Quick Links


posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 17, 2012 09:54


The Saskatchewan Horse Federation is the recognized provincial membership organization comprising over 6,000 persons and providing leadership to a diversity of 175 equine and equestrian organizations. As a member of Sask Sport Inc., it is the recipient of Sask Lotteries funding. Founded in 1974, it is a growing and dynamic organization whose objectives include the furthering of the sport, recreation and industry of the provincial horse community, both within and outside the province.
To succeed the 28 year term of the retiring Executive Director, we look for the right person who is seeking a career position. With offices located in Regina, we offer a trusted reputation and are a vital organization with opportunities for personal initiative, challenge and fulfillment.
Reporting to the president and working with a Board of Directors, the administration and programs of the Federation are managed by the Executive Director. Important direct and immediate responsibilities include liaisons with Sask Sport and the Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture. Further information on the scope of the organization may be found at www.saskhorse.ca
This position includes a comprehensive benefits package. To apply please send your resume outlining education, training and previous experience with your salary expectations.
Applicants are requested to send a resume on or before January 20, 2012, to:
Saskatchewan Horse Federation Inc.,
Attn.: Search Committee
2205 Victoria Avenue,
Regina, Saskatchewan. S4P 0S4


Launch Your Career with Horses (correction)

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 12, 2012 10:39

Sign Up for Equine Guelph’s Groom One Course


Want to work with horses?  Equine Guelph’s next offering of the Groom One course begins March 30, 2012.

Register Now! http://www.equineguelph.ca/education/skills.php   


Groom One is recognized by Standardbred Canada and the Ontario Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program.  Horse enthusiasts over 16 years of age learn industry standards, in this four-phase program, combining hands-on experience and online education.


Phase One begins with a two-day orientation at Country Hill Stables in Goodwood, Ontario on Friday, March 30 and Saturday, 31, 2012.


In Phase Two, students are assisted in finding entry-level employment to accumulate six months of work experience (based on a 35 – 40 hour work week).


Phase Three, ‘Groom One Online’, is set to begin May 21, 2012 and runs for three months.  The CD based units are complemented by online discussions & presentations with industry mentors.  The six units include: The Horse, Horse Handling, Horse Care, Nutrition, Management, and the Racing Community.


Phase Four, the ‘Learning Assessment’, completes the certification process with a demonstration of skills and knowledge.


Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph “The Groom One Certificate will prepare newcomers to the horse industry for their role as a groom by providing the necessary combination of experience and education to be successful.”


Equine Guelph is proud to be hosting the orientation session on behalf of the Ontario Quarter Horse Racing Industry Development Program. The Pathway Program includes employer wage subsidies if you are employed in the Quarter Horse racing industry, and the potential for you to earn a bursary bonus and tuition reimbursement upon successful completion of the Groom One Certificate. Students who complete the two-day Orientation session on March 30 & 31 are eligible to become Pathway Students and benefit from the Pathway to Employment and Education Program. Details of the program can be found at www.ontarioracingcommission.ca/industry_programs.aspx?id=382#Pathways



Take Your Online Learning to the Next Level at Equine Guelph


More often than not, once you have committed to the Equine Industry, a life-long passion will ensue!  Equine Guelph is continually expanding course offerings for these devoted horse lovers to help them transition into dedicated leaders.  Equine Guelph has more to offer than any other online equine studies certificate or diploma program with 19 courses taught by highly qualified, respected industry professionals from the University of Guelph’s renowned Ontario Vet College and beyond. New offerings, developed due to popular demand, include Equine Welfare and Advanced courses in:  Behaviour, Anatomy and Nutrition.

For full course listings please visit www.equinestudiesdiploma.com




Photo:  Equine Guelph Logo and/or photo of groom leading a horse

Web Link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php

Date of first release:  Jan, 11, 2012


Notes to Editor:

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 www.equineguelph.ca.


Prairie Fire Destroys Horse Training Facility

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 11, 2012 19:22

Sandy Hester isn't sure who the stranger was who used a white pickup to drive her Arabian horses away from the fire, but she appreciates the help. Photo by Peter Williams.

