The Hoof Beat April 12 2020

Sunday, April 12
This is week four of home isolation and the barn closure. We continue to practice social distancing, staying a horse length away from each other. When we leave the house we protect ourselves by wearing a mask and gloves, when we ride we wear a helmet, vest, gloves and boots. In the arena we also follow similar rules, passing left to left, on the sidewalk we pass left to left. So I ask you, how different is riding a horse from social distancing practices in the neighbourhood? Kinda similar for us but not for our four legged friends.
Our animals do not understand Covid-19, nor do they know what a state of emergency is. All they know is that their routine has changed. Their riders are no longer visiting and grooming them. But out of sight is not out of mind. We know that it’s our responsibility to tend to our equine friends. We are their stewards and we take that stewardship seriously. Proof is the support our community has shown with the generous donations. Last month every school horse had a hay sponsor. This month we hope to have the same support. 
In this issue of The Hoof Beat, Barn News is dedicated to the School Horse fundraising effort. In response to your feedback, we added a new column called Sit Tall. In this column Sophie will teach you a new exercise to help you stay rider fit while away from the barn. Another new column is Under the Barn Roof, dedicated to stable management. This week we meet veterinarian Matt Allossery. Dr Matt donated (at cost) a dental float for all the schoolies. Although hay is our priority, dental and farrier services are next inline to ensure our schoolies are cared for. Finally The Paddock was launched last week on Facebook. Please visit the online pony club to find games and horsey information.
Thank you for your generous support and please email your feedback


Barn News: Fundraising update

Within 72 hours of the Covid-19 shutdown, our barn community sponsored each of our wonderful school horses including Becky the donkey for April. We cannot thank you enough.
In addition to a cash donation, many of our riders, their families and friends generously donated items that we auctioned off on Instagram. If you have something you want to donate, please let us know.​

Thank you to the Dolha family for donating a custom brush box. To Dorothy Puddester from Hooves & Paws for donating 2 photo sessions and Kat Louli for the school horse portraits. 
All proceeds from these two items went towards the care for our beloved School Horses. 

We now are opening sponsorships for May 
Please continue to sponsor a horse with a $150 donation for a month of hay.For those of you who wish to do more, please consider a donation of $350 for hay, dental and a farrier trim. Thank you veterinarian Matt Allossery for offering our schoolies such a special treatment at such an unbelievable rate!

Kat Louli, 9, made paintings of horses and, included here, a painting of her dogs. She sold the artwork to raise donation money for feed and care costs for her horse, Marvin, at the Pause Awhile Equestrian Centre. Barns have been closed due to COVID-19. 
– Steve Somerville/Torstar

Nine-year-old Katherin “Kat” Louli is commissioning little artwork with a big mission to raise money for her riding horse at the Pause Awhile Equestrian Centre in Whitchurch-Stouffville.  

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the centre was forced to temporarily shutter its barn doors to all riding classes, leaving the working horses – like Kat’s pony, Marvin – without work to financially support themselves and their facility.“It’s tough, it’s really tough,” Maxine Lewis said, owner of the [Forward Riding] riding school at Pause Awhile. “These horses earn their living through lessons, so now that it has stopped, we have no money to run the barn,” Lewis added. 

And the Winner of the Get That Apple challenge is Coco Chanel  “CC”
with a record time of 28 seconds.

Game Alert

Things Found in the Barn
Starting Monday, April 13 a picture of an item found in a barn will be posted on the FRS and PAEC Facebook and Instagram pages.

  • Name the item.
  • Write it beside the date
  • Unscramble the letter in each square to guess the mystery word.

This game is sponsored by, the worlds leading online video training site for Equestrians.The first 4 people who guess the mystery word will win a 4 month membership to
Game cards are $10.00. all proceeds go to feed our School Horses during the Covid-19 crises.please send payment to GoFundMe,

Sit Tall

Exercising with Sophie is a weekly column to keep you rider fit while we wait for the state of emergency to be lifted and we can return to the barn.
This week Sophie demonstrates 3 exercises to work your core muscles. (You’ll need a ball for these exercises.)

  • Elbows on Ball
  • Feet on Ball
  • Reverse Crunch

The Paddock is a virtual pony club for horse enthusiasts of all ages. You can find it on Facebook
At least once a week you can find a new word search, crossword or other game


with Dr Matt Allossery DVM
Understanding The Horse’s Mouth
Horses are grazing animals, a fact reflected in the construction of their mouths. The front teeth, known as incisors, are designed to shear off forage. The cheek teeth – the premolars and molars – have wide, flat, grinding surfaces to reduce feed to mash before it is swallowed.

