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Equine Guelph, a leader in equine research and sports medicine, headlines a group of Ontario educators extolling the merits of the Youth Literary Derby.   "The Derby is a wonderful initiative encouraging youth of Ontario to express themselves, engage and celebrate in the wonderful world of horses." Said Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "As an enthusiastic partner in the promotion of the Youth Literary Derby and a strong supporter of education for budding horse enthusiasts, Equine Guelph is pleased to provide online Horse Behaviour and Safety courses for the winners of the Youth Literary Derby." Equine Guelph, well known for their support of the grass roots of the horse industry with their award-winning travelling display, EquiMania, recently added a short course for youth 14 - 17 years old: Horse Behaviour and Safety. "We hope the Derby winners will enjoy furthering their interest in horses and learning the language of the horse during this highly interactive course." Ecker continued. Harness racing legend and Hambletonian Society president, John Campbell weighs in on the Literary Derby: "I read with great interest about the Youth Literary initiative being implemented in Ontario. I believe that exposing children to horses and the excitement of seeing and being around newborn foals will result in some incredible stories from these children. Some of these kids might not know it now but after being around and interacting with these horses their lives will be changed. It will be the beginning of a lifetime love affair as horses are addictive; they make an impression on you and are good for the soul. The project really hit home for me as I have always been an avid reader and feel that even though technology and the way we learn has changed, we should encourage children to read, write and express themselves through literature as much as possible. I have seen firsthand the anticipation and excitement that you see on a child's face when they receive a new book. In addition, my daughter Michelle is involved with KPMG'S Family Literacy program whose mission is to provide new books and educational resources to children in need. As you can see, giving back is a family affair." Standardbreds in the classroom "As an elementary teacher at a rural school I have found the Youth Literary Derby to be a great way to connect students with the Standardbred industry." said Trena Lebedz of the Aldborough Public School in Rodney Ontario. "I look forward to allowing more students the opportunity to share their knowledge and love for horses by including the program in my classes as part of the curriculum" she said. "We are currently learning about the different types of poems, which will be used to create a poetic piece for the contest." Trena Lebedz comes by her love of horses quite honestly. Her great grandfather, J. Russell Miller, was an astute, successful horseman who owned, trained and bred many outstanding Standardbreds for more than four decades. From the St. John French Immersion Catholic Elementary School in London, Ont., "It's (The Youth Literary Derby) a good idea and can work well with our curriculum." "Foals are a fantastic subject for any story. Whether its penmanship or horsemanship, we wish all of the contestants the best of luck and look forward to reading the winning poems and short stories" said Ontario Equestrian, Director , Tracey McCague-McElrea. Ontario Equestrian, is a partner in the promotion and support of the Youth Literary Derby, and is Ontario's provincial support organization for equestrians. It is committed to the highest standards of horse welfare advocacy and pursuits and represents 22,000 members from all sectors of the horse industry. "Having students write poems and short stories about Standardbreds is fantastic. We should follow your lead and do something like this in the States." says Kimberly Rinker, Vice President of the United States Harness Writers Association. "What a great program and incentive to get youngsters involved or interested in harness racing."   The Youth Literary Derby is a horse-themed contest for Ontario students grades 5 - 8. It offers $2,000 in prize money and is designed to encourage writing and literacy skills and offers students the opportunity to visit Ontario Standardbred breeding farms during foaling season in April, through June and challenges them to create inspiring prose, or poetry about their close up encounters with Standardbred foals. Entries close June 15th. For complete contest details and a list of Ontario farms available for visiting before writing their entry, students are advised to visit: www.YouthLiteraryDerby.ca. For additional information: Bill Galvin: billgalvin2000@rogers.com    

Guelph, ON April, 11, 2018 - Researchers at the University of Guelph are searching for clues to better manage a virus that can cause late gestation abortion in mares.   Horses carrying equine herpesvirus (EHV) may exhibit signs as minor as a runny nose and mild fever, but the virus is a major cause of neurological, respiratory and reproductive disease, including abortions, in the equine industry.   Horses often are infected early in life and EHV can remain in the body for life, reactivating at any time, but it’s not clear what causes this to happen. Something pushes it over the edge to disease manifestation, explains Dr. Brandon Lillie, a pathologist in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).   While vaccination is recommended to protect against EHV, the virus continues to occur in vaccinated herds. Affected horses may abort their foals or foals may be born apparently healthy only to die a short time later.   