All posts by Carol Blake

Happy New Year 2019

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New info will be posted for 2019 over then next few months to get your riding season confirmed. Check under FORMS to get your membership completed.
  • Updated Tips and Tricks for Highlining

  • Updated Ride Schedule

  • Updated 7Day Ride application

  • Joan Cloakey will be hosting the meeting  on February 24, 2019 with snow date March 3, 2019. Meeting is at 1:00 with a potluck to follow so bring your favorite dish to share. Joan Cloakey’s address 84561 Clegg Line, RR #4, Brussells, Ont. N0G 1H0. Bring a lawn chair.


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Why Your Horse Needs Electrolytes

The minerals sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium collectively are termed electrolytes. When dissolved in body water, those minerals are electrically charged particles called ions. Sodium and chloride are the primary electrolytes contained in blood plasma and extracellular fluid, while potassium is the chief intracellular electrolyte. These electrolytes are critical for a large number of body functions. For example, electrolytes modulate fluid exchange between the body’s fluid compartments and regulate acid-base balance. Sodium and potassium are important for the establishment of proper electrical gradients across cell membranes. Calcium and magnesium also are important in this regard. These electrical gradients are vital for normal nerve and muscle function–electrolyte deficiencies or imbalances therefore can impair nerve and muscle function. The kidneys are of prime importance in maintaining electrolyte balance.


During a hot day of competition, have you ever noticed a change in your horses behaviour? Is he uncharacteristically sluggish or nervous? Are there signs of heat stroke? These types of reactions can occur when a horse is dehydrated. To prevent this, some basic principles are important to understand.


Electrolytes are minerals which, when dissolved in water, carry an electrical charge, either positive or negative. These minerals are sodium, chlorine, potassium and to a lesser extent calcium and magnesium.

There are pumps on the membrane of every cell in the body that maintain the balance of electrolytes and water inside and outside the cells. Depending on the type of cells, the concentration gradient allows, among other things, the transmission of nerve impulses and muscular contractions.


Dehydration occurs when a horse loses too much water and electrolytes. There are multiple possible causes, including:

Health problems: diarrhea, choking, hemorrhaging, Cushings, etc.

Extended transport: horses drink less during transport, and might also suffer from light diarrhea and/or excess sweating.

Insufficient water intake and high fibre consumption: a horses digestive system is designed for fresh pasture, which is at least 80% water. To replace that intake when eating dry hay, he needs to drink approximately 10 gallons (38 litres) of water per day.

An abrupt decrease in temperature: when the outside temperature decreases rapidly, the horse can considerably reduce his water consumption, because he will feel less inclined to drink, especially if the available water is cold.

Sweating: May cause a large loss of water and electrolytes (up to 20 litres per hour for a 1,200 lbs. [540 kg] horse on a hot day).

Summer being around the corner, let us focus on the last cause of dehydration.


A dehydrated horses attitude can be affected: it will be nervous or sluggish, it may stagger, or look lost. He will have difficulty performing, notably due to less effective muscular contractions. He will be more susceptible to muscle cramps and tying up (recurrent rhabdomyolysis attacks). He will not be able to cool himself sufficiently because he is not sweating enough and if the exercise continues, he may suffer from heat stroke or worse a heart attack. He will also be at greater risk of colic by impaction, as the lack of water in the large intestine can reduce its motility. The intensity of the symptoms and the risks of health problems will depend on the level of dehydration. A slightly dehydrated horse will be more likely

to drink the water that is offered to him and can recover fairly easily. However, when dehydration has reached a certain level, the horse no longer feels thirst and the consequences could be more severe.


The easiest and fastest way to check for hydration is to test for skin elasticity. Pinch some skin and then pull, either at the neck or the tip of the shoulder. If the skin is slow to return to its regular shape, it is a sign of dehydration. If the skin regains its place instantly, the horse is probably well hydrated. However, this is not a guarantee, as the horse could have drawn water from its reserveslike that of the large intestineto send it to the rest of the body to compensate. In older horses with less elastic skin, it is advisable to use the fold of the eyelid. Another reliable and easy method is to check the capillary refill time. A good technique is also to monitor the manure: the pellets should hold their shape, but contain a large amount of water (confirming that there is water in the large intestine). The most accurate method remains a blood test, but there is a delay between sampling and results.


