Alberta Horse Industry

Three AGM's are being held in conjunction with the Horse Breeders and Owners Conference, January 10-12, 2014 in Red Deer.

Canadian Warmblood Horse Breeders Association (Alberta Chapter) - Friday, January 10th at 5pm
Canadian Sport Horse Association (Alberta Chapter) - Saturday, January 11th at 5pm
Canadian Quarter Horse Association - Saturday, January 11th at 5pm


For the first weekend in many years, the mercury was in the positive range for the Annual Horse Breeders and OwnersLoving crowd Conference. Around 490 horse enthusiasts left their sunny farms to attend the 32nd Annual Horse Breeders and Owners Conference in Red Deer for a weekend filled with fun and education. Delegates came from all over BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick. The exhibit hall hosted over 50 booths sponsored by equine businesses and organizations.  

The weekend started off with the 8th annual Stable Owners’ Seminar on Friday afternoon and included four sessions specifically designed for stable owners. Topics on taxation, attaining and retaining staff and a panel on getting youth involved were presented to a crowd of over 100 people. The last session was a Town Hall Meeting where the formation of a stables association was discussed. 

Friday night’s “Open Barn” Welcome Reception was hosted by Zoetis. Delegates and the public were welcome to get their first look at the trade show and treated to a spread of cheese and crackers and drinks. Early bird draw prizes were distributed to the lucky winners and delegates entered additional bucket draw prizes. 


By Ron Clarkeback text2ps

Horses, like people, are living longer. Aging in horses brings with it the same range of inadequacies experienced by any species growing old. While evidence suggests that only about 10 per cent of horses are presently beyond 20 years of age, increasing numbers live into the 30’s. Thanks to improving veterinary care, the geriatric equine can live a comfortable and humane life beyond “normal” retirement, and the dreaded period when end-of-life decisions are called for.

Defining “old” for horses varies greatly by breed and history of use. Pony breeds tend to live longer and often remain useable up to 30. Larger breeds tend to show age earlier. The sway back, drooping lower lip, dull coat, gradual loss of body condition, grey hair, joint stiffness, hoof deformities and inevitable and uneven dental wear are sure signs of advancing age.

Key areas need to be addressed in the quest to keep horses growing old while remaining active and comfortable.


luristan1By Carolyn Willekes, Ph.D.


The bit is an essential part of our equine equipment.  No matter what discipline you ride, chances are you have at least one bit tucked away in your tack room.  Most of us bridle our horses without entirely understanding the purpose of the bit, let alone why we are using a specific style of bit, or even how the bit came to be in the first place.  When you stop to think about it equines are the only animals we control by placing something in the mouth.  All other pack/draft/riding animals are controlled by forms of nose pressure, nose rings/pegs (oxen, water buffalo and camels), or canes/staffs (elephants).  So then, where on earth did the bit come from?

When humans domesticated the horse around 5,500-6,000 years ago they were already familiar with the concept of riding and driving animals, thanks to the earlier domestication of donkeys and bovines.  It makes sense that these early riders and drivers transferred familiar ideas of control to the horse.  In the ancient Near East this took the form of the nose ring, but this did not work due to the shape, placement and delicacy of equine nostrils.  In Central Asia and Eastern Europe early horsemen played around with a different control mechanism, one that took the shape of the equine jaw into consideration.  They discovered a fleshy gap between the molars and incisors on the lower jaw (the bars) and realized they could place something directly in the mouth to control the horse by means of pressure on this area.  These prototype bits were not made of metal, instead they were leather thongs, bone or wood tied to cheek pieces made of antler.  Early evidence for the use of bits comes from the site of Dereivka in the Ukraine where archaeologists have found 5,000 year old equine remains with evidence of bit wear on the second pre molar teeth.  The wear patterns on these prehistoric teeth have been tested against wear patterns crated by both metal and organic bits on modern horses and the results are remarkably similar.  The first metal bits appeared around 1300 BCE and were made of bronze, and later this changed to iron.  



Upcoming Events

 Upcoming Events
Spruce Meadows 'National'

June 6-10, 2018





Industry Directory


Please Click Here to view our Industry Directory with links to equine sport groups, breed groups, facilities, calendars and publications in Alberta.


Contact Us
Office Address:

97 East Lake Ramp NE
Airdrie, AB
T4A 0C3
Phone: 403-420-5949
Fax: 403-948-2069