Lillie and Dr. Luis Arroyo, a clinician and researcher in OVC’s Department of Clinical Studies, along with their research team are trying to better understand how the virus exists in the horse population, uncover what triggers the virus to cause disease and assess ways to maximize current EHV vaccination efficacy and minimize the virus’s effect on the horses’ health. In particular, they are focusing on the abortive affect of the virus.   EHV can present in a number of ways, explains Arroyo. Horses may demonstrate neurological signs; they may have difficulty walking, they may have difficulty urinating because the nerves to their bladder are inflamed, or they may exhibit milder symptoms like a runny nose, or no symptoms at all.   A mare may not show clinical signs of the virus at all, but could lose a foal who is loaded with the virus, he adds. Conversely, some mares may be clearly diseased but their pregnancy isn’t compromised.   The cyclical nature of the virus is part of the challenge. Farms may report no abortions for a couple of years and then suddenly they have two or three.   The researchers began with a survey of Ontario horse farms to better understand the current state of the industry, looking at herd sizes, abortion rates and prevalence of EHV-related diseases.   Beginning in December 2016, they began sampling horses on farms across Ontario – from Ottawa to Windsor and Sudbury to the Niagara Region.    The farms include large racing operations with dozens of mares to smaller farms with two, three or six mares. Says Lillie, “We are focusing on the mares because that is the major way that foals get infected. We think that’s an important area to look at and understand.”   Horses on each farm will be sampled six times over 12 months, essentially covering the entire gestational cycle of horses.   Lillie and Arroyo are also examining the best way to sample for the virus, looking at nasal swabs, vaginal swabs and blood samples.   “If a mare is shedding are there different levels in different places, are you better to swab a horse’s nose or to take a blood sample?” asks Lillie.   They will test the samples for presence of the virus or viral DNA levels and also look at serology, the mare’s antibody level or immune response to the virus. Using this information, researchers can then determine how prevalent the virus is, the impact of vaccines on the virus and the mare’s ability to mount an immune response.   On the farms being studied, there is also a fairly even split between those who vaccinate and those who don’t.    “Hopefully we’ll start to see some trends,” adds Lillie. “Ultimately, when abortions occur, we can look back and see if the shedding pattern changed and if one type of sampling was a key indicator.”   Another area they will assess is how the antibody response pattern changes with horses throughout the year. Preliminary evidence suggests not all mares respond the same way to the virus or have the same antibody level patterns over the year.   The host, the pathogen, the farm’s management strategy and the environment all contribute to the occurrence of disease particularly when a virus is there all the time, adds Lillie.   Ultimately, the researchers hope to make some changes in how the disease is diagnosed and managed. “Maybe vaccine protocols need tweaking,” he says. “Maybe the current vaccination schedule isn’t the best as far as timing or maybe another one is needed in there, or perhaps the virus has evolved a bit.”   Funding for the study has come from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs and a University of Guelph Catalyst Grant, as well as funding from Equine Guelph and the Zoetis Investment in Innovation Fund.   Web Link: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=541    by: Karen Mantel  

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Bisphosphonates — a class of drugs that prevent the bone-density loss —might have some therapeutic value for older racehorses but speakers at the Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity warned of the potential harm caused by such treatments for young horses such yearlings and 2-year-olds.  That was among the takeaways from Wednesday’s Animal Welfare Forum of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 84th annual conference, being held through Friday at the Hotel Hot Springs. The related discussion included how pari-mutuel racing’s regulators might address abuse of bisphosphonates and at what stage should horses come under the jurisdiction of a racing regulatory authority. ARCI members are the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. Dr. Jeff Blea, a Southern California veterinarian who is the past chair of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and heads its racing committee, called bisphosphonates “a nuclear button right now, not only in the racing industry but in the breeding industry.”  Dr. Lynn Hovda, the Minnesota Racing Commission’s equine medical director, said bisphosphonates don’t just impact what could be a sore bone or joint, but they go throughout the skeletal system.  