Sandy and Gord Hester face the daunting task of rebuilding their world-class horse training facility destroyed Wednesday in a raging prairie fire.
The Hesters can take some solace, though, knowing they won’t have to go it alone.
“The support is unbelievable,” Sandy Hester said Friday.
The riding arena, stables, paddocks and pasture at S.R. Training were destroyed by the fire.
“Our field and pasture are all gone,” Sandy Hester said. “What wasn’t burned was plowed.”
The immediate challenge facing the Hesters is to find long-term accommodation and feed for the 55 horses displaced by the fire.
“Many of these horses are show horses, requiring box stalls or paddocks and specialized feed,” explained Sandy Hester’s sister Natalie Gibson, who is spearheading the group Friends of S.R. Training. “Sandy and Gord are working hard to place all of the horses in the Fort Macleod area. However, they have limited financial resources and they recognize insurance will not cover the cost of replacing corrals, fencing material, storage bins, hay, feed and tack.”
In the short term the Hesters would benefit from donations of quality hay, such as second cut alfalfa with no rain.
Cash donations are also needed to buy hay and feed and working supplies for the horses.
Donations of equipment such as halters, shanks, working saddles, blankets and buckets are also welcome.
Fence panels for temporary corrals are also needed.
Cash donations can be made at the CIBC branch in Fort Macleod to an account in the name of Sandy and Gord Hester or Friends of S.R. Training, or at the Fort Macleod Vet Clinic.
At present some of S.R. Training’s client horses are boarded at Kerry Miller’s M&M Farms. To drop off donations of hay take Highway 811 to Township Road 100 and head west for 1 1/2 miles, looking for the yard with the big red barn and quonset.
Inquiries about providing help can be directed to Sandy Hester at 403-331-8440 or Gord Hester at 403-394-4255.
Gibson said it is unknown how much of the arena and stables will be covered by insurance.
Sandy Hester was in Fort Macleod when she got a phone call about 11:45 a.m. Wednesday that the fire was heading to her place.
By the time she got home her staff had halters on the horses and people were already arriving with trailers to take the animals to safety.
Connie Hunter had been tasked to phone people to help get the horses to safety.
“People I didn’t know were coming and helping,” Sandy Hester said. “It was amazing. Without them it would have been total devastation.”
Thirty-four horses were loaded into trailers and barbed wire fences were cut so 19 other horses could escape on their own. They were rounded up Thursday close to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump.
Gord Hester stayed behind, using heavy machinery to keep the fire from their house.
“If he hadn’t stayed we would have lost everything,” Sandy Hester said.
In addition to the facilities and equipment needed to run her business, Sandy Hester also lost 30 years worth of memories in photos and other mementos in her office, which was in the riding arena.
The future of the business, and its four employees, is not clear. It will take months to settle insurance claims, and rebuilding will not be easy.
Volunteers were at the property on the weekend helping rebuild fences, and donations of cash and support were already forthcoming.
“Part of you blocks it out, and part of you thinks it’s not real,” Sandy Hester said. “You keep going because that’s all you can do.”

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Arabian Horsemens Distress Fund

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 11, 2012 19:22

Prairie Fire

Prairie Fire Photo 1Wednesday afternoon, long time Arabian horsemen Gordon and Sandy Hester of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada were dealt a devastating blow when a prairie fire, fueled by hurricane force winds topping 75km, raced through their property destroying virtually the entire farm with the exception of the house.  Thanks to early-enough warnings and the assistance of a tight-knit farming community, they were able to move 55 horses out ahead of the blaze, along with their dogs, but lost virtually everything else to the fast moving blaze, including tack, farm equipment, medications and feed.

