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In Pictures: Horse-products supplier needs to corral potential losses

The owners of System Fencing, a company that has been in the horse fencing and equine equipment business for 25 years, face a challenge to keep their business viable after a government decision to end the Slots at Racetrack program

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Kevin and Dwayne Job from System Fencing in Rockwood, Ont., tour Robert Fellows Stables where their fencing is in use throughout.

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The brothers, who have been in the horse fencing and equine equipment business for 25 years, face a challenge to keep their business viable after a government decision to end the Slots at Racetrack program

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They say they have never encountered a bigger threat to their business – one of the largest suppliers of horse-related equipment and paraphernalia in Canada – than when the Ontario government announced earlier this year that it would end the Slots at Racetrack program next March 31.

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System Fencing in Rockwood has everything a person needs to care for their horse. They design and build custom fencing including, stalls and horse exercise equipment. They also have a complete tack shop on site with a farrier shop and horse blanket cleaning service.

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They design and build custom fencing including, stalls and horse exercise equipment. They also have a complete tack shop on site with a farrier shop and horse blanket cleaning service

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Tack shop manager at System Fencing in Rockwood, Kelly Smith takes an inventory of the Muck Boots sold at the shop on December 5, 2012

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A large selection of cowboy boots can be found in the tack shop at System Fencing in Rockwood

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Kevin Job spends time with his Great Dane Maverick in System Fencing farrier shop in Rockwood on December 5, 2012

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System Fencing has already seen revenues plunge in the harness racing side of its business – which makes up about 40 per cent of business – by about 15 per cent in the past four or five months. The Job brothers worry that the worst is yet to come.

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Toy horses on the tack shop shelves at System Fencing in Rockwood

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Fabricator Derek Wyatt talks to his bosses about the equine cold salt water spa he's making in System Fencing facility in Rockwood on December 5, 2012

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All of this has the co-owners of System Fencing wondering how to keep their business going, including whether they should make the tough decision to lay off up to 15 of their current staff of 35, many with very specialized experience and training.

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“It’s tougher and tougher right now. There’s not a lot of margin,” Dwayne Jobs says. “Do you start scaling down now? Or do you keep the status quo?

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Horse shoes hang on the wall in the farrier shop at System Fencing

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In the midst of uncertainty over the future of Ontario’s horse-racing industry, how should the company best move forward with its business? Should it already begin laying off employees or is there a way it can keep them on board? Read The Challenge to find out what experts say

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