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EquiMania! is sure to be hopping with fun new activities for Royal Agricultural Winter Fair visitors this November 3 - 12!  Equimaniacs can expect to don the ever-popular horse hats while learning all about horses in an interactive way.  New this year, is a hopscotch game encouraging kids to Stop, Think and Act, making good choices when it comes to safety around the farm.   While engrossed in the well-travelled, award-winning display, kids and parents will learn more about horses and safety inside the stable and out, around equipment and when handling them.   Equine Guelph, in partnership with Ontario Equestrian, will be promoting "Ticket to Ride" for a fourth time at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. The "Ticket to Ride" program is proving hugely popular offering youth an opportunity for a FREE introductory riding lesson (or introduction to horses) at participating OE member riding facilities.  Visit EquiMania! for more details.   "Equine Guelph is proud to be presenting EquiMania! for its eleventh consecutive year at the Royal," says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph.  "We are always educating kids and adults about equines in a fun way, and thanks to the generosity of our loyal partners and volunteers, we are able to keep bringing important safety messages with engaging new activities!"   Equine Guelph would like to thank the Royal Winter Fair for bringing EquiMania to their Education Centre and our sponsors for their continued support:  Esso, Greenhawk, Kubota Canada, Ontario Equestrian, Shur-Gain, Standardbred Canada, SSG Gloves, System Fencing and Workplace Safety and Prevention Services.  Equine Guelph is looking forward to another busy year of touring with EquiMania! in 2018!     To book EquiMania!  for your event in 2018, contact eq4kids@uoguelph.ca  

Guelph, Ontario - Equine Guelph announces the free offering of the new 'Gut Health & Colic Prevention' online course to the first 50 grooms and trainers to register from each racing sector in Ontario: Standardbred, Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse racing. The three-week online course will run this winter from January 22 - February 11, 2018 on Equine Guelph's new online training platform, The Horse Portal.  According to the 2016 Equine Guelph Horse Racing Industry Survey, gut issues were ranked as the number three health issue behind respiratory issues and injuries. Not only is colic the number one killer of horses, but it is a major issue facing the horse racing industry. Excessive amounts of grain in the diet and forage variation are thought to contribute to an increased risk of colic and other gut issues. Changes in stabling, exercise level and stress may also cause an increased risk of colic.  "Educating the horse racing community on how to reduce the risk of colic and gut issues will be extremely valuable to grooms and trainers," says Hugh Mitchell, Chair of Ontario Racing. He adds, "This training will also benefit the health and well-being of the elite equine athletes as well." The three-week online short course will be flexible and practical with content appropriate for the racing industry. The course will be delivered from respected experts from the horse racing community. For the first time, trainers and grooms from the three sectors will come together in discussion groups to share expertise and experience with each other.  "Offering the 'Gut Health & Colic Prevention' course at no charge will be an appealing way to engage the racing community to try out flexible, online learning on The Horse Portal," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. To register, go to www.TheHorsePortal.ca/OntarioRacing and apply the appropriate coupon code for the free course valued at $95. Registration for the 150 free courses will be administered on a first-come-first-served basis to the first 50 trainers and grooms from each sector. This program is an online training partnership between Ontario Racing and Equine Guelph, with funding provided by Grand River Agricultural Society. Project partners include: Central Ontario Standardbred Association, The Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. and Standardbred Canada. The online course is sponsored by Intercity Insurance Services Inc. and Capri Insurance Services Ltd. For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca/Ontario Racing   Story by:  Henrietta Coole      

The Ohio State Racing Commission (OSRC) hosted the first of several medication forums on Sept. 26, 2017 at the Riffe Center in Columbus, Ohio. A well-attended crowd listened to testimony from veterinarians and horsemen’s representatives during the near three-hour forum. “We were seeking practical insight into medication issues affecting horses racing in Ohio,” explained Dr. James Robertson, OSRC consulting veterinarian. “We also wanted input from experts who have been involved with medication issues affecting racehorses and horsemen on the national level.” A trio of Ohio-based, practicing veterinarians—all with extensive knowledge of equine athletic physiology, including Dr. F. John Reichert, Dr. Scott Shell and Dr. Dan Wilson—provided insight into their daily regimes of caring for the equine athlete, both Standardbred and Thoroughbred.  As well, Dr. Clara Fenger, a central-Kentucky-based equine practitioner and founder of North American Association of Racetrack Veterinarians (NAARV); Dr. Tom Tobin, a toxicologist, pharmacologist and veterinarian at the University of Kentucky’s Dept. of Veterinary Science; and Dr. Alicia Bertone, an equine orthopedic surgeon from The Ohio State University’s Dept. of Veterinary Clinical Sciences—presented their views on racetrack medication and practical applications facing veterinarians today. A second medication forum will be held immediately following the OSRC monthly meeting on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 at 10 am in Room 1948 at the Riffe Center, 77 South High Street, Columbus, OH.  All horsemen and the public are invited to attend.  Anyone wishing to speak is asked to contact Bill Crawford at the OSRC by Oct. 20, 2017. Kimberly Rinker OSDF Administrator Ohio State Racing Commission

