2009 News Archive

ranch rodeo cowboysby Heather Mitchell-Matheson

The week of November 6 - 15, 2009, the Horse Industry Association of Alberta made its home in Edmonton, Alberta for Farmfair International. Over the course of the 10-day event there was much to see, do and learn. This being my first time to Farmfair International I felt compelled to write about it.

Farmfair International entertains, educates and engages visitors with our beefed-up cattle shows and events, world class equine sales, competitions, and clinics, as well as a variety of small and specialty livestock programs. After 37 years, Farmfair International continues to be a top business destination for the global livestock industry. Each year, over 100,000 guests come together to see, show and sell top quality livestock in Edmonton, Alberta. Since, its inception in 1974, Farmfair International has grown as a world-class showcase with over 1000 head of cattle, 800 horses, alpacas, goats and stock dogs, along with exciting entertainment programs. In addition to the premier cattle genetics, and wagonload of western excitement including, draft horse pulls, stock dog trials, and team penning competitions comes the Canadian Finals Rodeo, the professional rodeo championships of Canada. Farmfair International welcomes international guests and local ranchers to come together to experience country life first hand and enjoy some great western hospitality!
(Excerpt taken from the Farmfair International website home page, http://www.farmfairinternational.com)


Q: Does law require that all horses sold in Alberta must be sold with a halter?

A: Although it is traditionally done, generally thought of as good business practice and commonly considered law, there is actually no legislation in Alberta stating that a horse must be sold with a halter.

Horse eating snowWinter Water...and we're not talking about that white stuff! 

Horses require access to free choice, clean water at all times and in all seasons, and will drink an average of 30 litres of water per day. Many horses’ diets see an increase in dry feed matter, like hay, during the winter months. As a horse requires 3 litres of water for every kg of dry matter they eat, although horses drink less in cold weather, adequate water consumption remains a priority. 

Forcing horses to get moisture from eating snow is counter-productive. In addition to the fact that an average of 10 times as much snow must be eaten to provide an equivalent amount of water, horses must use precious body heat to melt the snow. Horses on snow-covered pasture will receive a certain amount of fluid through the snow they ingest, but likely not enough to satisfy their daily requirements.


by Bill desBarres, AEF, AFAC

Reports to the SPCA about horses suspected in distress have increased over the last few years. It is the time of year when livestock, including horses, need extra attention not less. Feed is higher priced this year and parts of the province of Alberta have been overgrazed because of the year and the number of animals, and snow is now covering the ground. 

It is imperative that we, as stewards of our friend the horse, pay attention to our own and observe animals in distress. If you observe or are aware that livestock, including horses, are in distress and/or compromised in any way please report it to the Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC) Alert Line (you may remain anonymous if you wish). 

AFACSometimes all it takes is a gentle nudge from a friend or fellow horseperson to alert people regarding the condition of their livestock. 

Winter HorseWinter is just around the corner...Is your horse ready?
With many parts of the province facing winter sooner rather than later this year, it's time to consider whether your herd, or horse, is ready for the cold weather and snow to come. As winter approaches, there are a few things that horse owners need to consider if they want their horses to travel through winter healthy and happy.

Adjust Feeding Programs: Before all else, make sure you have enough nutritious food available to last far into the spring of 2010. Not knowing when spring will come, in our province filled with fickle weather, is something that needs to be taken into account. As pasture quality or accessibility declines, consider increasing forage and/or adding concentrates. If you feed a hay with a low nutrient value when tested or plan to feed straw, you will need to supplement the nutrients by way of concentrates. Adding concentrates is something that needs to be done gradually as a rapid change to a horse’s diet can have negative health consequences. Have a plan for your feeding program, when it will change, how much will be slowly introduced, how long you plan to work with this feed program and what it will cost. If your feeding program does not include a mineral supplement, add one, as it will help your horse absorb nutrients and is relatively inexpensive.



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