Sandy, Gord, and Brady are long-time Arabian breeders, trainers and owners, and well known faces in the working western divisions.  They run a family business out of their Alberta farm that includes breeding Jack Russell Terriers and Bernese Mountain Dogs, as well as many notable Arabian horses.  They stand a number of stallions, including SR Delta Force,  US National Champion Work Cow Futurity horse, and have been mainstays of the Arabian industry for many years.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation to assist the Hesters, you can go on-line to make a secure donation through paypal to www.horsemensdistressfund, or you can send a check to The Arabian Horsemen’s Distress Fund, 236 Henry Sanford Road, Bridgewater, CT 06752, along with a note to earmark the funds to assist the Hesters.

reprinted from www.horsemensdistressfund.com

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Unwanted Horse Coalition's Operation Gelding Continues into New Year

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 6, 2012 10:13


WASHINGTON, DC – January 5, 2012 - The Unwanted Horse Coalition’s (UHC) Operation Gelding program continues into the new year with three additional clinics completed in November and December 2011 and three more on the schedule for March 2012.   The UHC’s Operation Gelding program has aided in gelding 359 stallions to date.


The program, which was first launched in late August 2010, is able to continue aiding in the castration of stallions thanks to the support and seed money provided by the American Association of Equine Practitioners Foundation (AAEP). Operation Gelding is designed to offer funding assistance to organizations, associations, and events that wish to conduct a public gelding clinic under the name and guidelines of Operation Gelding. An organization that has completed an Operation Gelding clinic will receive funding of $50 per horse, $1,000 maximum, to aid in the costs associated with the clinic.


The Operation Gelding program is in its second year, with seven clinics already completed since September 2011. Clinics have been held in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Kansas, Michigan, Texas, and Washington.


The UHC was pleased to be involved with Georgia Equine Rescue League’s (GERL) first ever Stallion to Gelding Castration Day on November 12. The GERL had an incredible 96 horses signed up for the event, with twelve equine veterinarians signed up across the state of Georgia. Patty Livingston, president of the GERL said, “Additionally, senior students from the University of Georgia School Of Veterinary Medicine as well as Veterinary Technician students were invited to take advantage of this learning opportunity. A large number of students participated and actually performed or assisted with the surgeries at Countryside Hospital for Animals near Jersey, GA. These students were under the supervision of UGA Vet School Instructors and the veterinarians at Countryside.” 


Ande Miller, with Hope in the Valley Equine Rescue located in Valley Center, Kansas, castrated 13 horses at their second Operation Gelding clinic. Springhill Equine Veterinary Clinic also conducted their second Operation Gelding clinic on December 3rd in Newberry, Florida, castrating 13 horses.


The Denton County 4-H Veterinary Science Club conducted their first Operation Gelding clinic in Pilot Point, Texas. Youth member, Lacey Garrison, only 14 years old, organized this clinic for her 4-H club along with the help of her veterinarian, Dr. Paul Dean. With the help of the rest of the youth 4-H members, they were able to geld 17 horses at their clinic on November 19.


Ericka Caslin, UHC Director, said “We are excited to be able to continue this important nationwide program, thanks to the generosity of the AAEP. The UHC continues to seek public support, via tax-deductible donations, to extend the program year round. Each generous donation of $50 goes entirely toward funding the gelding of a stallion. We hope to gain assistance from the equine industry in order to offer more grant money for Operation Gelding clinics, to help tackle the problem of indiscriminate breeding.”


Currently there are six more Operation Gelding clinics on the calendar. Upcoming clinics will be held in Florida, Kansas, Iowa and Texas.


For more information on Operation Gelding, how to conduct a clinic, the schedule and location of Operation Gelding clinics, or how you can help continue this program, please contact Ericka Caslin, UHC director, at ecaslin@horsecouncil.org or 202-296-4031.



The Unwanted Horse Coalition

The mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety and responsible care and disposition of these horses. The UHC grew out of the Unwanted Horse Summit, which was organized by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and held in conjunction with the American Horse Council’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in April 2005. The summit was held to bring key stakeholders together to start a dialogue on the unwanted horse in America. Its purpose was to develop consensus on the most effective way to work together to address the issue. In June 2006, the UHC was folded into the AHC and now operates under its auspices.