The rehydration method will depend on the degree of dehydration. In the case of mild dehydration, i.e. after intense exercise, it is suggested to administer water having a concentration of 0.45% to 0.9% of electrolytes (between 90 g and 180 g per 20 litres) at a temperature of about 20C within minutes following exercise, and then offer clear water at the same temperature immediately after. Using this method, researchers found an increase in the total amount of water ingested and an improvement in the state of hydration. Generally, at this level of dehydration, the horse is thirsty. The popular belief is that a horse should not be given water immediately after exercise to avoid complications that could cause colic or laminitis. In fact, this is true only for cold water and not for tepid water. The horses reflex is to drink almost immediately after exercise as well as after eating. So do not miss these two windows of opportunity to have him drink.

In the case of medium level dehydration, it is generally recommended to have the horse intubated by a veterinarian, because the horse does no longer feel thirst. In addition, the quantities of water and electrolytes to replace what is needed are so great that the horse will not succeed in ingesting them without intervention.

In the case of severe dehydration, and even occasionally for the more moderately affected horse, it is necessary to administer a large quantity of the electrolyte solution intravenously. This treatment should also always be done under the supervision of a veterinarian, as excess intravenous potassium can cause cardiac arrest.


Over consumption of water without the addition of electrolytes will not lead to a rapid improvement in your horse. Unlike salt water, pure water does not help the horse to feel thirst, and it does not help reestablish electrolyte stores.

Care must also be taken not to over-administer electrolytes suddenly. If an excessive amount is administered to the horse orally without access to water, the animal will be worse off as the electrolyte concentration will be too high and the dehydration will worsen.


The choice of an electrolyte will depend on the degree of sweating of the horse. For a light worker, a well-balanced ration providing 25g to 30g of salt per day and free-choice hay suffice. For a horse performing moderate exercise, depending on the amount of sweat produced, 30 g to 60 g of salt per day should be added to a balanced diet and hay at will. The salt block alone is rarely adequate, since the consumption can vary and is often insufficient. Indeed, a 2 kg block should be consumed in less than eight weeks, which rarely happens. Therefore it is recommended to add salt (rock or cattle salt) in the feed. This is an economical way to replace lost electrolytes.

For horses in intense training or who sweating a lot, commercial electrolytes may be worth considering. There is a wide-range available, so it is necessary to examine the ingredients in order to make the right choice:

For horses performing anaerobic exercise (short and intense like race horses, gymkhana), a product containing sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium and magnesium is suggested. It can contain a small amount of calcium bicarbonate and sugar in order to help muscle recovery. These same products are recommended for cases of diarrhea.

For horses that perform aerobic exercise (medium to long-term, low to medium intensity such as show jumping, dressage, reining, endurance), a product containing sodium, chlorine, potassium, calcium and magnesium should be used. However, it is not advisable to give a large quantity of sugar or, especially, bicarbonate which causes muscle cramps (the body produces different types of waste dependent on the type of exercise, so bicarbonate will have the opposite effect).

Beware of electrolytes whose first ingredient is sugar or dextrose. These ingredients are not very useful for restoring hydration. A certain quantity of sugar is, however, beneficial since it helps in the absorption of salt. The suggested salt/sugar ratio is 2:1.


Above all, daily maintenance is essential. A well-balanced ration with added salt should be fed. As such, in addition to the benefits of exercise and recovery, there will be a much smaller risk of impaction colic.

During long and intense work, especially when the temperature is hot and humid, small amounts of electrolytes should be given regularly. It is possible to give them between the sessions, or between stages during endurance events. It is essential that the horse also have access to plain water, as well as offering electrolytes in water, as a paste or as a powder in the feed. It can also be beneficial to soak the horse regularly, to remove excess water on the body and then start again. Water will evacuate heat instead of sweat, so the horse will not need to sweat as much.

Serving water in a bucket rather than an automatic waterer will allow to monitor the amount of water consumed and avoid pressure problems. Indeed, a horse might drink less water if the waterer has too much or too little pressure. It is also easier to serve lukewarm water in a bucket.

It is a lot simpler to prevent dehydration that to treat it, and it is a lot less stressful! This summer, check your horses hydration several times a day, particularly on hot and humid days, and provide him with salt. The summer will be more enjoyable and profitable for both you and your horse!

Hoity Toity Ride

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What a fun weekend with a great group of girls, (and Mike and Richard) in spite of the poor weather. 6 layers of clothes, waterproof coat and chaps kept me fairly warm and dry. Thank you again Carol Blake for all the work of organizing it, and your hospitality. The girls are a tough bunch in their costumes for the Saturday wine ride to Hoity Toity Cellars in Mildmay ( Sunday was a slightly better weather day riding Inverhuron Provincial Park, allowing me to leave of 1 of my 3 coats. Pics aren’t in order, and not all mine. Leslie Ball

Mansfield Ride Aug 23-27

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Well, what can I say about the Dufferin Forest Ride? I should go there more often! What a great place to ride a horse and enjoy the outdoors!!

The trails are wide and shady, and the footing is a barefooted horse’s dream. It’s always good to know of places to ride where you don’t need shoes on your horse!

I arrived close to dark on Fri. night after work. Friendly voices in the dusk greeted me, willing to help me get my horse unloaded & set up before complete blackness set in.

The only two guys there, were completely willing to steady me on my ladder as I reached for a high branch to get my picket rope around. What a stretch!! Thanks guys. There was lots of joking but no “naughtiness”. Lol!

A short while later, I made my way to the bright glow & sound of a cracking fire and pulled my chair up and joined the group. There was Pat, Ralph, Brenda, John & June, Sherry, Lea Ann & me. My ideal of just a nice amount for a pleasant ride tomorrow.

Next day was threat of rain, so as a group, it was decided to do the pink trail (approx 13 kms), cause it was the shortest, and we wouldn’t need to pack a lunch. We would eat once back at camp.

We almost made it back without getting wet, but the raindrops made an appearance……not too serous at first, so I delayed putting on my slicker. It was warm anyhow and a little dampness was welcome. Some of the riders suited up at the first few drops. Riding under the canopy of trees perhaps it wasn’t warranted to be so hasty.

Finally it seemed to get more serious, and I finally relented & put mine on too. Good thing, since it began to rain in earnest!

It wasn’t long before we were back in camp. The rain continued to fall and it was amazing how fast horses were put on picket lines and the humans disappeared!!

I stayed out in the rain for about half an hour, letting my mare graze since my riding boots were wet anyhow & I hadn’t transitioned her to hay, so thought she could use some grass.

Finally after making my horse comfortable (she even got a warm bath to wash off all that sweat), I got myself comfy too, got dry, fed & headed for my bunk for a nice nap.

Sure is comforting falling asleep to the rain pattering on the roof. The whole camp was quiet for awhile. (Note to self: bring more socks!)

There was talk of maybe a ride later in the day, but perhaps everyone was content and satisfied with our first ride or just plain lazy to saddle up again.

We had a nice guy from the “biker”group, stop in to chat. He was a very good ambassador and seemed genuine in wanting to help us anyway he could, to bring cooperation & unity to all parties wanting to enjoy Dufferin Forrest. A good contact for future reference.

On Sat. night, a few new rigs showed up in the dusk, like me. I wondered who that was driving in, with a big tractor trailer for a truck. It looked quite impressive coming in.

And in the morning I found out who. A girl, no less! Spunky as all get out! An Annie Oakley type. I liked her right away. (Aka Carol Blake) and…..a girl I remember first meeting as a 16 yr old red head that tagged along with good ole Jim Mustard, Laurie Misener. I have a picture of Laurie sitting beside my 3 month old filly, who is also laying down on the ground, at Camp Oliver. That was 18 years ago! That same filly was the very horse I brought along on this ride! Her name is Calypso.

Next day dawned bright & sunny. A perfect day for a horseback ride!! Today it was decided to try the “orange” trail. And boy! What a trail it was!! It had lots of variety, wide sandy trails, hills, narrow windy trails & trails that took you close to the outside of the park and tall pines with open spaces. The big, tall pines is where we stopped for lunch. A perfect, beautiful spot to tie up your horse! Everyone gathered round and had a good chin wag and relaxed awhile. Then back up to remount and finish the ride.

So try the “orange” trail next time you’re there. It was a very good ride! Just a little longer than the pink trail, about 16 kms.

Well this is where my story ends. Hope you all have “Happy Trails” and get lots of riding in for the next couple of months. This is the time of year we all wait for!! Aaaaaw, the sunny, pleasant days of autumn.

My final word? Aren’t we all so blessed? To be able to be on a horse, walking a on quiet trail, enjoying the beauty that God has created? It’s the very best!! Happy Trails!

Marilyn Votary


Merry Christmas

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Bob Butler and Carol Blake at Holstein Santa Claus Parade

There are some great article that come across Facebook pages and felt this was a good one to post on CSC website. Maybe someone in the club would like to take this on as an experiment for the 2018 Ride Ontario CSC season; spring, summer, fall & winter. Feedback then could be posted. This article was posted on the AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference)

Trailer Temperature

Temperatures inside horse trailers are a concern to most endurance riders I know. We tend to haul very long distances, both in the heat and in the cold. I had to do some winter hauling today and before I left, I installed a temperature monitor inside my horse trailer. What I discovered was surprising and fascinating and changed my mind about what I thought was going on back there… so I decided to share what I learned in case of value to anyone else.

I hauled two horses about 6 hours today through the mountains here in western Montana, to a veterinary facility in another town. I was concerned about temperatures for the horses before I left. Forecast temps along some of the route were in the low single digits. My horses have very good winter coats but I was trying to decide whether to blanket or not. I recently switched to a gooseneck trailer and realized that I had no idea what hauling conditions in the winter were like back there.

I bought an inexpensive temperature monitor with a base station- the kind folks hang out on the porch so they can see what outdoor conditions are like without going outside. Before I put it into use in the trailer, I verified its accuracy by comparing its readings to some equipment I know is very accurate.

I hung the sensor in a mesh bag (good air flow) about halfway up the side of the wall in the trailer that encloses the rear tack room. I didn’t put it on the roof (heat rises) or near the floor (cold air sinks). My trailer is a 3 horse slantload, and I put it in the stall that did not have a horse in it. It was not hanging on an exterior wall. My trailer is not insulated- no living quarters, just a standard small dressing area in the front.

The trailer did have about 3 inches of hard encrusted snow insulating the roof-this snow stayed the entire journey.

The side windows could not be opened- they were encrusted with ice- however we opened all three roof vents to their maximum extent and turned the so that airflow would be maximized.

When we left our house in the Bitterroot, the temp inside and outside the trailer both read 20 degrees. BTW I was using my truck temperature monitor to determine the outside temperature (I had previously verified its accuracy and that it read the same as my newly purchased gear).

We loaded the horses and took off this morning about 0345 hrs. By the time we got to Missoula (30 minutes later), temps in the trailer had risen from 20 degrees to 32 degrees. In contrast, outside temp was still 20 degrees. By the time we had been on the road for an hour, the temperature in the trailer was (are you ready for this?): FORTY FOUR DEGREES.Along our route, outside temps dropped as low as 14 degrees. At the same time, temps in the trailer NEVER dropped below 39 degrees. For the vast majority of the journey, the trailer was holding at 44 degrees. Temps inside the trailer were ALWAYS OVER TWENTY DEGREES WARMER than the outside.

We stopped for a half hour pitstop did not unload the horses. However I opened the back door and let cold wind flow into the trailer. Temps in the trailer quickly dropped to the high 20s. But they were back up to the low 40s in about half an hour.

We left both horses at the vet in Three Forks and returned with an empty trailer. All the way home, temps inside the trailer were identical to temps outside.

