Horse & Pony Feb-Apr 2018

Cyclones and sandpipers
    The covered faces of the folks on the cover of this issue tell the tale. We’re in the middle of a “polar vortex,” hot on the heels of a “bomb cyclone” as we put this issue to bed. In other words, everything that blew over and away is now frozen to the ground.
    Regardless of the challenges of horse keeping in the Great White North, the horse industry in Atlantic Canada is a going concern as evident in the pages of this issue. More and more competitors from different disciplines are working hard at home, then travelling to compete away successfully at larger venues, against stiff competition – often with locally bred horses. All of that comes with the challenges of keeping horses (and trucks!) healthy and happy on long trips, and of course paying for it all. 
    The option to purchase live streaming of the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto in November means you can now skip the travel and catch an Atlantic Canadian in most of the divisions from your own comfy couch. If you can’t be there, it’s a great option even with occasional technical glitches. If you can make your own fresh squeezed lemonade and Rösti potatoes with cheese and sour cream, you might just fool yourself into believing you’re there (at least until the screen freezes again). 
    The easterners made their presence known at the 2017 Royal. New Brunswick bred Bellphina won the coveted Lieutenant Governor’s Cup in tough competition, and our Nova Scotia pony jumpers were so fast they had exactly the same blistering jump-off time to tie for first in a class. A rarity, but perfect timing for two happy teenagers and their coaches as they headed back home to the Annapolis Valley and Brookfield. You can read a bit more about the Royal Winter Fair throughout the magazine.
    Local dressage riders Erin MacQuarrie and Jane Fraser also made the long trip to Toronto last fall to ride with Olympic gold medalist Carl Hester. Features writer Alison King was on hand and brings us a summary of the Carl Hester Master Class from the beautiful Caledon Equestrian Park. 
    Back at home, the fun sport of sorting and penning continues to grow. Judith Scrimger took in a clinic at Murphy’s Stables in Hantsport, N.S., with Brent Smith of Smith Performance Horses to learn more about this mind challenging discipline. Scrimger also met up with hard working horseman and standardbred trainer Al McNeil at his farm outside of Windsor, N.S. Garry Leeson checked in on the process of finding good homes for incoming foals from Manitoba, and we have the story of a young civil engineer’s successful venture into the world of equine reproduction technology.
    Stall cleaning is the great equalizer no matter the equine pedigree, and one that is especially groan worthy this time of year. Nicole Kitchener looks into peat moss as an ultra Canadian bedding alternative with the bonus of turning the manure pile into “green.” 
    The delightful tale of Woody, the bird tracking Newfoundland Pony from Witless Bay, who’s taken food motivation to a whole new level, and the story of Boris, the indomitable barn cat, round out this issue. 
    We have lots to be proud of here in Atlantic Canada, with great breeders, trainers, coaches, farriers, vets, and loads of dedicated riders and committed family members who believe in the value of this demanding sport. Share your ideas and thoughts. We want to hear from you. This is your local magazine. What do YOU want to read about? 
    Just 55 days until spring. Hang in there.