Management & Maintenance

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There are a vast number of plants located throughout Canada that are toxic to horses in some respect. Many need to be eaten in large doses to cause much of an effect, while others require only a few mouthfuls. There are a variety of resources on plants toxic to livestock, but the Canadian Poisonous Plants Information System seems to be the most comprehensive. It lists over 250 poisonous plants found in Canada, their lethal dose (if known), and symptoms of poisoning.

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When asked about their ideal horse property, whether for ownership or boarding, many horse owners will list things such as expansive green pastures, clean stables, dry turnout areas, a managed manure compost system, proximity to equestrian amenities such as trails, and nice views of streams and forested areas. The resulting image is a picturesque vista of horses dotting the landscape and living in harmony with nature.

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In recent years, many parts of Canada have been devastated by natural disasters, including forest fires, ice storms, and floods. These disasters have impacted the equine community by causing loss and damage to barns, fencing, pastures, feed supplies and livestock, among other things.

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Question: I’d like to make my horse facility more environmentally friendly but I’m on a tight budget. What are some inexpensive ways to “green” my barn? A: Going green doesn’t have to mean spending a small fortune. There are many budget-conscious ways to change the way you manage your facility so that your barn and property are more eco-friendly.

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Grass clippings and yard waste trimmings can be toxic. As horse owners, we spend a lot of time and effort making sure our horses are healthy and well cared for. However, a simple mistake by a family member or neighbour could be disastrous.

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With all the various types of boarding options out there – self-care, part-board, full-service, pasture board, co-op board, or deluxe – it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your search for a boarding facility for your horse before you’ve even started. There is no such thing as the perfect boarding barn, but if you take the time to do your research, you should have no problem finding a facility where you and your horse can be happy, comfortable, and safe together.

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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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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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“Mowing” is a term used to describe the cutting or trimming of grass. The mowing process cuts grass to a uniform height in a pasture or lawn. If your pasture management plan doesn’t include mowing, you may be asking the following questions:

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Early summer is a great time to do a variety of maintenance tasks around your barn and horse property. The time and energy invested now will keep your horses safe and your property looking its best, providing you with year-round peace
of mind and enjoyment.

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