Guelph - ON   Dr. Janet Beeler Marfisi has always had an interest in equine health, as her father owned Standardbred racehorses giving her plenty of exposure to horses from a young age. Her particular interest in equine lung health was piqued while working for mobile equine vet, Dr. John Hennessey, in the summers prior admission to the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College as a DVM student.   After graduation in 2007, she won a scholarship as an American College of Veterinary Pathologists - Society of Toxicologic Pathology Coalition Fellow which allowed her to pursue a DVSc at OVC. Mentored by Dorothee Bienzle, Pathobiology, and Laurent Viel, Clinical Studies, her thesis work focussed on the development of heaves, or severe asthma, in horses.   Beeler-Marfisi, a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Pathologists in Clinical Pathology, joined OVC's Pathobiology department in early 2017, and teaches DVM and graduate courses. Her current research is focused on finding better ways of diagnosing lung disease in cats, dogs, and horses using cell markers and flow cytometry. An additional area of focus is studying asthma in young horses to see if, similar to people in Ontario, there is a cause and effect relationship between air pollution and asthma in horses. Ultimately the research may help trainers and horse owners to modify how and when they train the horses.   She brings extensive experience in diagnostics and teaching to her role at OVC. Beeler-Marfisi was an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pathology and Clinical Pathologist at Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine, and more recently worked as a Diagnostic Clinical Pathologist in New Zealand.   Being a teacher is helping to guide students, says Beeler-Marfisi, not only teaching them what the laboratory data they will be encountering on a daily basis means, but also "what to do when you don't know the answer."   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca.    

Guelph, Ontario - On October 2-22, 2017, Equine Guelph will bring together horse enthusiasts from across Canada and beyond with its new Horse Safety & Behaviour course.     The three-week online short course has already caused a stir in the equine industry with adults who have benefitted from this invaluable information for anyone involved with horses.   When hearing this offering was also going out to youth between age 14 and 17, safety crusader Jacqueline Brooks was quick to lend her support promoting education on rider safety.     Canadian Jacqueline Brooks was one of the first Grand Prix dressage riders to routinely wear a helmet in international competition.     Learn more about staying safe around horses in Equine Guelph's Behaviour and Safety 3 week online course. Offerings for Adults and Youth (14 - 17).   Course Topics:    The Horse in the Wild - A Herd and Flight Animal  The Modern Day Horse  How Horses See and Hear  Herd Behaviour - How Horses Interact with Each Other  Horse Handling/Approaching a Horse  Rider/Helmet Safety  Trailer Loading Safety Basics  Safety around the Barn and Paddocks  Fire Safety  Returning from an Injury   The course will be delivered on The Horse Portal - Equine Guelph's new e-training platform designed to provide a practical, common sense community approach to learning for horse enthusiasts of all ages.   "We are proud that our first online course for youth will deliver safety training to this grassroots segment of our industry," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "The Horse Portal will bring together our young people in a safe, online community where they will learn how to 'speak horse' - and, ultimately, stay safe around horses and on the farm!"   Made possible by a grant from the Grand River Agricultural Society, Equine Guelph has developed the course for youth aged 14-17 and will also offer an adult version scheduled to run at the same time, Oct 2 - 22, 2017.   Equine Guelph has partnered with all English-speaking equestrian federations across Canada and a special 10% course discount is available for both adult and junior members. In addition, 50 free courses are on offer to 4-H Horse Club Members and 50 for Ontario Equestrian Federation Junior Members on a first-come-first served basis.   For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca  

