Category Archives: horses

Summer Horseback Riding Camp at Foxwood- A week of memories and a lifetime of skills

We all love summer: warmer weather, sunshine, (no school, if you are a student;), and time to spend with friends.  For me, as a child, summer vacation meant time for camp…something I looked forward to from the moment my mom registered me.  I would count down the days that I would get to spend 2 weeks with my friends, learning how to improve my riding skills and to just be around horses.   I know my parents wanted me to have a great summer experience, but I wonder, if they truly realized all of the benefits of summer horseback riding camp? 

Building CONFIDENCE 

Horses are BIG animals and being at riding camp, gives children the opportunity to learn how to control a 1,000-pound animal.  From leading their horses from the paddock into the barn, to grooming them and finally, getting on for a ride,  children learn in a safe environment how to take the lead and can overcome any fears as they do. 

Learning RESPONSIBILITY

Campers at horseback riding camp are responsible for caring for their horse or pony every day at camp.  This involves grooming, cleaning and caring for their tack as well as making sure their area in the barn is kept clean and tidy.  

Increasing ATHLETIC SKILLS

Horseback riding is a full body workout requiring the rider to use core muscles.  As riders progress in the saddle, so does their strength.  As riders increase their time in the saddle, their stamina, flexibility, endurance and muscle memory also increase. 

Developing CHARACTER

In addition to building self-esteem, confidence, and responsibility, horseback riding teaches children wonderful character traits. As riders get to know their horses, they begin to feel empathy and love towards them.  Riders must also learn patience with not only the horses but with themselves as they learn to ride. Horseback riding gives children the chance to experience joy and teaches the importance of balance and happiness in everyday life.

Making new FRIENDS

Riders typically end up forming strong friendships as they work together to take care of horses at the barn, as they learn, and as they enjoy riding together. The bond over horses often creates lifelong friendships. 

Appreciating the outdoors and UNPLUGGING

Growing up, I only had television to keep me indoors.   There were no cell phones, iPads or lures of social media.  My parents kept me active in sending me to summer riding camp, where I loved being outside, meeting new friends and most importantly, riding and lbeing with horses! 

As we start our open registration this week for summer camp at Foxwood, I am excited for the new and the returning campers who will be coming to Foxwood summer riding camp this summer!  New memories and friendships to be made and a lifetime of lessons and new skills! 

Until next time

Robyn 

Who needs Hawaii when we have Foxwood Fun Camp!
Improving our riding skills and developing confidence at Foxwood’s Ontario Equestrian Rider Level Camp
Making friends at Foxwood
Learning to take care of – and have fun with – our Foxwood ponies

Sweet success in the Show Ring without all the sugar

We all know that not all horseshow days are perfect – some days there are ribbons and some days there aren’t – and all riders need to hear the truth…that they, too, are not perfect. As parents/supporters , we need to recognize that our children will be more successful not just in the show ring but more importantly, in life, if we don’t always “sugar coat” our comments.

With a busy schedule of lessons, summer camps and horseshows, I rarely have time to catch up on my horse magazines/articles; however, last week, I finally got around to reading the 2019 Canadian Horse Annual issue published by Horse Media Group. With five more horseshow days to go for our 2019 Foxwood Farm Show Team, I came across a very timely article written by registered psychologist, April Clay, that I thought all parents should read.

“5 Tips for Horse Show Parents”

“Horse shows can be stressful enough – be sure that you aren’t adding to your young rider’s anxiety by following these helpful tips:

1. You might be tempted to shower your child with positive comments about their ability, but use caution. Comments and compliments should be sincere and straightforward. Children are perceptive and excessive praise for an easily-accomplished task (such as being on the correct posting diagonal) may convey negative information about the child’s competence. Or you just may get the eye roll if you go on and on, but for a different reason. I often hear kids remark “She has to say I’m great, she’s my Mom, but really she doesn’t know anything about riding so I don’t listen.”

