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January 18, 2023


September 29, 2022

Guelph, ON Sept. 28, 2022 – Heaves is known as a disease that can leave a horse struggling to breathe, ending athletic careers and even rendering a pleasure horse unsuitable for riding. Commonly known today as equine asthma, it’s an irreversible disease brought on by repeated exposure to dust and moulds. Ontario Veterinary College researcher, Doctor Bienzle has a long history of primary and collaborative work studying asthma in horses. Her most recent contributions include working with a group of researchers in Slovenia, investigating stem cells as a potential treatment option.

Bienzle explains the usual causes of heaves are long term exposure to dusty or mouldy hay, bedding, dusty environments and sometimes even grass in hot humid climates that provide the right conditions for mould to thrive. “Horses get sensitized to these components in the inhaled air and with time, they develop airway inflammation and that begins to manifest with occasional coughing or runny nose.”

With continued exposure to the same particulates, the condition worsens, and the coughing becomes more continuous. The nose may be running and then there is thickening of the bronchial wall in the lung. There is extra smooth muscle being laid down and it becomes hard for the horse to exhale against mucus and inflammatory cells in the lumen of the airway.

In the later stages of disease, horses can develop a ‘heaves line’ (hypertrophic abdominal muscles are recruited to assist with exhaling air).  By the time equine asthma is diagnosed, it has usually been present for a few years, if not several. Treatment of the symptoms includes immunosuppression, but the disease cannot be reversed.

“The vast majority of the horses are unable to perform as athletic horses or even as a companion horse with a little bit more strenuous riding,” says Bienzle.  “It’s an incurable disease for the most purposes. It’s somewhat treatable, but not curable.”

Dr. Bienzle elaborates on the importance of good hay, clean air and other important stable management considerations in a video interview where she goes on to explain the exciting new research investigating stem cells as a potential future treatment option.

The potential to downregulate inflammation with a biologic therapy like stem cells versus traditional drugs, like corticosteroids is clearly attractive. For administration of treatment, Bienzle explains there are already well-developed methods for examining the lower airway using endoscopes.  Administering stem cells using this targeted method may be an appealing option versus intravenously where it is uncertain where the treatment ends up.

When explaining the challenges and expertise required to produce stem cells, Bienzle says, “This is not for the casual investigator because it takes some experience to have the right culture conditions to make sure those cells are clean. They are not cultured for very long, and when the final preparation is administered to an animal, it must be free of cell culture components that could make inflammation worse.”

The preliminary, proof of concept work is quite exciting, with stem cell therapy outperforming traditional corticosteroids. Stem cells have no side effects per se, as many drugs do, which makes the study of biologic treatments very attractive.

This study, Effect of intrabronchial administration of autologous adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells on severe equine asthma, published in Stem Cell Research and Therapy, was funded by the Slovenian Research Agency fund. The ground-breaking work is in its infancy with future studies planned which could one day help horses, and potentially humans suffering from asthma utilizing biologic therapy.

More tips on equine respiratory health available for download at Equine


September 16, 2022


September 12, 2022

Good Morning Members,

Please be advised Woodbine’s track surfaces team will be adding gel to the Main Track after training on Monday September 12th.


HBPA of Ontario



September 1, 2022


The HBPA will be giving away free backpacks to backstretch workers starting at 9:00am on Wednesday September 7 at Woodbine and 9:00am on Friday September 9 at Fort Erie.

This giveaway is for current AGCO licensed Trainers, Assistant Trainers, Grooms, Exercise Riders and Hotwalkers.

Please note all applicable backstretch COVID protocols will be enforced, face masks, social distancing and your AGCO license is required to receive a backpack.


Equine Guelph is offering their youth safety education program once again this year. The Horse Behaviour & Safety youth course is free to teenagers (ages 13-17) for the next three months.   Visit for more information.


August 30, 2022

Owners and trainers are reminded to please support the 2022 CTHS Premier Yearling Sale tomorrow by making a purchase and you too could own the next Queen’s Plate hopeful!

Did you know three horses which were purchased from the Ontario CTHS sale competed in this year’s Queen’s Plate?

With the success of last years visit, the board of the HBPA has sponsored the return of the Ice Cream Truck!

Join us this Wednesday, August 31st at the Woodbine Sales Pavilion for the 2022 Yearling Sale.


August 25, 2022

HBPA Members,

With the running of this year’s Queen’s Plate behind us, we look forward to our next significant industry event the annual Canadian Ontario Premier Yearling Sale being held this coming Wednesday August 31st at 12:00 pm at the Woodbine Sales Pavilion.

The catalogue has over 200 Ontario Bred Yearlings represented from 67 individual Stallions.  The lineup of leading Ontario Sires includes yearlings by Silent Name (JPN), Souper Speedy, Old Forester and Society’s Chairman.

Yearlings from first crop yearling sires such as Catholic Boy, Flameaway, Heart to Heart and Yoshida (JPN) will be represented.  As well as first crop 2 year old Sires Always Dreaming, Amis Gizmo, Army Mule, Collected, Danish Dynaformer, Ransom the Moon and Seattle Serenade. 

Ontario Bred/Sired Thoroughbreds continue to achieve success both here in Ontario and throughout North America. More than ever, it pays to Breed, Buy and Race in Ontario.

I want to personally applaud and thank the Breeders of Ontario for their continued dedication to our Industry.

It is very important we support our local breeders who work hard to supply us with quality horses for racing. I encourage owners and trainers to buy at our local sale.

If planning to attend this coming Wednesday August 31st, 2022, sales, please visit the CTHS Ontario website for more information at or call them at 416-675-3602.

See you at the Sale,

Sue Leslie


August 12, 2022


Last week the HBPA arranged for an Ice Cream truck to visit the backstretch at Fort Erie and Woodbine Racetracks. Trainers, Assistant Trainers, Exercise Riders, Grooms and Hotwalkers were able to visit the truck to get a cool refreshing treat courtesy of the HBPA.


Hot Dog Day is coming soon to the backstretch at Woodbine and Fort Erie Racetracks. Trainers, Assistant Trainers, Exercise Riders, Grooms and Hotwalkers can visit the backstretch kitchens on the dates below to receive a Hot Dog, drink, and bag of Chips courtesy of the HBPA.

Fort Erie

Backstretch BBQ – Tues Aug 16th    11am to 1pm


Backstretch Kitchen – Wed Aug 24th 10am to 1pm


August 8, 2022

Our Executive Administrator, Wendy Muir, is retiring at the end of the year, and we need to hire her replacement! The ideal candidate –

Is very knowledgeable about horses and the racing industry

Is familiar with the members of Ontario’s racing community

Is able to work independently and can adapt to flexible hours

Has computer skills and is competent with Word and Excel

Has excellent interpersonal skills and can interact well with fellow workers

Is passionate about our mandate to provide Ontario’s thoroughbred racehorses with a happy and dignified retirement

Salary commensurate with experience. Should be available to start November as Wendy will be available to help with the transition until the holidays.


Please send your resume to: LongRun Thoroughbred Retirement Society 555 Rexdale Blvd, P.O. Box 156, Toronto, ON M9W 5L2 416-675-3602 ex. 1-3440