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Back to Your Roots Western Canadian Annual Producers Conference 2012

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 3, 2012 09:04

February 2 & 3, 2012
Travelodge Conference Centre
Regina, SK

Back to Your Roots Western Canadian
Annual Producers Conference 2012

At Back To Your Roots we provide consumers with access
to environmentally friendly products that address soil
problems and facilitate sustainable farming practices.
With a focus on proper soil analysis and evaluation, our
goal is to assist producers to identify the underlying
causes of the soil problems and develop an understanding
of how to correct these problems.

Glen Rabenberg is president and CEO of Soil Works LLC. He was raised in Bancroft, South Dakota, where he still maintains his
third-generation family farm. He holds degrees in animal science, general agriculture and agriculture economics. After graduating
from college, Rabenberg worked in the animal pharmaceutical business, where he learned that many of the diseases he saw were
the result of nutrient-poor grain and forage that the animals were consuming. The conventional system of "reacting to the symp-
toms instead of correcting the cause" led Rabenberg to extensive research of soil, and the production of Genesis Soil Rite Calci-
um. Genesis Soil Rite Calcium is currently sold throughout the U.S., and internationally. Rabenberg has spent extensive years
researching soil and plant nutrition. Combined with additional information learned from William Albrecht, Dr. Carey Reams, Dr.
Millhouse, and many other contributors, Rabenberg aims to "bring soil back to the way nature intended."

Jim Burnett was born and raised on a farm in the Texas He graduated from Texas Tech University in 1971 with a BS in
Animal Science. Six years later he earned an MS degree in ruminant nutrition. His thesis topic was on the use of monensin
in cattle rations. Monensin is considered a natural antibiotic which is produced by bacteria and this opened the door to
microbiology for him. In 1994 he began working with natural amendments to correct imbalances in the soil. Through
exposure to the works of Dr. William Albright and Dr. Carey Reams, along with practical experience, he has been able to
expand his knowledge and continue to manufacture products that help growers balance their soil and grow crops more
sustainably and use water more efficiently. Jim has concentrated his efforts in developing products that have a positive
effect on the life and dynamics of the soil. Jim feels he is very blessed to be involved in this industry and looks forward to
going to work each day.

Ed Kelly. Since 1978, the Kelly family has been producing top quality radionics instruments that allows analysis and
balancing of the naturally-occurring energetic fields emitted by all living creatures. Ed Kelly has been leading this
small family business since the untimely passage of his father and company founder Peter J. Kelly in 2004. Ed will
provide an introduction to this esoteric art with a presentation entitled, Radionics and the Vibratory World Around

Kyran Rice, CCA was born in Arizona. His father is an agronomist and an avid
organic gardener. At a young age, he moved with the family to Vanderhoof, BC. where they started a cattle
ranch. After 7+ ranching, his family moved back Central Valley of California to take advantage of the ideal
growing conditions in that area. In 1983 Kyran attended college at Ricks College in Rexburg Idaho. Kyron has
worked extensively with various microbiologists and has spent many years studying and researching the ef-
fect and benefits of Mycorrihzae fungi and various other bacteria in soil and on plants. Kyran is the President
and owner of Optimum Ag Inc. located in Visalia CA. He consults on thousands of acres in crops varying from
almonds, pecans, cherries, citrus, pomegranates, and grapes, to potatoes, carrots, grains, blue berries, black
berries and Strawberries. He and his wife Tammi own and manage a Citrus Ranch that produces both Navel
and Valencia oranges.

Dr. Thomas Dykstra
is owner of Dykstra Laboratories, Inc. based in Gainesville, FL, USA. The
laboratory is devoted to research and development in the field of bioelectromagnetics (how
electromagnetic fields influence life). Dr. Dykstra has consulted with engineers, agricultural
scientists, academic institutions, government agencies, and private companies. He has visited
three continents and presents lectures on diverse topics covering entomology, olfactory phys-
iology, biophysics, paramagnetism, neurobiology, and antennae. He holds degrees from Cor-
nell University and the University of Florida and studied under Dr. Philip S. Callahan.

