Equine expo a welcome mid-winter break

WCVM student Angela MacKay assists during a demonstration at the Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Centre. The equine health tour is part of the 2014 Sask. Equine Expo. Photo: Myrna MacDonald.

WCVM student Angela MacKay assists during a demonstration at the Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Centre. The equine health tour is part of the 2014 Sask. Equine Expo. Photo: Myrna MacDonald.

Western Canada’s equine community is looking forward to the third annual Saskatchewan Equine Expo at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon from Feb. 14-16, 2014.

“We have a full schedule once again this year,” says Brenda Sapergia, livestock manager for Prairieland Park Ag Centre.

“Our headline events – the Trainer’s Challenge and the Cowhorse Competition – will of course be returning. New this year is a mini ‘Battle of the Breeds’ where seven teams, each representing a different breed, will compete in four different events.”

Because some of last year’s events were full to capacity, this year’s Friday and Saturday night Extravaganzas will be broadcasted live to giant screens in the tradeshow’s concession area.

“Nobody will get turned away; you can watch in warmth and comfort and have a bite to eat,” adds Sapergia.

This year’s Equine Expo hosts three popular clinicians. Jonathan Field will present a horsemanship clinic, Connie Dorsch will cater to the hunter/jumper crowd and Harvey Macfarlane will give a harnessing clinic. Field will also give a daily lecture in the Info Theatre in Hall B on topics relating to horse and rider comfort, training and communication.

Other event highlights include an eight-horse heavy hitch, horseback cow dog demonstrations, a tradeshow spanning two halls in the Prairieland complex, and lectures and hands-on demonstrations by students and veterinarians at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).

As in past years, the WCVM’s Equine Health Research Fund (EHRF) is one of the Expo’s event partners along with Prairieland Park and the Saskatchewan Horse Federation (SHF).

WCVM student Jenny Soucy talks to a visitor at the veterinary college's booth at the Expo's trade show. Photo: Myrna MacDonald.

WCVM student Jenny Soucy talks to a visitor at the veterinary college’s booth at the Expo’s trade show. Photo: Myrna MacDonald.

The college’s educational offerings kick off Friday morning with a tour of the newly-expanded Ryan/Dubé Equine Performance Centre and equine resources in the Large Animal Clinic. The tour’s $20 fee includes bus transport between Prairieland Park and the WCVM as well as refreshments. Space is limited to 50 people and the deadline for registering is January 31.

The tour includes live animal demonstrations in the centre’s longeing ring and on the high-speed treadmill. Visitors will also get a chance to see advanced medical imaging tools such as the standing equine MRI, CT and nuclear scintigraphy.

WCVM clinicians and students will host a series of talks and live demonstrations during the Expo on Saturday and Sunday. The lectures will happen at the Info Theatre in the tradeshow area (Hall B), while the demonstrations will take place at the wash rack facilities in Prairieland Park’s Ag Centre.

Dr. Stephen Manning, field service clinician and an associate professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, is one of the presenters.

“This year’s talks involve a range of topics that will be educational for horse owners,” says Manning. “We are pleased to welcome Dr. Mark Cameron, director of nutrition for Cargill Feed and Nutrition, as a guest speaker on the topic of forage quality this year. We’ll also be covering foaling and foaling problems in horses, pre-purchase examinations, insurance for horses and lameness in performance horses — to name just a few.”

Manning himself will perform an equine acupuncture demonstration in the wash rack venue. Other live demonstrations include advanced imaging techniques such as ultrasounds of the heart, intestinal tract, legs and tendons. The team will also give demonstrations of dentistry and endoscopic examinations of a horse’s upper respiratory tract and stomach. And the very popular farrier demonstration will return this year.

Deanna White, a third-year veterinary medicine student, is co-ordinating the student aspects of the demonstrations.

“We’ll be doing demos on body condition scoring and other aspects of a physical exam, and a bandaging demonstration. Visitors can drop by the WCVM booth later and practise their bandaging on model horse legs,” says White. Students will also revisit their popular “painted horse” demonstration where muscles and skeletal structures are painted onto a live horse.

Veterinary students man the WCVM booth in the tradeshow area during the weekend. “If any students have questions about getting into veterinary medicine – what kind of experience is valuable, grades, the admission process, etc. – they’re more than welcome to come and talk to us,” White adds.

WCVM staff and students are also planning a lameness component — complete with video clips so audience members can sharpen their eye for lameness issues. Last year’s live demonstration featured a laminitic horse and showcased an entire case study from diagnostic radiographs to corrective shoeing by a specialized farrier.

Day passes and weekend passes for the Saskatchewan Equine Expo can be purchased online, by telephone, or at the door during the event. A full schedule of events and lectures can be found online at http://www.saskatchewanequineexpo.com.


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