Researchers in the New South Wales Hunter Valley have developed a new scientific method they say could boost horse breeding around the world. The scientists from the University of Newcastle have developed a new nutrient-rich liquid that is added to deposits of horse semen collected after ejaculation, which keeps the sperm alive for longer at an ambient temperature. Horse sperm have short lifespans, and traditionally to preserve them for longer than a few days, the samples had to be chilled or cryopreserved, which can be damaging to the cells. With the new liquid, the sperm could remain viable for up to two weeks, as opposed to about three days when chilled. This means higher-quality samples could be sent overseas for breeding programs in other countries, and they would have a greater chance of success. New collaboration leads to breeding research PHOTO: The NSW Hunter Valley is a renowned horse breeding location. (ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) The research came about after a linkage grant collaboration between stakeholders in the national and international equine sector, and included a number of universities. "There's sometimes a bit of a disconnect between what happens in the research world and what's happening out in the real world and in the industry," Aleona Swegen, a scientist working on the project, said. "There are some hurdles they come up against, especially in regards to fertility and how successful breeding programs can be. "Horses have, in a way, fallen behind a lot of the other animal industries. "We're working on a project that is hoping to improve fertility for horses. "This is a world-first in the scale of the project, but it's also really important that the industry are the ones who are initiating this, and they're coming to us with questions." Breakthrough could improve breeding options PHOTO: Horse sperm as seen under a microscope. (ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) The Hunter Valley is the world's second-largest Thoroughbred breeding area. While the Thoroughbred stud book does not allow the use of artificial insemination, other horse breeders are expected to benefit from the scientific breakthrough. "We're developing new media for the storage of horse semen at room temperature, so that we can potentially transport it around the world [without chilling or freezing the cells]," Zamira Gibb, a post-doctoral research fellow working on the project, said. "Once we collect the semen, we add our new semen extender. In that medium, which is just a liquid, we have components that will support their metabolism. "While they're actively metabolising, they're going to be producing a lot of reactive oxygen species and waste products, so there are other components in that media that will help to clean them up." Cryopreservation technology, where sperm is frozen, has been used for years, but the scientists said it increased the risk of damage to the sample. Storing the sperm at ambient temperature, with appropriate nutrients to support their survival, negated that risk. "The ability to transport sperm around the world has been around for the last 50 years, but it does require cryopreservation," Dr Gibb said. "The process of cryopreservation can be very damaging to the cells, and it can cause them to have an extremely reduced lifespan once you thaw them out, so the fertility is generally quite markedly reduced." New technique could break down international boundaries PHOTO: While the Thoroughbred studs are not allowed to use artificial insemination, other horse breeders are expected to benefit from the scientific breakthrough. (ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue) Jen Clulow, a veterinarian involved in the project, said the ability to transport sperm at ambient temperatures would help studs wanting to breed their horses with animals overseas. "If we were able to use our ambient temperature media to transport [sperm] from America to Australia to breed mares, then we would be able to potentially harness the genetic potential from that stallion and put it into an Australian horse population," she said. The researchers are trying to minimise potential biohazards and eliminate any bacterial contamination by investigating the best device to transport the sperm. Dr Swegen said it was an exciting development for the Hunter's breeding industry. "It is a wonderful advantage for the breeders in the area, and I think it's great they'll be able to get their hands on something that's a world-first," she said. "It's also great for the equine breeding industries around the world." Topics: animal-science, science-and-technology, newcastle-2300, university-of-newcastle-2308, scone-2337 By Robert Virtue Contact Robert Virtue Reprinted with permission of the ABC network
Racing harness horses runs in the family for Jordyn Bublitz. "I've been with harness racing since I was a baby and then I've been doing Kidz Kartz for seven years," the 15-year-old said. "It's just family blood, third generation. It's pretty big, my whole family's in it." While her brother spent the Easter weekend racing in Australia, Jordyn travelled down from Cambridge to race in Hawera where she took home the 2017 Hawera Cup. READ MORE: * Kidz Kartz giving young Southlanders experience * Amateur driver races in Central Otago * Youngster New South Wales-bound * Harness racing festival rolls into Cromwell The competition was run by the Taranaki Kidz Kartz club in between the races of the Hawera Harness Racing Club's Easter meeting. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Jordyn travelled down from Cambridge to race in the event. The ponies must be smaller than 15 hands high, around five feet, to compete, with the smallest barely reaching knee height at around five hands. Some of the riders, who range in age from 10 to 16, weren't much bigger themselves. Jordyn said it was the first time since 2014 that she had raced in Hawera, and it was also her horse Chaos' first racing season. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Nine young drivers competed over six races during the Hawera Harness Racing Club's Easter 2017 meeting. "If he wins this it'll be his first cup," she said before the final race. It turned out to be tight, with Jordyn coming out on top after six races on 49 points while Brianna Thomas came in second on 48 points and Shania Thomas came in third with 45 points. Another driver, Tayla Collins, 16, said she had been interested in horses ever since she was five, but had become interested in harness racing when her partner introduced her to the sport about three years ago. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Shania Thomas with her pony Wall leads the field out for the final race of the Hawera Cup. "It's just the the adrenaline rush running down the straight, it's great," she said. "It's the wind blowing through your hair, it's good." While her weekend racing Turbo hadn't gone to plan, she was looking forward to next weekend when she would be heading up to Cambridge and Auckland for the Lizzie of Rosslands meeting. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Kara Ellis drives Phoebe around the bird cage. "Yea, it could have been better but yea, it's fine. He'll get there," she said. "I've driven him every race this season." Taranaki Kidz Kartz president Kelvin Ellis said while there was a range of sizes among the horses competing, they all had a staggered start to give them all a chance. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Phoebe, the smallest horse on the track, managed to win a race over the weekend. Even Phoebe, the smallest horse at the meeting, had won a race on Saturday. "We run 300 metres and the bigger ones would be closer to 400," he said. Children started off in the club at eight, when they learned how to harness and care for the pony and the gear. Once they turned 10, they had to pass a three day course before they were allowed to race. "That's the same with the ponies, if you've got a new pony they have to pass a three day course as well," Ellis said. By David Burroughs Reprinted with permission of The Taranaki Daily News
Guelph, ON - Equine Guelph is hosting two upcoming hands-on clinics with internationally recognized instructor Dr. Rebecca Gimenez of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc. (TLAER). The first offering, Tuesday April 25 and Wednesday April 26, 2017, at Mohawk Racetrack will be open to the general public and will be of particular interest to those involved in the racing industry including racetrack personnel. Then on April 28 - 30, a large animal rescue operational level course at Meaford Fire Department will be available for active fire fighters. For the Horse Racing Industry Participants in "Fire Prevention and Emergency Rescue Training for the Horse Racing Industry" will be making an investment in safety to help protect both horses and industry workers. Thanks to generous funding from Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and support from Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) Equine Guelph has been able to organize this workshop for all three sectors of racing: Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horse. Dr. Gimenez has travelled from the U.S. to Ontario in the past to teach highly successful TLAER workshops, resulting in lives saved just months later. In this special offering, the program will include emergency rescue training specific to risks associated with racing including; incidents involving starting gates, loose horses and on-track injuries. Best practice responses appropriate to trailer and stall incidents will be covered. In addition, a strong emphasis on fire prevention and evacuation procedures will also be included. The horse racing industry from all over Ontario are encouraged to participate, including: racetrack personnel (especially security, facility managers and track maintenance staff), training facility managers, trainers, grooms, veterinarians, veterinarian technicians and first responders. Thanks to the kind funding from GRAS and OMAFRA and support from WEG, the tuition is available for only $125 + hst. WHERE AND WHEN: Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, ON Tuesday, April 25 to Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Registration is now open online and will be limited. For more information contact Susan Raymond 519-824-4120 ext. 54230 firstname.lastname@example.org For Fire Fighters Dr. Gimenez is making her fourth return visit since 2014, working with Equine Guelph to bring Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue training to first responders in Ontario. Together with Meaford fire department, this specialized 3-day hands-on "Large Animal Rescue Operational Level Course" will be offered to active fire fighters, April 28 - 30, 2017. Internationally renowned for Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) training, Gimenez says, "Many organizations that participate in TLAER programs do not realize how far reaching this program is - that it concerns situations from loose horses on the highway, to cattle truck rollovers, to animals trapped and needing professional extrication. The most important feature of the program is safety for the people on the scene first." This intensive course sets up scenarios where safety knowledge and techniques are practiced, including vital positioning to stay clear of the head and kick zone of the legs. Understanding the behavioural instincts of fight or flight and learning how to utilize rescue straps so as not to injure the animal while maneuvering are just a few of the topics covered. Dr. Gimenez emphasizes the importance of participants taking the knowledge and techniques learned from the TLAER workshop back to their industry in order to improve upon the emergency rescue success rate. "It is really not about the animal in these situations," says Gimenez, "It's about people and how we interact on scene, how we prepare, train, and equip ourselves and our organizations, and how we network at levels above and below us beforehand that will ultimately make the difference to the animal." Presented by Grey Highlands and Meaford Fire Departments and Equine Guelph, this upcoming workshop is available for active fire fighters only for $275 + hst.