Personally, he is married to Chicago-native Karen Dykstra, and they have three small children.
Although he wishes he had more sleep, he may occasionally be found in various pools swim-
ming laps trying to stay awake.

Back To Your Roots Soil Solutions has a mission to provide information and education to our producers.

Each year we host a workshop or meeting with speakers that are at the forefront of soil health and food quality. This year is no
exception. Come join us for two days of education and networking and learn more about the soil, the life within the soil, prod-
ucts, tools for testing your progress, and more. Meet our speakers……

Back To Your Roots Soil Solutions Inc.

Western Canada Producer’s Meeting 2012

Regina, Saskatchewan Canada

Workshop Registration

Registration includes two days of meetings, lunch both days and an open forum featuring all our
speakers, some producers, and others on Thursday evening. Meetings start at 9:00 each day and run
until 4:30. Once your registration is received, you will be sent a schedule of the speakers and other
information pertaining to the event.


Name(s) ____________________________________________________________


City:__________________ Prov.:______________ Postal Code: _________________

Phone:________________ Fax:________________ Email:_____________________

If registering for more than one person, please provide their full name(s) for printing of name tags.



February 2nd and 3rd, 2012 Producer’s Meeting

 Quantity Cost Total

 Before January 16th, 2012 ______ X $175.00 ____________

 After January 16th, 2012 ______ X $200.00 ____________

 Subtotal: ___________

 GST 5%: ___________

 PST 5%: ___________

 Total: ___________


Method of Payment: (please check): ____ Cheque ____ Visa ____ M/C _____Cash


Card Number ____________________________ EXP: _______________ VIN: _________





Please mail to Box 1236 Shellbrook, Sask. S0J 2E0 or fax to 306.747.3469

Hotel Information

Travelodge, 4177 Albert Street S, Regina, SK

Newly renovated, our 200 room, full-service conference hotel is ranked as one of the Top 10 Travelodges in North
Located on South Albert Street in Regina, Saskatchewan, where you can enjoy free parking
One of the closest hotels to the Regina International Airport
Less than 10 minutes to downtown Regina
Our hotel is 100% non-smoking
Home of Regina's largest hotel waterslide
Proud to offer a secured-access corporate floor and newly renovated exercise room
One of Regina's most popular hotels for weddings, meetings & conferences
Casino Regina is pleased to offer you a free shuttle to and from their facility


Rooms should be booked well in advance and use booking code CGBACK to
get our conference rate of $119.95. This rate will only apply until

January 10, 2012 (space available).

Call 306.586.3443 for reservations.

The workshop runs on February 2 &3, 2012 in the Imperial Ballroom
at the Travelodge in Regina, SK from 9am until 5pm, with registration
starting at 8am on February 2. On the evening of February 2 there
will be an open forum with our speakers. It will be an opportunity to
ask questions and network in an informal setting.


FEI Dressage: Blood Rule To Be Voted On

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 3, 2011 09:17

Blood rule to be voted on this weekend…

November 9th, 2011 at 11:42 pm

The FEI’s proposed blood rule will be voted on this weekend at the FEI General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There has been public outcry and heated debate about the proposed rule, which was released in June, with cries of animal cruelty and labelling of dressage as a ‘Blood Sport’. There are a number of conflicting views as to whether the rule is a good or bad thing but given the campaign in Europe it looks unlikely that it will be passed. Read on for a number of different viewpoints and let us know what you think…

Adelinde and Parzival

The proposed rule would mean that if a horse, at a top level Games or Championships, is seen to have blood anywhere on its body it can be assessed by an FEI veterinarian and if it is then deemed fit to compete, can restart its test. Up until now riders have been eliminated if there is any blood visible on the horse. While blood is not specifically mentioned in the FEI Rule Book for Dressage Events, the FEI has previously been able to refer to their all-encompassing rule that a reason for elimination is if: “the performance is against the welfare of the horse.”

