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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  

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  

"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.      

Guelph, ON - Spring consists of more than just cleaning. There is much to do, planning ahead to maximize time spent with your horse and working towards your goals for the impending sunny months. Regardless of riding discipline; everyone wants their equine partner to be healthy and performing at its best. In the last offering of Equine Guelph's online Biosecurity short course, the discussions moved beyond giving everything a quick cleaning to help facilitate just that.   Guest speaker, Dr. Alison Moore, Lead Veterinarian, Animal Health & Welfare at Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, provided a wealth of information to the participants of the biosecurity short course. With each answer, Moore revealed biosecurity is more about diligence than difficulty. The simple changes that help protect horses from getting sick were discussed in great depth so horse owners can deploy an effective biosecurity plan.   There's Cleaning, then there is Disinfecting - the right tools for the job   Dr. Moore advises the best way to clean and disinfect is to have a surface that one can truly clean and disinfect. This means wood surfaces should be sealed. Stable surfaces should be non-porous. Flooring is not dirt but one that has been sealed on installation.   For a thorough cleaning, before stall occupancy changes or other occasions when disinfection is warranted, all bedding, feed and water should be removed. One usually wants to clean with a detergent prior to using a disinfectant. Moore says, "the nice thing about Virkon or Accell (accelerated hydrogen peroxide) is they have detergent properties so one doesn't have to use a separate detergent first but the organic debris should be removed."   Depending on the barn and barn materials, one can remove organic debris (urine/manure) from the inside of the stall using water and a brush or a hose then spray with Virkon or Accell - contact time will vary slightly depending on why one is disinfecting (as a precaution or because an infectious organism was diagnosed). Most contact times will vary between 10 and 30 minutes (with 10 minutes being more common). One can use a large garden sprayer with the appropriately diluted form of Virkon or Accell, or you can wipe it on using a sponge.   Moore cautions against the use of pressure sprayers as they can aerosolize certain viruses. Squeegee any excess disinfectant off the floor. If there are rubber mats, remove them, clean with water and brush, and disinfect both sides before placing them back in the stall. Feed and water buckets should also be cleaned and disinfected, making sure to rinse well before their next use. Wash stalls are another area that should be cleaned and disinfected with regularity.   Moore pointed out some of the downsides of using bleach as a disinfectant, including the fact the fumes can irritate your animal's airways. Bleach can inactivate certain organisms but it is deactivated by organic material and particularly in the presence of urine, so one has to clean the stall REALLY well with a detergent first. The detergent must be rinsed and the area dried before the bleach is applied.   Are you ready for flu season and fly season?   Unlike their human counterparts, horses tend to receive their first influenza shots of the year in the springtime in anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens. Horses that travel for more than one season will often opt for multiple boosters to promote a healthy immunity. When planning your horse's vaccinations, your veterinarian should be consulted to find out what diseases are endemic to your area and discuss where you plan to travel with them in the upcoming months.   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.   What is in the trailer with my horse?   If you are lucky enough to own a horse trailer, you can perform the same level of care as recommended above for cleaning and disinfecting stables. When you use a commercial shipper you are putting your horse's health in their hands so there are a few questions you should ask in order to be comfortable with the services they are providing.   First of all, find out what biosecurity procedures they perform between loads of horses. You could also ask what other types of horses will be on the trailer with your horses. Moore suggests, "Ideally horses of similar cohorts should be together. For example, if the transporter is picking up yearlings from a sale and bringing them home you may not want to get on that load or if there are racehorses being shipped between tracks you can make the decision if that's the right load for your horse."   You should also be comfortable with other management practices of the transporter. Some transporters have climate controlled stalls and food and water available at all times, whereas others have more traditional trailers and don't stop to feed or water (depending on the length of the journey). It is important, therefore, that you ensure your horse is healthy enough for the trip particularly if it's a long one - meaning that the horse is well hydrated and in good flesh. A horse that begins the journey in a healthy state is more apt to finish it in a healthy state.   You should make sure your horses are appropriately vaccinated for the place to which the horse is travelling. Avoid vaccinating too close to shipping. Moore recommends, "Depending on the vaccine used, you want to be at least 2-4 weeks) out from the shipping date when you vaccinate." There are some products called immunomodulators that can support the immune system when shipping as well that can be beneficial. On arrival to the barn (or receiving a shipped horse), the horse should ideally be separated from the resident horses in a quarantine barn/stall or separated from the other horses in the barn by a stall. Temperatures should be monitored twice daily for at least 7 days (preferably 14 days) and fevers reported to your veterinarian.   Put the Equine Guelph Biosecurity short course on your Spring Checklist   Many interesting questions came up in the last Equine Guelph Biosecurity short course, while exploring Canada's new Biosecurity standard. Topics such as: how to disinfect items purchased at tack swaps, precautions to take when entering a drug testing stall, procedures vets and horse owners follow when confronted with a diagnosis of disease such as EHM or EHV-1.   Dr. Alison Moore was a contributor to the new National Farm-Level Biosecurity standard for the Equine Sector. Moore stresses the importance of having a biosecurity plan and being able to communicate it clearly with every member of the barn community. Dr. Moore will be a guest speaker once again in the next online offering of Equine Biosecurity - Canada's standard April 10 - 28   Bring your questions and register at TheHorsePortal.ca   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions   Weblink: http://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=502     Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada  

