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The Missed Horse Show or How to Bypass the U.S. Entrance Ban

Events July 21, 2017

While going to Minnesota from Montreal might seem to be a long shot to some, if you are a big horse show fan, you are ready to travel just about anywhere. In fact, I had several good reasons to travel this far. One of them was to look at the show participants and choose my next perfect horse. The next one was much more personal.

I have a good friend, who moved from Toronto to Big Falls two years ago. We have a good tradition of visiting each other on our birthdays. Since his is on July 19th  and the Carriage House horse show runs from 20th to 23rd July, the opportunity to kill two birds with one stone seemed tough to bypass.

While contemplating a good mini-vacation and choosing a gift for my good friend Al, I was looking through the horse breeds expected to be part of the show. None of the equines appealed to me at the first glance and I decided to make a decision on the spot. In order to visit Al right on his birthday, I planned to drive to Minnesota on July 18th.

The last time I visited the United States was last July. And here I have something to confess. In the past year, I managed to make a rather stupid mistake, which ended up getting me a criminal record. It was a minor criminal offense, which didn’t affect my business so I forgot about it as soon as it was done with. This was another mistake.

On July 18th, I was happily driving toward the USA border, looking forward to a glass of wine with Al and a swim in a lake. Little did I know that my vacation was about to turn into a disaster. A polite border officer let me know that I was denied entry to the USA for an indefinite amount of time. Stunned I made some calls and realized that the reason for the ban was my “minor” criminal record. The vacation was ruined, Al didn’t get the gift, and my show plans turned to dust.

I couldn’t believe that I have to say goodbye to the United States forever. After calming down a bit, I called a lawyer friend who told me about a way out. A US Entry Waiver is specifically designed to give Canadians a second chance. It turns out that even if you’ve been pardoned, the criminal record can keep you from entering the country. The waiver is the only chance to pass the border.

Unfortunately, the U.S. Entry Waiver Application may take up to a year to be processed, but I still hope I have a chance to visit Al next July. Many Canadians don’t know about this loophole and take the ban for granted. Fortunately, the government realizes that people make mistakes. So unless you really messed up, a waiver can allow you to pass the border again.

102 total views, 3 today

An Overview of Horse Riding Bits

Uncategorized June 21, 2017

Before buying their own horse, many horse riders don’t get a say in what bit they get to use. If you’re like most others, the owner of the horse you were riding made that decision for you. You may have tried straight bits, D-ring bits, or jointed mouth pieces without really ever understanding why. When standing in front of a wall of bits in the tack store, the choice can then seem daunting.

But the large variety is actually a good thing. It allows you to find the closest possible match to your horse’s needs. It allows you to discard one thing that your horse may not react well to, and find something else that will. After all, the point of good gear is that it aids you in your work with your horse, making communication between you as easy as possible.

How bits work

The bit is attached to the bridle, a necessary part of any horse rider’s tack collection. You won’t hear of any horse riders that go riding without using some kind of bridle.

A normal bridle with a bit allows you to give the horse signals by applying pressure inside its mouth. You give the signals via the reins that are attached to either rings or a shaft on each side of the bit. Different bits give different levels of pressure. Skinny bits are generally sharper, as the weight of your hand is concentrated on a smaller area – a bit like a stiletto heel – and thus need less pressure on the rein for the same effect as a thicker bit. Curb bits amplify the force of your signals through the shafts, so they also give stronger signals than a normal snaffle. Jointed mouthpieces tend to be harder in the horse’s mouth, while hollow bits are extra gentle.

However not all bridles have bits. Bitless bridles allow the rider to communicate with the horse just like a normal bit, although they do so in a different way. Instead of putting pressure inside the horse’s mouth they instead put pressure on the muzzle. The mechanics are different from bitless bridle to bitless bridle, but that’s the general concept.

Bits remain the most popular choice with most horse riders, however. With many different designs, there is enough to choose between.  Let’s take a look at the different kinds of bits you need to know about.

Different kinds of bits

There are two main kinds of bits: The curb bit and the snaffle bit. The snaffle bit is the mildest, as the reins are attached directly to the bit, which gives a soft contact between the rider’s hands and horse’s mouth. The curb bit has a shaft on both sides that amplify the force of the rider’s signals, making it stronger.

Both snaffle and curb bits come with different mouthpieces:

The straight bar bit

One of the mildest bits is the straight bar bit. Like the name suggests it has no joints, so it doesn’t put as much pressure on the horse’s mouth.