2. Identify things that can lead to stress and worry or undermine confidence. Unrealistic expectations about winning ribbons or making someone else happy take away from the focus of fun. If you hear your kids making comments like “I have to have a perfect barrel run today” or “I have to win this class or my coach won’t like me as much”, nip that right away. Help your child develop new thoughts that will help rather than hurt them.

3. Go easy on the pep talks. Many parents forget that “pumping” their child up can tip them over the edge. Keep it short and encouraging, and watch your intensity level. It doesn’t take much for some kids to view these talks as pressure. (“If my Mom/Dad is so intense about this, it must be important. I have to do well.”)

4. Be respectful when dealing with an upset child. We might think it’s not a big deal, but to them it is and should be approached as such. Try to help your child process events and use open-ended questions. If a tearful child says, “I rode horribly today,” don’t brush it off and say “It will get better tomorrow.” Instead, try: “It sounds as though you’re upset, can you tell me what happened?” This acknowledges the child’s feelings and lets them know you’re willing to help them work it out.

5. Children who live with excessive worry about making mistakes are stressed and aren’t able to enjoy their sport. Create an atmosphere where mistakes are a normal part of learning and riding competitively. Let them know it’s okay to miss a distance to a fence, or even fall off. Tell them all athletes (even Olympic riders!) make errors and have bad days, and what’s most important is how they handle the challenge. Encourage your child to come up with their very own key word or phrase they can repeat to themselves when something goes wrong to help them get back on track – something like “shake it off” or “move on”. Have fun coming up with a cue and then encourage them to try it out when things go wrong in practice or in the show ring.”

So parents, remember, just a spoonful of sugar will do;)!

Until next time,
Robyn

Sugar and spice and red ribbons are nice…but only a teaspoon will do!

About April Clay: April Clay is a Registered Psychologist with an independent practice focused in: counselling, consulting, and sport psychology. She draws from a wide variety of experiences working with many types of athletes and performers (from youth to elite) including: equestrian athletes, swimmers, wrestlers, golfers, competitive dancers, figure skaters, para equestrians, mixed martial artists (MMA),and more.

April is a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). April also works as a service provider for the Canadian Sport Centre Calgary.

As an adjunct to her practice, April writes for several local and national magazines, and offers workshops on a variety of topics. As a sports consultant, she draws on some 15 years of experience as a competitive horse show-jumper.

And so it begins…a young girl’s love of horses and horseback riding

It’s a love that many young girls have from the time they can walk and talk – from picking up that stuffed horse at the toy store to asking for a pony ride at the local fair. For many of our Foxwood riders, it is a love that has grown from childhood, through their teenage years and into adulthood.

This week, as part of our Foxwood ShowTeam spotlight, we learn from one of our newest team members, about how her love for horses started her riding:

“Hi everyone. I’m Elizabeth Goreski and ever since I was old enough to walk my Mom and Dad have put me into sports and programs. They have always worked hard to give me the opportunity to experience everything that was out there. I learned how to skate, swim, I played soccer and the piano but I always loved horses the most. When I was 3 years old, my parents took me to the Kentucky horse park where I got to be up close to so many different breeds of horses and watch the riders show off their horse’s talents. That was the beginning of my love for horses.

Shortly after that trip, we moved to a new house and my Mom and Dad made over my room in pink with horses as the theme. I asked if I could try riding, but the rules at many of the local barns were that I needed to be 6 years old and so I had to wait. I didn’t forget about those rules and shortly after I turned 6, we found a stable close to home. I remember how excited I was the first time we drove up the lane to the barn. There were so many big horses in their stalls and a few ponies as well. I started to take riding lessons and loved it!

Since then, we have moved and I have been riding at Foxwood. I have really improved as a rider and I am very excited to compete this season on the Foxwood show team. I love being part of the Foxwood family. Everyone is so nice and helpful, and we are really a team. My goal is to become a great show jumper and compete at the highest level possible. The thought of competing really excites me. I even wrote my school speech on riding and horses, it was awesome! I have always loved animals, especially horses and have even thought about going to school when I get older to be a veterinarian. For now, I want to learn all I can, listen and learn from my coaches and compete every chance I get…and of course win some ribbons!;)”

Partnered this season with Sera (aka Simply Magic), the entire Foxwood Show Team is excited for Elizabeth and her debut in the show ring.

