scales used by veterinarians that focus on physiological parameters and behavior patterns. One included the Composite Pain Scale (CPS) which looks at the change in frequency of normal behavior patterns such as eating, the presence of pain-related behaviours such as kicking at the abdomen and physiological parameters such as elevated vitals. There is a long list of signs that are scored from 0 – 3. Some of these indicators, including vitals, can also be assessed using a quick 16-point health check poster developed by Equine Guelph. The poster or handy new Horse Health Tracker app are invaluable tools for horse owners to provide important health data to their veterinarian. The choir was obviously present and little preaching was required as Henderson rolled through a barrage of images asking the audience to denote which ones depicted animals in pain. By stance, facial cues and action the savvy auditors were hitting the mark and also picked up on the fact that circumstance plays a role. How many people have had the phone call of alarm when a passerby sees a horse flat out in the field when it was actually just napping in the sun? Flehmen is another response that can be circumstantial. It can occur due to an interesting smell or taste sensation but it can also be a moderate pain response displaying nostril and mouth tension. The stallion curling his upper lip testing for pheromones when a mare passes by is a different context than the horse who didn’t finish his feed, is stretched out with his poll low and is showing the flehmen response. Subtle changes require your attention such as a horse at the back of its stall with a half-eaten breakfast when it is normally standing at the door waiting to go out after licking the feed tub clean. Catching a potential colic at this early stage could result in a huge cost savings as well as avoid what could turn into a very painful experience for the horse. The performance horse who suddenly starts refusing to accomplish tasks that it used to find easy requires a careful evaluation as early signs of lameness rather than misbehaving could be the culprit. As the owner of a stoic animal, accustomed to hiding pain, horse people need to be on the lookout for atypical behavior such as a horse who begins to segregate itself from the herd or suddenly displays a less tolerant behavior with its paddock mates. When variations in behavior occur, a step back may be required to figure out if it is you or the horse that has changed. “If I have had a bad day at the office and not taken the time to decompress – my horse will not come to the gate for me,” Henderson explains. “Similarly, I know if he doesn’t come to the gate under normal circumstances, there is something wrong because he typically loves his job.” Grooming is the next interaction where paying close attention will tell you much about your horse’s health. Rather than quickly dusting off the saddle area and jumping on to ride, take the time to run your hands over their whole body, especially the back and legs, before and after work, checking for any heat, swelling or reactions that can be early indicators something is not quite right. Obvious pain requires a veterinary examination. When a horse comes in from the paddock hopping lame, it can often be hard to tell if it is an abscess requiring a simple poultice or a fracture requiring much more intensive treatment and stabilization. When acute pain is obvious; don’t guess or delay – call the veterinarian. For less obvious lameness, your veterinarian has been trained to assess the severity on a scale from one to five. Early intervention increases the chances of a good outcome and can prevent matters from escalating into a much worse injury. The veterinarian will check the horse in both walk and trot, on straight lines and turns.“A lameness that is visible at the walk is automatically going to be at least a three if not higher,” comments Henderson. After a thorough exam, a rehabilitation plan can be made. Chronic pain will impact the horse’s ability to heal and their quality of life. “It is an old way of thinking to want a horse to be a bit sore in the healing process to prevent it from box-walking,” explains Henderson. “Our ability to control pain both every day and certainly in the medical environment is becoming more and more recognized as mandatory.” Once the horse is controlled in its pain, they can move better and heal faster and therefore do not lose as much muscle quality during the healing period. Modern treatment methods can also help avoid the knock on effects of stomach ulcers and sourness that often accompany chronic pain. Choosing the right pain control method or treatment is another conversation to have with your veterinarian as there are many option available and extended use of Phenylbutazone can have negative effects on a horse’s stomach. In addition to being on the look-out for signs of pain, a dutiful horse owner is always employing prevention practices. They apply poultice and wrap horse’s legs to stem swelling after a hard work out and give them time to recover. Similarly, we take care of ourselves with rest after a work-out, a hearty meal to replace nutrients and perhaps a hot bath. Our horses count on us, their primary care-takers to be diligent and attentive in both prevention and early detection of pain. Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ Centre at the University of Guelph. 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: EquineGuelph.ca. Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