Guelph, Ontario - Give your horse the best Valentine's Day gift by being the greatest champion for equine welfare that you can be. A full herd of online learners signed up in less than 20 minutes after Equine Guelph announced the official launch of TheHorsePortal.ca. The feedback has been extremely positive for the new online learning community resulting from an innovative industry partnership including ten provincial equestrian federations across Canada. The inaugural courses offered are: 'Equine Welfare - Canada's Code' and 'Equine Biosecurity - Canada's standard'. Students so far say TheHorsePortal.ca is easy to navigate and rave about the wonderful content and interactivity. Horse enthusiasts are coming together from all backgrounds: from just starting out in the industry to facility owners and operators of large and small stables, new horse owners, boarders and professionals committed to life-long learning and staying up to date on the latest advances. Content in the first two short courses has already been reported as very helpful to those considering facility renovations and management practices to optimize their horse's well-being. Learning the basics on Canada's two new national standards imparts important knowledge to make the best informed decisions for the health and welfare of horses. Many of the students who had not heard of the new Equine Code of Practice are quickly realizing its value in evaluating whether changes need to be made or not pertaining to their horse's management. Students of the biosecurity course are finding many simple changes they can make to help protect their horses from infectious disease on and off their property. The course guest speaker, Dr. Alison Moore, Lead Veterinarian, Animal Health & Welfare at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs was also a contributor to the new National Farm-Level Biosecurity standard for the Equine Sector. Moore is well versed in articulating the reality of biosecurity being more about diligence than difficulty. Moore stresses the importance of having a biosecurity plan and being able to communicate it clearly with every member of the barn community. The herd dynamics are fantastic at TheHorsePortal.ca as "aha" moments are shared, connecting evidenced-based course content to student experience and resulting in practical applications. The discussion forums are full of statements such as, "I didn't know what I didn't know" or "I learned that lesson the hard way" and "I've always done that but I didn't really know why." "This is an online community where science, practical application and discussion come together to facilitate learning," says, Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker. "Students from Equine Guelph have been making a difference âˆ’ the knowledgeable horse owner or caregiver is well equipped to have meaningful proactive discussions with their horse healthcare providers. Equine Guelph looks forward to partnering with the equine industry around the world to bring horse people together to learn about equine welfare and care as a community." Join the herd for the next offerings: 'Equine Welfare - Canada's Code' March 6 - 24 'Equine Biosecurity - Canada's standard' April 10 -28 For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions
Guelph, ON - Equine Guelph has partnered with internationally renowned blanket manufacturer, Bucas of Ireland and is pleased to announce the launch of the ThermoRegulator Healthcare Tool. The new interactive online tool explores thermoregulation in all seasons to help horse owners avoid over-heating and dehydration along with a variety of sicknesses caused as a result of chilling and other preventable health concerns. Nature has provided horses with a coat for all seasons, as every horse owner can attest during the hairy days of shedding season. Long hairs rise up creating an insulating layer in the cold months. Sleek shorter hairs part in the hot season to help the horse stay cool, but there is much more to thermoregulation than the length of hair coat. “There are health factors to consider when deciding whether to blanket or not, including a horse’s age, health and body condition score,” says Equine Guelph director Gayle Ecker. Exercise will also be a consideration if the equine is asked to perform higher level athletics in a cold climate. Once a horse is clipped, you are committed to making blanketing choices. The ThermoRegulator Tool will lead horse owners through an interactive body condition score module. A horse classified as thin will have a hard time staying warm in winter. Turnout environment will also play a role in deciding if you should blanket. Take into consideration how windy or cold the forecast is and if there is access to shelter or windbreaks. Frequently asked questions are addressed such as: how to measure for a blanket, choosing the right type of blanket, routine maintenance, preventing rub marks and fitting the challenging horse with prominent withers or large shoulders. Bucas managing director, Ulf Casselbrant complimented Equine Guelph saying, ”Bucas is pleased to partner with Equine Guelph in the development of the ThermoRegulator Healthcare Tool, as it is an excellent resource for the horse owner in understanding the principles of thermoregulation in horses and helpful in the proper use of blanket protection for their horse.” To learn more about thermoregulation and to decide if your horse is a candidate to be covered by a blanket ? go to the ThermoRegulator Healthcare Tool. Jackie Bellamy-Zions Weblink: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=496 Tool Link: http://equineguelph.ca/Tools/thermoregulator.php Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada
Equine Guelph announces the official launch of TheHorsePortal.ca - a new portal for industry training in an easily-accessible online format for the equine industry. From the Rockies to the eastern islands, the portal will bring together horse people like never before to stay current on best health and welfare practices. The new program, resulting from an innovative industry partnership, provides horse people with short, practical online training to stay up-to-date with the latest information on equine care. The inaugural short courses are: 'Equine Welfare - Canada's Code' March 6-24 'Equine Biosecurity - Canada's standard' April 10-28 For any person responsible for a horse, it is essential to learn the national standards. These first two short courses on The Horse Portal are important offerings for caregivers and horses alike. Each day, new scientific knowledge emerges on how to better care for horses and deal with emerging issues. It is everyone's responsibility to stay current on best health and welfare practices and industry standards. "Through The Horse Portal, horse caregivers can access common sense, practical training that can be used on a daily basis," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "Equine Guelph looks forward to partnering with the equine industry across the nation to bring Canadians together to learn about equine welfare and care as a community." Equine Guelph has partnered with ten English-speaking provincial equestrian federations across Canada to offer their members equine training and education through The Horse Portal. The portal is also available to non-federation members. From racing to performance to the backyard pony, this portal was developed to cater to and benefit all segments of the equine industry. This project is funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario. Other partners include: Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, Equestrian Canada, Farm & Food Care Ontario, Greenhawk, Omega Alpha Equine, Ontario Equestrian Federation, Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Standardbred Canada. Participating Federations include: Alberta Equestrian Federation, Equine Association of Yukon, Horse Council British Columbia, Island Horse Council, Manitoba Horse Council, New Brunswick Equestrian Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Equestrian Association, Nova Scotia Equestrian Federation, Ontario Equestrian Federation and Saskatchewan Horse Federation. National training partner is Equestrian Canada. For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca
Prominent owner-breeder Geoff Easom and harness racing trainer Jill Neilson had a perfect early Christmas present when Force Ten Gale won the Maughan Thiem Ford Xmas Specials Pace (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. The victory was a fitting reward for the time and patience Neilson has put into the Art Major seven-year-old. Force Ten Gale damaged a suspensory after racing in July 2015 – that was only his sixth run back after being sidelined for 10 months. On Saturday night, Force Ten Gale ($12.50) looked beaten but lifted over the final stages under Wayne Hill’s driving, to score a neck win from Justa Working Guy ($16.20) with Arrokeefe ($1.80 fav) a fast finishing third, three metres away. “It has been a long process,” Neilson said. “We’d give him a break and bring him back only to be told he was only 70% right, then another break, and up to 72%, in and out several more times then eventually 100%. “He’s such a relaxed horse and a pleasure to worth with so I’m just as happy for him.” “What just happened?” asked winning reinsman Wayne Hill. Hill took Force Ten Gale to sit parked outside the leader Its Bedlam but his chances looked shot when Ace To Play and Justa Working Guy raced past and he was back to fifth. The reinsman kept working on the seven-year-old and Force Ten Gale lifted and came wide again and raced on strongly to score. Neilson said the gelding was very one-paced but was always a chance when races were run to suit. by Graham Fischer
