Canadian equine leader up for Equine Industry Vision Award

Equine Guelph's Gayle Ecker with students. Ecker has been nominated for the Equine Industry Vision Award.
Equine Guelph’s Gayle Ecker with students. Ecker has been nominated for the Equine Industry Vision Award. © David Briggs

Equine Guelph director Gayle Ecker is among four finalists for the prestigious Equine Industry Vision Award for 2015.  

A record 25 nominees were made for the award, which recognises innovation, leadership and service in North America.

The winner of the Equine Industry Vision Award, sponsored by Zoetis, will be announced on June 19. The trophy, created by master artisan Peter Wayne Yenawine, will be presented at the American Horse Publication Tally-Ho at the Alamo Seminar in San Antonio, Texas.

“To be selected as one of the four top finalists for this prestigious award is truly an honour,” Ecker said. “Many thanks go out to our sponsors, partners, donors and supporters that make it possible for Equine Guelph to promote horse health and welfare through our education programs.” 

Gayle Ecker
Gayle Ecker

Ecker has been the Senior Manager of Equine Guelph, part of Canada’s University of Guelph, since its inception in 2003, and played an instrumental role in its birth. She has dedicated her energies to advancing the equine industry through education and unications. Gayle created the ‘pyramid of education’ model – an educational approach that provides learning pathways for career development at all levels in the equine industry. In collaboration with the Office of Open learning, Gayle developed the Equine Science Certificate program, an on-line program targeted to the equine industry. She also acts as an instructor in the program.

Ecker started riding before she could walk. A dappled grey Shetland pony named Pogo was her first mount, and spent her youth competing at Arabian shows. A former researcher, Ecker’s expertise is in the area of exercise physiology. She has been the Assistant Chef d’Equipe for the Canadian Endurance Team, traveling around the globe with the team to international events including the Pan-Am and World Endurance Championships. These days, Ecker takes pleasure in riding her two Quarter horses through the wooded trails of her country home.

The other three finalists for the Equine Industry Vision Award were: Equus Foundation, a charitable foundation providing financial support and services to equine charities across the United States; Jim McGarvey, Chairman of the Board, Back Country Horsemen of America; Juli S. Thorson, Editor-at-Large, Horse & Rider.

The Equine Industry Vision award has been presented 13 times since its inception in 2002 to top industry professionals and equine institutes. AHP director, Chris Brune said: “It represents that these individuals and organizations are being recognized for making a real difference in the horse world.”

Nominees included Chronicle of the Horse publisher Mark Bellissimo, cowboy dressage founder Eitan Beth-Halachmy, Equine Rescue Network founder Janine Jacques, Retired Racehorse Project, Water Hay Oats Alliance, and Riders4Helmets founder Lyndsey White.

Previous winners:

• Patti Colbert (2014)
• Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship (2013)
• Equine Land Conservation Resource (2012)
• Robert Cacchione (2011)
• John Nicholson (2010)
• Charlotte Brailey Kneeland (2009)
• Sally Swift (2008)
• David O’Connor (2007)
• Stanley F. Bergstein (2006)
• John Ryan Gaines (2005)
• American Quarter Horse Association (2004)
• Don Burt (2003)
• Alexander Mackay-Smith (2002)

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