By Dr. Melody Campbell, D.V.M January 2022
Did you know that horses can sleep standing up??!
It is a remarkable feat that they can do because of the way their front and hind legs are built. Horses are prey animals and they need to be able to start running in an instant if there is a threat, such as a tiger in the bushes! It takes too long for them to get to their feet when they have been lying down. For survival, they have been blessed with the ability to sleep standing up!
Horses have what is called a stay apparatus. This consists of ligaments, tendons and muscles that are designed to stabilize the joints in the limbs in a standing position. The stay apparatus allows horses to sleep standing up with a minimum of muscular activity. They use the stay apparatus with three of their limbs and rest the fourth limb. In addition, in the hind limb, there is a connection between the stifle (knee) and the hock called the reciprocal apparatus. When the stifle is locked into position, the hock is also in a fixed position. Horses that are in a standing position have the advantage of a quick escape if threatened. Also, in a standing position they avoid the cardiorespiratory compromise that happens when they are lying down.
Four resting states have been identified in horses. They are idling, resting, drowsing and sleeping. Idling is a passive waiting between activities. Resting occurs in a standing position or when lying down. A horse that is drowsing stands with its eyelids partly open and its head hanging partway down. This is the only form of sleep that occurs when standing, and is a slow-wave sleep (SWS) that allows some muscular tone to be retained. Sleeping occurs when horses are lying down and this is when they experience rapid eye movement or REM sleep.
Most horses sleep between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am, but they also often sleep in the first two hours after midday. Human activities and demands often interfere with these natural body rhythms and deny horses their afternoon naps!!
Does your employer have a program to support a charity or non-profit that you volunteer with?
If that charity is PARD we can help you with the paperwork! Send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org to start the process. As a registered charity PARD qualifies for many grants or donations large or small. We appreciate it all.
By Kathy Carruthers
Bobby the PARD Horse
Is a jolly happy soul
With a stall inside and his buddies out
And two kind eyes as dark as coal
Bobby the PARD horse
Is a therapeutic super star
He’s the colour of snow,
And the children know
How he came to PARD one day
There must be some magic
In that little pony’s sweet soul,
For when he struts around the ring
His riders all sing and begin to glow
Bobby the PARD horse
Is as kind as a horse can be,
And the children say
He makes them laugh and play
Just the same as you and me
Bobby the PARD horse
Knew he had more goodness to give
So, during barn check one dark night
Bobby just shouted out,
“Hey Wendy, what do you say
You let me come and play
At Wendon Hills riding school some day?”
“Bobby the PARD horse” Wendy proclaimed,
“What an amazing idea you had,
We’ll start tomorrow and
My riders will follow
Oh, we’ll all have such a great day!”
Bobby the PARD horse
Had to hurry on his way
But he waved goodbye saying
“Don’t you cry” PARD Riders,
you are the reason I’ll be back to PARD
In time for the 2022 riding season!”
A BIG thank you to the riders and their families for the amazing Halloween on Horseback event hosted by Wendon Hills Equestrian Centre! You are such an amazing group and PARD is very grateful for your ongoing support!
Dear Mr. Dave Post,
On behalf of PARD Therapeutic Riding, I would like to offer our sincere CONGRATULATIONS on the 100th anniversary of your club’s founding. This is indeed an accomplishment to be proud of! The club has been involved with a variety of projects over the years that have truly benefited the community. Supporting PARD Therapeutic Riding through its continued generous sponsorship of “Frank”, one of our horses, is only one example of your community involvement.
Thank you, KIWANIS CLUB OF PETERBOROUGH, and congratulations!
Dr. Catherine Rae, Secretary Board of Directors PARD Therapeutic Riding
By Dr. Melody Campbell, D.V.M April 2021
Finally, the snow is gone and the rainy days have arrived heralding Spring. We all welcome the change as it promises warmer sunny days to come. If we look at horses, like the PARD boys, there are potential problems that can arise with the wet weather. Like many horses, four of our boys live outside year-round. Only our smallest horse, Bobby, lives indoors at night as a treasured guest of Wendon Hills Equestrian Centre. The remaining four boys are protected from the snow and cold during the Winter with their winter blankets. When everything melts and the rains arrive, we can protect their bodies with “rain sheets” (like rain coats for people), but we cannot protect their feet and legs. That can lead to some health problems.