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has announced an extension of its employment assistance program to benefit all industry players. HRV People and Culture Manager Isabella Galati described the HRV Industry Assistance Program (IAP) as a confidential, professional, coaching and support service delivered by Davidson Trahaire Corpsych (DTC). “The service is available at no cost to all licenced industry participants, including trainers, drivers and HRV, Tabcorp Park and country club employees/volunteers,” Ms Galati said. “The IAP can assist with a wide range of personal and work-related issues, including but not limited to anxiety, stress and depression, bereavement, grief and loss, personal trauma, dealing with change and career planning.” View the IAP information document online for all services provided (link) “One of our core values is empathy, which reflects our genuine care for the health and wellbeing of our participants,” HRV CEO David Martin said. “Today’s announcement provides confidential access to support for industry participants experiencing hardship, and I thank Isabella for her work on this.” Victorian Trainers and Drivers Association (VTDA) president Lance Justice welcomed today’s announcement. “We welcome this decision because the industry’s greatest assets are the people involved,” Justice said. “Trainers and drivers work long hours and it is hard work. That takes its toll and it is important our people have access to help when they need it and I’d encourage anyone feeling overwhelmed or in need of a helping hand to reach out. It’s important they know they’re not alone.” The Association of Country Clubs also welcomed the announcement. “We applaud HRV for making this service available across the Victorian industry,” association CEO Toby McKinnon said. “Being on the front foot regarding the welfare of our people is a very sensible strategy and we wholly support this announcement.” Find out more about the HRV IAP or contact DTC (link) Cody Winnell (HRV Media/Communications Manager)

Guelph, Ontario - Equine Guelph has announced its new Horse Safety & Behaviour course, marking its first online training offering available to youth in the Canadian equine industry. The three-week online short course will run from October 2-22, 2017 and bring together young horse enthusiasts from across Canada and beyond.   The course will be delivered on The Horse Portal - Equine Guelph's new e-training platform designed to provide a practical, common sense community approach to learning for horse enthusiasts of all ages.   Interacting with horses poses a high risk of injury to people of all ages. In Canada, horses are the #1 cause of animal-related injuries; 67% of animal-related injuries (requiring hospitalization) are caused by horses. All too often, injuries occur due to lack of education or understanding of equine behavior and proper handling practices. In fact, a current study shows that half of equine-related injury patients believe their injuries were preventable and due to human error.   "We are proud that our first online course for youth will deliver safety training to this grassroots segment of our industry," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "The Horse Portal will bring together our young people in a safe, online community where they will learn how to 'speak horse' - and, ultimately, stay safe around horses and on the farm!"   Made possible by a grant from the Grand River Agricultural Society, Equine Guelph will not only be developing the course for youth aged 14-17, but will also offer an adult version scheduled to run at the same time.   Equine Guelph has partnered with all English-speaking equestrian federations across Canada and a special 10% course discount is available for both adult and junior members. In addition, 50 free courses are on offer to 4-H Ontario Horse Club Members and 50 for Ontario Equestrian Federation Junior Members on a first-come-first served basis.   For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca   by: Henrietta Coole   Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada  