Until next time,
Robyn

Elizabeth getting her show attire from Doonaree Tack Shop

Elizabeth and her equine partner, Sera

Show Like a Pro – some tips from the top

It’s only the beginning of June, but our 2018 Foxwood Farm Show Season is well underway. We’ve competed at 3 “A” circuit shows and are only 3 days away from our 2nd Bronze horse show with our show team. On June 10th, several of our students will be participating in our Foxwood Farm in-house horse show and for many of them, this will be their first time competing. Parents and students new to the equestrian world need guidance on how to prepare for a horse show and even our more experienced riders need some reminders;)

I was starting to compose of list for my students on preparing for a horse show last week when I received my latest issue of Horse Sport magazine. It was perfect timing as one of the featured articles was written by top Canadian rider, Erynn Ballard. Erynn entered the show ring at the age of six under the guidance of her parents Sandi and Dave who own Looking Back Farm. Even at such a young age, it was obvious she had an incredible natural talent for riding. Her ability to get on multiple types of unknown horses and win, established her as one of the top junior catch riders in the country. 1998 was an incredible year in Erynn’s junior career. She began the year competing at The Winter Equestrian festival in Florida and was awarded the Christie Conrad Perpetual Trophy for equestrian excellence. Later that year she became only the second Canadian at the time to win the most prestigious junior equitation award by winning the ASPCA Maclay national championships at Madison Square Gardens.

With all of her experience, here are her top 5 favourite tips for showing like a pro:

1. Presentation
“That includes presentation of yourself as a rider, presentation of your horse and presentation of your barn. Clean your boots, wear clean clothes, clean your horse and your tack and keep your barn aisle neat and tidy. When you walk into the ring, the first thing people notice is how you look.”

2. Tack
“Tack needs to fit properly. Bridles need to fit the horse and saddles need to fit the horse and rider.” And tack needs to be clean. Spending a little bit of extra time to make your tack shine, will be worth it!”

3. Keep your Cool
“A temper has no place around horses – in the barn, the schooling ring, or at the horse show. Horses give us so much and in return ask for patience and kindness. Fix your problems at home with patience and good training, not in public with temper and attitude. No matter what your result, pet your horse and walk out of the ring.”

4. Perfect position
“In all aspects of riding, correct position is your base. Classic and effective position is important at any stage of the game. You should never get to a point where you can take anything for granted – not your position, your horse, or the level you jump at. You have to manage yourself, your fitness, your horse’s fitness, and never get complacent.”

5. Die Trying
“Give it 100% every time you walk into the ring. At some point, you have to give it all you’ve got to be a competitor. It’s a skill that is nearly impossible to teach. Show where you are the most brave and confident and give yourself the best chance of success.”

I’m wishing all of my students the best of luck preparing for their next show…and know that no matter how you do in the show ring, as long as you do your best (and take some of Erynn’s advice;), I will always be a proud coach.

Until next time,
Robyn

Erynn Ballard in fine form

Chapter 2 – Riding a new road to happiness with Macduff

I have every intention to post more frequently on this blog; however, between cleaning up after the last ice storm, followed by a wind storm in addition the wrath of winter, I seem to run out of time so quickly these days. Luckily, some of my awesome students have come to my rescue, providing me with snippets and stories of their riding life at Foxwood and abroad so for the next month, it looks like I can catch up on some of my work;)

Hope you enjoy Chapter 2 from Catherine:

“It is said that change is as good as a rest. As true as this may be, that is not what I said.

Presenting circumstances have dictated the necessity of an amendment to my complacency and I simply followed the road signs that fate had provided. My longstanding relationship with my riding instructor and friend, Paige, dealt me a hand that dictated an adjustment.