Thin, thick, or hollow?

The thinner the bit, the more severe it is. If in doubt, it’s good to opt for a thicker bit, because that’s what most horses will be comfortable with. However, some horses have small mouths and won’t have space for a thick bit, so in that case a thin one could be better. Hollow bits are just like any other bit, except that they are lighter. More weight in a horse’s mouth makes the impact more severe, so a hollow bit is milder than a non-hollow equivalent.

Jointed mouth pieces
Jointed mouthpieces have either one or two joints. A bit with one joint is quite hard as it can sometimes “snap” and touch the top of the horse’s mouth, as well as create a nutcracker effect. However it still works well for some horses.

Bits with two joints and a middle piece are much milder, as they don’t create as much pressure on the sides of the horse’s tongue while still maintaining the benefits of the jointed mouthpiece.

There are also many other versions of the jointed mouthpiece such as the Doc Bristol and the ball link bit, where the shape of the middle link changes the effect of the bit.

The point of all kinds of jointed mouthpieces is to be able to move each side of the bit independently.

Other designs: rollers, ports and twists.

Some bits have more advanced designs that can be hard to understand the purpose of. What’s the idea of a port, twists, or rollers for example?

Rollers are sections on the bit that can roll back and forth. They encourage salivation and also prevent the horse from leaning on the bit. Rollers make the bit more forceful than a similar bit without rollers.

Ports also make the bit more severe, but in a different way. They put pressure on the top of the horse’s mouth when the rider moves the reins. It’s a very powerful tool and can create damage if used by an untrained hand.

The same can be said of twisted bits or wire bits. These bits are often very thin, and the twists make the impact of the reins much more forceful in the horse’s mouth.

Snaffle bit rings

Snaffle bits are snaffle bits because they don’t have shafts. Instead, they have rings on which the reins are attached. The fact that the reins are attached directly to the bit instead of shafts makes it a lot less severe, because it doesn’t have anything leveraging the force of your hands.

There are quite a few different kinds of snaffle bit rings.

A loose-ring snaffle has a normal, round ring that gives space for the mouthpiece to slide around it. Full cheek snaffles prevent the bit rings from being pulled through the mouth, eggbut snaffles prevent the skin around the mouth from being pinched, while D-rings prevent the bit from moving around too much.

The D-shape stabilizes the bit to some extent, although not as much as the full cheek snaffle. The D-rings also have the anti-pinch properties of the eggbut snaffle.

The D-ring and full cheek snaffle are generally better in high-energy situations where finesse is less important, but where you need more control, and where you need the bit to be able to stay put. In dressage you would generally benefit from the finesse that a more mobile bit ring would give you.

Weymouth bits
Some horse riders also use a third kind of bit, the Weymouth bit or the double bit that uses one snaffle and one curb bit together for extra refined control.

Understanding the many different bits on the market

There are many different kinds of bits, and many varieties of them as well on the market. It may seem confusing at first when having to understand the difference between them and choosing the right one for your horse. However, the variety means that you can find the bit that fits your horse the best. It’s a great way to find a tool that will help you communicate with your horse in the best possible way.

Based on the information, provided by Danish Horse Riding Equipment Store Udstyrspriser.dk

147 total views, 5 today

Mayfair Event At Waldorf Academy: Free Entry

Events May 1, 2017

On May 6th, 2017 Toronto Waldorf Academy hosts two Mayfair events that will be fun for you and your family. Mayfair will be divided into two parts: early childhood maypole and gradeschool mayfair and open house. Waldorf Academy is known for its colorful, interesting and interactive activities so now you can be part of it absolutely free of charge. Bring your family and friends – this is not something to be missed.

The early childhood maypole is held between 10am and 12pm. The program will include maypole dance, live music, potluck picnic and of course lots of laughter and socializing for you and your little ones to enjoy. Don’t  forget the fairy wings – it is a must.

The Gradeschool event will take place at 12pm at 250 Madison and will run until 3.30pm. Kids of all ages are welcome. There will be plenty of activities including face painting, scavenger hunt, BBQ, outdoor ball hockey, chalk drawing as well as Waldorf Academy choir performance. A lot of fun is guaranteed for every member of your family.

About Toronto Waldorf Academy

Toronto Waldorf Academy was founded by a group of parents in 1987 and offers an alternative education based on the vision and principles of Rudolph Steiner that embodies learning through all the senses. According to Steiner the child development is divided into three major stages and each stage requires different educational approach. Kids learn through experience and experiments which aids emotional, intellectual and physical development. Waldorf education strives to encourage kids to become permanent learners and give them the ability to develop into free morally responsible individuals.