"One of a horse owner's greatest fears is seeing their 1,000 lb plus companion in peril," says Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc. (TLAER). "Couple that with not having the ability to do anything about it and not knowing who to call for help and the situation can quickly go wrong with panic stricken judgment calls that may result in a disastrous outcome for the equine."    Over thirty firefighters and first responders descended upon the Meaford Fire Department Training Centre in Ontario for intensive training on what to do in emergency situations. The three days of rigorous training, presented by Grey Highlands and Meaford Fire Departments and Equine Guelph, took place Apr 28 - 30 2017.    Chief Rod Leeson and Chief Scott Granahan opened with a safety briefing, followed by Dr. Gimenez raising awareness of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue concepts including how to deal with that panicked owner when arriving upon the scene. Problem solving utilizes the incident command system where cool heads prevail because everyone understands their role. This allows emergency responders, the veterinarian, owner and equipment operators, large animal ambulances etc. on the scene to communicate effectively and work together to find the best possible outcome.    First responders received important training in normal animal behaviour and what to expect when that animal becomes stressed, in order to proceed in a manner that keeps everyone safe from harm. Basic handling included how to approach livestock and where the blind zones and kick zones are located. How to create and secure an emergency halter and then restrain & lead the animal to a safe containment situation were more of the topics covered.    Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker, delivered a demonstration of great impact where equine anatomy and human anatomy was compared using life size skeletons of both. "Just as you would not pull a child out of a well by the arm; you cannot salvage a horse by wrapping a recovery strap to a limb without resulting in catastrophic damage," cautioned Ecker. For example, as easily as a human hand can be degloved, a horses tail can be removed if used to pull a horse out of a mud rescue situation. Limbs and tails are not handles!    Graphic and in-depth examples of What NOT to do were shown in case scenarios followed by hands on exercises included working with Rusti, the Rescue Horse mannequin. Gathering the proper equipment, the group practiced proper technique for drags and lifts to extricate a large animal from situations like a mud rescue, trench rescue or trailer roll over.    "This type of emergency rescue training is essential for first responders, and anyone involved with transporting livestock, to provide them the expertise they need to focus on the welfare and safety of animals and people in these sorts of emergency situations," says Ontario Veterinary College Dean Jeff Wichtel. "This is just one more example of the University of Guelph commitment to equine health and welfare, and the proactive training Equine Guelph provides to the equine industry, from horse owners to racing track personnel."    Special thanks to all the suppliers involved: Tractor/Equipment - Earth Power Equipment Meaford, livestock hauler - Aldcorn Brothers Company, Chapman's Ice Cream, water provided by Ice River Springs and last but not least, Abrams Towing and their recovery operator, John Allen.    Thank you to all the training crew expertly lead by Dr. Gimenez, Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc.:    · Victor MacPherson, Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department  · Deborah Chute, Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department  · Chris Watson, Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department  · Mark Whittick,Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department  · Wendy McIsaac-Swackhamer, Erin Fire and Emergency Services  · Beverley Sheremeto, Severn Fire & Emergency Services  · Robert Nagle, Central York Fire Services  · Penny Lawlis, consultant for Professional Livestock Auditing Inc.  · Cathy Furness, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs  · Katherine Hoffman, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs,  · Gayle Ecker, Equine Guelph, University of Guelph  · Susan, Raymond, Equine Guelph, University of Guelph    "Many commendations were made by the participants to the fire hall and the municipal offices thanking the instructors for coming to our community," said Chief Scott Granahan, "great things have come from this weekend. Thank you."    A Final Thank you from Equine Guelph goes out to everyone involved in this important training and the participants dedicated to safe and successful rescues of large animals.    By Jackie Bellamy-Zions    Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada  

In 2013, a devastating outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus One caused four confirmed cases in Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses and three confirmed deaths.   The development reinforced Equine Guelph's sense that the Ontario horse racing industry - one filled with high-value animals and frequent movement - was in need of further education on biosecurity and infectious disease prevention.   Accessing funding through the Agricultural Adaptation Council, Equine Guelph developed and delivered 'BIOSECURITY - Spread the word not the germs.' The first-of-its-kind campaign targeted infectious diseases in the Ontario horse racing industry. The initiative changed the equine industry's approach to biosecurity and delivered lasting resources still used today.   In order to reach such a broad community, Equine Guelph used a peer-to-peer educational approach to bring the industry together.   In April 2015, Equine Guelph started by educating horse racing officials. Ontario Racing Commission investigators, judges and stewards received training on biosecurity, arming the officials with the resources needed to visit all 10 Ontario race tracks in the spring and summer of 2015 to spread the word on biosecurity. On their visits, officials discussed how to improve biosecurity and provided an assortment of training materials.   The biosecurity campaign is more than just a communications success story; it created tangible resources for the equine industry, both racing and non-racing. The training content used has been added to Equine Guelph's equine biosecurity two-week online eWorkshop and has been modified and distributed to a general equine audience across Canada.   The project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.   Now available on TheHorsePortal.ca - all horse owners and care givers can learn Canada's biosecurity code for Equines.   You can also access Equine Guelph's free Biosecurity Calculator to evaluate the biosecurity risk on your farm. In 10 minutes you can be on your way to a biosecurity plan utilizing simple ways to protect your horse from infectious disease.      

