Millen, Tania Articles

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Across Canada, non-veterinarians offer a potpourri of services, including massage, chiropractic, farrier work, homeopathy, and more. But these non-veterinarian service providers may be practicing veterinary medicine illegally under provincial veterinarian acts. Also, few regulatory organizations oversee non-veterinarian practitioner training, certify expertise, or offer recourse if horses suffer, and provincial veterinary organizations only pursue non-veterinarian service providers when horse owners complain.

mountain trail horse, trail horses, oregon horse center, horse obstacles, tania millen, debbie hughes, bc mountain trail, imtca canada, dragonfly stable, grasswood horse park, hanging h arena, oak springs farm, sagewood trail course, shumway lake equestrian centre

Twenty years ago, the Oregon Horse Center in Eugene, Oregon held an indoor trail competition using log obstacles, water ponds, and dirt embankments to transform their arena into mountain trails. That event was the beginning of competitive mountain trail, where neatly dressed riders navigate an untimed, subjectively-judged course of obstacles typically found on wilderness mountain trails. In Canada, two organizations promote the sport — International Mountain Trail Challenge Association (IMTCA) Canada and the British Columbia Mountain Trail Association (BCMTA)— and each has their own rules, judging criteria, and obstacles.

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Galloping after hounds for over 150 years - In 1873, Canada’s Governor General Lord Dufferin started the Ottawa Valley Hunt (OVH) for Ottawa’s upper classes. It was popular with politicians of the day.

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Four Symposiums Across Canada - “Riding is a lifelong learning process,” says Christoph Hess, a retired FEI 4* dressage judge and Level 3 eventing judge. “After riding one horse, you might think you’re a hero, but then you ride another and wonder whether you can ride at all.”

Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park on horseback, trail riding in alberta, horseback riding alberta, southern alberta trail riders, camping with horses

Our group of 17 horses and riders had taken shelter from the brutal midday sun beneath a massive overhang created thousands of years ago when water roared through the valley, and our chosen lunch spot was also home to several rattlesnakes.

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A riding vacation through a place that changes you.

By Tania Millen, BSc, MJ

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Horseback riders across Canada are advocating for horse use on provincial and regional trails. In Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia (BC) that often means resolving potential conflicts with other user groups. On Prince Edward Island (PEI) it’s meant trying to gain access to the Confederation Trail — a 470-kilometre stretch of Canada’s Great Trail, previously called the Trans Canada Trail, which follows a former railway bed across the island.

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Parenting is a difficult job. Parenting while working is even tougher. But parenting while working as an equine professional has unique challenges. “Horses are as demanding as kids,” says Carmie Flaherty, an upper-level dressage rider and high-performance coach based in Langley, British Columbia. “So, it’s a lot to juggle. You’re at the beck and call of both, all the time.”

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In the last few years, teenaged horses have been making headlines by winning some of the biggest competitions on the planet. At the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (held in 2021), over half of the three-day eventing horses were aged 13 through 19. The oldest horse was Tayberry, a 20-year-old ridden by Hong Kong’s Thomas Heffernan Ho.

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If you need a break from listening to music or the news, consider tuning in to a free podcast. With thousands of episodes available, you should be able to find something that grabs your interest. From horse industry news to expert help, insider tips to business ideas, there’s a program for everyone.

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For generations, riders and horse lovers have been enthralled by the mystique of horsemen (and women), but many struggle to define what a “horseman” actually is. Is a horseman someone with a laundry list of skills such as starting young horses, nailing on shoes, being knowledgeable about horse care, and having the ability to train horses to the highest levels? Or is a horseman someone who lives in the moment, has mastered their emotions, and understands a horse’s mind? Perhaps a horseman embraces all of these attributes; perhaps none.

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Horse events are expensive to host, so event managers love to have sponsors help fund their events. Top events put on shows with good prize money that competitors, spectators, and sponsors flock to. However, attracting and retaining sponsors can be challenging. We asked the sponsorship managers for The Royal Winter Fair Horse Show and Angelstone Events to share how they do it. Plus, we asked a smaller company which has provided sponsorship to share their perspective. Here are the eight steps they recommend to help garner top-notch sponsors for your next horse event.

