Horse & Pony November-January 2016

Being prepared
    The warm season went by too quickly. Our daughter’s wedding made summer a cleaning, painting, weeding, kind of blur – with riding and horse time squeezed in. Thunder boomed for hours in the distance, but the heavy rain held off, and August 22 was a perfect, happy day. 
    Four days earlier we were sweating it out stuffing an extra 400 bales into the loft. Being short on hay was not an option after the long winter of 2014-15. We aren’t alone, based on Jana Hemphill’s findings as she put together this issue’s “Horse owners prepare for winter.” A good part of doing the best we can for our animals is simply being prepared. Not so simple is the care of our buildings during winter. A shocking number of barns and indoors were lost last winter due to roof collapse. Curt Gooch’s “Dos and don’ts of barn snow removal” first appeared in the April 2015 edition of Rural Delivery. Good information in case we have a replay of last year. 
    It doesn’t matter what discipline you are involved in, if you and your horse take part in anything at all, you have a volunteer (or 10) to thank. It’s easy to forget, or not understand the effort that goes into events involving horses, especially those requiring jumps or obstacles. The reality is most of the events held in our region are unsustainable without free help. The limited population from which we draw ensures cost per use (so to speak) of officials, facilities, insurance, etc. can only be one thing – hefty. Claire Milton gives us an inside look at the challenges of running the region’s largest Equine Canada horse show and reminds us to SAVE THE SECRETARY, COMPLETE THE FORM. We also “take five” with a few of the dependable, passionate Atlantic Canadians who make the local horse scene tick. Enjoy the event, just remember it didn’t happen by accident.
    It was a flat out summer for most disciplines. Many of the highlights are covered here in Around the Region and the provincial reports. Most notable to me this year were the healthy numbers in novice classes around the region – from lead line, to walk/trot/canter, and beyond. The “littles” will be the ones packing mows with hay, running barrels, driving teams, doing piaffes, building courses, and processing entries in future years. It’s great to see.
    If you are involved in a therapeutic riding program don’t forget to visit the Atlantic Therapy Horse of the Year link on and nominate a horse that has made a difference. 
    Have a wonderful holiday season. This year if you are shopping for someone who says they don’t need anything, take them on their word! Make a donation in their name to a therapeutic riding program, a shelter, or a local spay and neuter group. That money will in turn be spent locally on goods and services. A little Christmas giving to organizations in need goes a long way towards a Happy New Year. All the best,