Like humans, horses have baby teeth and adult teeth. Baby teeth begin to be replaced by adult teeth around age 2 or 3.

However, unlike human teeth, adult horse teeth never stop growing. In the wild, nature managed this continuous growth through the horse’s diet, which consisted primarily of coarse grasses. Eating these grasses requires a robust chewing motion that grinds down the enamel, thus balancing growth with wear.
The range of motion of the mandible (lower jaw) during mastication is affected by the nature and size of the food particles ingested. Horses on concentrate and pelleted diets exhibit a limited range of jaw motion when chewing compared to horses on grass and long-stemmed hay roughage.

The jaw excursion pattern has an effect on molar tooth wear and could explain why confined horses seem to have more problems with development of enamel points and other dental abnormalities. 
 Why Routine Dental Care Is Essential for Horses
Domestication and confinement of horses has led to modifications in their diets and eating patterns. Also, breeding of horses is carried out with little or no regard for the genetic dental consequences. Finally, greater demands are being placed on performance horses beginning at a younger age, and horses are living and performing longer than their wild counterparts.
These factors add up and can create increased risk for a number of dental health problems.What to look for: 
 Sharp enamel points – Normally, contact by opposing teeth helps keep bite surfaces equal. If cheek teeth get out of alignment, hooks can form and cause trauma and pain to the tongue, cheeks and soft or hard palates.Wave mouth – Some horses have an unbalanced mouth, with teeth that vary in height along the dental arcade. Wave mouth can cause certain teeth to improperly take more impact than others as the horse chews, potentially leading to early tooth loss or decay.Incisor overgrowth – Domesticated horses tend not to use their incisors enough, resulting in incisor overgrowth.
Retained premolar caps in juvenile horses – As a horse’s teeth transition from baby to adult teeth, retained caps of the baby teeth can occasionally cause problems by putting more strain on the apposing tooth.Periodontal (gum) disease and tooth decay – Like humans, horses can suffer from inflammation and disease of their gums, as well as calculus buildup and tooth decay.Damaged teeth – Teeth can be damaged by direct trauma and chronic dental disease.

How To Keep Your Horse’s Teeth Healthy
Yearly oral examinations and routine dental maintenance, such as floating, will ensure that your horse’s bite remains healthy and that food is being ground evenly for proper swallowing and digestion.
Most adult horses will need their teeth floated once a year. Some performance horses and some senior horses may require teeth floating more frequently – as often as twice a year.

From time to time, we see horses that go more than 12 months between floatings. These horses generally have more than average access to pasture grasses or they naturally exhibit superior conformation of their jaws.
Floating & Preventative Maintenance
In order to perform a thorough oral examination of your horse, it is generally necessary to administer a sedative. Next, we apply a speculum to fully open the animal’s mouth. This allows us to inspect each tooth individually to identify any problems, particularly in those hard-to-feel cheek teeth towards the back of the mouth.You would be amazed at how far back in the mouth the teeth go! At this stage, we can show you the state of your horse’s mouth and discuss any issues. If necessary, we will recommend that you have your horse’s teeth floated. 
 The process of grinding down a horse’s teeth is known as floating. Floating eliminates painful enamel points and creates a more even bite plane. Due to the continuous growth of adult horse teeth, regular floating is especially important in horses who have lost a tooth or whose teeth are poorly aligned. Having a veterinarian take care of your horse’s dentistry needs ensures that:Your companion receives appropriate sedation and analgesia, administered by a licensed professional.The correct dental equipment is used, and it is applied in an appropriate manner.Medication required by your horse is properly prescribed and administered.
Recognizing Dental Problems
As a horse owner, you can learn to spot dental issues, particularly by paying attention to your animal’s eating habits and bit responsiveness. But while some horses with dental problems show obvious signs of pain, the reality is that many horses simply adapt to their discomfort.

Your first clue that something is wrong could be loss of weight or under-performance during competition.INDICATORS OF DENTAL PROBLEMS INCLUDE:Loss of feed from mouth while chewing, difficulty swallowing, excessive salivationLoss of body conditionLarge or undigested feed particles in manure (long stems, whole grains)Head tilting or tossing, bit chewing, tongue lolling, fighting the bit or resisting bridlingDegrading performance, failing to stop or turn, even buckingFoul odour from the mouth or nostrilsBlood traces in the mouthPresence of nasal discharge or swelling of the face, jaw or mouth.It’s important to remember that normal eating patterns, bit responsiveness and weight maintenance are positive signs, but they’re no guarantee your horse isn’t suffering from dental disease.