So here are my take-aways from all this. First of all, it’s very easy to monitor temps in your trailer and I would highly encourage everyone to do it! I think I spent about 20 bucks on my monitoring stuff and it was easy to use and very accurate. Secondly, I cannot believe how fast two horses could heat up a 3 horse trailer in very cold weather and keep it warm. I never dreamed that horses radiate that much heat. And to think I had been considering blanketing them.

Of course the need to blanket and other things might be different if your horses are body clipped or your trailer is different. And of course this is an enclosed gooseneck, not a stockside trailer. But rather than just guess what might be going on back there and whether it is appropriate for your clipped horse (or sick horse or…?) just go get a temperature monitor and find out!

And believe me, my eyes are going to be GLUED to this thing come summer and I’m hauling in hot temperatures…

October Rides

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The riding year has come to an end and it is now time for CSC Annual Meeting on October 21, 2017; at Walton Community Hall.  Potluck starting at 6:00 pm with meeting to follow. Please bring a dish to share with fellow members and a smile. Hope to see you all.   Joan
OCTOBER 6-9  HELMUT’S RIDE -Newmarket – Arrive on Friday evening Helmut has limited parking  so PLEASE RSVP, beautiful trails right from his backyard.  He also will have outdoor washroom and water available.  Most of the trails are hard packed sand and will be well marked through forest, potluck supper on Saturday night.  Helmut Hitscherich  905-473-9329.  Click Events

OCTOBER 7-9   John’s LUCKNOW FALL RIDE – Thanksgiving Ride


John Pyatt’s

This year’s Thanksgiving trail ride on October 7,8, 9th hosted at the Pyatt ranch near Lucknow, did not disappoint.

Although the weekend started out forecasting high winds and rainy periods, the skies cleared and sun shone at ride times. The temperatures were ideal, not too hot for horses but warm enough for riders to bask in warm breezes and sunshine through a diverse landscape offering water crossings, different footing and plenty of places to pay attention to. The trails were challenges in some spots and easy riding in others.

I was able to join the group on Sunday. We left promptly at 9:30 (okay maybe 9:34, our trail boss was a tyrant about time, lol) and rode about 19.5 miles/km? Through landscapes I did not know existed so close to where I live. Through much hard work and relationships established over many years, John and Herman had permission to access properties that are otherwise inaccessible to riders. I speak for all, I am sure, in thanking them for making the effort on our behalf to ensure the number of miles we had access to. As we all know, permission from private land owners can be a challenge denied to many so I really appreciated what they accomplished.

There were a few goat hills as I call them, a bit of sliding and lots of pick up your feet spots but it just added to the sense of achievement when nothing seemed to be too much for any of the horses or riders. I had a great day visiting and getting to know more of the members of the club as we continuously rotated order in the line.

This ride left nothing to the imagination. Plenty of little creek crossings provided water, we packed lunch, but didn’t manage to find any puff balls for Emily to fetch back for the dinner feast. At trails end, the ponies were tired and we were famished.

John’s wife Pat did a fantastic job of co-ordinating all the food preparation and décor for our supper gathering. She and several of the ladies who remained at home base decorated the dining area with Hallowe’en and Thanksgiving décor which made everything look very festive and special.

We bowed our heads as Ken Steckle lead us in a prayer of thanks for the abundance of food, the friendships and passion for horses that brought us together and perfect weather provided for such a day.

We are truly blessed to live in this country, the true north strong and free.

I hope everyone had a remarkable Thanksgiving too. Happy trails. Authored by Kate Schmidt

What a great weekend to end the CSC trail riding schedule. We were able to get in approximately 44 miles of riding and had a great Sunday Thanksgiving supper. Great friendship. Many thanks to everyone.  John Pyatt

Ride will be for three days and will be through fields, forest, water crossings and short sections along some roads. Terrain varies from flat to small hills, gravel and possibly short steep sections. Friday arrival is ok. There is water for people and for horses. Camping space is somewhat limited. The address is 1029 South Kinloss Ave. From Lucknow go 2 km north on Bruce County 1 to South Kinloss Ave and turn right. Drive 2km to 1029 South Kinloss Ave. Please call John to confirm your spot.  519-955-1286 Click Events