Dr. Sue Stover, a professor at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said the rational for giving young horses bisphosphonates is to ward off stress fractures, joint problems and some abnormalities. “Ultimately it was just the silver bullet of preventing all these problems,” she said. However, Stover said that bisphosphonates in young horses actually interfere with the development and growth of bone, reduce bone’s ability to heal and makes bone more susceptible to cracks. One study of Israel military recruits showed bisphosphonates did not prevent stress fractures when given before training, she said. One of her major concerns is that bisphosphonates, as analgesics, have the potential to mask pain. Conference attendee Carrie Brogden — a breeder and consigner whose Machmer Hall Farm in Paris, Ky., bred champion Tepin — said she and husband Craig do not treat horses with bisphosphonates but that the panel opened her eyes about what could be an industry problem. “You’re talking about horses who may have been treated as yearlings coming down the race pipeline,” she said. “I guess it’s a small sample right now. But this is being kind of pushed in Lexington as like the safe cure, not as something to be avoided.” Blea said taking a page from the British Horseracing Authority’s ban on bisphosphonates in race horses under 3 1/2 years old and requiring a 30-day “stand down” from racing “would be a good place to start.” He said the AAEP recently assembled a committee to discuss bisphosphonates and mentioned a talk on the subject that he gave two years ago to several hundred veterinarians. “I asked, ‘How many people are using bisphosphonates in their practice?’” Blea said. “There might have been five or six people raise their hands. After the talk, 25 people came up to me asked me, ‘Is there a test for it?’ “The reality is that we don’t know enough about it. I’ve spoken to practitioners who have told me it is rampant in the thoroughbred yearling industry, rampant in the 2-year-old training sales. I know it’s being used on the racetrack, though I don’t believe it’s being used as much on the racetrack as people think. I think it’s one of those things that have come and gone.” But John Campbell, the legendary harness-racing driver who last year retired to become president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, said the standardbred industry has had “great luck” using bisphosphonates to treat young horses with distal cannon-bone disease with “no adverse affects that I can see.” He noted that thoroughbreds are much more at risk of catastrophic injuries than the gaited standardbreds. ARCI president Ed Martin urged racing regulators to start working on a model rule as to when jurisdiction over a horse begins, which could allow them to address  the concern over bisphosphonates. One of ARCI’s missions is to create model rules that provide the member regulatory groups a blueprint for their own laws or legislation dealing with all aspects of horse racing. “I think it would behoove all of us to work on a model regulatory policy so we have uniformity in terms of when the horse should come under the jurisdiction of the racing commission,” Martin said. “When we talk about out-of-competition testing or questioning the use of certain medications, the first thing somebody is going to say is, ‘You don’t have jurisdiction over this horse, and you don’t regulate the practice of veterinary medicine.’” Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club’s executive vice president, said that about 75 percent of thoroughbreds will make a start by age 4, leaving a 25-percent “leakage rate.” He suggested a more cost-effective and logical place to put horses under regulatory control is once they have a timed workout, indicating an intent to race. “You’ve probably taken that 75 percent to 90 percent,” he said. Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, agreed with starting regularity control with a horse’s first published work. He expressed hope for a common-sense rule that would be fair to everyone, while cautioning of bisphosphonates, “There is a lack of facts and research being done. We don’t want to go after writing rules just to write rules. Finding out exactly, if there is a concern — and what that concern is — to me is the most important first stage. And then where we’re going to attack and fix the problem.” Identifying risk — and protective — factors in horses  Dr. Scott Palmer, the equine medical director for the New York Gaming Association, discussed identifying risk factors in racing, including those at “boutique” meets such as Saratoga, Del Mar and Keeneland, with the inherent demands to get owners’ horses to those races because of their exceptional purse money and prestige. Palmer cited some risk factors as being on the “vets” list for an infirmity, not racing at 2, trainer change, switching to a different track’s surface and dropping in class. He said protective factors also must be identified. Palmer said changes that have established themselves as diminishing risks would not all be popular and could require a change in mindset, such as writing fewer cheap claiming races, limiting the claiming purse to twice the value of the horse, consolidating race meets, biosecurity and limiting the number of stalls given the large outfits. He said racetrack safety accreditation by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is important. Also mentioned: continuing education for veterinarians, trainers and assistant trainers, along with increased scrutiny of horses seeking removal from the vets list after a long layoff. “We’re not going to get rid of fixed risk factors, but we can mitigate them,” Palmer said. Dr. Rick Arthur advises the California Horse Racing Board on equine medication and drug testing, veterinary medicine and the health and safety of horses under CHRB’s jurisdiction. After a rash of fatalities in 2016, Del Mar’s actions included allowing only horses having timed workouts to be on the track for the first 10 minutes following a renovation break and giving up a week of racing to allow additional time to get the track in shape for the meet after the property was used for the San Diego County Fair Arthur cited a study that determined horses scratched by a regulatory veterinarian did not race back for 110 days on average, while the average horse ran back in about 40 days. “The bottom line is we’re actually identifying the right horse,” he said of vet scratches. “The real issue is: are we identifying all the horses we should?” Sports betting: “Amazing potential” Horse racing, professional sports leagues and casinos are awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision this spring on New Jersey’s challenge to the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which for the last quarter-century effectively has made sports betting illegal except in Nevada and a few other states. The consensus of a conference panel was that sports betting could be on us extremely quickly and that racetracks and states, as well as racing regulators who in some states might oversee betting on sports, must be prepared.  Jessica Feil, a gaming law associate with Ifrah Law in Washington, D.C., said she thinks racing and sports betting will fit well together and could open up new kinds of wagers on horses, including parlays that span sporting events and races. “I envision amazing potential,” she said. Alex Waldrop, CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said one advantage for horse racing is that the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978 allows bets to be made across state lines, which paved the way for simulcasting into commingled pools. “We have some leverage,” he said. "If sports waging goes forward, you won’t be able to bet across state lines” without passage of enabling federal legislation. Attached photos: Dr. Sue Stover, a professor at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, discusses bisphosphonates on a panel that included moderator Dr. Corrine Sweeney (far left) of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and Dr. Lynn Hovda, equine director for the Minnesota Racing Commission, with the ARCI's Kerry Holloway on the computer launching a visual presentation. A panel Wednesday discussing at what point horses should come under the jurisdiction of a racing regulatory authority (left to right): National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback; Tom DiPasquale, executive director of the Minnesota Racing Commission, and Matt Iuliano, executive vice president of The Jockey Club. The Association of Racing Commissioners International

Guelph - Now more than ever, we are aware of disease outbreaks with strong lines of communication keeping us up to date. A pivotal part of your sickness prevention plan includes a vaccination program. Only vaccination can prevent death from certain diseases such as rabies, which has seen its fair share of announcements of late in certain parts of Canada. Ontario Veterinary College Dean Wichtel says, “according to new information presented at an Ontario Association of Equine Practitioners (OAEP) meeting, the need for vaccination is greater than ever, with emerging new disease patterns that may be due in part to climate change.”   In times where kids cannot attend school unless they produce up-to-date immunization records, we need to think of horses in the same way. The FEI requires proof of equine influenza vaccinations for horses competing at FEI events. Competing or not, any horse that travels to events, or comes into contact with horses that travel, are exposed to inherent risks of contracting disease.   A great starting point for horse owners and veterinarians to discuss their annual vaccination program is Equine Guelph’s healthcare tool – the Vaccination Equi-Planner.  Horse owners are asked to complete six questions that help determine individual farm differences and risk factors, including: age, use, sex, exposure to outside horses and geography. This data is then compiled in a program, and a printable customized vaccination schedule is provided for each horse.   Horses tend to receive their first influenza shots of the year in the springtime in anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens. ‘’Equine influenza remains one of the most frequent and contagious respiratory tract disease in horses. As is the case on the human side, the equine influenza virus evolves over time (although at a less rapid pace). Therefore, the use of a vaccine including recent strains of equine influenza which meets AAEP’s and OIE’s recommendations is highly desirable in order to optimize coverage’’, says Dr. Serge Denis, Equine Consultant with Merck Animal Health.   “The decision as to whether or not to vaccinate your horse against a particular disease is based on the risk associated with your horse becoming infected with certain disease-causing pathogens, says Dr. Alison Moore, Lead Veterinarian, Animal Health and Welfare at the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “Owners of horses that travel for competition need to know the diseases endemic to the areas to which they are travelling to properly protect their horse. Websites such as the Equine Disease Communication Centre (EDCC) (equinediseasecc.org/alerts/outbreaks) can help inform owners regarding disease risk in certain areas. Your veterinarian should also be made aware of your travel plans and be consulted regarding which diseases are in your home area so the most effective vaccination program can be designed.”      Beyond vaccinations for diseases such as eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile, there are more precautions to help deter the spread of diseases transmitted via insects. Removing breeding grounds can be accomplished by eliminating standing water (e.g. old water feeders, tires around the property) and getting rid of puddles by improving drainage.   Keeping manure storage as far away from the barn as possible but accessible for staff is helpful. Fly zappers and tapes can be beneficial. There are also products that can be fed to horses to interrupt the development of fly larvae in the horse’s manure (feed through fly control). Fly bait can also be useful but should be used with caution if dogs and cats are around. Other options to control flies and mosquitoes include insecticide impregnated blankets/sheets and the traditional fly sprays.   Disease should always be a concern if you are a horse owner and spring serves as a reminder to check your horses’ vaccination records. Equine Guelph’s Vaccination Equi-Planner, sponsored by Merck Animal Health, is a useful tool designed for horse owners to generate personalized immunization schedules for their horses.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=553   FEI rule: https://inside.fei.org/node/3289   Vaccination Equi-Planner: http://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/equiplanner.php        Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1 519.824.4120 ext. 54756 jbellamy@uoguelph.ca

Guelph, ON - A high-tech horse model will provide valuable hands-on learning to student veterinarians at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College courtesy of a donation from the Equine Foundation of Canada.   Nancy Kavanagh, secretary of the EFC delivered a cheque for nearly $50,000 to OVC Dean Jeffrey Wichtel and Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, for the purchase of the detailed and life-sized horse model produced by Canada’s Veterinary Simulator Industries.   The model opens to reveal anatomically correct latex organs that can be inflated to mimic colic, the leading cause of premature death in horses, and also certain reproductive challenges.   The detailed model will allow student veterinarians to practice clinical and technical skills, vital to improving confidence and competence. When Foundation President R.J. (Bob) Watson contacted Dean Wichtel for his wish list, the VSI model was at the top.   “The Foundation has been rotating funding proposals annually among the five veterinary colleges in Canada and 2018 is Guelph’s turn,” wrote Watson.   “Great progress has been made in learning technology for veterinary clinical skills development, and this equine model is an excellent example. Our college has committed to the use of high fidelity models and simulations in early clinical training whenever possible. When our students perform their first procedures on a live animal, they will be even better prepared and more confident,” said Wichtel. “We are very grateful to the Equine Foundation of Canada for fostering the health and wellbeing of horses through supporting veterinary medical education in this valuable way.”   The EFC is an outgrowth of the Canadian Morgan Horse Association (CMHA), founded in 1960. The purpose of the CMHA was to assist Morgan breeders and owners with promotion and registry services to protect the integrity of their pedigrees.   In 1983, the Association expanded its interest to concern for the welfare of all horse breeds and created the Foundation to assist in safeguarding their future. N.S. businessman George Wade served as its founder and president from its inception until his passing in 1997. The EFC provides for scholarships and other worthy requests. With a factory in Calgary, VSI was once a recipient of startup funding from the EFC. But the primary focus now is on the purchase of teaching equipment for equine veterinary education.     Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. 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.   by: Karen Mantel  

For the past 15 years, Equine Guelph has been a global leader, serving the horse industry with award-winning online educational outreach programs and supporting over 100 equine research projects.   We hope you enjoy our 15th Anniversary Edition of the Equine Guelph Health Studies Newsletter.  Stories include: Internationally Acclaimed Contributions to Embryo Transfer and Reproduction Technologies TVEC Goes Global - treating Atrial Fibrillation Health Studies with an Impact - Reducing Catastrophic Racing Injuries Global Lung Epithelial Response to Inhaled Dust Teaming up to Go with the Gut – looking at links between the gut microbiome and health Research Targets Equine Virus The Link is here.   Equine Guelph is the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph, supported and overseen by equine industry groups, and dedicated to improving the health and well-being of horses.  If you would like more information about our research or extensive programs for horse owners and care-givers, please do not hesitate to contact us.   Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications & Administration Equine Guelph 50 McGilvray Street Guelph, Ontario, Canada N1G 2W1 E-mail: jbellamy@uoguelph.ca Phone: 519-824-4120, ext. 54756

Guelph, ON, March 6, 2018 - As part of Canadian Ag Week from March 11-17, 2018, Equine Guelph reminds horse caregivers to Stop, Think and Act when around horses.   The first person who said only fools rush in must have been a horse person! How many times have we gained experience and knowledge after finding ourselves in the dirt or even worse in the hospital?   In 2016, Workplace Safety and Prevention Services in collaboration with Imperial Oil and Esso, created an outreach message with the potential to prevent injuries that may not occur if we Stop, Think, and Act. Equine Guelph, certainly saw the applications for the horse industry and also came on board. Proper safety gear, planning ahead and staying alert are all key to ensuring riding a horse is a fun activity. There are plenty of occasions to Stop, Think and Act every time you engage in activities involving horses.   In 2017, Equine Guelph’s travelling youth exhibit, EquiMania!, launched a new Stop, Think and Act Hopscotch game to encourage kids to learn a new way of thinking and making good choices when it comes to safety around the farm. The interactive game will be featured next at the Can-Am Equine Expo in Markham, ON, April 6 – 8, where youth can join in the fun and learn about safety.   For kids looking for activities over the March break, they can visit EquiMania! Online on www.TheHorsePortal.ca. Completion of the Stop, Think and Act online activities is rewarded with printable certificates and the know-how to reduce the risk of an accident when working around horses. As well, kids can test their general horse knowledge by taking the EquiMania! Challenge!   When it comes to horses, learning the hard way can be dangerous. Cutting corners around an animal that weighs in at over 1,000 pounds is simply unadvisable. For example – ducking under a horse’s neck when they are cross tied rather than walking around them or leading them around the stable by a halter when you know you should take a moment to find a lead rope. Being alert to horse behavior is another important aspect to avoiding risky situations. Horses communicate with their body language and one needs to pay attention to often subtle cues.   Equine Guelph is hosting two upcoming online short courses on Horse Behaviour and Safety, one for adults and one just for youth between 14 – 17 years of age. Both courses run from March 26 – April 13 on TheHorsePortal.ca and aim to raise awareness of how we can all work safer around horses through understanding how horses think and perceive the world around them.   Stop, Think and Act is a great practice for horse people. We can make equine activities safer for all involved when we:   - Stop long enough to think about what could go wrong in what you're about to do - Think about how you're going to do it. Is it the safest way? If not, how can you do it better? - Act in the safest way possible   Even though Farm Safety Week is only one week in the year, it is important to Stop, Think and Act every day and especially on the horse farm.     Jackie Bellamy-Zions     Notes to Editor: Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. 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.     Web Link(s): http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=550   National Farm Safety Week March 11-17, 2018 http://www.wsps.ca/Information-Resources/Articles/Achieve-safety-results-with-this-simple-approach   Can-Am Expo April 6 – 8: http://canamequine.com/   EquiMania! Online: https://thehorseportal.ca/equimania/   Horse Behaviour and Safety Courses: https://thehorseportal.ca/courses/    

Guelph - ON The unfortunate disasters in Alberta, California, and Florida clearly show that many people were willing to go to great lengths to rescue their animals -- many risking serious personal injury or worse. When any disaster strikes, an "incident involving animals" can quickly become an "incident involving people who are trying to save the animals". The public has strong expectations when it comes to animal welfare and proper training for emergency rescue of large animals is a crucial element. First responders in Ontario now have an increased level of knowledge thanks to over 30 keen, hardy participants and an experienced team of trainers.   Presented by Equine Guelph and the Meaford Fire Department, Nov 17 - 19, their large animal rescue course covered many topics including animal behavior in stressful situations and how to keep handlers and first responders safe. Attention was also paid to keeping the people who own and care deeply about their animals out of harm's way. Major topics covered included best practices for large animal technical rescue, fire prevention plus personal safety and related animal behavior and care issues.   "We feel strongly that this training is of benefit for all fire departments to help their communities, and we are very proud of the strong relationship that Equine Guelph has developed with Chief Granahan and the Meaford Fire Department and Training Centre so that this training can be offered and developed, says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. "The facility at Meaford is excellent and we had a wonderful team of instructors and support crew."   Classic Towing made $1.25 million worth of equipment available for the course plus very experienced tow operators including the well-known Bubba Semple from the TV show Heavy Rescue 401. McKinnon Transport brought a livestock hauler. Allan McKinnon and Bubba Semple both took part in class presentations explaining the capabilities of their equipment and safety aspects of hauling animals.   "All large animal incidents regardless of cause or scope, present a risk of injury to responders," says course facilitator, Dr. Susan Raymond in her presentation on best practices. "Through proper training and the use of specialized rescue equipment we significantly mitigate these risks and improve the odds of a favorable outcome for both animals and responders. By keeping responders safe, we improve our capacity to keep animals safe."   Knowledge, practice and application was the goal attained over the 3-day course. After learning about the incident command system and the equipment they would be using, participants worked through "real-life" scenarios including a mud rescue and several different ways to perform drags, lifts and assists. The anatomy lessons made it clear that tails, legs and necks are not handles and thinking otherwise can produce dreadful or fatal results. Safe attachment methods for straps and support were explained by lead instructor Victor MacPherson,Adjala-Tosorontio District Fire Chief and the assistant instructors.   "The instructors were knowledgeable in their fields and it truly was one of the best courses I've ever attended," said Kris McCarthy, Toronto Mounted Police.   Participants came from Fire Departments in Chatsworth, Ramara, Burlington, Fort Erie, Rideau Lakes, Meaford, Searchmont as well as Mounted Police from Hamilton and Toronto and Ontario Mounted Special Service Unit. Students also included a veterinarian, veterinary technician and horse owners. The hands-on large animal rescue course certainly delivered realistic conditions that first responders might encounter including rain, snow and wind but the damp muddy conditions did not dampen anyone's enthusiasm to participate in the situations as teams worked together planning and executing safe rescue techniques.   "Equine Guelph has been hosting Large Animal Rescue workshops for four years and this is our second successful course held in Meaford," says Ecker. "We are pleased with the positive feedback and inquiries for more training coming from communities committed to proactive training to support the health and welfare of horses and livestock in Ontario."   Equine Guelph extends its thanks to Scott Granahan, Chief of Meaford Fire Department and the team of knowledgeable instructors for the incredible 3-days of training: Victor MacPherson, Susan Raymond, Beverley Sheremeto, Robert Nagle, Wendy McIsaac-Swackhamer, Katherine Hoffman and Chris Watson.   Stay tuned to EquineGuelph.ca for the next course offering announcement.   Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada  

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      

Don’t let an emergency situation catch you off guard. Having basic training and the right tools at hand can allow you to handle an emergency with the clarity and logic required. Being prepared can mean the difference between life and death for both the large animal in peril and the human intent on saving it. Equine Guelph is pleased to offer a two and a half day Animal Rescue Operational Level Courseheld at the Meaford Fire Department Training Centre in Meaford, ON, November 17 -19, 2017. This Large Animal Rescue course will appeal to a wide audience as it will be offered to hands-on participants for $295 + hst and auditors at $175 + hst. Topics covered will be useful for first responders, pre-service, law enforcement, animal control officers, veterinarians, vet. technicians, emergency animal response teams, horse owners, livestock producers and associations. All registrants must be 18 years of age. The course will be subject to registration numbers and the hands-on participants will be limited to 30 students. Topics include: fire and emergency preparedness, trailer safety, containment methods of large animals, introduction to mud and trench rescue, working within the incident command system, medical concerns during emerging situation, and livestock behaviour in stressful situations. What past students are saying: “A successful emergency rescue is about 90 percent preparation and 10% action,” says Ontario SPCA officer Bonnie Bishop. “Pre-incident planning is crucial for any farm owner,” says Deborah Chute, owner and operator of Laurenwood Stables and a volunteer firefighter with the Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department, “Farms by their very nature contain many hazards to humans, animals and the environment, and careful planning before the event of an emergency can save lives and property.   Coverage of a past training course: http://barrie.ctvnews.ca/fire-crews-train-to-rescue-large-animals-during-emergencies-1.3391825 Lead instructor Victor MacPherson looks forward to the training opportunities that will be afforded by running the course in late November, “we will be training in realistic conditions with real life scenarios − both daytime and nighttime operations.” MacPherson has been involved with Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue since 2013 and has completed several training courses in both awareness and operational levels. He has assisted in training and facilitating courses with both Equine Guelph and Dr. Rebecca Gimenez (TLAER Inc.). Victor has been involved in operational rescues. MacPherson has been with the Adjala-Tosorontio Fire Department for the past 24 years and District Fire Chief for past 19. This municipality covers 400 kilometers; and runs approximately 250 calls a year, from Community Service to house fires, and car accidents. Victor is also an employee with City of Vaughan Fire as a Master Emergency Vehicle Technician for past 17 years. Victor is Ex-military as a retired Master Corporal, attached to armoured units and acquired his military mechanics license for armoured vehicles. He has serviced with NATO in Europe. If you have questions related to the course please contact Dr. Susan Raymond slraymon@uoguelph.ca or 519-824-4120 ext 54230. To register for this course or get the Course flyer. This course qualifies for continuing education credits 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 TheHorsePortal.ca.  