I have spent quite a bit of time this year getting to know the horse industry in Ontario. One thing I have noticed is the enduring passion of our horse people, including my veterinary colleagues, regardless of the ups and downs of the industry. The equine industry in Ontario has encountered real challenges over the last few years, but it remains an important contributor to the culture and economy our province. The racing industry has been hit the hardest, but we are now seeing consultation and reorganization of racing, leading to an atmosphere of cautious optimism at tracks and training stables. The University of Guelph has always played an important role in supporting the industry through education, research, and clinical care, primarily through the efforts of our talented people in the Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario Agricultural College and Equine Guelph. Changes are afoot in the industry, and the role of our university may be set to expand once again. Equine Guelph has a special place in the horse industry. Its mission is to support the health and well-being of horses and the equine industry. Since its inception in 2003, Equine Guelph has kept an unwavering focus on this mandate with remarkable success. This past week, I attended a meeting of the Equine Guelph Advisory Council and was once again impressed with the industry support around the table. The output of this centre is especially impressive given that it is almost entirely self-supporting. Equine Guelph's education programs are the most widely known examples of their success in connecting with the horse industry. The student numbers in these programs, such as the continuing education program in Equine Studies, and certificates in Equine Science, Business Management and Welfare, illustrate their success. Since the first diploma in Equine Studies was awarded in 2009, 170 diplomas have been awarded. To date, 365 Equine Science certificates have been awarded since this program began in 2002. The Equine Science certificate program is the first of its kind from an accredited university with evidence-based information and welfare of the animals as the underpinning of all its offerings. Education offerings such as the Equine Welfare Certificate, a partnership between Equine Guelph, the Campbell Centre of the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW) and Open Learning and Educational Support (OpenEd), emphasize the co-operative partnerships Equine Guelph has developed. The remarkable reach of Equine Guelph cannot be overstated. Horse people in the US and Britain often know about Equine Guelph. The award-winning EquiMania! Program for children, which just celebrated its 10th year at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, is a regular fixture at the Minnesota State Fair. Last year, as I was preparing to take my position here, my farm clients in PEI were envious that I was about to meet Gayle! Equine Guelph also prides itself on developing educational programing that is relevant, practical and topical. In 2016, Equine Guelph responded quickly to the unfortunate rash of horse barn fires, launching a Fire Prevention program providing valuable information to prevent fires. The innovative programs of Equine Guelph were recognized in 2015 when Gayle Ecker was awarded the Equine Industry Vision Award, sponsored by the American Horse Publications Group and Zoetis. This is the only time a Canadian has been so honoured, and recognizes Gayle's leadership and the growing recognition of Equine Guelph's high-quality programming. Beyond its mandate for education, Equine Guelph has been a trusted steward of the industry's research funding. In 2015-2016, more than $130,000 was directed towards research to support new and ongoing projects including research into new approaches to stem cell therapy, emerging disease concerns, failure of pregnancy, and new approaches to modeling and tracking biosecurity issues and risks. Much of this research draws on the talents of researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College who bring expertise in infectious disease, biosecurity, reproductive technologies and therapies. Emeritus professors such as Dr. Laurent Viel and Peter Physick-Sheard are internationally known for their contributions to horse health. Not only do these projects focus on industry-identified priorities, they provide important training opportunities for student veterinarians and develop local expertise in these important areas. Communication and promotion of University of Guelph research results occurs via print and social media. A new on-line portal is about to be launched which will provide a platform for connecting with the horse world at the owner and the advisor levels. Aside from Equine Guelph, there is a lot going on at the UofG. The equine undergraduate program at OAC is expanding, with several new equine faculty now at the Guelph campus and enrolments increasing. Interest in equine careers remains strong in our DVM program, and there are outstanding practices looking to hire our graduates. On December 15th, equine faculty in the Health Sciences Centre are hosting a Research Update for practitioners, signaling a renewed commitment to building relationships through the equine veterinary community. At the same time, in concert with OVC strategic planning, and the on-going racing industry renewal process, the members of OVC, OAC and Equine Guelph have convened a planning group to look at leveraging their success. Dr. Scott Weese is leading the group, and they are making plans to better position UofG within the industry, and further expand our role in research and education in support of a sustainable and innovative horse industry. Look for further announcements on new models for funding equine research and education in the New Year. Story by: Karen Mantel Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada
Equine Guelph would like to announce a wonderful opportunity for members of the harness racing industry. After the rash of barn fires in Ontario at the beginning of 2016, Equine Guelph and its partners were quick to respond, bringing educational material regarding fire prevention to the horse industry. During the summer of 2016 a pilot program will be introduced for horse farms involved in the racing industry; including thoroughbred, standardbred and quarterhorse racing, whether racing, training or breeding. A limited number of visits will be scheduled for farms interested in having a fire prevention professional walk through their facility, providing a valuable assessment and recommendations to maximize safety. So many members of the racing industry were devastated by the tragic fires earlier this year bringing a focus on fire safety and prevention to the forefront of industry interest. Equine Guelph is pleased to be able to offer this valuable, one-time, learning opportunity to the racing industry of Ontario. "It is our belief that an investment in fire prevention and safety education/training will help protect people, horses and facilities." says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph. "Prevention is key and this is a special opportunity to become more aware of the steps we can take to reduce the risk. Our horses are depending on us to protect them." For more information on fire safety and prevention visit EquineGuelph.ca/tools/fireprevention.php Farms interested in scheduling an assessment, please contact Dr. Susan Raymond, Equine Guelphslraymon@uoguelph.ca or call 519-824-4120 ext 54230
A new partnership between Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities (HERO) Program and the Victorian Agricultural Shows Limited will deliver unprecedented showing opportunities for retired Standardbred racehorses. For the first time, VAS Ltd will run a dedicated Standardbred showcase in 2016, culminating with a rich final to be held in conjunction with the acclaimed Victorian Saddle Horse Championships. The format for the competition mirrors the very successful Thoroughbred Off The Track Series and provides qualifying heats at Agricultural Shows throughout the State, leading into a $1000 at Bendigo in January, 2017. HERO Program Manager Tanya McDermott commended VAS Ltd for its commitment to Standardbreds in their life outside racing, and described the new series as enormously important. “To be able to present ridden Standardbreds on such an auspicious stage is incredibly exciting,” she said. “So many dedicated people have campaigned for acceptance of the Standardbred as a legitimate pleasure and performance horse and VAS Ltd’s endorsement through the introduction of the HERO Series is just reward for their faith. “The number and quality of retired trotters and pacers transitioning into new homes at the conclusion of their racing career is at an all-time high. “Likewise, the showing opportunities which are available, now headlined by the HERO Series, mean there has never been a better time to educate and campaign a retired Standardbred under saddle in Victoria. “We have quite deliberately come out all guns blazing and set prizemoney levels for the new Series at a very lucrative level, in the hope that some of the show scene’s better known names might consider adding a Standardbred to their stable, further heightening and enhancing the breed’s profile.” VAS Ltd Executive Officer Rod Bowles also welcomed the announcement. “The Committee has been following the progress of the recreational Standardbred movement and feels the time is right to introduce a Series which acknowledges the breed’s development and refinement for riding. “Following the introduction of HERO in July last year, we considered it opportune to partner with the Program and further demonstrate our support for retired racehorses, following on from the fantastic success of Racing Victoria’s Thoroughbred OTT Series,” he said. The Alabar HERO Series has been made possible by the financial support of HRV and the State Government via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund. Australasia’s leading Standardbred breeding operation, Alabar Bloodstock, has secured naming rights sponsorship of the event, further cementing its outstanding commitment to life after racing. Stud principal Alan Galloway and his staff have a proud history of supporting organisations and events which provide an outlet for pleasure Standardbreds, making Alabar the perfect HERO Series associate in its first year. The eligibility criteria, and a full schedule of events, will be available on the VAS Ltd websitewww.vicagshows.com.au For further information about the Alabar HERO Series, Harness Racing Victoria’s life after racing program, or to inquire about educating or rehoming a retired Standardbred, please email email@example.com. Tanya McDermott (HERO Manager) t: 0407 413 156 | e: firstname.lastname@example.org | tw: @hrvhero