Paige became an instructor at Foxwood a few years ago and I changed barns in order to maintain the trust and continuity of our relationship. As a result, the trepidation of change was minimized. Apprehension was further minimized in knowing that my friend Anne, boards her horse, Sierra, at Foxwood. The third flower in this arrangement was in meeting Robyn, who has become a cherished friend, is a first rate coach and a perfect compliment in assuring that making the drive to Bradford is the correct road.

My first ride at Foxwood was on Velvet. She is a dear, but not very challenging. She was gentle, compliant and good for trotting with no stirrups but when a faster mount was offered, I accepted…this came in the form of a two part package, MacDuff and Bella.

Bella is a lovely Cleveland Bay mare and we are working hard at our cantering. MacDuff (part Percheron & Thoroughbred) and I are both well-aged seniors. He is a big boy. We two elders plug away and get very excited when we achieve a new goal.

We all take comfort in routine. Upon arrival at Foxwood, I will go out to the paddock to get Duffy. When I call his name, he looks up, stares, and then, will saunter over to me. I ask myself, “Does he find me attractive or is it the carrots that I offer?” Although the question is clearly rhetorical, his response nevertheless provides me with a feeling of unbridled gratification. I have the power (it is orange and crunchy)!!! It makes me feel pretty good.

Upon arrival on one rainy day, I went out to get Duffy and was met with an unanticipated level of resistance. Coaxing words and carrots failed. The ponies had just been put into this lovely grassy paddock and were galloping around playing hard to get. Carrot bribery was not working. After a half hour, of growing aggravation, my learned-horse friend, Anne, came to my rescue. I learned to put the lead around the neck before trying to put on the halter! It is so simple when one knows the answers.

On another occasion when I went out to get MacDuff, he decided that he would eat his carrots and not move. I tried desperately to get him to come with me. No, he would not budge. Out came Anne (as always) to my rescue. Anne suggested I give him carrots once we arrive back at the barn. So far that suggestion has worked very well.

Another trick I learned was from Desiree, with whom I ride on Fridays. After Duffy ate his carrots and decided to play hard to get, I turned my back on him and just stood there. Eventually, he came over and put his face near mine, which put a huge smile on my face and a sense of satisfaction in winning the battle of who is going to concede first.

Arriving at the barn and heading out to get him is special. There is a bond between rider and horse. One beautiful summer day, I headed out to the front paddock to see if MacDuff was under the trees with the other horses enjoying the shade. No, he wasn’t I couldn’t see him. I turned around and there he was right behind me waiting patiently for his carrots.

Like any other living being, horses learn by their experiences. Old dogs can learn new tricks with repeated lessons and understanding. He has learned many lessons from his life at Foxwood.”

We are all happy that Catherine has joined our #FoxwoodFamily…and we know that Macduff is, too;)

Until next time,
Robyn

Always happy to see each other:)

A Foxwood familiar face – Charlotte Hodgson

When you drive up to Foxwood, and you see the little lemon coloured car, you know she’s here. It’s our junior instructor, extraordinaire, Charlotte! I have had the pleasure of knowing Charlotte from the time she was just starting out riding on her Shetland pony, Champ. From the beginning, I knew that she was going to “grow up” to be an amazing horsewoman as she always seemed to have a connection with not only the ponies that she rode, but also with the horse people who surrounded her.

When I found out in the fall of 2016 that Charlotte was returning to Canada after nearly 6 years in the UK, I messaged her to ask if she would be interested in teaching some of the beginner and novice lessons at Foxwood. I was delighted when she said yes!

She has been back for nearly 1 year and I would like to share some of her riding and horse experiences with you:

Starting off in the saddle around the age of 7, Charlotte has spent more than 20 years around horses in various equestrian disciplines, both working and riding.

