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Treading Carefully On PEI

Published: February 20, 2018 2:57 pm ET

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Standardbred horsemen on Prince Edward Island were recently featured in a brief story by the CBC, but it had nothing to do with their on-track exploits.

The reason the horsemen were profiled was because of shoeing – more specifically, the proactive measures that are taken to ensure that Standardbreds are safe during winter months.

Although North America has been given a bit of a break from the frigid temperatures over the last week or so, horsemen Adam Merner and Ronnie Gass aren’t taking anything for granted when it comes to winter’s icy conditions.

Merner has been busy switching many Standardbreds over to corks, as icy paddocks have made footing just a bit tricky. The horses have also been on a reduced jogging schedule – reduced to two to three days from five – due to the terrain.

Standardbreds pictured taking it easy over icy conditions (Image courtesy Brian Higgins / CBC)

The CBC piece explains that roughly 35 of the 90 horses at Dusty Lane Farms have now been shod with corks to deal with the slippery going.

Dusty Lane Farms Owner Ronnie Gass has said that his crew has been applying straw and manure over icy patches to give the stock some better footing. The veteran horseman has said that the horses are well aware of the conditions and are handling them appropriately.

“You'll see them (the horses) not doing anything," said Gass. "And the weather changes, next thing, they're running and playing again. They know the difference."

Echoing what scores of horsepeople annually say around this time of year, Merner concluded the CBC piece by saying, "I'll be glad to see 30-degree weather and the starting gate back on the racetrack."

(With files from the CBC)

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