Horse & Pony Letters Nov 2018-Jan 2019

HP: I just received my Atlantic Horse and Pony magazine. I LOVE your articles about Sadie River and about the Flood!! (“Fast and furious: New Brunswick horse owners cope with record flooding,” and “A tiny spot of good news,” both by Nicole Kitchener, HP Aug.-Oct., pg. 12-14.) I keep reading them over and over! You have captured all of the kindness and support that was given to Willow and Sadie, my horses and sheep, as well as all of the other animals and people affected by the horrific flood of 2018.

As we all continue to put our homes and farms back together, the most important thing that continues to amaze me is not the horrors of the flood, but the overwhelming kindness, generosity, and support of people. Your articles capture all of the positive (and overwhelming) feelings and emotions of that horrific time. They are written beautifully, just perfect! Thank you.

Janis MacLaughlin

Fredericton, N.B.

We’re happy the story touched you and we wish you well as you continue to recover. HP

HP: It was unfortunate to hear that some of the Halifax Junior Bengal Lancers’ horses have been diagnosed with strangles (“N.S. Report: Summer days are here again,” by Teresa Alexander-Arab, HP Aug.-Oct., pg. 40). Rumour has it that there are other cases throughout the Maritimes.

This brings back memories of the experience that we had at the Truro Raceway in 2008 when I was the general manager of the Nova Scotia Provincial Exhibition, which included the Truro Raceway.

A few horses stabled at the raceway were suffering from nasal problems. A local vet that was called in to check these horses diagnosed the disease as the strangles. This was quite alarming to all of us at the time as there hadn’t been a case of the strangles in racehorses for many years. The scary part was that no one at the track knew much about the disease, how serious it was, or how contagious it was.

Diane Daniels, who was my assistant manager at the time (and) was very involved and experienced in the racing industry, made inquiries through her contacts to try to find out more about the disease.

One of her contacts was Dr. Ian Moore in P.E.I. We also contacted veterinarians at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC). We took their advice seriously and took a number of actions. First, we had to identify what horses were affected and protect all the other horses stabled at the raceway. There were more than 200 horses there at the time, plus all the ship-ins (horses from outside that came to the facility to train and run on race day).

The next step was to quarantine the stables that had horses diagnosed with the disease, which included the paddock barn, where horses are staged on race day. Further to that, the paddock barn was sanitized twice before horses were allowed in.

Where there were so many unknowns and rumours about the strangles, we arranged a presentation by a number of experts from the NSAC and P.E.I. for the horse owners and trainers, to provide them with the information required about the strangles. This proved to be a great session which was well attended and well received by all those in attendance.

In the end, one stable remained quarantined until the disease was cleared, with no horses in that stable allowed to race during that time. With these precautions in place, the races were able to continue on schedule.

Within a few weeks, there were no more traces of the strangles. The horse owners and trainers were better informed about the strangles and there have been no reported cases of this since at the Truro Raceway.

Bob Taylor

Truro, N.S.

It sounds like the raceway outbreak was handled responsibly. Information is critical. It’s certainly a difficult situation for busy barns. HP