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It’s common for riders to compete at high levels today without advanced horsemanship knowledge. A rider’s success in the show ring seems to have greater value than their horse management skills, but that wasn’t always the case. Many of Canada’s former top riders credit Canadian Pony Club (CPC) for their horsemanship knowledge and acknowledge its importance to their success. The horse industry has since changed and now, riders rely on coaches to know what’s best for their horses.

Dressage Youth, Eventing Youth, Young Equestrians, New horse people, Programs for horse riders, canadian pony club, equestrian canada, Ontario Equestrian GRIT, Show Jumping Youth Development, Vault Canada, CADORA, Endurance Riders Canada

Youth riders are the future of Canada’s equestrian teams, but not every horse sport has dedicated programs to bring along competitive riders aged 12 to 30. Equestrian Canada’s (EC) Long-Term Equestrian Development document provides a road map for athlete development — from those new to horseback riding to riders competing on Canada’s senior teams. Yet, there’s no one-stop-shop that describes pathways and programs for youth in different horse sports. Every sport has unique divisions and opportunities to advance, but some lack systematic activities that encourage advancement. Regardless, many riders who have represented Canada internationally have honed their skills through the youth programs and competitions that are available. Here’s a brief summary of programs available for Canadian youth riders, along with insight from those involved.

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Dressage, show jumping, and three-day eventing are the only Olympic sports where men and women compete against each other. They’ve been doing so for over 50 years, but it’s an aspect of equestrian sport that receives little public recognition. Most sports are divided by gender — men in one class and women in another — to prevent one sex from having a physical advantage over the other. But the gender of horseback riders and drivers is not considered an advantage or disadvantage. Hence in equestrian events there’s no need to level the playing field by segregating men and women.

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8 Keys to Making Your Dream Horse Business Profitable - One of the biggest challenges for equine entrepreneurs is viewing their business as a business. Many riders and horse lovers get into business as an extension of their love of horses, but a horse trainer, coach, or rider who is paid for their services is a self-employed professional. They’re operating a business just like anyone else selling goods or services.

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“Their existence stirs our imagination. We feel their energy and their pure, unbridled spirit. To spend time with wild horses is to reach deep into your own soul and find your own freedom, whatever that may be.” — Sandy Sharkey

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Contrary to what the name may imply, Pony Club isn’t just for little kids on ponies. Pony Club is an international volunteer-based organization that originated in Britain and came to Canada in the 1930s. The Canadian Pony Club alumni Wall of Fame reads like a “who’s who” of Canadian equestrians: Ian Millar, Beth Underhill, Chelan Kozak, Christilot Boylen, Dana Cooke, Danny Foster, Gina Smith, Jim Henry, Jimmy Elder, Joni Lynn Peters, Karen Brain, Leslie Reid, Liz Ashton, Lorraine Stubbs, Lynn Larsen, Rebecca Howard, Rob Stevenson, Sandra Donnelly, Tik Maynard, and many more. Some of those alumni still compete at top level; some no longer ride. But they all struggled through a series of written, stable management, and riding tests, then put those skills and knowledge to use to become some of Canada’s best riders.

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It’s hard to believe that the Government of Canada would own a spectacular horse ranch adjacent to the Rocky Mountains, where trail riders are welcome to camp and ride. But it exists. Ya Ha Tinda Ranch — owned by Parks Canada and the only federally operated working horse ranch in the country — turned 100 years old in 2017.

canter pirhouettes, cow horse stops, reining spin, footfalls reining, clix photography, tania millen, shawna sapergia, vern sapergia, cow horse turnaround, how to turn reining horse around, canter turns

Every horse sport has unique movements which require specific footwork, balance, and training. Some movements appear similar while still being unique to their sport. For example, dressage riders bring their horse’s front end around their hind end in elevated pirouettes; ranch riders do 180-degree turns while tracking cows; and reining horses do 360-degree spins at high speeds. They’re all turning around but for different reasons and in distinct ways. What’s the purpose of these turns, when do riders use them, and how do they differ? We asked a dressage rider, a ranch horseman, and a reining judge to explain.

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