The proposed new rule is as follows:
At top level events (Olympic Games, Championships and Finals for seniors), where FEI vets will be present at the warm-up arena, they would examine the horse and the test would resume if bleeding from minor injuries had stopped. If the bleeding had not stopped, the horse would be eliminated. Where vets are not present to examine the horse, bleeding would result in immediate elimination.

At the 2010 Lexington World Equestrian Games Adelinde Cornellisen was eliminated when blood was spotted in the horse’s saliva. Adelinde and her horse Jerich Parzival were tipped to win the dressage but had no grounds for appeal when they were stopped in their test. Once the horse returned to its stable the bleeding had stopped and after being assessed by the Dutch Team vet it was revealed that the horse had a very small cut on its tongue. Ground jury member at Lexington Stephen Clarke, who judged at C, said that informing Cornelissen that she was eliminated was “the worst moment of my career.”

The International Dressage Officials Club, the International Dressage Riders Club and the Association of International Dressage Event Organisers have all objected to the proposed new rule and have sent the FEI Dressage Board a clear message that they against the blood rule and want to promote a positive image for the sport of dressage.
This rule was proposed by the Dutch chef, Sjef Janssen, as a way to clarify the vagaries surrounding the rule, and allow riders at top-level competition a chance to compete if the injury would not cause the horse pain or inhibit performance. They did not predict the furore of debate that has raged among the world’s dressage riders, trainers, spectators and national committees; each with their own opinion…

Kyra Kyrklund – President of the International Dressage Riders Club

Kyra Kyrklund stated that the IDRC does not agree with the proposed rule: “Our viewpoint is that if there is blood in the mouth in the competition, the horse should be eliminated. The rider should have the right to appeal if he or she feels it was not blood and in that case have the chance to start again…I don’t think they should get a second chance if it is blood…The appeal is a right the rider should have. What if the judge is seeing something that isn’t there? In Kentucky they [the FEI stewards] felt the sides of the horses after the test with a white glove. One horse had sweat and brown from dirt, not blood, and the stewards were very upset until they figured out what it was.” Kyrklund also added that the proposed rule has practicality problems and would be hard to administer: “What about shows that don’t have an FEI vet “on guard” by the dressage arena all the time. What if the horse starting last in the competition starts to bleed? There are no pauses left, when should that one start again? And how much warm up time would be allowed for a re-start? What if the horse starts to bleed again, can it have a third go?”

Kyra Kyrklund

Astrid Appels – Editor of eurodressage.com

Astrid Appels has covered the controversy surrounding the rule on her website, and has linked to a petition started by Fair zum Pferd against the introduction of the blood rule, which has received more than 12,000 online signatures including major dressage figures such as Steffen Peters, Anabel and Klaus Balkenhol and Wilfried Bechtolsheimer. Australia’s Andrew McLean has also signed it. Astrid wrote that “Dressage might be on the verge of officially becoming a blood sport,” asking if the FEI Dressage Committee will “propose the IDTC-inspired rule which allows blood to taint our sport, or will sense for the welfare of the horse return to dressage?” Astrid went on to say that Sjef Janssen, in proposing the rule, believes that “medal potential and hard money are more important than animal welfare.” Astrid also accused Germany’s Sönke Lauterbach of preferring medals to horse welfare stating that he “decided to vote on a rule which promotes a negative image of the dressage sport allowing bleeding horses to re-appear in the show ring in order not to lose medal chances.”

Sönke Lauterbach – Secretary General of the German Equestrian Federation

Germany, one of the strongest competitors in international equestrian competition, initially planned to vote in favour of the blood rule but has now reversed its position. Originally Sönke Lauterbach was in favour of the rule: “This rule only works at Championships and not at other international and national dressage events…It is undisputed that a horse will only stay in the competition based on a veterinary diagnosis. The point is to distinguish a minimal injury from a real health problem. The welfare of the horse will remain the main priority. There are plenty of veterinarians at top events, which can guarantee a quick check-up.” However, following the outrage that swept through the dressage world, with claims of medal potential being more important than horse welfare, he stated that Germany would not vote for the blood rule to be introduced at the FEI General Assembly. Lauterbach explained that they reversed their decision as “we wrongly assessed the reactions of our athletes, judges, veterinarians and members about the so-called Blood Rule.”