Performing an oral examination is the only way to be certain. By working together, we can detect and treat dental problems before outward symptoms appear. Your horse will thank you for it!

Wolf Teeth
Wolf teeth are very small teeth that have short roots and are located in front of the second premolars. They rarely show up in the lower jaw. A horse may have one, two or no wolf teeth.

Because wolf teeth never provide a health benefit and some wolf teeth cause harm, we usually recommend removing them to prevent pain or interference from a bit.
Oral (Dental) Endoscopy
Horses have a long, narrow oral cavity, which can create challenges when we perform dental exams or procedures such as dental cleaning, floating and extractions. Our oral endoscope features a miniature camera that allows us to see the various structures within your horse’s oral cavity – including the cheek teeth, gingiva, tongue and cheeks – in great detail.

The camera image appears on our computer monitor in real time, so you, as the client, can see what we’re seeing. This enables you to make more informed decisions on behalf of your horse.

In addition, we’re able to save photos and videos from your horse’s exams and procedures for future use, such as a follow-up examination or consult with other veterinarians.

The Hoof Beat: Covid 19

Sunday, April 5

Welcome to the first issue of The Hoof Beat.
A weekly newsletter for those who love and for those who ride horses.  

As we are all sequestered in place, we are collectively striving to make sense out of these strange and unusual times. And without a doubt, it’s easier for those of us who live in a comfortable home with the means to stock the fridge, the wine cellar and have access to reliable high-speed internet to weather this period, as inconvenient and unwanted as it is. 

I’ve managed to keep sane and not let myself go too deep into what this will mean when it is finally over. The pending economic wipeout for so many, especially anyone nearing retirement or depending on a paycheck to make their commitments, is a huge sacrifice even as the ultimate price to our families, our neighbors and other Canadians could be dire.

In my email inbox, those inducements to purchase just keep coming – the fabulous clothing deals, must-have items for Badger and Instagram-worthy vacations – all lost their relevance. I’m swiping left without opening them. And yet I know when things return to normal, whatever normal will look like, I will be back spending my money on things that right now don’t feel important.

So what is important right now? Without a doubt, the ones we love and the importance of keeping them close or if not physically close, then in close communication. Friends and animals next, as they are key to our quality of life. 

When Doug Ford implemented the State of Emergency, I had to closed down Forward Riding School and Michelle closed Pause Awhile. With no lessons, we worried about our School Horses. How would we afford to feed them? 

I organized a fundraising campaign. First I set up a GoFundMe page and reached out to my family, friends and students. Our goal is to raise $5000 each month, enough to feed hay to all the horses. Thank you to everyone who has donated.

Click to visit GoFundMe

Then I started a Who Am I game on Instagram. But in addition to the Forward Riding School riders, I wanted to include the the Pause Awhile riders; so I teamed up with Amanda Scott and we launched Get That Apple. This game is sponsored by TSC Stores and the winning horse with the fastest time will receive a Jolly Stall Apple.

TSC Stores donated the Jolly Stall Snack. This snack hangs in your horse’s stall for tasty, ​long-lasting entertainment. This apple-shaped treat dispenser helps reduce boredom in confined horses and is refillable.

We have already spent almost three weeks in self-distancing and now it’s been extended. Although I know it is the right call, I shudder to think of its impact on our economy, on my riding school and on summer camp enrollment.

I believe a lot of people are thinking about what steps they will take when this is behind us. All of us will be fundamentally changed from this period. In time, we will look back and know that it was NOW that our priorities and values shifted. Other generations recall WWII as their touchpoint. For my generation and those younger, it was 9/11 that woke us up. And as horrific as both those events were, this crisis leaves no one untouched from its double punch – health crisis and the economic fallout that is part of the solution. 

So what can one person do? Not that much really! 
However, what I am thinking about are the things that have always made me happy. I’m spending time with Badger, working on my garden and creating new ways to stay in touch with all of you…my very dear friends and clients. (I need help improving the Forward Riding School website and other social media outlets. If anyone has experience and time to work with me please email

I’m also thinking about how I want to live when this is over. I imagine that you are too. They’ll be time enough for that shared discussion.

In the meantime, stay positive in your family, in the can-do spirit of Canada and ultimately in yourself.

Stay safe,


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