January 2012

By: Heather Mitchell-Matheson

In any area of the equine world and in any region of the globe, there are gadgets and gismos used for countless applications when it comes to handling or training horses. Some are of the gentlest nature, others stem from a long history of proper horsemanship and even some still exist that maybe never served much purpose other than to inflict pain. Regardless of how someone personally feels about a certain training tool, there is one constant piece of equipment that can be seen used in manyachain different areas of the horse world: the chain.

The exact origin of the chain or “shank” is unclear but for as long as there has been workable metal and horses: there have been bits, spurs, chains and horse shoes. Prior to having workable metal readily available, most horsemen used leather or fibrous materials, like woven rope, as tools for equine related work. In essence the chain has been used for hundreds of years and in general it was used to further control or restrain livestock for any particular reason. A shank is defined as “a chain attached to a lead rope.”[1] According to Wikipedia, “a lead shank or lead chain refers to a lead line with a chain attached that is used in a variety of ways to safely control possibly difficult or dangerous horses if they will not respond to a regular lead.”[2]


Standardbred Canada hosted the 2011 O’Brien Awards on January 28th to honour and recognize the horses and people who have made the greatest contribution to Canadian harness racing over the past season.


An Equestrian Village and Show Facility is being planned as part of Wild Splendor Resort and Wildlife Sanctuary. Answers to the following survey will assist to better understand the demand for and potential design of a first class equestrian show facility in the Edmonton-area.


Following an announcement made last spring by Equine Canada announcing that helmets are required for dressage riders competing at Fourth Level and below, they have now issued further rules in regards to helmet use in dressage.

On December 27 2011, Equine Canada implemented a national rule change, which will require all riders to wear helmets for all levels of Equine Canada sanctioned dressage competition. The rule came into effect on January 1 2012 and requires all riders, regardless of age or level or competition, to wear ASTM/SEI or BSI/BS EN approved protective headgear at all times when mounted at any EC-sanctioned Dressage competition at the event location.


It may have been Friday the 13th, but superstition did not deter horse enthusiasts from all over the country to attend the 30th Annual Horse Breeders and Owners Conference in Red Deer. A total of over 520 people were onsite from Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan and the exhibit hall hosted over 60aBucket_draw_winner booths sponsored by equine businesses and organizations. 

The weekend kicked off with the Stable Owners Seminar on Friday afternoon. The four sessions were specifically designed for the stable industry. Topics on biosecurity, bits, positive networking and social media were presented by Dr. Darrell Dalton, Ron Anderson, Nettie Barr and Andrew Campbell, respectively.

On Friday night, the “Open Barn” Welcome Reception was hosted by Pfizer Animal Health’s Equine Division. Delegates had their first opportunity to see the sponsor booths set up in the exhibition hall, shop, mingle, and enjoy drinks and cheese. Early bird draw prizes were distributed to the lucky winners and delegates entered into 15 additional bucket draw prizes, generously donated by sponsors.



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