YONKERS, NY, Thursday, August 20, 2015--Summer has flown by in typical fashion and parents and students are gearing up for the beginning of the school year. For most, that means new clothes, shoes, and lots of school supplies. But for many, getting the school supplies their children need to start the year off right can be a financial burden. According to statistics provided by the National Retail Federation, the average parent spends hundreds of dollars on back-to-school items, including $101.18 on school supplies, $355.76 on clothing and shoes and $212.35 on electronics. To help families and students in need, the City of Yonkers is hosting its fourth annual "Backpack to School" drive to collect school supplies for elementary students who need them. That initiative just received a huge boost with the donation of 300 new backpacks from Empire City Casino. That's not the only boost New York State schools and teachers receive from Empire City, the Yonkers casino and raceway generates nearly $300 million annually for state education. In the past 8 years operating as a casino, the property has generated over $2.3 billion that has gone directly to fund education in New York. "Families with children returning to school have a heavy financial burden at this time of year, and it's important that the community lend a helping hand," said Empire City's president, Tim Rooney. "We're proud of the funds we generate each year to support teachers and students across the state and encourage all who are able to do what they can to support the Backpack to School Drive." For more information on the "Backpack to School" program and drop off locations, visit www.cityofyonkers.com/government/mayor-s-office/initiatives/backpack-to-school-drive. Frank Drucker
The words responsible and breeding should be an inseparable pairing in the harness racing breeding industry. The successful future of a foal depends heavily on the investment of the breeder to: 1) financially project costs from conception to sale or lifespan of the horse if it is to be kept. 2) research, research, research! The homework list is a long one including choosing a mare and stallion with great conformation and temperament, investigating their performance records, checking fertility rates, health records, offspring records and more... 3) educate themselves and plan ahead. Impeccable stable management and genetics knowledge combined with understanding special nutrition and healthcare requirements for the broodmare, foal and breeding stallion are all prerequisites to breeding horses responsibly. In the following article, two experienced and successful horse breeders: Dr. Moira Gunn of Paradox Farm and Doug Nash, formerly from Glengate have taken the time to share some of their vast knowledge. Dr. Gunn has had recent cause for celebration when Lexi Lou, bred by Paradox farm, received the 2014 Canadian Horse of the Year award after a string of wins including the Queen's Plate and the Oaks. Nash was farm manager at Glengate (formerly Cantario Farms) for almost 30 years. Glengate consisted of 3 farms, housing 80 - 100 mares, 8 stallions, and yearlings. In addition to servicing 1,200 mares annually with their own stallions, Glengate collected, shipped, froze, evaluated, imported and exported semen for 125 to 140 stallions of all breeds and disciplines. Nash has also shared his knowledge as an instructor for Equine Guelph's online Growth and Development course. Both breeders were candid discussing one of the most important considerations − ensuring financial means to see the horse through to a purposeful life. From stud fees to reproductive health exams and specialized nutrition, there is much to consider in calculating the bottom line. Stud fees can range anywhere from $200 - $200,000! When discussing logistics, Nash gives an example, "If you are breeding for profit you would not spend over $3,000 in stud fees if your broodmare is worth $10,000." Nash also expects private operations will not incur less than $14,000 (excluding the stud fee) in costs leading up to a yearling sale. In commercial operations this number would be closer to 17 or $18,000. Gunn explains daily costs of boarding just a broodmare vary widely and range up to $40/day. "Quality of care" questions should include the size of stalls and pasture. Methods and frequency of ongoing nutritional analysis should be discussed, for example, testing each batch of hay, soil testing the fields and consulting with a nutritionist to balance feed rations. Both Gunn and Nash concur that selecting the best genetics in the world will not help if paramount importance is not placed on the special nutritional needs of the broodmare and foal. An excellent in-depth understanding of nutrition, including protein requirements, micro-minerals, etc. is crucial to guard against the myriad of developmental conditions that could seriously affect the horse's future potential. Gunn points out, "the number one mistake I see people make is not understanding the nutritional program required prior to conception, during pregnancy and in the first two years of life of a foal." Nash and Gunn understand the value of a reproductive exam, especially if it is suspected the mare may have troubles conceiving or has lost a foal in the past. Nash explains the reproductive exam is much the same as a pre-purchase exam, checking for good overall health but also including the reproductive tract. Gunn described elements of the exam such as performing an ultrasound to check size, shape and consistency of the uterus and inspecting the vulva conformation (i.e. too sloped could predispose windsucking). On a suspect mare, a uterine culture and biopsy can also provide important information. If the mare has a cresty neck, hormone profiles can check for hypothyroidism. Nash comments, "Money spent today on a reproductive health exam can save you tomorrow by avoiding an abortion." Following the reproductive exam there will be many veterinary service calls including palpations and ultrasounds which can run approximately $1,000 - $2,000. Once the budget hurdle has been cleared, the homework begins. One of the biggest questions to answer is WHY are you breeding? Knowing your expectations of the foal will help you make realistic selections when it comes to choosing an appropriate pairing