What we know as “mud fever” is part of a complex syndrome called Equine Pastern Dermatitis. This condition can develop when the skin of the lower leg is exposed to continuing wet conditions. It can also be related to allergies to biting insects or contact irritants. Even sunburn damage of white areas involving the lower leg can lead to this condition. There are many complicating factors such as bacterial and fungal organisms, and even mites (they look like little tiny crabs under the microscope!) that can make the problem worse.
Prevention starts with pasture and paddock management. It is very important to have horses in pastures or paddocks that have well-drained soil, not on wetlands or in boggy areas that are continuously wet. In areas where horses congregate, like at feeders or watering troughs or at entrances and exits from fields it can be helpful to stabilize the area with a layer of crusher-run gravel, shale or other aggregate. It can also be helpful to raise these areas slightly to encourage drainage. As they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”!
Management during the wet seasons, which are Spring and Fall, involves keeping the lower leg areas clean and dry. This is where good grooming techniques come in. We all brush our horses at PARD before we ride, but there is a lot of time in between when we are not riding. The boys are checked regularly and they are groomed, and even ridden or exercised, by our wonderful PARD volunteers. Due to Covid-19 restrictions this has been done primarily by Board members and a very small number of select volunteers who are allowed to be on the property. During our program season, usually from June to September, our boys are looked after by many more volunteers and even some of the riders. We cannot thank our dedicated horse lovers enough!
Mud fever can start with tiny scabs on the skin that have pus under them. There can sometimes be patchy hair loss as well. When it progresses, there can be larger areas of thickened infected skin that can be more difficult to treat. Early diagnosis and treatment is very important.
Treatment of Equine Pastern Dermatitis (mud fever) involves sorting out the cause and treating appropriately. The PARD boys have an excellent veterinarian who comes to the farm when they need preventive health care, and also if they have any medical problems. We even have two veterinarians on the Board of Directors! The health of our boys is important to all of us. Treating mud fever involves cleaning & drying the affected areas, and applying topical therapy to deal with infection and inflammation. In severe cases there is sometimes a need to use injectable medications such as antibiotics and medications to deal with inflammation or allergy. Our PARD veterinarian can sort out the best treatment plan.
There are also conditions that can affect the foot in wet environments, like Thrush, but we will deal with those when we take a closer look at the foot and associated problems that can occur in a future newsletter.
By Kathy Carruthers, Program Director
For the first time in PARD’s history, PARD was not able to serve our riders by running a full therapeutic program in 2020 due the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic. This was a great disappointment to our riders, their families/care givers, board members, volunteers, and Instructors.
PARD followed the consistently updated rules and regulations regarding the pandemic put out by the government of Ontario, the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association, Equine Canada, and Ontario Equine in order to remain compliant with all standards. Unfortunately, by following these regulations meant we were unable to run the Tuesday and Thursday riding program.
However, the one independent Rider currently in the PARD program was able to participate in lessons in between lock downs of our therapeutic facility and our host barn Wendon Hill’s facility.
3 of PARD’s Instructors and our Physiotherapist consultant were planning on attending the Canadian Therapeutic Riding Association (CanTRA) Conference just outside of Calgary, Alberta but this too was cancelled at the last moment.
The four instructors, Chris, Wendy, Sarah, and I were able to virtually attend several educational courses online hosted by CanTRA that were focused on both humans and equines. The hours logged from attending these webinars are eligible for updating hours for both certified instructors and instructor candidates.
PARD Therapeutic Riding
By Angela Muir, Chairperson
In the future, when I look back at 2020, I’m going to choose to remember the strength and resilience we found in ourselves and each other during such challenging times, as opposed to all the disappointments and obstacles we’ve had to endure. It’s easy to focus on the missed opportunities and connections, and even easier to complain about the sacrifices we’ve had to make. Feeling blue during a pandemic is totally normal, so I take inspiration from our riders and instead try to focus on what we are able to do these days like spending time with my kids and husband hiking and exploring our community.
At PARD, cancelling the 2020 seasons was a hard decision but so important for the safety of everyone involved. Almost harder was the last-minute cancellation of the 2020 Charity Games Show. Less than 24hrs before the event outdoor restrictions tightened up ahead of the ‘second wave’ in the fall. Luckily PARD was blessed by an outpouring of support and understanding from all the registered riders and volunteers. With no regular season and no fundraisers for the year, PARD has been trying to boost our online presence to keep connected with our monthly newsletter. Our instructors also went the extra mile to send personalized Christmas cards to our riders to help lift spirits!
