Management & Maintenance

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“The stable environment invariably presents challenges of dust, mould and proper ventilation,” says Susan Raymond, instructor of Equine Guelph’s Management of the Equine Environment online course. “Most horses are well equipped for living outdoors and thrive, provided certain provisions are met.” Dr. Raymond completed her PhD in investigating the effects of exposure of horses to mycotoxins. She has also been involved in air quality research, which provided practical recommendations to the horse industry on stable design and management.

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Horses are naturally designed to live outside. With shelter from the wind and elements and access to fresh water and good quality hay, most horses can live quite comfortably surrounded by their companions without a stable. This is not always a convenient option for their human counterparts.

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Many people dream of leaving the city behind for the slower pace and more natural lifestyle of the countryside. The yearning for country living may be driven by the dream of keeping your horses at home, owning other livestock, developing a large garden, and enjoying a healthier way of life. But this idealized vision of rural life may not reflect reality for you and your family. There are many practical, environmental, and legal considerations to sort through, not to mention the financial costs. So before dropping a down payment on a piece of property, you have some homework to do, and there are some important factors to consider that might save you big headaches later on.

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There is a certain allure to purchasing property. For most people, this means a quaint home, a cute front porch, and a white picket fence. For horse people, this dream is multiplied. We seek limitless green pastures, a barn built for royalty, crisp and clean horse-safe fencing, and more.

It’s now nearly 150 years since the Great Chicago Fire, which, according to popular legend, broke out after Catherine O’Leary’s infamous milking cow kicked over a lantern in the barn on the night of October 8, 1871. The resulting barn fire, aided by the wind, destroyed three square miles of the City of Chicago, killing approximately 300 people, destroying 18,000 buildings, and leaving 100,000 people – a third of the city’s population – homeless before it was finally brought under control the next day.

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“Mowing” is a term used to describe the cutting or trimming of grass. The mowing process cuts grass to a uniform height in a pasture or lawn. If your pasture management plan doesn’t include mowing, you may be asking the following questions:

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Fundamental to owning horses is the fencing used to contain them. In times past, the options were simply wooden boards or barbed wire, both of which are still used in many areas across Canada. Today there are many safe and durable options for containing horses, and horse owners can select their preferences in structure, design, materials, colour, and visibility. Fencing is all about function, and function is dictated by the intended purpose, depending on whether you are running a boarding barn, breeding barn, training facility, or a family acreage with a few ponies for the children.

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