Promotions, cup programs and ownership were top of the agenda when representatives of Victoria’s harness racing country clubs attended Tabcorp Park Melton today for the 2017 Club Marketing Seminar. More than 30 attendees represented the majority of the country clubs at the seminar, which featured a range of guest speakers. Association of Victorian Country Harness Racing Clubs CEO David Brick said the forum was a chance for the clubs and Harness Racing Victoria to discuss marketing and promotions strategies for cups, feature events, industry branding and strategic initiatives. “Forums such as these are vital to developing the relationship between clubs and HRV as well as developing the knowledge of club managers and secretaries,” Mr Brick said. “Importantly the forum provides an opportunity for clubs to network and discuss and share initiatives such as syndicates, race night video promotion and social and digital media advertising.” HRV CEO David Martin, who outlined his strategy as part of the seminar, said it was fantastic to be a part of forum that “encouraged proactive discussion between our dedicated country club administrators and HRV”. “It is important as an industry we are all working together and our marketing messages are on brand, closely aligned to our strategic goals and communicated openly to our country clubs,” Mr Martin said. The seminar began with a presentation by HRV marketing staff members Ryan Stanaway and Courtney Thompson, followed by a branding and advertising presentation by Matthew Kelly of Collaborate Communications. Opportunities via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund were detailed by Mark Brett from the Office Of Racing before Tori Glenister, HRV ownership manager, discussed club syndications. Mr Martin then closed the seminar with his presentation. Ms Thompson said the seminar had been an opportunity for HRV to help ensure the clubs had the tools to succeed in their marketing and media endeavours. “HRV has an important role to play in helping the clubs enact a modern, effective and consistent marketing strategy,” Ms Thompson said. “It was great to be able to get everyone in a room and to collectively set the foundations for another successful season.” Michael Howard (HRV Media/Communications Co-Ordinator)

Researchers in the New South Wales Hunter Valley have developed a new scientific method they say could boost horse breeding around the world. The scientists from the University of Newcastle have developed a new nutrient-rich liquid that is added to deposits of horse semen collected after ejaculation, which keeps the sperm alive for longer at an ambient temperature. Horse sperm have short lifespans, and traditionally to preserve them for longer than a few days, the samples had to be chilled or cryopreserved, which can be damaging to the cells. With the new liquid, the sperm could remain viable for up to two weeks, as opposed to about three days when chilled. This means higher-quality samples could be sent overseas for breeding programs in other countries, and they would have a greater chance of success. New collaboration leads to breeding research PHOTO: The NSW Hunter Valley is a renowned horse breeding location. (ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue)   The research came about after a linkage grant collaboration between stakeholders in the national and international equine sector, and included a number of universities. "There's sometimes a bit of a disconnect between what happens in the research world and what's happening out in the real world and in the industry," Aleona Swegen, a scientist working on the project, said. "There are some hurdles they come up against, especially in regards to fertility and how successful breeding programs can be. "Horses have, in a way, fallen behind a lot of the other animal industries. "We're working on a project that is hoping to improve fertility for horses. "This is a world-first in the scale of the project, but it's also really important that the industry are the ones who are initiating this, and they're coming to us with questions." Breakthrough could improve breeding options PHOTO: Horse sperm as seen under a microscope. (ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue)   The Hunter Valley is the world's second-largest Thoroughbred breeding area. While the Thoroughbred stud book does not allow the use of artificial insemination, other horse breeders are expected to benefit from the scientific breakthrough. "We're developing new media for the storage of horse semen at room temperature, so that we can potentially transport it around the world [without chilling or freezing the cells]," Zamira Gibb, a post-doctoral research fellow working on the project, said. "Once we collect the semen, we add our new semen extender. In that medium, which is just a liquid, we have components that will support their metabolism. "While they're actively metabolising, they're going to be producing a lot of reactive oxygen species and waste products, so there are other components in that media that will help to clean them up." Cryopreservation technology, where sperm is frozen, has been used for years, but the scientists said it increased the risk of damage to the sample. Storing the sperm at ambient temperature, with appropriate nutrients to support their survival, negated that risk. "The ability to transport sperm around the world has been around for the last 50 years, but it does require cryopreservation," Dr Gibb said. "The process of cryopreservation can be very damaging to the cells, and it can cause them to have an extremely reduced lifespan once you thaw them out, so the fertility is generally quite markedly reduced." New technique could break down international boundaries PHOTO: While the Thoroughbred studs are not allowed to use artificial insemination, other horse breeders are expected to benefit from the scientific breakthrough. (ABC Newcastle: Robert Virtue)   Jen Clulow, a veterinarian involved in the project, said the ability to transport sperm at ambient temperatures would help studs wanting to breed their horses with animals overseas. "If we were able to use our ambient temperature media to transport [sperm] from America to Australia to breed mares, then we would be able to potentially harness the genetic potential from that stallion and put it into an Australian horse population," she said. The researchers are trying to minimise potential biohazards and eliminate any bacterial contamination by investigating the best device to transport the sperm. Dr Swegen said it was an exciting development for the Hunter's breeding industry. "It is a wonderful advantage for the breeders in the area, and I think it's great they'll be able to get their hands on something that's a world-first," she said. "It's also great for the equine breeding industries around the world." Topics: animal-science, science-and-technology, newcastle-2300, university-of-newcastle-2308, scone-2337 By Robert Virtue Contact Robert Virtue Reprinted with permission of the ABC network

