Millen, Tania Articles

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Cowboys are icons of the North American Wild West, and the cowboy culture continues to dominate Canada’s Western provinces.

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Canada is a massive country, with large distances between equine competitions and a relatively small number of upper-level equestrians. Hence, Canadian riders who want to be competitive at upper levels struggle to find enough higher-level competitions to advance their riding careers. Canada also has winter weather that precludes many riders from training outside for half the year. This can limit advancement and horse fitness. For example, three-day event riders can’t school cross-country jumps or get their gallop training in when fields are drifted with snow, nor can endurance riders do long rides on varied terrain.

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Historical records show that horseback riders first used cloth saddles in approximately 700 – 400 BC. It wasn’t until about 200 BC, that rigid saddle trees were invented. Since then, saddles continued to evolve as riders used their horses for new activities.

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Driving Communities Forward - Like many horse people, Gillian Allan wears lots of hats. “When I’m working with my Halflingers, I’m a breeder,” says Allan from her Folly Farm along the Wallace River in Middleboro, Nova Scotia.

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“Show jumping is a sport of millimetres. You can’t wing it.” — Tiffany Foster.

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How flies spread parasites and disease - Flies are the bane of many horses’ existence from spring through autumn. In Canada, horse-biting flies include gnats (no-see-ums), black flies, stable flies, deer flies, horse flies, and mosquitoes, all of which create painful sores. Non-biting flies include house flies, eye gnats, face flies, bot flies, and warble flies, and can be just as irritating. It’s not just buzzing and biting that’s worrisome; flies may transmit parasites and diseases, can cause a horse’s immune system to overreact, and some use horses as hosts, all of which impact horse health. Preventing horses from being bitten is key. Before diving into solutions, here’s a summary of the damage that flies can inflict on Canada’s horses.

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Breakaway roping is the fastest rodeo sport on the planet right now. Winning times are less than two seconds. Yes, you read that right — less than two seconds can garner professional breakaway ropers thousands of dollars in winnings.

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Rider Down! It’s a trail rider’s worst nightmare: getting hurt and requiring evacuation from a remote area. Whether out on the trails for a few hours or on an overnight trip, the reality that every recreational rider must face is that emergencies can occur. Preparation is key and the success of emergency evacuations has a lot to do with planning for their possibility. It can also determine whether a rider survives.

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Spending all day with your horse, visiting with friends, and riding a variety of trails pretty much describes horse camping, so it’s no surprise that many riders consider horse camping to be the ultimate adventure. Although performance riders often haul to a different facility for a clinic or competition, put their horse in a stall, and camp out in their rig, trail rider-style horse camping is a bit different.

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Riders often focus on training their horses to do specific movements such as those needed for dressage, show jumping, cutting, reining, or myriad other sports. However, focusing on teaching skills rather than increasing strength and fitness can lead to potential unsoundness or a shorter competitive lifespan.

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Most riders don’t want a horse that bucks. But for bareback and saddle bronc riders competing at rodeos across North America, that’s exactly what they want — horses that buck and buck well for eight seconds.

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7 Ways To Up Your Game - The horse industry is well known for its informality. Anyone can coach, train horses, nail on horseshoes, or other imperative services regardless of their qualifications.

6 Ways to Up Your Social Media Game

By Tania Millen, BSc, MJ

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The gap between amateur and professional competitors is common in Canadian sports. Weekend skiers have significantly less skills than athletes on Canada’s ski team. Amateur hockey players don’t make Canada’s Olympic team. It’s the same in horse sports. Tiers of riders have developed as equestrian sports have become more technical. Upper-level horse sports are primarily the purview of professional and elite riders while amateurs play at lower levels.

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Climate change is substantially impacting Canadian horses, horse properties, and their owners. Almost 90 percent of Canadians in recent surveys say they’ve already seen climate change effects in their communities. Horses are increasingly affected by respiratory diseases from wildfire smoke and dust; skin disease and damaged hooves from variable weather; and unforeseen parasites and diseases. Horse owners are struggling to purchase hay, treat unexpected health issues, and adapt to weather-related riding limitations. Meanwhile, property owners are repairing damage from sudden storms, drought, excess water, and wind. So, it’s worth understanding how climate change will affect horses and properties into the future, and what you can do to prepare for these changes.

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An online poll conducted by Horse Community Journals Inc. about the prevalence of horse riding accidents sheds light on the startling frequency of injuries among equestrians.

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Many youth dream of becoming horse industry professionals — training horses, coaching riders, managing a stable or riding professionally at top level. Significant barriers stymie those attempting to pursue success, regardless of their talent and enthusiasm. There’s no streamlined path to follow that develops the needed horsemanship, business knowledge, training, and coaching skills required of professional riders, barn managers, and coaches.

French operates Manestream Vaulters and Manestream Equestrian near Victoria, British Columbia (BC).

My passion is not just enabling but pushing individuals — with or without disabilities — just that little bit past what they think they can do, and see their face light up when they do it. — Stella French

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The cowboy was not born in a vacuum; he was molded by the fusion of Spanish, Mexican, Native American, and Anglo cultures, as Daniel Pruitt explains in his glossy, photo-rich book Cowboy: American Icon. A Short History of Wild West Culture.

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From Fat to Fit - It’s spring and that means more time spent riding. Is your horse ready? Regardless of whether you want to trail ride, compete at a certain level, jump, do endurance or dressage, your horse needs to be fit for the job.