A Canadian agricultural society has given Equine Guelph a gift of $150,000 over three years that will go towards its Large Animal Emergency Rescue (LAER), Equine JobTrack and EquiMania! youth programs.
The donation from the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) is the beginning of a multi-year initiative to continue building and developing Guelph’s programs.
GRAS President Garth Green said the society was thrilled to once again partner with Equine Guelph in the launch of the latest initiatives.
“There is such a natural fit between our organizations through Grand River Raceway, but it goes further with our commitment to youth and education,” he said.
Supporting the development of the three programs aligns with GRAS’s “desire as an organization to improve accessibility, and inspire innovation and leadership in the industry”.
The Large Animal Emergency Rescue program, which has provided training for hundreds of first responders in Ontario, will be expanded into a hybrid micro-credential model. The new models will feature a series of short online Awareness Level courses as well as offerings of a hands-on workshop for Operational Level.
Program co-ordinator Dr Susan Raymond said the first foray into webinars for the awareness level workshop proved hugely successful, with all four webinars launched in 2021 selling out quickly. “The 90-minute online sessions introduced best practices for mitigating both handler and animal risk for successful rescues and provided a foundation for future hands-on practical training,” Raymond said.
The development of the hybrid model will allow a high number of participants to access introductory training material online, while providing critical hands-on training at an advanced level to first responders.
Equine Guelph director Gayle Ecker said Grand River had already been instrumental in the re-development of Equine Guelph’s widely used job board, with the relaunch of the 20-year-old JobTrack in the summer of 2021 as EquineJobTrack.ca, a more powerful platform for connecting job seekers and employers with expanded search and sort functions.
“The goal of Equine Job Track has always been to link jobs with training to support growth of the equine industry and rural development in Ontario and now thanks to ongoing generous support from GRAS, continued expansion nationwide is planned.”
The highly interactive EquiMania! program has been responsible for introducing a slew of kids to the world of horses. Whether seeing the exhibit at a fair or trade show or visiting the online activities at EquiMania.ca, learning about caring for horses and how to be an integral part of their world has always been fun. The support from GRAS will help ensure the addition of new programs to engage the passionate, next generation of the equine industry.