Sönke Lauterbach

Sjef Janssen – Dutch National Trainer

Sjef Janssen, board member and former president of the International Dressage Trainers Club (who proposed the rule), considers the vitriolic outcry about the blood rule unjustified and the rule perfectly reasonable: “I don’t approve of blood, let that be clear. Blood is a signal that there is something wrong. In my opinion a specialist needs to step up and check what’s wrong, like in the proposed rule. To me it’s irresponsible and not good that one judge takes this decision. Firstly he’s a judge and not a vet and secondly it has to happen by someone impartial and knowledgeable.” In regards to the concern about the fairness of the rule – as it would only allow restarts at Championships and Olympics and not at lower levels – Sjef stated: “It’s not feasible to make this rule happen at all shows, but for shows where large interests are at stake, I think the installment of the rule is very justified.”

Sjef Janssen

Sissy Max-Theurer – President of Austrian Equestrian Federation

Sissy Max-Theurer indicated that Austria was still undecided about the controversial rule. “There were many discussions about it in the dressage world and I can see the problem from all angles, as horse owner, judge and show organizer,” she stated. “Personally I haven’t made a decision yet on the rule. In my opinion you have to find a rule that treats all riders equally and not only the senior riders at the Olympic Games, World and European Championships. I don’t find it fair. In principle, I favour that there will be a veterinarian at all national and international competitions who can judge from the warm up ring if a horse can compete or not. It continues to happen that a horse harmlessly bites its tongue or lip, without harsh involvement of the hands. In principle one has to be fair to the horse but also to the rider. I can imagine that a test could continue after a horse has been rung out for blood in his mouth and a check-up by a vet shows that it’s a minor injury. However this has to be rule at all shows and not just at championships.”

Chris Hector – Editor of The Horse Magazine

“It is pretty scary to find I’m lining up with Sjef, but on this occasion I agree with him. I guess all of us have at one time or another bitten our tongue, it hurts but it is a long way from your heart. It really was a pity not to see Adelinde and Parzival compete at the last WEG, and if – as the Dutch claim – the horse’s tongue had stopped bleeding by the time it got back to the stables, why then not let the horse compete? We are not talking about horses bleeding internally as a result of physical stress, we are talking about simple, minor accidents. We are not talking about horses being allowed to compete when they are bleeding but about horses being allowed to compete when they are not bleeding. The rule change was only proposed for major major events where expert veterinary advice is always on hand. The talk of the millions of people watching every second of dressage on television ready to desert the sport at the sight of a speck of blood is sheer fantasy – the sort of people who are interested in dressage know how easily horses can bleed in the mouth from very minor accidents. Obviously at this sort of event, the stewarding should be of such a high standard that there is no chance that the blood can result from rough riding. I think the proposed new rule was a sensible one torpedoed by an hysterical campaign that has as more to do with anti-Dutch sentiment than logic. I have spoken to a number of riders who privately agree that the proposed rule is a good one but they are unwilling to publically speak out because they fear they will be crucified on Astrid Appels’ eurodressage website and/or savaged by the formidable Kyra Kyrklund who seems quite obsessive on this issue. I have watched a couple of million (well it feels like that) tests over the past thirty years, and can recall two occasions when a horse was sent from the ring for a mouth bleed – one was an eventer, the other was Parzival at Lexington. Statistically it is highly unlikely that I will witness another ‘blood’ incident, but just imagine for a moment that next year at the London Games, Uthopia bites his tongue and it is bleeding when he enters the ring. They are immediately disqualified (I’m assuming that Astrid and Kyra will get their way) and despite the fact that five minutes later the horse is perfectly fit to compete, Carl Hester, and the British team are eliminated. I do hope Mesdames Appels and Kyrklund are around to explain why that is a good thing for dressage…”

