When every second counts… Count on HAVEN

Written by System Fence Wednesday, August 10, 2016

When every second counts… Count on HAVEN

The HAVEN fire suppression safety device works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Left alone, the HAVEN can protect your loved ones and your valuables for 10 years. Operating independently, the HAVEN can be placed virtually anywhere – new or existing buildings -  without expensive plumbing or installation costs.  Since cold temperatures don’t affect its performance, the HAVEN is perfect for use in outbuildings of all kinds.  With its heat-activated trigger the HAVEN will discharge automatically at 135ᵒF (57ᵒC). HAVEN has been independently tested to provide effective fire suppression up to a 16’x16′ area. It can stop the fire before it spreads, even when no one is around.

The ABC dry chem inside the HAVEN is non-toxic, similar to what’s used inside a typical fire extinguisher, except it is 90% suppressant and 10% filler, whereas most fire extinguishers are 60% suppressant and 40% filler. It leaves no water damage after a fire is suppressed. 

Gary van Bolderen of Dutch Masters Design and Construction, an award winning builder of Equestrian facilities, states “This should be installed in every mechanical room, kitchen, laundry room, and wherever fires are most likely to start. It is a “no brainer”. At the barn and at home this will save lives and property. We will be installing them in every barn we build.”

In rural areas, when water supply may be insufficient, when barns or outbuildings are unattended, and when fire responders may be ten or fifteen minutes from arriving at a farm, the difference between a complete loss or a suppressed fire can be counted in minutes, even seconds.  When every second counts… Count on the HAVEN .

To see a video of how the Haven can help you, click here.


Posted in General

Keeping Your Horse Hydrated In the Heat

Written by Mike Stradiot, Drinking Post Monday, July 11, 2016

Keeping Your Horse Hydrated In the Heat

Hydration is of dire importance with horses. There are many reasons this is true, including the most basic. Along with minerals, fat, vitamins, protein, and carbohydrates; water is the most important of the six basic nutrient categories that must be met for horses to live. Without water, horses would survive less than a couple of days. Without feed (and access to clean water) they would survive four to five times longer.

Water plays a critical role in a horse's digestive health and ability. Their high fiber diet consisting heavily of hay, grains, grass, etc requires lots of water to continuously help all the fiber work its way through a horse's digestive tract.

Physically keeping cool (thermoregulation) is one of the biggest and most important reasons horses need so much water. Horses are members of a distinct group of mammals that sweat when it’s hot to cool down. This requires tremendous amounts of water given the size of horses.

Following are some things to keep in mind, guidelines, best practices, and tips in regard to keeping your horses hydrated in the summer months.

Important Facts to Keep In Mind

In the back of our mind we all understand the importance of water. However, it’s easy to get caught in the daily bustle of farm maintenance. Hydration is arguably the most important factor in equine health and wellness. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the easiest and most often overlooked. Below are some facts about horses and hydration that are good to be aware of as we make our way through the heat of summer.

  • Horses consume less water if the water is hot.
  • Algae growth can lead to foul tasting water. This will decrease consumption.
  • The average 1,000 lb. horse will drink around 10 gallons of water per day. This water intake requirement can double during extreme conditions. The hotter the climate, higher the humidity, and the harder the horse is working the more this applies.
  • When humidity is over 75% sweating as a cooling mechanism is considerably less effective. This is because at this high humidity, sweat no longer evaporates off a horse, thereby providing a cooling effect. Above 75% humidity, sweat has a tendency to simply bead up and run off a horse without evaporating (cooling down the horse).
  • Horses that have limited access to water, or only have access to lower or poor quality water, are at a higher risk for impaction colic, kidney failure, or any host of other dehydration related ailments.
  • Providing fresh, clean, cool water at all times is the easiest way to encourage and promote optimum water consumption
  • While eating dry hay and grains horses will consume more water than they would when feeding on a green pasture.
  • Water needs to be kept clean to prevent further complications. Left unchecked, dirty water can breed disease causing parasites like Leptospirosis bacteria and pinworms.

Watering Tips


  • Use shade to help keep water cool in the summer. Any standing water you’re able to get into the shade, even if only for part of the day, will help keep standing water cooler. This could mean strategically placing your buckets or troughs next to buildings, under overhangs, trees, or any other safe source of shade.


  • Salt loss occurs with sweating. Severe sweating can lead to severe electrolyte loss. Left unchecked this can cause muscle cramping, fatigue, colic, and more. If exercising your horse in the heat, you may consider utilizing an electrolyte supplement to help combat salt loss that will inevitably accompany heavy sweating.

Keep it Cool!

  • Freezing blocks of ice and placing them in a water trough can help keep water cooler than it would be otherwise.


  • If all else fails, or it’s your only option, frequently cycling out stagnant or warm water in your buckets, troughs, and automatic waterers with fresh cool water will go a long ways to improving water quality and thereby water consumption.

Physical Inspection

  • Just because you visually see water, it’s best to physically touch it as well. This will help identify if the water has become too warm for consumption, or in the case of some electric automatic waterers, if it is malfunctioning and the water has an electric charge.

Common Watering Options


Buckets are cheap, quick, and easy to implement. It doesn’t get much simpler. Unfortunately, due to the small container size, they are the quickest to heat up. This means if you’re watering with buckets during hot summer months be sure to check and most likely expect to change water at minimum of two to three times per day.


Trough’s have some upside over buckets. Specifically because the container is larger, it takes more time and heat to overheat the water. Of course it also takes time to cool off, time to scrub the algae out of them, and more time to fill them afterwards. While it’s unlikely we have any groundbreaking information on the traditional water trough, you can consider this a friendly reminder to keep em’ clean and cool ;)

Automatic Float Waterers

This is by far the most common automatic waterer. There are hundreds of brands of this type of waterer (chances are you own one) and by definition they all share a couple things in common. First, they operate using what is called a ‘float valve’. This is because there is a component inside the waterer that floats in the water (like in the back of your toilet). As animals consume water and the water level decreases, the float moves up and down with the water level. The float moving down opens a valve that automatically fills the bowl with fresh water.

The other common attribute to this type of waterer is standing water. Depending on the brand of automatic waterer many attributes can vary. These attributes include: the size and color of the waterer, the amount of standing water and its exposure to or insulation from the elements, whether is it a permanently installed unit, or one that connects to a garden hose and hangs on a fence line, the number of head the unit can service, and the variations go on and on. However, in the middle of the day, they all have one thing in common, standing water.

While automatic waterers are an incredible convenience, owning one does not mean you can mark this chore as complete and ignore it. Using this type of automatic waterer in hot summer months means you will need to be vigilant to ensure the container remains free of algae, rodents, feces, and other contaminants that discourage water intake; and most importantly you will want to monitor the water to make sure it does not get so hot your animals won’t drink it.

Frost Free Automatic Waterers

One waterer that that’s a bit different is the frost free automatic waterer that brings water up from below ground with each use. Instead of using a float valve, they operate more similar to a yard hydrant. There is never any standing water above ground. When the valve is activated by depressing a paddle, fresh, clean, cool water comes up from below ground. If you’re unfamiliar with this style of waterer you can check out Drinking Post as an example.

The main drawback to this watering option is that it is a permanently installed unit, so it does require digging down to and connecting directly to your water supply line. However, once these units are installed, your animals have permanent, year-round access to fresh, clean, cool water at all times.

Know the Warning Signs of Dehydration

Clearly the best course of action is to prevent dehydration. However, things do not always go as planned. As a reasonable safety precaution, everyone should be aware of how to identify the signs of dehydration and perform a few quick field tests.

The Beginning Signs

The first indications of dehydration may be physical. If you notice your horse seems slow, tired, depressed, or possibly a little bit less coordinated than usual, be alert! These can all be physical signs of dehydration. The visual cues to be cognizant of include: sunken or dull eyes, excessively thick saliva, dry skin, dry mouth, and/or drawn up flanks. Any or all of these signs may be exhibited, which is why it’s important to keep an eye out for any of these telltale signs when working with or caring for your horses in the heat.

The Skin Pinch Test

This is the most common and well know test. To perform, pinch up a fold of the horse’s skin and then let go. With a fully hydrated horse, the skin will immediately return back to its natural position. The more dehydrated a horse is, the longer this pinch of skin will remain in a ridge after pinching. A pinch that remains for 2 to 5 seconds may indicate mild dehydration. A pinch that remains a ridge for 10 to 15 seconds is a sign of severe dehydration. If you ever experience this, immediate heat relief, hydration efforts, and medical attention should be sought immediately. This can be a life threatening situation.

Other Indicators

The normal color of horses gums are bubblegum pink. If you notice their gums change color and are not moist as they usually are, this is a warning sign. You can also watch for an elevated pulse or heart rate. The normal heart rate for an adult horse is roughly 28 to 40 beats per minute.

While no field test is ever able to provide 100% accuracy, these tests are certainly good indicators and tools that, when used properly, and in conjunction with other visual and physical cues, should allow you identify dehydration signs at their onset. Identifying dehydration early (especially in the summer heat) will go a long way in helping you prevent more serious heat related health concerns.