To sum up:

May 6th 2017

Early Childhood Maypole

10am – 12pm

Wychwood Barns South Park, off Wychwood Ave.

Gradeschool Mayfair and Open House

12pm – 3.30pm

250 Madison

Free entry

Come and join the fun and celebrate warm spring days with Toronto Waldorf Academy on May 6th.

212 total views, 3 today

Grow Light Systems By The Hydroponic Store

Uncategorized March 25, 2017

Setting up grow lights for your hydroponic garden is a crucial element to the success of your grow. With so many different lighting systems on the market today, it can be confusing at first.

There are 3 main things to keep in mind when choosing a light system for your grow. Heat, size, and spectrum.

Heat

The amount of heat you light produces is an important thing to consider when choosing your lighting systems. Do you have the capacity for large ventilation fans to cool the lights? Would it be beneficial to have more heat coming from your lights to keep the room warm? Depending on the light system you purchase, you can optimise your grow in either of these directions.

For maximum cooling, we carry Aerotube enclosures for your MH or HPS lighting. These are duct-shaped reflectors designed to hook up directly to your ventilation fans to offer maximum efficiency when air cooling your lights. This is perfect for places where the heat is generally higher than desired, and allows you to place the lights closer to the canopy of your plants below without causing them to burn.

On the other hand, for grow rooms that could benefit from a bit of extra heat is helpful for maintaining the air temperature. Many people in the United Kingdom prefer to avoid the high efficiency fixtures and go with a raw-bulb reflector instead. The ventilation fans will still be able to control. The amount of heat in the room, but won’t be hooked up directly to the lights. By situating the ventilation fans lower down you can actively draw some of the heat from the lights down to disperse more evenly in the room.

Size

For a smaller grow room (less than 1m squared), it wouldn’t make sense to buy a massive, 1000 watt light for the small space, it would most likely overheat and kill the plants you are trying to grow. On the other side, if you have a large grow with numerous plants and grow trays and you try to give them a measly 250 watts of lighting, you can’t expect them to do very well. The size of the light is a crucial part of choosing the right lighting system.

For a 1m x 1m area, a 600-1000 watt HID light is recommended. Sometimes for areas slightly larger than this, placing the lights on a light moving rail is sufficient.

Spectrum

The spectrum is the light balance being emitted from the light source. The 2 main spectrums are red and blue. Blue promotes leaf growth, and helps to thicken up the stems, making them stronger and more capable of holding up the weight of future fruits or flowers.

Red light stimulates stem and flower growth, making it perfect for the flowering stage of development.

Knowing this helps you optimise the lighting choices made for the grow. If the crop you are growing only has a vegetative stage (such as with a lot of vegetables), then a light with more of a blue spectrum is preferred. Try a CFL, MH, or blue spectrum LED.

For growers who are cultivating a crop where the fruits or flowers are desired, it’s actually beneficial to have lights that offer both spectrums. This is because the blue light is used in the vegetative stage to achieve the best growth traits and quality as possible, and then switching over to a red spectrum during flower to speed up and maximise yields of the flower and fruit development.

By considering the many variables of plant lighting solutions, all of which are offered by The Hydroponics Store, you can optimise your hydroponic grow. Talk to one of our experts today to get some personal insight into the best lighting solution for your grow.

286 total views, 3 today

Noel, the Christmas Pony

Uncategorized January 22, 2017

As I was working around the barn today, enjoying the treat of a sunny but chilly day, I received a call from an SPCA constable; could I attend for a seizure right away? I finished up quickly, then headed out to an address in a rural area near Chilliwack. Responding originally to an abandoned dog complaint, the officers had rounded up a number of dogs, left behind in the wake of a tenant moving out. Apparently these folks left in such a hurry, they “forgot” their dogs. After the officers had the dogs loaded up, they heard a sound, which apparently came from an old abandoned barn near the edge of the property. On investigating, they found the barn was not at all empty … Continue reading …

518 total views, 4 today

  • The Missed Horse Show or How to Bypass the U.S. Entrance Ban

    by on July 21, 2017 - 0 Comments

    While going to Minnesota from Montreal might seem to be a long shot to some, if you are a big horse show fan, you are ready to travel just about anywhere. In fact, I had several good reasons to travel this far. One of them was to look at the show participants and choose my […]