considering size, breed, athletic ability, temperament... which brings us to WHO? When looking at performance records, it is important not to skip over the broodmare and look only at the stallion. Look for the traits, conformation, personality and athletic ability desired in both parents. An ideal body condition score (5-6 out of 9) and good overall health including up to date health records (vaccines, worming...) should exist for the dam and stud. Nash states he likes a mare who adapts quickly to new surroundings and possesses a pleasant attitude. Age is a special consideration for the mare as a decline in reproductive ability starts between the ages of 12 and 15. The older mare may have trouble bringing a pregnancy to term. Expanding on the importance of health Nash cautions, "Horses in pain do not conceive." A mare retired from work is not an automatic breeding prospect, depending on the reason. For example a mare with chronic laminitis is not a breeding candidate. Nash advises the selection process when deciding to breed horses involves three to four months of homework. He looks at performance records not only of the stallion but also the offspring. The size and conformation of the offspring should be noted. "Find out as much about the stallion as you can," says Nash. This includes questions such as live foal rate? A thorough check for any hereditary conditions is a must. Breeding for your own preference needs to be carefully balanced by being cognizant of the marketplace to avoid unwanted horses and paddock ornaments. After the WHY and WHO comes HOW? Live, fresh or frozen is the next topic to study. "Professional breeders will be able to provide semen analysis and be able to tell you how well it transports either fresh or frozen," says Gunn. Raw motility and extended motility are important considerations when transporting semen. Morphology of semen and track records of fertility should also be available. If the mare in question has had difficulty conceiving, you are better off selecting a stallion with high fertility rates. If considering live cover, not all of this information will necessarily be available but past track records of getting mares into foal should be unless it is the stallion's first year standing at stud. A semen evaluation will also give insight as to how many mares the stallion can breed in a day. When choosing live or fresh semen, you must also ensure timing of ovulation and sperm delivery are accurately synchronized. For a live cover, Nash recommends a site visit and inquiring about the facilities health, safety and biosecurity procedures. When using frozen semen, Gunn explains frequent palpations will be necessary for the mare throughout the day and night to have success with this method as timing is critical. When it comes to stable management, you need to be a planning pro with a dedication to details. On top of impeccable general standards, breeding facilities need to provide a suitable environment for broodmares and foals. The foaling area needs to provide ample room to avoid injury during birth. Stalls should have solid walls with dimensions of 16 x 12 being more desirable. In the turn out area, the addition of skylights in three sided sheds make use of sunlight to kill bacteria. Pasture fences should be constructed so the foal cannot roll out of the paddock when lying down. For example: post and board fencing with a fourth rail is often used to contain young stock. Hay racks need to be attached high enough up on the wall that a foal or yearling cannot get hung up. Creep feeders allow weanlings to feed undisturbed and reach their nutritional requirements. It is important to ensure the weanling is consuming enough feed prior to weaning to ensure there will not be a shock on its nutritional development. At weaning time, it is ideal to move the pair out of visual and vocal contact to reduce the risk of injury should they try to reunite. Have a plan for companionship for the mare and weanling after they are separated. The weanling could be introduced to other weanlings or an older gelding. Equine Guelph has published new research on Two-stage weaning as another method of weaning. Last and certainly not least, it is important to plan every step of the way with your veterinarian to ensure good health before, during and after foaling. Vaccinations and boosters need to be given at the correct times and accurate records kept. They may also be able to direct you to a source of colostrum, should there be any issues in the crucial time after the birth. This information is worth checking into before you need it. Planning every detail ahead of time is required to prepare for any eventuality. Responsible breeders perform due diligence in all areas of stable management, financial planning, and market research. The investment of hard work, homework, record keeping and proper care is realized when horses reach their full potential. If you are the owner of such a horse - it all began with the responsible breeder. by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions Web Link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=457 Story Links: Nutrition Right from the Start: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=438 Vaccination EquiPlanner: http://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/equiplanner.php When to Vaccinate Broodmares video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YnL68L5smsE Colostrum: http://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/files/2006/11/JSW-MA1-Colostrum.pdf Two-stage Weaning article - page 3 of EG Newsletter http://www.equineguelph.ca/pdf/newsletter/EG%20newsletter%20Spring%202013_web.pdf Research Radio (Dr. Chenier's podcast on preparation for breeding season) http://www.equineguelph.ca/research/radio.php Equine Guelph's Online courses: http://www.equineguelph.ca/education/indiv_courses.php Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada