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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      

Prominent owner-breeder Geoff Easom and harness racing trainer Jill Neilson had a perfect early Christmas present when Force Ten Gale won the Maughan Thiem Ford Xmas Specials Pace (1800m) at Globe Derby Park. The victory was a fitting reward for the time and patience Neilson has put into the Art Major seven-year-old. Force Ten Gale damaged a suspensory after racing in July 2015 – that was only his sixth run back after being sidelined for 10 months. On Saturday night, Force Ten Gale ($12.50) looked beaten but lifted over the final stages under Wayne Hill’s driving, to score a neck win from Justa Working Guy ($16.20) with Arrokeefe ($1.80 fav) a fast finishing third, three metres away. “It has been a long process,” Neilson said. “We’d give him a break and bring him back only to be told he was only 70% right, then another break, and up to 72%, in and out several more times then eventually 100%. “He’s such a relaxed horse and a pleasure to worth with so I’m just as happy for him.” “What just happened?” asked winning reinsman Wayne Hill. Hill took Force Ten Gale to sit parked outside the leader Its Bedlam but his chances looked shot when Ace To Play and Justa Working Guy raced past and he was back to fifth. The reinsman kept working on the seven-year-old and Force Ten Gale lifted and came wide again and raced on strongly to score. Neilson said the gelding was very one-paced but was always a chance when races were run to suit. by Graham Fischer

I have spent quite a bit of time this year getting to know the horse industry in Ontario. One thing I have noticed is the enduring passion of our horse people, including my veterinary colleagues, regardless of the ups and downs of the industry.   The equine industry in Ontario has encountered real challenges over the last few years, but it remains an important contributor to the culture and economy our province. The racing industry has been hit the hardest, but we are now seeing consultation and reorganization of racing, leading to an atmosphere of cautious optimism at tracks and training stables.   The University of Guelph has always played an important role in supporting the industry through education, research, and clinical care, primarily through the efforts of our talented people in the Ontario Veterinary College, Ontario Agricultural College and Equine Guelph. Changes are afoot in the industry, and the role of our university may be set to expand once again.   Equine Guelph has a special place in the horse industry. Its mission is to support the health and well-being of horses and the equine industry. Since its inception in 2003, Equine Guelph has kept an unwavering focus on this mandate with remarkable success. This past week, I attended a meeting of the Equine Guelph Advisory Council and was once again impressed with the industry support around the table. The output of this centre is especially impressive given that it is almost entirely self-supporting.   Equine Guelph's education programs are the most widely known examples of their success in connecting with the horse industry. The student numbers in these programs, such as the continuing education program in Equine Studies, and certificates in Equine Science, Business Management and Welfare, illustrate their success. Since the first diploma in Equine Studies was awarded in 2009, 170 diplomas have been awarded. To date, 365 Equine Science certificates have been awarded since this program began in 2002. The Equine Science certificate program is the first of its kind from an accredited university with evidence-based information and welfare of the animals as the underpinning of all its offerings.   Education offerings such as the Equine Welfare Certificate, a partnership between Equine Guelph, the Campbell Centre of the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW) and Open Learning and Educational Support (OpenEd), emphasize the co-operative partnerships Equine Guelph has developed.   The remarkable reach of Equine Guelph cannot be overstated. Horse people in the US and Britain often know about Equine Guelph. The award-winning EquiMania! Program for children, which just celebrated its 10th year at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, is a regular fixture at the Minnesota State Fair. Last year, as I was preparing to take my position here, my farm clients in PEI were envious that I was about to meet Gayle!   Equine Guelph also prides itself on developing educational programing that is relevant, practical and topical. In 2016, Equine Guelph responded quickly to the unfortunate rash of horse barn fires, launching a Fire Prevention program providing valuable information to prevent fires.   The innovative programs of Equine Guelph were recognized in 2015 when Gayle Ecker was awarded the Equine Industry Vision Award, sponsored by the American Horse Publications Group and Zoetis. This is the only time a Canadian has been so honoured, and recognizes Gayle's leadership and the growing recognition of Equine Guelph's high-quality programming.   Beyond its mandate for education, Equine Guelph has been a trusted steward of the industry's research funding. In 2015-2016, more than $130,000 was directed towards research to support new and ongoing projects including research into new approaches to stem cell therapy, emerging disease concerns, failure of pregnancy, and new approaches to modeling and tracking biosecurity issues and risks.   Much of this research draws on the talents of researchers at the Ontario Veterinary College who bring expertise in infectious disease, biosecurity, reproductive technologies and therapies. Emeritus professors such as Dr. Laurent Viel and Peter Physick-Sheard are internationally known for their contributions to horse health. Not only do these projects focus on industry-identified priorities, they provide important training opportunities for student veterinarians and develop local expertise in these important areas.   Communication and promotion of University of Guelph research results occurs via print and social media. A new on-line portal is about to be launched which will provide a platform for connecting with the horse world at the owner and the advisor levels.   Aside from Equine Guelph, there is a lot going on at the UofG. The equine undergraduate program at OAC is expanding, with several new equine faculty now at the Guelph campus and enrolments increasing. Interest in equine careers remains strong in our DVM program, and there are outstanding practices looking to hire our graduates. On December 15th, equine faculty in the Health Sciences Centre are hosting a Research Update for practitioners, signaling a renewed commitment to building relationships through the equine veterinary community.   At the same time, in concert with OVC strategic planning, and the on-going racing industry renewal process, the members of OVC, OAC and Equine Guelph have convened a planning group to look at leveraging their success. Dr. Scott Weese is leading the group, and they are making plans to better position UofG within the industry, and further expand our role in research and education in support of a sustainable and innovative horse industry. Look for further announcements on new models for funding equine research and education in the New Year.   Story by: Karen Mantel   Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada

Equine Guelph would like to announce a wonderful opportunity for members of the harness racing industry.  After the rash of barn fires in Ontario at the beginning of 2016, Equine Guelph and its partners were quick to respond, bringing educational material regarding fire prevention to the horse industry.  During the summer of 2016 a pilot program will be introduced for horse farms involved in the racing industry; including thoroughbred, standardbred and quarterhorse racing, whether racing, training or breeding.    A limited number of visits will be scheduled for farms interested in having a fire prevention professional walk through their facility, providing a valuable assessment and recommendations to maximize safety.   So many members of the racing industry were devastated by the tragic fires earlier this year bringing a focus on fire safety and prevention to the forefront of industry interest.    Equine Guelph is pleased to be able to offer this valuable, one-time, learning opportunity to the racing industry of Ontario.  "It is our belief that an investment in fire prevention and safety education/training will help protect people, horses and facilities." says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph. "Prevention is key and this is a special opportunity to become more aware of the steps we can take to reduce the risk. Our horses are depending on us to protect them."   For more information on fire safety and prevention visit EquineGuelph.ca/tools/fireprevention.php   Farms interested in scheduling an assessment, please contact Dr. Susan Raymond, Equine Guelphslraymon@uoguelph.ca or call 519-824-4120 ext 54230  

A new partnership between Harness Racing Victoria’s (HRV) Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities (HERO) Program and the Victorian Agricultural Shows Limited will deliver unprecedented showing opportunities for retired Standardbred racehorses. For the first time, VAS Ltd will run a dedicated Standardbred showcase in 2016, culminating with a rich final to be held in conjunction with the acclaimed Victorian Saddle Horse Championships. The format for the competition mirrors the very successful Thoroughbred Off The Track Series and provides qualifying heats at Agricultural Shows throughout the State, leading into a $1000 at Bendigo in January, 2017. HERO Program Manager Tanya McDermott commended VAS Ltd for its commitment to Standardbreds in their life outside racing, and described the new series as enormously important. “To be able to present ridden Standardbreds on such an auspicious stage is incredibly exciting,” she said. “So many dedicated people have campaigned for acceptance of the Standardbred as a legitimate pleasure and performance horse and VAS Ltd’s endorsement through the introduction of the HERO Series is just reward for their faith. “The number and quality of retired trotters and pacers transitioning into new homes at the conclusion of their racing career is at an all-time high. “Likewise, the showing opportunities which are available, now headlined by the HERO Series, mean there has never been a better time to educate and campaign a retired Standardbred under saddle in Victoria. “We have quite deliberately come out all guns blazing and set prizemoney levels for the new Series at a very lucrative level, in the hope that some of the show scene’s better known names might consider adding a Standardbred to their stable, further heightening and enhancing the breed’s profile.” VAS Ltd Executive Officer Rod Bowles also welcomed the announcement. “The Committee has been following the progress of the recreational Standardbred movement and feels the time is right to introduce a Series which acknowledges the breed’s development and refinement for riding. “Following the introduction of HERO in July last year, we considered it opportune to partner with the Program and further demonstrate our support for retired racehorses, following on from the fantastic success of Racing Victoria’s Thoroughbred OTT Series,” he said. The Alabar HERO Series has been made possible by the financial support of HRV and the State Government via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund. Australasia’s leading Standardbred breeding operation, Alabar Bloodstock, has secured naming rights sponsorship of the event, further cementing its outstanding commitment to life after racing. Stud principal Alan Galloway and his staff have a proud history of supporting organisations and events which provide an outlet for pleasure Standardbreds, making Alabar the perfect HERO Series associate in its first year. The eligibility criteria, and a full schedule of events, will be available on the VAS Ltd websitewww.vicagshows.com.au For further information about the Alabar HERO Series, Harness Racing Victoria’s life after racing program, or to inquire about educating or rehoming a retired Standardbred, please email hrvhero@gmail.com. Tanya McDermott (HERO Manager) t: 0407 413 156 | e: hrvhero@gmail.com | tw: @hrvhero

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