She started off competing on ponies at a young age and was successful in the hunter ring with small, medium and large ponies over the years. As a skilled pony rider, she even started training some green ponies (unschooled) and some of them advanced along to be competitive in both Canada & the United States. One of those young ponies was Foxwood’s own, Sera. I purchased Sera in 2000 as a 3 year old and was going to train her myself; until I found out I was pregnant. I knew Charlotte and her mother from riding at another farm and I asked Charlotte if she would be interested in riding Sera while I was unable to. Sera could be challenging at times; however, Charlotte spent the time working with her and soon, Sera was able to have more riders start on her.

Although Charlotte grew out of competing on ponies, she continued showing both in the hunter and equitation rings with a talented thoroughbred called Shades of Grey. She and Grey ended up being long time partners and he was retired in 2006 after a fabulous career in the Children’s Hunter division.

Moving on from high school to university, Charlotte helped start what is now known as the Ontario Collegiate Equestrian Association. She competed successfully on the University of Guelph horseback riding team and had the opportunity, during that time, to train with various hunter and jumper coaches.

Charlotte has recently returned from living abroad in the UK for nearly 6 years where she was involved with a local fox hunting community – riding with the Belvoir Hunt and the Duke of Rutland’s hounds in England. It was an incredible opportunity to ride different horses, connect with other horse people and experience the excitement of riding cross country with the hounds.

Since returning to Canada last October, Charlotte has a new horse who she shares with her mom. Training with FEI eventer, Julie Clark, Charlotte has been introduced to the eventing world and competed this summer with her little Cleveland Bay horse, Rideau. Converting from the hunter/ jumper world to eventing has added to Charlotte’s skill set as she continues to learn more and more about the three phases (dressage, show jumping & cross country) involved in the sport; however, she attributes her hunter background as providing a solid foundation for her change in riding disciplines.

Charlotte is great with kids, having not only taught at Foxwood in the past but she also worked for several years for the town of Bradford with their summer camp programs. She is looking forward to having fun with the students and ponies in the Foxwood Farm lesson program and we are excited to have HER as part of our Foxwood Family!

Until next time,
Robyn

Welcome to the Foxwood Family, Charlotte Hodgson!

Horses, riding and finding that barn connection – a mother’s perspective

Over the years, I have had the joy of teaching many riders from a very young age, until they reach university. Many of them will return to visit during the summer months or will come back to ride once they are finished school. Just over a year ago, I met Alex. She wasn’t a beginner rider, nor was she the “typical” new Foxwood young rider. She was finishing up high school but wanted to get back into riding not only because she missed being around the horses but she wanted to learn how to jump. Given that she already had some riding knowledge, it was only a matter of a few lessons before she was on her way! Alex is very lucky in that her parents are very supportive of her riding and recently, her mom, Lisa, sent me a lovely note to share with me how important riding, horses and Foxwood are to her daughter:

“When I was young, I always loved to go and visit my cousins who owned horses, but I was never able to convince my parents to buy me a horse or pony. It was with great delight then, for me, that when my daughter, Alex was very young, I discovered that she also had a love for horses. My first memory is of a trip to the Kinmount Fair on Labour Day weekend near our cottage when Alex was maybe four or five. She pulled her Dad and me towards the section of the fairgrounds where all of the riders and horses were parked with their trailers getting ready for their shows. The first owner we spoke to had Clydesdales and Alex pulled us closer so that she could touch them, but then when we tried to get her to stand beside the horse to take a picture, she realized just how big he was and she got nervous. We never did get a picture, but the owner who had won several ribbons, gave Alex a first prize ribbon to hang on her wall at home. That clinched it. From that day on, her love and draw to horses was sealed. She began riding later that year or the next at a farm on our cottage road.

Over the years, we took her to various farms including riding with my cousin Iris in Sharon and later on out in Thornton where another friend rode. At this farm, Alex also belonged to the 4H club, but the owner did not teach jumping and after three years, we stopped going. Alex however did not stop thinking about horses and riding so when her friend Megan told her she was riding at Foxwood Farms, Alex went with her to check it out.

