Our Mission

Alberta Horse Industry MissionTo provide a unified voice for the Alberta horse industry and strengthen it through advocacy, education and research.

Our Vision

Alberta Horse IndustryA growing, profitable, united Alberta horse industry, recognized nationally and internationally.

Equine Welfare

Alberta Horse IndustryHave a concern about an issue of equine welfare?
Call the
Livestock Care ALERT Line
at 1-800-506-2273

Alberta Horses

Click Here To View Our Featured Horses
Click here to view our  featured Alberta-bred horses

Bill 6 and the Horse Industry in Alberta

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Please click here for a collaborative position from the Western Stock Growers’ Association with regards to the contraversial Bill 6, which the Horse Industry Association of Alberta has signed without prejudice.

For media coverage about Bill 6 click here to visit the Western Producer.

For further information about the bill click here to get Alberta Government Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour.

To get involved, take the online survey about Bill 6, until January 3rd, 2016, by clicking here.

A Brief History of Saddles

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By Carolyn Willekes, Ph.D.Roman

When was the last time you took a good look at your saddle? They are a piece of equipment that most of us take for granted. Saddles are also a bit of a mystery to most riders: we know what they are for and how they are generally supposed to work, but the nuances of saddle construction and fit remain a grey area for many of us. Modern saddles have also become very discipline specific: whether you ride English or western you are most likely going to purchase a saddle for a specific competitive event or job, be it jumping, dressage, reining, barrels, roping cattle, racing etc.

Riders have not always had the option of reaching for this very specialized piece of tack. The earliest riders rode bareback or with a plain saddlecloth. The first attempt at creating a ‘structured’ seat was made by the nomadic Scythians of Central Asia in the 5th-4th centuries BCE.

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Humane Handling Guidelines for Horses

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Alberta Farm Animal Care (AFAC), and their partners the Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF), have produced an updated version of the Humane Handling Guidelines for Horses. This in depth booklet is available by contacting either AFAC, AEF, or by coming to our HIAA office at the Airdrie Agriculture Building.

HHG Horses 2

A Brief History of Bits

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luristan1By Carolyn Willekes, Ph.D.

 

The bit is an essential part of our equine equipment.  No matter what discipline you ride, chances are you have at least one bit tucked away in your tack room.  Most of us bridle our horses without entirely understanding the purpose of the bit, let alone why we are using a specific style of bit, or even how the bit came to be in the first place.  When you stop to think about it equines are the only animals we control by placing something in the mouth.  All other pack/draft/riding animals are controlled by forms of nose pressure, nose rings/pegs (oxen, water buffalo and camels), or canes/staffs (elephants).  So then, where on earth did the bit come from?

When humans domesticated the horse around 5,500-6,000 years ago they were already familiar with the concept of riding and driving animals, thanks to the earlier domestication of donkeys and bovines.  It makes sense that these early riders and drivers transferred familiar ideas of control to the horse.  In the ancient Near East this took the form of the nose ring, but this did not work due to the shape, placement and delicacy of equine nostrils.  In Central Asia and Eastern Europe early horsemen played around with a different control mechanism, one that took the shape of the equine jaw into consideration.  They discovered a fleshy gap between the molars and incisors on the lower jaw (the bars) and realized they could place something directly in the mouth to control the horse by means of pressure on this area.  These prototype bits were not made of metal, instead they were leather thongs, bone or wood tied to cheek pieces made of antler.  Early evidence for the use of bits comes from the site of Dereivka in the Ukraine where archaeologists have found 5,000 year old equine remains with evidence of bit wear on the second pre molar teeth.  The wear patterns on these prehistoric teeth have been tested against wear patterns crated by both metal and organic bits on modern horses and the results are remarkably similar.  The first metal bits appeared around 1300 BCE and were made of bronze, and later this changed to iron.  

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Contact

Contact Us
Office Address:

97 East Lake Ramp NE
Airdrie, AB
T4A 0C3
Phone: 403-420-5949
Fax: 403-948-2069