Management & Maintenance

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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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Horses are among the most free-ranging of domestic animals. They evolved as nomadic and migratory animals and have adapted to many variables in terrain and weather. They are built and instinctively driven to move, and their first reaction to anything remotely considered a threat is to flee. Domestication has changed some of these genetic qualities to fit human goals, but not by much.

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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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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From The Horse's Perspective - Until recently, no major studies had been conducted about the effect of travel on horses. The best advice most folks could hope for was to glean some pearls of wisdom from the ocean of opinions and tales of other road warriors.

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Protecting Horses and Humans - With the current COVID-19 pandemic and Canadians’ alarm over how quickly a virus can spread across countries and continents, there is an understandable reaction to protect against infection from any and all viruses and pathogens. By extension, it is also essential that there is a level of biosecurity on your farm or acreage to protect horses against agents of disease.

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With the summer sunshine on its way, it’s time for horse property owners to get outside and look for ways to maintain and improve their farms and pastures. The time and effort invested now will help keep your property looking its best and your horses safe, and preserve your beloved country way of life.

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