Soon after, Alex begged us to start riding again and I went to meet Robyn. We felt immediately at home being back at a barn, but it was more than that. Robyn and Alex had a connection through their love of horses and within a few months, Alex told us Robyn had asked her to be Head Camp Counsellor for that summer. Alex was already working as a lifeguard and swim instructor and had her first aid certification, so adding her love of horses to the mix, it was a perfect fit for her and we were overjoyed.

It’s hard to believe it has only been just over a year since Alex joined the Foxwood Family. It feels like Alex has found her second home and because Robyn is there, she will go to the farm whenever she gets a chance, but we don’t mind. We are happy that Alex has a place to do what she has always loved. Alex has grown her riding skills quite quickly and will be a member of the Foxwood Show team this year. Jumping and simply being at Foxwood has given her the confirmation that whatever she does for her future career, it will be with horses.

Foxwood is a place where not only can our children learn about and be around horses, it is also a place where they feel like they belong. We are thankful that Alex has found her way to the Foxwood Family. Thank you Robyn for being Foxwood!”
Lisa Paul

I’m so excited for Alex to show with our Foxwood show team this season! She has worked very hard to improve her riding skills and she has developed a great partnership with Maggie, the horse she will be showing. As to her future adventures, I know that whatever she does, she will be a success! (and maybe if she gets into vet school, one day, she’ll come back to Foxwood to be our vet;)

Until next time,
Robyn

Alex and her mom, Lisa, riding Fjord horses in Denmark

Alex in the fall of 2016 at Foxwood with Neo

Winter riding lessons at Foxwood

How to have happy teens? Let them horseback ride the stress away

Horseback riding. By definition, is the sport or activity of riding horses; however, for those of us who ride, we know that it is far more than just that. We all lead busy lives and barn time is time away from work, home and school stress – which, for teenagers, is an especially difficult time in life.

Who doesn’t remember the challenges that we faced in our teen years, whether it was getting good grades at school, being part of a socially accepted peer group, finding the right part time job or just getting along with our families. Today, teenagers face far more pressure than ever before. University admissions are increasingly competitive, which means students are constantly striving to earn top marks in order to get into their university of choice. And then, there is the stress of social media. Being perfect. All the time. Because everything is posted whether on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. and everybody sees it. It’s an acceptance that many of us didn’t have to deal with but unfortunately, our children (and my students) do.

Stress causes many physical and emotional side effects such as headaches, gastrointestinal issues, anxiety, sleep and eating disorders and even suicide. So, how do WE – as parents/adults – help our teens reduce their stress levels? Studies have been shown that exercise is one of the best ways AND combined with the love of an animal, it’s a perfect match! I teach many teenagers – in fact, they currently make up the largest number of my riding students. Yes, they have fun when they are here, taking “selfies” with their horses as they groom, snap chatting silly moments in the barn BUT…once they enter the barn, taking on the responsibility of caring for their horse and then concentrating on riding, I can see the stress they may walk in with, disappear.

One of my adult students came across this article written by Ella Innes which gives insight into how horseback riding can help with teen stress:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2613211/Spending-time-horses-make-teenagers-stressed-study-reveals.html

So, if horseback riding CAN and DOES relieve the stress of your teen, why not let them give it a try? Who knows, they just might start putting in as much effort into cleaning their room as they do sweeping the barn or grooming their horse;)

Until next time,
Robyn

5 minutes…saving our horses one letter at a time

Slaughter. A term used for the killing of animals for food consumption. Pigs, cows, chickens, goats, and yes, horses – not just in Europe but here in Canada. In fact, Canada is a world leader in the production of horse meat with approximately 67,979 horses having been slaughtered in Canada in 2015.

I’m sure many of you are shocked to hear that our beloved pets and riding companions, can end up from paddock to plate but this business, very sadly is growing. Horse meat exports brought in $85 million last year, as per Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada with more than 12 million kilograms of the product being shipped. The majority of horse meat is still being sold and shipped to Europe but what has become most alarming in the last year is the increase of LIVE transportation of horses to Japan for sushi.