If you are concerned that your horse may be experiencing the beginning symptoms of dehydration, thankfully this can usually be corrected by offering clean, fresh, palatable water. If your diagnosis is correct, symptoms should begin to improve within a few minutes. If symptoms worsen, or do not improve, you should seek professional medical assistance. It is always best to err on the side of caution when confronted with serious medical issues such as dehydration and the potential of heat stroke.

The Roundup

There is nothing more important to a horse’s health than staying hydrated and promoting maximum water intake during the hot summer months. The most important factor in proper hydration is ensuring ample supply to fresh, clean, cool water.

All things considered, it’s a great convenience and often a huge improvement to utilize a frost free style waterer, such as the Drinking Post, that provides fresh, cool water from below ground with each use.

However, if you don’t find yourself in a position to do this, there is no need to fear! Just be cautious, use common sense, and remember to provide ample fresh, clean water when temperatures spike.

Posted in General

Classy Lane - Tragedy to Rebuild

Written by System Fencing Thursday, June 23, 2016

System Client Connections

Classy Lane - Tragedy to Rebuild

System Fencing would like to congratulate Jamie & Barb Millier owners of Classy Lane Stables and all the trainers/staff involved in the recent rebuild of their training centre which following a devastating fire in January destroyed a barn, 43 race horses and the belongings of the horsemen of Classy Lane Stables a Standardbred facility located in Puslinch, ON.  We wish them all great success in the future with this beautiful new building and in their racing endeavors.

System Fencing was happy to supply new stalls, rubber matting and inside products to get this barn operational as quickly as possible.  “It was a very tight time frame” said Vice-President Kevin Job “we wanted to jump in and help to make the rebuild happen as quickly as possible.  The builders did a great job getting the building up so quickly.”

Jamie Millier said he has been grateful to System Fencing for their support.  “They’ve always treated me very fair, and when the fire happened they realized, like a lot of people, ‘let’s chip in and see what we can do to help,’” Jamie said. “People like Kevin, it’s not only his business, it’s his livelihood and his way of life. This wasn’t stuff Kevin had sitting in storage or stock. He had to manufacture it; he just went out of his way to make sure he got it ready for us on time because he knew the importance of the date we wanted to be ready for because horses were coming back and we needed to be ready for that.

“Everyone in the horse business is in it more for the animals and the love of the sport. It’s not a huge moneymaker for the grooms and trainers, so they feel for the people in another barn when they have a problem just as much as the people with the problem do. Most of them have been there and done that and know what it’s like and they’ve seen the devastation in all the people’s eyes that were involved with the horses in the barn that burnt down, so they rallied to help.”

In under 5 months Classy Lane was back up and running.  We hope through education, fire safety and planning that we do not see another winter like this past winter for Horse barn fires.

The front of the rebuilt barn at Classy Lane

Inside the new barn at Classy Lane showing our Finishline Stalls, Interlocking Rubber Mats and Custom Harness Hooks

Finishline Stalls with Rubber Mats in the new barn

A view of some of Roger Mayotte's stable

Roger Mayotte, Kevin Job & Russ Taylor with multiple Stakes winner Elegant Serenity

Odyssey Performance Exerciser with a Half Roof Structure

Photos by Dave Landry Photography

Posted in General

Caledon creates lasting legacies of the Pan Am Games

Written by System Fence PGM Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Thank you, local businesses!

Caledon creates lasting legacies of the Pan Am Games


Description: gravel-garden-this one


With pride, the Town of Caledon officially unveiled a spectacular gravel garden on the northeast corner of Old Church Road and Highway 50. The garden depicts the jumping horse, Caledon’s official icon of the Pan Am Games, and will serve as a reminder of the summer of 2015 for years to come.

“It’s another proud Caledon moment today as we unveil this gravel garden,” said Mayor Allan Thompson.  “It is through the relationships with Caledon that this became a reality.  Thank you to the businesses who stepped up to create this lasting legacy,” said Mayor Allan Thompson.

Cornerstone Landscaping, Marrex Construction and Excavating Ltd., Sunshine Design and Construction Ltd. and Verti-crete of Bolton played instrumental roles in transforming this quiet corner into a Games’ legacy.

Posted in General

Product Spotlight: Smart Cart

Written by System Fencing Thursday, September 11, 2014

Horse people are crazy for the Smart Carts, and why shouldn’t they be?

The Smart Cart’s unique design and workhorse durability have been making fans around the farm for nearly 40 years now. Everyone loves the 2-wheeled design with its centre of gravity right where it belongs--directly over the wheels and axle.

Hauling 400 pounds in a single-wheeled cart has always guaranteed you a workout. No sweat with the Smart Cart though.

Posted in General