Racing harness horses runs in the family for Jordyn Bublitz​. "I've been with harness racing since I was a baby and then I've been doing Kidz Kartz for seven years," the 15-year-old said. "It's just family blood, third generation. It's pretty big, my whole family's in it." While her brother spent the Easter weekend racing in Australia, Jordyn travelled down from Cambridge to race in Hawera where she took home the 2017 Hawera Cup. READ MORE: * Kidz Kartz giving young Southlanders experience * Amateur driver races in Central Otago * Youngster New South Wales-bound * Harness racing festival rolls into Cromwell The competition was run by the Taranaki Kidz Kartz club in between the races of the Hawera Harness Racing Club's Easter meeting. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Jordyn travelled down from Cambridge to race in the event.   The ponies must be smaller than 15 hands high, around five feet, to compete, with the smallest barely reaching knee height at around five hands. Some of the riders, who range in age from 10 to 16, weren't much bigger themselves. Jordyn said it was the first time since 2014 that she had raced in Hawera, and it was also her horse Chaos' first racing season. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Nine young drivers competed over six races during the Hawera Harness Racing Club's Easter 2017 meeting.   "If he wins this it'll be his first cup," she said before the final race.   It turned out to be tight, with Jordyn coming out on top after six races on 49 points while Brianna Thomas came in second on 48 points and Shania Thomas came in third with 45 points. Another driver, Tayla Collins, 16, said she had been interested in horses ever since she was five, but had become interested in harness racing when her partner introduced her to the sport about three years ago. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Shania Thomas with her pony Wall leads the field out for the final race of the Hawera Cup.   "It's just the the adrenaline rush running down the straight, it's great," she said. "It's the wind blowing through your hair, it's good." While her weekend racing Turbo hadn't gone to plan, she was looking forward to next weekend when she would be heading up to Cambridge and Auckland for the Lizzie of Rosslands meeting. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Kara Ellis drives Phoebe around the bird cage.   "Yea, it could have been better but yea, it's fine. He'll get there," she said. "I've driven him every race this season." Taranaki Kidz Kartz president Kelvin Ellis said while there was a range of sizes among the horses competing, they all had a staggered start to give them all a chance. GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ Phoebe, the smallest horse on the track, managed to win a race over the weekend.   Even Phoebe, the smallest horse at the meeting, had won a race on Saturday. "We run 300 metres and the bigger ones would be closer to 400," he said. Children started off in the club at eight, when they learned how to harness and care for the pony and the gear. Once they turned 10, they had to pass a three day course before they were allowed to race. "That's the same with the ponies, if you've got a new pony they have to pass a three day course as well," Ellis said. By David Burroughs Reprinted with permission of The Taranaki Daily News

Guelph, ON - Equine Guelph is hosting two upcoming hands-on clinics with internationally recognized instructor Dr. Rebecca Gimenez of Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc. (TLAER). The first offering, Tuesday April 25 and Wednesday April 26, 2017, at Mohawk Racetrack will be open to the general public and will be of particular interest to those involved in the racing industry including racetrack personnel. Then on April 28 - 30, a large animal rescue operational level course at Meaford Fire Department will be available for active fire fighters.   For the Horse Racing Industry   Participants in "Fire Prevention and Emergency Rescue Training for the Horse Racing Industry" will be making an investment in safety to help protect both horses and industry workers. Thanks to generous funding from Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and support from Woodbine Entertainment Group (WEG) Equine Guelph has been able to organize this workshop for all three sectors of racing: Thoroughbred, Standardbred and Quarter Horse.   Dr. Gimenez has travelled from the U.S. to Ontario in the past to teach highly successful TLAER workshops, resulting in lives saved just months later. In this special offering, the program will include emergency rescue training specific to risks associated with racing including; incidents involving starting gates, loose horses and on-track injuries. Best practice responses appropriate to trailer and stall incidents will be covered. In addition, a strong emphasis on fire prevention and evacuation procedures will also be included.   The horse racing industry from all over Ontario are encouraged to participate, including: racetrack personnel (especially security, facility managers and track maintenance staff), training facility managers, trainers, grooms, veterinarians, veterinarian technicians and first responders. Thanks to the kind funding from GRAS and OMAFRA and support from WEG, the tuition is available for only $125 + hst.   WHERE AND WHEN: Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, ON Tuesday, April 25 to Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM Registration is now open online and will be limited.    For more information contact Susan Raymond 519-824-4120 ext. 54230 slraymon@uoguelph.ca   For Fire Fighters   Dr. Gimenez is making her fourth return visit since 2014, working with Equine Guelph to bring Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue training to first responders in Ontario. Together with Meaford fire department, this specialized 3-day hands-on "Large Animal Rescue Operational Level Course" will be offered to active fire fighters, April 28 - 30, 2017.   Internationally renowned for Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) training, Gimenez says, "Many organizations that participate in TLAER programs do not realize how far reaching this program is - that it concerns situations from loose horses on the highway, to cattle truck rollovers, to animals trapped and needing professional extrication. The most important feature of the program is safety for the people on the scene first."   This intensive course sets up scenarios where safety knowledge and techniques are practiced, including vital positioning to stay clear of the head and kick zone of the legs. Understanding the behavioural instincts of fight or flight and learning how to utilize rescue straps so as not to injure the animal while maneuvering are just a few of the topics covered.   Dr. Gimenez emphasizes the importance of participants taking the knowledge and techniques learned from the TLAER workshop back to their industry in order to improve upon the emergency rescue success rate. "It is really not about the animal in these situations," says Gimenez, "It's about people and how we interact on scene, how we prepare, train, and equip ourselves and our organizations, and how we network at levels above and below us beforehand that will ultimately make the difference to the animal."   Presented by Grey Highlands and Meaford Fire Departments and Equine Guelph, this upcoming workshop is available for active fire fighters only for $275 + hst.      

Guelph, Ontario - Give your horse the best Valentine's Day gift by being the greatest champion for equine welfare that you can be. A full herd of online learners signed up in less than 20 minutes after Equine Guelph announced the official launch of TheHorsePortal.ca. The feedback has been extremely positive for the new online learning community resulting from an innovative industry partnership including ten provincial equestrian federations across Canada. The inaugural courses offered are: 'Equine Welfare - Canada's Code' and 'Equine Biosecurity - Canada's standard'.   Students so far say TheHorsePortal.ca is easy to navigate and rave about the wonderful content and interactivity. Horse enthusiasts are coming together from all backgrounds: from just starting out in the industry to facility owners and operators of large and small stables, new horse owners, boarders and professionals committed to life-long learning and staying up to date on the latest advances.   Content in the first two short courses has already been reported as very helpful to those considering facility renovations and management practices to optimize their horse's well-being. Learning the basics on Canada's two new national standards imparts important knowledge to make the best informed decisions for the health and welfare of horses. Many of the students who had not heard of the new Equine Code of Practice are quickly realizing its value in evaluating whether changes need to be made or not pertaining to their horse's management.   Students of the biosecurity course are finding many simple changes they can make to help protect their horses from infectious disease on and off their property. The course guest speaker, Dr. Alison Moore, Lead Veterinarian, Animal Health & Welfare at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs was also a contributor to the new National Farm-Level Biosecurity standard for the Equine Sector. Moore is well versed in articulating the reality of biosecurity being more about diligence than difficulty. Moore stresses the importance of having a biosecurity plan and being able to communicate it clearly with every member of the barn community.   The herd dynamics are fantastic at TheHorsePortal.ca as "aha" moments are shared, connecting evidenced-based course content to student experience and resulting in practical applications. The discussion forums are full of statements such as, "I didn't know what I didn't know" or "I learned that lesson the hard way" and "I've always done that but I didn't really know why."   "This is an online community where science, practical application and discussion come together to facilitate learning," says, Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker. "Students from Equine Guelph have been making a difference − the knowledgeable horse owner or caregiver is well equipped to have meaningful proactive discussions with their horse healthcare providers. Equine Guelph looks forward to partnering with the equine industry around the world to bring horse people together to learn about equine welfare and care as a community."   Join the herd for the next offerings:   'Equine Welfare - Canada's Code' March 6 - 24 'Equine Biosecurity - Canada's standard' April 10 -28   For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions  

Guelph, ON - Equine Guelph has partnered with internationally renowned blanket manufacturer, Bucas of Ireland and is pleased to announce the launch of the ThermoRegulator Healthcare Tool. The new interactive online tool explores thermoregulation in all seasons to help horse owners avoid over-heating and dehydration along with a variety of sicknesses caused as a result of chilling and other preventable health concerns. Nature has provided horses with a coat for all seasons, as every horse owner can attest during the hairy days of shedding season. Long hairs rise up creating an insulating layer in the cold months. Sleek shorter hairs part in the hot season to help the horse stay cool, but there is much more to thermoregulation than the length of hair coat.   “There are health factors to consider when deciding whether to blanket or not, including a horse’s age, health and body condition score,” says Equine Guelph director Gayle Ecker. Exercise will also be a consideration if the equine is asked to perform higher level athletics in a cold climate. Once a horse is clipped, you are committed to making blanketing choices.   The ThermoRegulator Tool will lead horse owners through an interactive body condition score module. A horse classified as thin will have a hard time staying warm in winter. Turnout environment will also play a role in deciding if you should blanket. Take into consideration how windy or cold the forecast is and if there is access to shelter or windbreaks.   Frequently asked questions are addressed such as: how to measure for a blanket, choosing the right type of blanket, routine maintenance, preventing rub marks and fitting the challenging horse with prominent withers or large shoulders.   Bucas managing director, Ulf Casselbrant complimented Equine Guelph saying, ”Bucas is pleased to partner with Equine Guelph in the development of the ThermoRegulator Healthcare Tool, as it is an excellent resource for the horse owner in understanding the principles of thermoregulation in horses and helpful in the proper use of blanket protection for their horse.”   To learn more about thermoregulation and to decide if your horse is a candidate to be covered by a blanket ? go to the ThermoRegulator Healthcare Tool.   Jackie Bellamy-Zions   Weblink: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=496   Tool Link: http://equineguelph.ca/Tools/thermoregulator.php   Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada

Equine Guelph announces the official launch of TheHorsePortal.ca - a new portal for industry training in an easily-accessible online format for the equine industry. From the Rockies to the eastern islands, the portal will bring together horse people like never before to stay current on best health and welfare practices. The new program, resulting from an innovative industry partnership, provides horse people with short, practical online training to stay up-to-date with the latest information on equine care. The inaugural short courses are: 'Equine Welfare - Canada's Code' March 6-24 'Equine Biosecurity - Canada's standard' April 10-28 For any person responsible for a horse, it is essential to learn the national standards. These first two short courses on The Horse Portal are important offerings for caregivers and horses alike. Each day, new scientific knowledge emerges on how to better care for horses and deal with emerging issues. It is everyone's responsibility to stay current on best health and welfare practices and industry standards. "Through The Horse Portal, horse caregivers can access common sense, practical training that can be used on a daily basis," says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "Equine Guelph looks forward to partnering with the equine industry across the nation to bring Canadians together to learn about equine welfare and care as a community." Equine Guelph has partnered with ten English-speaking provincial equestrian federations across Canada to offer their members equine training and education through The Horse Portal. The portal is also available to non-federation members. From racing to performance to the backyard pony, this portal was developed to cater to and benefit all segments of the equine industry. This project is funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario. Other partners include: Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, Equestrian Canada, Farm & Food Care Ontario, Greenhawk, Omega Alpha Equine, Ontario Equestrian Federation, Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Standardbred Canada. Participating Federations include: Alberta Equestrian Federation, Equine Association of Yukon, Horse Council British Columbia, Island Horse Council, Manitoba Horse Council, New Brunswick Equestrian Association, Newfoundland and Labrador Equestrian Association, Nova Scotia Equestrian Federation, Ontario Equestrian Federation and Saskatchewan Horse Federation. National training partner is Equestrian Canada. For more information, go to TheHorsePortal.ca      

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