Category Archives: CSC Rides


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When 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!

Happy New Year 2018

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New info will be posted for 2018 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 Sunday February 25, 2018 at 1:00 pm. Snow date will be Sunday March 4, 2018. It will be a potluck so bring your favorite dish to share. Joan Cloakey’s address 84561 Clegg Line, RR #4, Brussells, Ont. N0G 1H0. Bring a lawn chair.

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

August Rides

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AUGUST 18-21  DUFFERIN FOREST/MANSFIELD TRACT –$10.00 fee per person – the CSC rides as a group, sandy footing, forest trail, steep parts, Thursday evening arrival is fine, Friday arrival OK as well, Monday’s ride will be short. Lots of room for big trailers/pickets, ride goes rain or shine, dogs must be leashed.  From Highway 89, go north on Airport Road. The camp is on the east Correctional Site. Emergency # 937513 Airport Road  Don Ruttan 519-335-6948 Click Events

July Rides

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JULY 30-AUGUST 6  WIARTON’S  7 DAY RIDE – NOW the 5 day ride is going to be 7 days of riding! Sunday July 30 arrival NOT earlier. Ride Monday July 31-Sunday Aug 6 & Camp Kitchen opens Tuesday. Hay for horses available Sunday. Register early so you won’t be disappointed. Click FORMS to get registered. Click Events

JULY 21-23   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

JULY 15-16   WORK WEEKEND 3    -Wiarton Click Events

JULY 1-2    WORK WEEKEND  2 -Wiarton Click Events Authored by Pat MacRae & Leslie Ball

Hi, I have been asked to share our experiences on the 2nd Work Weekend in Wiarton with you.  I’m not very good at this, so bear with me….

Thursday started out with rain in the morning. Liz R. was there by the time I arrived at the Spring Camp. I thought to myself when I saw her, “hum, she must have decided to park on a different angle.” But when I got out and spoke with her, I saw that she was really, really stuck in the mud. The ground was saturated in spots. Luckily, her son Ryan arrived to save the day. He had her unstuck in minutes. The sun came out and we spent some of the afternoon filling in the ruts and pulling trees from the bush to block access to this particular watering hole. Ken and Virginia S. arrived just as we were heading out for a ride. They decided not to join us, but to set up their campsite. Liz and I had a beautiful ride across the road, in the woods behind the Summer Camp, and we didn’t get even get lost, WOW! We ate supper around 10 that night. A little later than Liz is used to. During the night, there was some thunder and lightning with heavy rain.

We woke up to overcast skies but no rain, yeah! We heard later that it poured south of us and towards Owen Sound. We were lucky! We sat in camp chatting in the morning and rode in the afternoon when the sun was out. Ken and Virginia rode over on the north side of the Waugh Road and checked how deep the beaver dam was, while Liz and I cleared the left side of the Butterfly Loop and further up the trail. We ate supper on time and got to bed a little earlier than the night before.

On Monday, it was a beautiful day. Liz, John P. and I cleared trails on the Two Canoe Ride. We met one of the landowners and she thanked us very much, for the Zehrs Gift Card. (that happened twice this weekend). I’m sorry to say that the Apiary (bee hives, for short), that was in a field we ride through, has been ripped apart and destroyed by bears. It was a sad sight to see. We got back to camp around 3:30 and left reluctantly for home shortly afterwards.

Leslie Ball is going to fill you in on Saturday and Sunday, but before you read her article, I just want to say that we did see a Scarlet Tanager and a Bobolink on our travels. I would like to thank Joel D. and John P. for opening and closing all those gates for us. Your hard work is really appreciated. As for the rest, my motto has always been “WHAT HAPPENS IN WIARTON, STAYS IN WIARTON”.

Happy trails…. Pat MacRae

Authored by Leslie Ball     Arrived at the cleanup camp Friday after noon after a lovely 4 hr drive in beautiful weather.  Unfortunately it didn’t last.  Here is the view from my bunk Saturday lunch time when I went for a snooze.

Our small group of 10 riders did get out about 2 p.m.  A small herd of frisky steers are now familiar with horses, so no worries now about them on the 5 Day.  No pictures as I was a little busy not freaking out.  It was nice we had 2 new(er) members with us for the cattle to make a lasting impression on. I experienced that my first year up there and will never forget it.