In Japan, “premium consumption,” a philosophy in which consumers do not mind spending large amounts of money on trendy products or services, is on the rise. The Japanese are embracing “members-only” clubs and resorts upwards of ¥355 billion ($4,176,200,000 CDN), up 13 percent from 2015. Horsemeat is increasing in popularity in Japan due in part to a boom in these exclusive and often secretive dining clubs.

Canada is the ONLY country that ships LIVE horses for slaughter.

Every year, approximately 7000 horses are transported by air from Canada to Japan. These shipments are often conducted weekly, with up to three to four large draft type horses crammed together in wooden crates. There is little room to move around, let alone lie down. No food or water is provided during the often 30+ hour journey overseas. Canadian legislation permits horses to be transported without food and water for up to 36 hours and sometimes, due to flight delays, the 36-hour period is breached.

Canadian legislation prohibits horses over 14 hands high to share a crate with other horses; however, the majority of horses being shipped to Japan are draft or draft crosses who exceed the height restriction.

They must be shipped individually if over 14 hands. Their heads must not touch the ceiling of the crate. They must not be deprived of food and water for any longer than 36 hours.

The law says all of the above things.

But for reasons of profit (up to $20,000 per horse shipped to Japan), Canada ignores the law.

I follow an amazing woman on Facebook. Her name is Dr. Judith Samson-French and she is a veterinarian who is based out of Western Canada. She advocates for ALL animals, sharing well informed articles, posting petitions to be signed and making the “average” person aware of situations such as the live transportation of horses to Japan. Below, is her Facebook post from today with a letter, for her Facebook followers, to address to Dr Cornelius F. Kiley, of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

In sharing all of the information with you on this blog, my hope is that you will copy, sign and email the letter (or write in your own words) to Dr. Kiley and perhaps, we just might help make a difference:

“Can you spare 5 minutes?

Please read the letter below, if you agree copy, sign and send away (email address at the bottom).
Thank you so much!

Attention: Dr Cornelius F. Kiley, Canadian Food Inspection Agency

I am writing to comment on the following: Amendments to Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations, which pertain to the transport of animals, are now in the public comment phase in the Canada Gazette, Part I, Vol. 150, No. 49.

There are a number of concerns with the proposed regulations. Firstly no provisions have been made to prevent transport of animals in weather extremes. In Europe, transportation of animals is not allowed in weather extremes and trucks have to be temperature controlled. They are required to have on board ventilation systems. The proposed regulations do not deal with the issue of temperature extremes in Canada, and the kind of conditions (extreme Canadian cold and heat) that it is inhumane to transport animals in.

Secondly, the length of time of animal transports is still a concern. While there has been a proposed reduction in the times animals can be transported without food and water, it is still 28 hours in the case of horses and pigs. Considering the clock is re-set to zero when shipments of animals leave Canadian borders, slightly reduced Canadian travelling times will not make any difference to the actual travelling times between countries. For example , there will still be horse shipments to Japan from Alberta that are approximately 30 hours long from the time of loading at feedlots until arrival and unloading in Japan (longer if there are flight delays). Numerous studies have shown that horse health and welfare deteriorates significantly after 8 – 12 hours of travel without rest (for example the European Scientific Committee on Animal Health and Welfare (SCAHAW) and Stevenson: ”Long Distance Animal Transport in Europe. A cruel and unnecessary trade”2008).

Another concern with the live draft horse shipments is that horses are not being segregated currently, and I believe under the new regulations there will no longer be any requirement to segregate horses over 14 hands high. According to veterinarians, this practice of loading multiple horses into crates, while obviously cost effective and financially beneficial to the exporter, is detrimental to horse welfare in airplanes. From FOIP documents it is apparent that horses in the live shipments frequently go down during takeoff and landing, and with multiple horses in crates there is greater potential for injury if they are not segregated or no divider is used.

