Management & Maintenance

barns on fire, horse barn fires, preventing a stable fire, fire extinguisher equestrian centre, mainting horse barn

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.

De-icing water buckets for horses,  assess your horse barn’s structural integrity, dust control in horse barn, mud management for horses, ventilation for horse paddocks and barns, heated horse tack room

De-icing water buckets, hauling water by hand, and pushing heavy wheelbarrows through deep snow are just a few of the things that many Canadian horse owners have to look forward to in the winter months. But we do them willingly to ensure the good health of our horses during a season that, along with its rain, snow, and freezing temperatures, also brings equine health issues such as thrush, mud fever, colic resulting from dehydration, and respiratory illnesses.

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There is a lot more to haymaking than “making hay while the sun shines,” though doing so is a necessary start. Sadly, each year horse barns and farmers’ storage barns burn down, and horses become sick from respiratory disease and colic, as well as myriad other diseases such as Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID or Cushings disease). Many of these situations are avoidable so here are, in my opinion, the seven deadly sins of horse hay-making, in no particular order.

drought in canada, hay shortage canadian horse industry, finding good horse hay canada, reduce horse hay waste, drought horse industry

When it comes to purchasing hay this year, John Bland says, “[Horse owners] are between a rock and a hard place. This year, there’s typically nothing to cut.” Bland is a member of the Alberta Forage Information Network and has been producing and selling hay in Alberta for over 40 years. He says this year’s drought covers the majority of North America’s Great Plains region, so is different from other dry years such as 2001, 2009, and 2019 when droughts were more regional.

buying a horse property, living with horses, living on a horse farm, buying a horse farm, building a horse farm, building an equine property

Many horse people yearn to leave the city behind, believing that the country provides opportunities for a more natural lifestyle, a slower pace, and a chance to fulfill lifelong dreams such as keeping their horses at home, growing a big garden, and enjoying a healthier way of life.

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Given the varied weather types and landscape in Canada, the threat of severe weather and geological events is a constant reality. Natural disasters can include wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornados, hailstorms and landslides.

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Canadian Quarter Horse Association