A wonderful opportunity for learning, and a great way to kick off the new year!
Grey Bruce Farmers’ Week Horse Day has wrapped up for another year! Held on Sunday January 7th at the Elmwood Community Centre, it was a strong gathering of horse enthusiasts and industry personnel with live presentations throughout the day, an active tradeshow and recorded content on-going for the next month. What a wonderful opportunity for learning, and a great way to kick off the new year!
The morning started with a presentation by Dr. Katrina Merkies of the University of Guelph. She spoke about the science of relationships between horses and humans, encouraging her audience to re-evaluate the signals that their horse is sending them and be aware of how that interpretation affects their responses.
Following Dr. Merkies, Steve McConnell took the stage. He wowed the audience with a matter of fact presentation about hoof health and care, touching on many aspects but piquing interest especially on the subject of hoof mapping. Steve said this is something that any horse person could and should learn for better understanding and care of their horse’s feet.
Noontime brought the fabled hot roast beef dinner - always a highlight of each GBFW day. Once again the caterers did not disappoint! If you’ve ever been to Farmers’ Week then you’ll understand why no one seems to mention attending without talking about the amazing meal, and the pies that follow for dessert!
Lindsey Partridge of Harmony Horsemanship inspired the audience in the afternoon with tips for training horses at Liberty. She shared various steps, games, and secrets to help the audience get started with their own horses at home and told stories of her own experiences in learning liberty work.
Following Lindsey, the audience got a little more involved with the program content – split into two groups, they rotated through an upstairs station with Ernie and Jodi Wilson explaining saddle making and repairs, and a downstairs station led by Heidi Martin talking about Fall Safety.
Ernie and Jodi are the owners of Wilson’s Tack & Saddle Repairs. They brought many props – partially built saddles and their components to demonstrate steps to the saddle making process, and shared stories of equipment repairs made over more than 30 years of business.
In the lower level of the building, Heidi Martin of Maple Roack Stables drew on training from a trick riding a vaulting background to share information about various types of falls, explaining how riders can keep themselves safe. Her presentation was complete with dummy horses and gym mats, allowing intrepid audience members to try their hand at different types of falls and rolls, which were first demonstrated by two of Heidi’s vaulting students.
The day rounded out with a panel discussion on Equine Metabolic Syndrome. Dr. Tee Fox of Markdale Veterinary Services, Steve McConnell and Scott Cieslar of Mad Barn Inc. took the stage with a take away message that regulating equine diets to prevent the syndrome ever happening is always the best cure.
Event organizers would like to extend a special thank you to Britt’s Corner Tack for sponsoring the day, Midwest Co-op and Masterfeeds for sponsoring the meal, and Jeff Gilkinson of Bayshore Country Feeds for chairing the day’s program. They would also like to thank everyone who took part as an audience member, weeklong sponsor, or tradeshow exhibitor. Horse Day 2024 was another excellent event, and they look forward to 2025!
Submitted by Grey County Agricultural Services