Horse & Pony February-April 2015

A Royal Adventure
   I love animals, food, and exhibitions, so visiting the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is heaven! I committed to seeing everything during my three-day visit, staying fueled on potato rösti, fresh lemonade, noodles, tacos, and cheese. It was fun to feel the excitement of a packed Ricoh Coliseum during the National Holstein Show where the judge explains the placings in the cattle classes. It would be interesting for spectators if the same could be done in the Governor General’s Cup class, with so many stunning young horses to choose from. 

    My parents enjoyed watching their youngest grandchild compete, an experience summarized in this issue in “Show Day At The Royal.” It was a treat to see Lane Yuill, of Truro, Nova Scotia, and Ironbound, the first foal from our mare, Daisy, do well in the pony jumpers. Daisy arrived 16 years ago as an unbroken, rather wild, aged mare of unknown breeding, with a load of cows destined for the Truro livestock sale. A few years later, on a whim, we took Daisy down the road to visit the Hardy family’s late, great Connemara stallion, Bantry Bay’s Aengus. This proved to be a lucky decision.

    The camaraderie amongst the Maritimers whose Royal show schedules overlapped was as expected; everyone made an effort to watch and support each other. I was able to catch Leah Gamoulakos and Sarah Shannon, of Halifax, N.S., compete with their horses in Children’s Hunter on the last day of the fair. They both had lovely rounds and good scores. 

    Don’t ever miss a chance to go to RAWF. When you come back home remember that local exhibitions are the grassroots feeder system for this agricultural extravaganza. The Royal draws from 6,000,000 people in the Greater Toronto Area, a far cry from our small rural population. Support your local fairs and horse shows, they need you. Get involved and go!

    Winter is a good time to think about safety. In this issue, Wallace McNutt talks to Mary McIntosh about trailer management and safe hauling. We also bring you a stark reminder of the responsibility we have as dog owners, and Dr. Helen Douglas explains equine stress and how to manage it. On a lighter note, Susan Sellers extolls the virtues of donkeys as companions. Mary McIntosh profiles CBC show jumping analyst, New Brunswick’s Deanna Phalen and introduces us to a Budweiser horse with a Maritime connection. 

    We send best wishes and many thanks to our long-time New Brunswick correspondent, Carolyn Wanamaker, for contributing to the magazine over the years and we welcome Fredericton’s Nicole Beaulieu who is taking the reins of the New Brunswick report. Our trusty provincial reporters – Judith, Jana, and Ruth will bring you up-to-date on what’s been happening in the rest of Atlantic Canada. Get in touch with them if you have information to share. 

    And watch for our May issue, with tips and stories on juggling horses and real life. Frozen bucket season is here, but spring is just a few short months away!