Another regulation that should be kept, not eliminated, in the horse shipments is the regulation requiring sufficient head space for horses, especially considering the fact that they will be standing in one position in the same wooden crate for approximately 24 hours (from the time they are first loaded into the crates until they are unloaded in Japan). It would be inhumane to have the heads of taller horses bent in unnatural position the entire 24 hours.

I am unclear as to how things will be improved for animals with the new transport regulations, and in fact with proposed removal of some of the existing regulations (segregation and head clearance) designed to protect horses during live horse shipments to Japan, the situation could become even worse for these animals. If Canada is going to make changes to animal transport laws, please ensure that they make significant improvements to animal welfare instead of maximized profits for exporters and producers.

Thank you.
Sincerely,
YOUR name here, address & phone number
email to: animaltransportanimaux@inspection.gc.ca
and you can cc: lawrence.macaulay@parl.gc.ca
PM@pm.gc.ca ”

“Never doubt that a small group of concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

And it only takes 5 minutes,

Until next time,
Robyn

PS – you can also make a difference by emailing Atlas Air, the American company that provides the majority of the horse transportation from Canada to Japan:

Peter Beckett Senior Director Charter Sales and Marketing Email: peter.beckett@atlasair.com

And signing the petition at Change.org
https://www.change.org/p/richard-broekman-staff-vice-president-commercial-development-and-charter-sales-email-richard-broekm-peter-beckett-senior-director-charter-sales-and-marketing-email-peter-beckett-atlasair-com-jo-ask-atlas-air-to-end-the-shipment-of-live-horses-f?recruiter=309243881&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_res

Horses enroute from Canada to Japan

Horses enroute from Canada to Japan

Equine Canada Level 2 Coach, Ally Sillers, is now coaching at Foxwood!

With the change in seasons (even though it is still feeling like winter!), comes a change in the barn with the arrival of an amazing new instructor! As many of you know, I am currently working on obtaining my Equine Canada coaching certification and I met with Ally Sillers last year to discuss the steps I needed to take in order to accomplish this. At the time, I asked Ally if she would be available and interested in doing the EC Rider level evaluations for my students who were taking part in our monthly OEF horsemanship program. We have been keeping in touch over the winter to determine some testing times for both me and my students and I was elated to learn that she was available this spring to coach here. What an incredible opportunity, not only for me to learn from her, but also for all of my students – not just the ones who are testing for their Equine Canada Rider levels.

Ally Sillers is an Equine Canada certified Level 2 Coach, with over 40yrs teaching experience. While living in New Brunswick, Ally ran the Rothesay, Kennebecasis and Fredericton Pony Clubs from 1985 until 2000 before starting her own riding school, Callander Hall. She has taught beginner to advanced students, who have ranged in age from 4 to 70 years old. Ally has had students win provincial championships in dressage, hunter/jumper and eventing – and one of her students, Kara Grant from Prince Edward Island, took part in 2 Olympic Games, competing in pentathalon. In addition to great riding accomplishments, many of Ally’s students have gone on to become veterinarians, farriers and part-time coaches.

Ally is a National Evaluator for the Equine Canada Coaching program and also tests for the EC Learn to Ride program for Rider Levels 1-8. She is a facilitator for the Equestrian Theory Course and has prepared over 20 successful candidates for the Instructor of Beginner Coaching Evaluation. She has a love and interest to pass on her extensive knowledge and to promote the coaching program and was the coaching coordinator for the province of New Brunswick for 5 years.

In 2014, Ally moved back to Toronto for family reasons and currently coaches at the following barns in Ontario: York Equestrian, Waterstone Estates , Gimcrack and now Foxwood Farm:)

“I have been lucky enough to make a career out of my passion” –
and Foxwood is very lucky to have you, Ally! We’re looking forward to the great lessons and the learning opportunities!

Until next time,
Robyn

Check out the latest video of Ally teaching at Foxwood:

We are thrilled to have Ally and her incredible knowledge at Foxwood!

We are thrilled to have Ally and her incredible knowledge at Foxwood!