The sun is shining, birds are singing, flowers are blooming and the temptation is to launch full-on into your horse-training endeavours. You may have kept fit throughout the winter on the ski slopes or at the gym but what about your horse? Unless you had access to an indoor arena or migrated south for a few months with your four legged friends, chances are your horse’s fitness level is not quite sufficient for competition or strenuous outings yet. While there is no fool-proof way to avoid all circumstances that could necessitate a lameness exam, there are precautions every horse owner can take to reduce the risk of injury. As with every great fitness program, the key to success is a logical progression and controlling the factors you can control such as footing, stable management and horse health care. Logical Progression Many training programs have a pinnacle event in mind. In this case, a work back plan is created based on when you want the horse to be in peak fitness. The journey leading up to the main event consists of weeks and months of conditioning including a lead up with smaller events to ensure the horse is ready for the more strenuous task ahead. It only takes one month off for a horse to start loosing fitness. If you are coming back from a winter of inactivity, it is wise to start slow with 20 minutes of walking and to build up from there. Increase the length of conditioning sessions first, before increasing intensity. It is not realistic for a horse to be in peak physical condition at all times. Good fitness programs do not ask a horse for maximum exertion on an ongoing basis but allow for peaking and tapering, muscle building and down time for repair. Increasing cardiovascular fitness, strength training and flexibility in a progressive way will increase fitness and make the horse stronger and more resilient when the time comes for a maximal performance. A horse that has been fit previously will return to fitness faster than one that has never been fit before. Each horse’s training program needs to be tailored to the individual with consideration given to: age, breed, conformation, discipline requirements and previous injuries. One of the learning objectives in the Equine Guelph, 12-week online course, Equine Exercise Physiology, is to design and monitor a year-round training program for a horse (using training principles, structuring the workout, monthly and yearly plans). Also addressed are topics such as: base conditioning, aerobic and anaerobic exercise and recovery, monitoring of conditioning gains and prevention of health and performance problems and more. No Footing, No Horse Back to that sunshine again. Oh boy, is it tempting to go ride outside now! Before you step out consider all the footing factors. If you have been lucky enough to train in an indoor ring all winter, chances are your horse has been enjoying consistent, even, well-maintained footing. The outdoor options will not be exactly the same. Even if you are simply moving to an outdoor arena, there will be changes in depth, surface material, drainage and so on. While riding on different surfaces can be hugely beneficial, it takes time for horses to adapt, both to the new surface and possibly to the new training intensity. Dr. Brianne Henderson explains in her archived article on legs, “Bone is always changing and responding to stress. Microdamage can occur within the bone as a consequence of repetitive strain. Overtraining causes this “microdamage” to occur at a faster rate than the body can fix and so the repair is never as strong as the original bone. A similar ‘micro-damage-repair’ cycle occurs within the tendons and ligaments.” The chance of repetitive strain injuries can be significantly reduced with judicious training and the incorporation of lighter work days and rest days. Training in deeper footing and muddy conditions can predispose horses to soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Those taking to the roads need to be aware of the impact on joints and bones, which can occur when training on harder surfaces. Training on hills is a great work out for both balance and strength training, but again logical progression of duration and intensity of workouts are all important to avoid fatigue and lameness issues. It pays to be choosy about the footing you ride upon. Not all surfaces are a good match for all disciplines. Dr. Jeff Thomason of the Ontario Veterinary College has done intensive research studying surfaces and how the horse interacts with a variety of footing. More information on this research can be found on the Equine Guelph website in archived news article: “From the Ground Up” . Shape Shifting Everyone knows about the importance of deworming and vaccination but no spring checklist would be complete without due diligence on the stable management aspects of dental care and saddle fitting. A painful mouth due to sharp points can manifest as reluctance to be ridden. There are many changes constantly occurring in a horses mouth and having a dental exam performed by a veterinarian once or twice a year is recommended for both digestive health and to avoid set backs in training. The saddle fitter is another important member of your healthcare team. Horses change shape over time and at