33rd Annual Horse Breeders and Owners Conference

This article is courtesy of the Horse Industry Association of Alberta 

(photo by Darrell Dalton)
(photo by Darrell Dalton)

A total of 486 horse enthusiasts left their farms and convened at the 33rd annual Horse Breeders and Owners Conference in Red Deer for a weekend filled with fun and education. Delegates came from all over BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Yukon, and even one from California. The exhibit hall hosted over 50 booths sponsored by equine businesses and organizations.

Friday night’s “Open Barn” Welcome Reception was hosted by Horse Industry Association of Alberta. Delegates and the public were welcome to get their first look at the trade show and were treated to popcorn and beer. Early bird draw prizes were distributed to the lucky winners and delegates entered additional bucket draw prizes.

Saturday’s sessions began with Stacy Pigott, who spoke about training practices in the public eye, sponsored by Alberta Equestrian Federation. After the coffee break, which was sponsored by Western Horse Review, delegates had the choice of attending a session on the young horse given by Dr. Bob Coleman or Dr. Rebecca Gimenez educating about emergency preparedness. Thank you to break-out session sponsor Canadian Horse Journal, who sponsored Dr. Gimenez’s session.

After the lunch break, Dr. Jodie Santarossa shared her knowledge about building better athletes and Dr. Tony Willing spoke on horse appraisals. Twenty minutes later, the fourth round of sessions began with Dr. Sheryl King who spoke on stable management practices and a panel discussion on growing the horse industry.

The News Hour is the last session of the day on Saturday, and offers information on current issues in the horse industry. Eva Havaris from Equine Canada presented on the goals of the national organization, Adrienne Herron from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development gave an update on premises identification, and Les Burwash from Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development updated delegates on a new pain analgesic. The News Hour concluded with the presentation of the Distinguished Service Award, given this year to Dr. Wayne Burwash for his contributions to the horse industry in Alberta.

Saturday night, sponsored by Horse Racing Alberta, offered live music by local Lacombe singer/songstress Randi Boulton and a host wine bar and dessert.

Dr. Stephen Peters took the stage to a standing room only crowd on Sunday morning and presented on the horse’s brain. Running concurrent to Dr. Peter’s session was Dr. Bob Coleman on using technology to manage horse body weight. Thanks to Alberta Veterinary Labs for sponsoring Dr. Peter’s session. The sessions were followed by the final coffee break, sponsored by Horse Publications Group. Martin Black took the stage to a full crowd and presented on reading the horse and Dr. Brenda Abbey shared her knowledge of the impact of horses on the human brain. Thank you to Northlands for sponsoring Martin Black’s presentation.

The very important Alberta SPCA Fred Pearce Memorial Lecture, dedicated to the welfare of the horse, was presented this year by Dr. David Fraser who spoke on understanding animal welfare.

The Horse Industry Association of Alberta thanks everyone who attended and sponsored the event as well as the 17 presenters who brought their expertise and experience to Red Deer, Alberta.

The Horse Breeders and Owners Conference is an annual event organized by the Horse Industry Association of Alberta and sponsored by a generous group of equine organizations and businesses.

Photos can be viewed on the HIAA web site.