Equine education center wins Equestrian Canada award

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The Equine Guelph Team gather around "Shorty Legs". Equine Guelph has received the Equestrian Canada Health and Welfare Award for 2019.
The Equine Guelph Team gather around “Shorty Legs”. Equine Guelph has received the Equestrian Canada Health and Welfare Award for 2019. © Dave Landry

Canada’s Equine Guelph has been named as the recipient of the Equestrian Canada Health and Welfare Award for 2019, recognising its contribution to the improvement of horse health and welfare in the country.

Equine Guelph, based at the University of Guelph in Ontario, is recognized as an international leader in promoting the health, welfare and safety of horses and their caretakers. Acting as a vital link between industry, research, and horse owners and caretakers, Equine Guelph has been a pioneer in the development of evidence-based, award-winning online education since 2002.

From nutrition to disease prevention to stable management, Equine Guelph offers more than 20 courses through its Equine Certificate and Diploma programs, which attract 900 students per year from more than 40 countries. Its programs are senate-reviewed and have received both provincial and national academic awards.

Applauded for their collaborative approach to equine education, Equine Guelph has partnered with the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare since 2012 in developing the Equine Welfare Certificate. The program focuses solely on the welfare of horses from a practical, evidence-based approach and has garnered global recognition. As a result of this program, Equine Guelph Director Gayle Ecker has been invited to attend the World Horse Welfare Conference in London each year since 2015.

Equine Guelph has also built lasting partnerships with national and provincial equestrian organizations that have resulted in the creation of vital tools for equestrians, including TheHorsePortal.ca. The flexible, online health and welfare courses offered through TheHorsePortal.ca feature short, practical courses accessible from all web-based devices for busy equestrians, and provide continuing education credits, as well as opportunities to engage in peer-to-peer discussion and engagement.

Other innovative programs Equine Guelph has pioneered in recent years include EquiMania! – a unique travelling exhibit that has won two international awards for educating youth on horse health, welfare and safety. Equine Guelph has also developed a hands-on training course specifically for SPCA agents and inspectors responsible for equine welfare assessment. In addition, Equine Guelph created the Ontario Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Program to help first responders in the safe handling of large animals that require emergency rescue, while their Fire Prevention program trains horse and facility owners in fire risk reduction within barns.

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