I want to thank the 2020 Board of Directors for all their hard work. With so much going on in their personal and work lives, they continued to advocate for our riders and the program so we could look forward to another season. And to all those supporters and volunteers who continue to look out for PARD and act with our best interest in mind...you know who you are...THANK YOU!
Chairperson | PARD Therapeutic Riding
PARD is very fortunate to have a dedicated group of volunteers form the 2021 Board of Directors. PARD is a registered charity run solely by volunteers. PARD doesn’t receive regular government funding so the Board of Directors are busy all year-round planning fundraisers and writing grant requests. But from June to September the main focus is on delivering high quality therapeutic riding lessons to riders of all ages and abilities. PARD is pleased to welcome three new members to the board this year, and grateful to those returning from last year.
2021 PARD BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Angie Muir, President (2012)
Julia Dean, Treasurer (2007)
Dr. Cathy Rae, Secretary (2012)
Kathy Carruthers, Program Director (1994)
Sarah Magee-Graham, Director (2008)
Crystal Edwards, Director (2010)
Mary Babcock, Director (2018)
Dr. Melody Campbell, Director (2019)
Darlene Pearson, Director (2019)
Phil Adams, Volunteer Director (2021)
Alex Bernacki, Director (2021)
Catherina de Goede, Director (2021)
By Dr. Melody Campbell March 2021
Take a moment to dream about something you never thought you could do. Bungee jumping, skydiving, mountain climbing, heliskiing are a few of the activities that only a few of us ever get to experience. Now, picture yourself with the challenges associated with physical or mental special needs. With these challenges in mind notice how narrow and limited the dreaming and opportunities become. What if we could open a door of access to an activity that not only provides fun and social interaction, but actually benefits you physically and emotionally? That door is PARD Therapeutic Riding!
We know that horses are great to be around. They can sense and connect with our emotions. They can show us things about ourselves, like courage and determination. There are also therapeutic physical benefits when you are riding a horse. The way horses walk directly affects the rider’s pelvic area, as explained below, creating the movements that humans use to walk.
HORSE AND HUMAN MOVEMENT
The movements of a walking horse facilitate almost identical patterns of movements in the human trunk and pelvis, while the rider is sitting astride the horse.
HOW THE HORSE WALKING AFFECTS THE HUMAN BODY WHILE ON A HORSE
While walking, the horses’ pelvis moves in an almost identical manner to the riders’ pelvis which is being passively moved by the horse.
This makes the horse an invaluable tool in the overall mobility of the pelvis and trunk of the rider.
The horses’ pelvis and the riders’ pelvis are at 90-degree angles to each other; therefore, the horses’ lateral flexion produces rider rotation and the horses’ rotation produces rider lateral flexion.
The three planes of movement occurring in the pelvis of the rider are anterior-posterior tilt, and lateral tilt to the pelvis, with weight shifting from one side to the other side. This weight shifting movement causes a continuing lengthening of the trunk on one side and shortening on the other with each stride the horse takes.
Now, you are probably wondering how you would ever be able to get on top of a horse! Well, we have the physical means to facilitate getting on a horse. At PARD we have you covered! We have a long ramp with a space in the middle that sort of looks like where you might put something like a boat or a horse. The ramp is 24 feet long so the incline is gradual up to the height of the back of a horse. If our rider is in a wheelchair, or has limited mobility, it becomes much easier to mount a horse. Our special therapy horses are very quiet and gentle so they are happy to stand still while we assist the rider to sit in the saddle. PARD also has adaptive equipment we use in order to assist our riders. We also have what are called ‘mounting blocks’ which look like a set of stairs that can be climbed up in order to mount the horse. With many volunteers available there is always assistance to ensure that everyone, rider and horse, are safe at all times.
Each rider is assessed by a physiotherapist and the certified instructors so that there is a plan in place for each rider based on their abilities and goals prior to beginning their riding. Volunteers are filled in on what is needed for each rider, and sometimes the need is even singing a song while the rider is in their lesson! Riders are also matched to horses as tiny Bobby can only have small people and someone like big Frank can accommodate bigger people. The horse’s gait, or way of walking, is also a consideration. Some horses take long strides (steps) and some take shorter or quicker strides. Much work goes into planning each lesson with great volunteers and dedicated Board Members and Instructors participating. Have I mentioned fun? We all have lots of smiles and laughter and encouragement in the lessons and in our interactions with the riders and their caregivers. Being outside and around our horses is an added bonus!!
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