Chris Hector

Mary Hanna – Australian Olympian

“It seems to me that the recent debate about the ruling, in regard to blood in a horse’s mouth has become highly emotional, and not always rational. The purpose of the rule should be to safeguard the welfare of the horse, and prevent any form of cruelty. It is also important that we have one rule for all. To have a more lenient rule for international competitions than national or regional competitions is very unfair. However, I think we need to get things in perspective. If I break my fingernail and it bleeds, I do not stop riding my horse, playing golf, or sailing my boat! If I bit my tongue, I wouldn’t stop either. Likewise for the horse there is a big difference between a horse accidentally biting his tongue, or having bleeding from the corner, or the inside of his mouth due to rough hands of a rider. A minor and accidental biting of the tongue should be easy for a steward to identify, as opposed to a mouth bleeding from rough riding. Surely a vet is not needed to identify this problem. Well educated judges, or stewards should be able to make an assessment of the situation, and prevent a whole team of riders being taken out by a small and inconsequential nick to the tongue. I notice in Europe debate over this issue has reached hysterical levels. Surely common sense can prevail. Stewards are educated to be on the look out for any form of cruelty, and this is a very good thing. Rough riding should not, and is not tolerated in our sport. I believe stewards and judges should be able to make an on the spot decision over this matter. If they decide the blood is only a small amount from a small nick, the rider should be able to continue. If the bleeding is more obvious and from the rider being too rough, then elimination should be the consequence.”

Kids Equimania! Facebook contest!

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 2, 2011 10:17

Hey Kids!

Show us or tell us about the bond you share with horses by entering the first EquiMania! Facebook contest! A cool prize is on offer for the winner; sure to be appreciated by the horse lover in your family.


The entry date has been extended to December 20


Enter to WIN in the appropriate category:


Visit the Equimania! Facebook PageUNDER 16yrs. old

1) a drawing
2) a story


OVER 16yrs. old

3) a photo
4) a story
5) a video!


complete contest and submission details go to 




Web Link: 



Contest Rules:  available as a Word Document


Notes to Editor:

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 www.equineguelph.ca



posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 2, 2011 10:11

Mark Your Calendar...

for this incredible Equine Guelph Gala Fundraiser made possible by Mirvish Productions – On March 8th, 6:30pm – 10pm, you can have 
a once-in-lifetime experience:

• enjoy a catered pre-show reception (wine and appetizers)

• premium seats, orchestra section of the Princess of Wales Theatre

• an exclusive backstage tour after the show to meet the puppets!

• Only a limited number of tickets left!

Tickets $200 - the perfect Christmas gift for any horse lover

Order tickets at 1-888-266-3108 or online (and follow the prompts)

For a sneak peak of the War Horse theatrical production


Equimania! Explorer Initiative is a Hit at the Royal!

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 2, 2011 10:05

The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto was the place to be Nov 4 – 13th, especially for eager horse lovers who could not wait to experience the new and exciting EquiMania! journey.  Thanks to generous sponsorship from Kubota, Ontario Equestrian Federation, SSG Gloves, System Fencing and Workplace Safety and Prevention Services, Equine Guelph launched a new interactive safety game which proved to be a passport to fun!


The young and young at heart were engaged right from the entrance gate, receiving a passport booklet to launch an adventure through the EquiMania! attraction.  Each page of the passport book asked important questions and mapped out a route to the next helpful EquiMania! ambassador.  Through this game of guided discovery; stamps were earned and smiles were delivered.  The outcome was another hugely successful year at the Royal for Equine Guelph’s EquiMania! attraction where  visitors always learn something new about the wonderful world of horses and their care.   Learning about safety has never been this much fun!


EquiMania! will be appearing next at Can-Am All Breeds Equine Emporium, London, ON, March 16 – 18, 2012. 



Written content by:  Jackie Bellamy

Web Link:  http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=311


Notes to Editor:

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 www.equineguelph.ca.