Guelph, Ontario – With winter around the corner, now is the time for a dental check-up and nutritional status assessment, especially for older horses. Compared to spring and summer, horses burn significantly more calories through fall and winter simply to stay warm. As a result, they need to eat more – placing increased strain on the teeth and jaw. As well, with the dietary shift from pasture to hay, your horse will have to chew with more force to meet its nutritional requirements. Perhaps it’s time for a routine dental float? Or, maybe it’s the season to think about changing from hay to soaked hay cubes to maximize your aging horse’s feed efficiency during the upcoming winter season. Learn more about dental care for your senior horse on Equine Guelph’s online healthcare tool – the Senior Horse Challenge. Check out The Tale of the Teeth Video and read a new Senior Horse Dental Care fact sheet provided courtesy of Alex Bianco, MS, DVM, University of Minnesota Extension. This resource includes frequently asked questions about sedation, aftercare and recommended diets for horses with many missing teeth. Aside from the natural expiration of teeth, geriatric horses are also prone to dental disease that can result in teeth falling out or being extracted by a veterinarian. Because each set of premolars and molars erupts at a different age, they also expire at different ages. These can lead to gaps between teeth and teeth of varying heights (“wave mouth”) which causes abnormal chewing patterns and uneven wear on the teeth. These variations in dentition, combined with the rough nature of forage and the natural bacterial population of the mouth, can lead to secondary infections of the teeth below the gum line, at the tooth root. Bacterial tooth root infections typically result in loose, and/or fractured teeth. If the tooth is an upper molar, the infection may also spread in to the maxillary sinus and cause a secondary bacterial sinusitis. While dental infections rarely lead to systemic disease, dental abnormalities or tooth root infections often result in ineffective or painful chewing which results in decreased feed intake, weight loss, and increased risk of esophageal obstruction (“choke”). Remember that senior horses often need more frequent dental exams than the routine once a year check-up. Signs of dental issues include:  - dropping feed - bad breath - nasal discharge - weight loss While you’re visiting the Senior Horse Challenge to learn more about dental care for your aging horse, take five minutes to answer 20 questions to test your healthcare IQ for general geriatric care. This online tool will provide you information ranging from metabolic disorders to locomotion related concerns − pain recognition to general management including dental care. Equine Guelph thanks Boehringer Ingelheim for sponsoring the Senior Horse Challenge online healthcare tool. 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 TheHorsePortal.ca. by Henrietta Coole   Equine Guelph  

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  

The registrations are starting to roll in since Equine Guelph announced its popular Horse Behaviour and Safety online course is now available for youth (14 – 17)! This October, the young and keen will have their own special community to learn the language of horses. The adult offering, also available this October, has brought together horse enthusiasts from across Canada and all over the globe in past offerings. “Through learning how horses perceive the world around them, their human handlers can develop safe best practices for working with them,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. A hefty percentage of horse related injuries are due to human error and could be prevented if the handler had basic education in safety. TheHorsePortal.ca community has plenty to say so far about the Horse Behaviour and Safety course: Internationally recognized, past and future guest speaker for the adult offering, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez is no stranger to importance of preparedness and awareness around horses. Bringing her wealth of experience from Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Inc (TLAER), she has plenty of illuminating stories to share. Gimenez says, “The best part of teaching in these online courses is imagining their faces - you can practically SEE their AH-HA! moments over their participation - they really start getting it when they read all the threads and comment on each other's experiences.   I actually had a student contact me personally about meeting me when I came up to Guelph for the course - he had experienced so many of these situations in his working life at a racetrack and eventing barn then western gymkana / barrel racing situations. It was neat to put a name to a face and discuss these in person!” Omar from Orangeville, ON attests to the quality of instruction and is a firm believer in the continuing learning required in the horse industry. “The Horse Behaviour and Safety online course was a great introduction to equine education. Being able to connect with likeminded equine enthusiasts only made me enjoy my passion more. The instructors were excellent and laid out a lot of very important and enlightening material that could easily be managed while tending to outside work within the few weeks of the course period. They were always on top of any questions the class had and encouraged discussions. The expert guest speaker was wonderfully selected.   Taking part in discussions from day one, she made it her goal to be a part of the class and not just as a guest speaker for the few days she was scheduled for. I've been in and around the equine industry in some way for the past 25 years, and I'm still having myths dispelled and fresh points of view brought to light by a course like this. Clearly, I haven't stopped learning! I definitely made the right choice in taking part in the short course!” Julie from Australia looks forward to more from TheHorsePortal. “I really enjoyed the short course; the course material was insightful and easy to read. The quizzes were a great way to go over learned information and the guest speaker was quite helpful. All in all I am really happy with the course and will be looking at taking more.” Sharron from Ashton, ON, already an Equine Guelph lifetime learning student, found great value in this short course. “I am a graduate of the Equine Science Certificate and also a graduate of the Equine Science Diploma. I gained knowledge from this course which was new and useful...you can never know too much nor do you ever know everything!” Sorrel from Armstrong, BC vouches for the broad audience for this and all Equine Guelph courses. “The courses offered by Equine Guelph are invaluable to anyone who is involved with horses, from beginners to experts. I'd recommend them to anyone.” Thanks to a grant from the Grand River Agricultural Society, the adult and youth offerings of Horse Behaviour and Safety will run October 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 Ontario Horse Club Members and 50 for Ontario Equestrian Federation Junior Members on a first-come-first served basis. Join the Herd, go to TheHorsePortal.ca. 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 EquineGuelph.ca. By Jackie Bellamy-Zions

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  

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