Saturday nights fire was splendid; you know it was a great night when your belly aches from laughing more than your backside from riding.  There may have been a couple full recycle bins.

Sunday is always bittersweet.  Beautiful weather, my favorite ride on the Hope Bay route, but also I have to go home.  That’s why I’m so happy that the 5 Day is now the 7 Day…. I just want it to last a little longer. ❤   Leslie




June Rides

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JUNE 17-18   WORK WEEKEND 1 – Wiarton – First weekend for 7 Day Ride clean up.  Bring along nippers and saws.  Be prepared to do some walking to clean rocks and fallen trees from trails.  Bring hay and water for your horse as well as food and supplies for yourself.  Outdoor washroom provided.  Parking and overnight camping is across from the 7 Day Ride site.  Day starts between 9:30 – 10:00 a.m.  Please remember this is a Work weekend.  Jeff Dibble 519-463-6374 or any trail committee member. Click Events Authored by Sheri Potter Rumball

This weekend, although the forecast called for rain, rain and more rain, was awesome! The Chesley Saddle Club members gathered on Friday to do trail maintenance in preparation for the 7 day Wiarton ride.

We headed out on the trail after dinner on Friday, through a cow pasture, first for me on my spouse’s horse. Thank you Joan Mulholland for riding between myself and the cows! Don Ruttan and a couple others rode between the riders and cows to ensure the cows were kept at a safe distance. The trail was lovely, it wound through open pasture, hardwood and dense cedar. I love riding the single tracks through cedar groves. The sights, sounds and smells were absolutely perfect! The trail meandered around impressive crevices, looped around Bob’s pond and butterflied through true South Bruce Peninsula landscape. The ride offered me an opportunity to get to know new friends, and catch up with old friends.
Folks gathered at various trailers to share stories and beverages. Coyotes sarenaded us after the last of the suns rays reflected off the steal roof of the barn. And the rain held off!

Saturday morning I was woken up by the sweet melody of the Bobolinks and trill of the red winged black birds, as they prepared for their day.
We headed to the river to offer horses the opportunity to drink before the days ride. The river was running fast and clear over a rock riverbed.

Through forests and fields we traveled, sniping new growth from low branches and moving fallen trees from the trail. We split into two groups to cover more ground. Bob Butler guided us along the Hope Bay trail, again through pasture and forest.

A big shout out to Emily and her horse. Her horse remained calm when his hind right got caught in a shallow crevice causing him to fall. He processed the situation, released to pressure and got his foot out of the crevice on on his own without injury! What a awesome horse! In light of this event a small group returned to camp with Emily.

The CSC has developed relationships with local land owners for more than 20+ years, keeping this week-long ride tradition alive and strong. As we approached the trail head at the municipal park entrance we were faced with a “no horses sign” which was very disappointing for the club. Our group turned back, respecting the new sign. Bob’s pack horse, Mack, developed laboured breathing during the ride so we stopped to allow Mack to catch his breath while we ate our lunches. The weather was on our side, light rain for a few minutes here and there, which was good because Joel (aka Bam Bam) forgot his rain gear.

Back at camp we tended to our horses, checked with Bob & Emily to ensure their horses were recovering, walked Penny, and then prepared dinner.

There were severe weather watches for the surrounding area, but once again we were blessed. The rain started about 2 am and stuck around until 4 am.

CSC facebook Sherri


This plant should be considered toxic as it contains the pyrrolizidine alkaloids; lycopsamine, intermedine, and echiumine. Ingestion can cause severe illness and possibly death in horses, swine, and cattle. The alkaloids are potent liver toxins ………read more


Herbs For Horses 


JUNE 23-25   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

JUNE 24-JULY 7  ALBERTA RIDE – Start riding in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains on June 24. This will be at the Ya Ha Tinda Provincial Horse Campground and will be 5 or 6 days riding. Then move camp south to the foothills of Willow Creek.  Indian Graves Campground. Ride  will be done on July 7. If anyone is interested pm Jeff Dibble on CSC Facebook or call 519-463-6374. Click Events