different stages of training. Ensuring proper fit is important not only for the horse’s comfort but also for correct muscular development. Several appointments throughout a year are not uncommon and the spring check up is one of the saddle fitter’s busiest times of year. Know your Horse Health Knowing your horses’ normal heart rate, temperature and breathing rate before you begin a training program is important. “A work back plan falls into place once you have an understanding of your horses’ current fitness level and set an end goal,” says Equine Guelph’s director and former advisor for Canada’s endurance team, Gayle Ecker. A free 16-point horse health check is available with Equine Guelph’s Horse Health Tracker App as well as body condition scoring and a weight estimator. Knowing your starting point and what is normal for your horse is vital information for moving forward and monitoring your horses health through every stage of its training. Tracking how quickly vitals return to normal after exercise gives the horse owner a measurable indicator of fitness level. As a horses exercise routine ramps up, nutrition and electrolyte balance will also need to be adjusted accordingly. Early Detection Flexibility is of course a component of any training program. No matter how well we plan, setbacks can and will occur and it is of paramount importance to detect and address any health concerns early on. Early detection and treatment generally result in a more favorable prognosis. Archived article by Dr. Brianne Henderson, “Legs, Common Injuries, and how we can Treat Them” can be found on Equine Guelph’s news page. To practice your early detection skills for lameness, visit Equine Guelph’s free online healthcare tool, Lameness Lab, kindly sponsored by Zoetis. Lameness Lab reviews causes of lameness, goes over checklists, looks at when to call the veterinarian and what to expect in an exam. Finally, take the video challenge to see if you can spot the lame leg! To gain a wealth of information on conditioning programs, sign up for the Equine Guelph 12-week Exercise Physiology course beginning May 9. Equine Guelph would like to wish you all the best with your horse training programs. More resources promoting horse health and welfare can be found atEquineGuelph.ca.
Over the course of two days next week, nearly 800 Grade 3 students will delve into the unique Pizza Perfect event at Grand River Raceway. The local youngsters will spend the field trip in a hands-on agricultural education program themed after the favored pie. The 10th annual event happens on March 30 and March 31 in the race paddock at Grand River Raceway. The students are bused in from 18 local schools across four school boards in the Waterloo-Wellington area. More than 8,000 local students have benefitted from this program since its inception at the Elora racetrack in 2006. Pizza Perfect is a one-day program designed specifically for Grade 3 students. The event is themed after pizza, which typically represents all four food groups identified by Canada's Food Guide to Healthy Eating. The agriculture-awareness program involves a comprehensive study of related agriculture, nutrition, food processing, economics, mathematics, science, arts and language, and agricultural careers. Halfway through the full-day program, pizza is served for lunch. Pizza Perfect explores these subject areas with complete interactivity, featuring dairy cows, beef cattle, pigs and piglets. Hands-on activities and live demonstrations include milking a cow, making cheese and sausages, and transplanting seedlings. Hosted by the Grand River Agricultural Society (owner/operator of Grand River Raceway), Pizza Perfect is made possible with the help of more than 85 volunteers and representatives from over 30 agricultural producer's groups, associations and suppliers. The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) is a not-for-profit corporation, incorporated under the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Act of Ontario and governed by a volunteer board of directors reporting to OMAFRA. The GRAS mandate is to encourage awareness of agriculture and to promote improvements in the quality of life of persons living in an agricultural community. • Educational video (4:02) and promotional video (1:20) about the Pizza Perfect program, produced by Grand River Raceway. • Photo gallery of past events. FFI: Dorothy Key, Administrator Grand River Agricultural Society Kelly Spencer Grand River Raceway WHAT: 10th annual Pizza Perfect - agricultural education event hosted by the Grand River Agricultural Society (owner/operator of Grand River Raceway) WHEN: March 30 & 31 WHERE: Paddock Building at Grand River Raceway in Elora WHO: 800 Grade 3 students (400/day) from 18 schools across four school boards WHY: This hands-on field trip is an ag-education program themed around ag products required to build a pizza. Throughout the day, kids explore 20 different stations hosted by ag producers, and enjoy pizza for lunch. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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. email@example.com 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.