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      

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

Guelph, Ontario - Equine Guelph thanks all participants so far who have given their input to help shape the future of the racing industry in Ontario.  The respondents to date have been 5% from Quarter Horse, 23% from Thoroughbred and 72% from Standardbred racing industries.    Your thoughts contributing towards a healthy and prosperous racing industry are invaluable.   So far there has been an outstanding survey completion rate of 93%!  Grooms, trainers and owners in the racing industry, already completing this survey on racehorse health and well-being have been highly engaged.  This feedback will assist Equine Guelph in directing future research and programs for the industry.    The goal of the survey is to learn more about the current challenges facing the Ontario horse racing industry in all three sectors (Quarter Horse, Standardbred, Thoroughbred). More specifically, this project explores: current racehorse health concerns (injuries and diseases of most concern), horsemanship and racehorse well-being including post racing opportunities, communications and training.  Among other topics associated with health; we want to know what factors you think are related to injuries in racehorses.  We want to know in which areas you believe more research is needed.  Help us help you by completing this important survey.   As a racing professional, your input is important to help drive new research, educational programs and outreach efforts to maintain and improve racehorse health and well-being in Ontario. The survey is anonymous; no specific identifying information will be collected.  A summary of the results of this comprehensive survey will be published.   At the end of the survey, participants have the option to enter a draw to win either one of five $100 fuel cards, one of five $50 Tim Horton's cards or one of ten $25 Tim Horton's cards.  Chances of winning are approximately 1 in 20.    Give your input before December 15, 2016!   Go to:  http://www.equineguelph.ca/racingsurvey.php    If you have any questions or concerns about your participation, please feel free to contact Diane Gibbard at (519) 824-4120 ext 53457 (or dgibbard@uoguelph.ca) or Gayle Ecker at (519) 824-4120 ext 56678 (or gecker@uoguelph.ca)  

Guelph, Ontario - Equine Guelph is calling on grooms, trainers and owners in the racing industry, to complete a first of its kind survey on racehorse health and well-being to direct future research and programs for the industry. Your feedback can help shape the future of racing in Ontario.   The goal of the survey is to learn more about the current challenges facing the Ontario horse racing industry in all three sectors (quarter horse, standardbred, thoroughbred). More specifically, this project explores: current racehorse health concerns (injuries and diseases of most concern), horsemanship and racehorse well-being including post racing opportunities, communications and training.   As a racing professional, your input is important to help drive new research, educational programs and outreach efforts to maintain and improve racehorse health and well-being in Ontario. The survey is anonymous; no specific identifying information will be collected. A summary of the results of this comprehensive survey will be published.   At the end of the survey, participants have the option to enter a draw to win either one of five $100 fuel cards, one of five $50 Tim Horton's cards or one of ten $25 Tim Horton's cards. Chances of winning are approximately 1 in 20.   Give your input before December 15, 2016!   Click on this link.   If you have any questions or concerns about your participation, please feel free to contact Diane Gibbard at (519) 824-4120 ext 53457 (or dgibbard@uoguelph.ca) or Gayle Ecker at (519) 824-4120 ext 56678 (or gecker@uoguelph.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 www.EquineGuelph.ca.     Equine Guelph, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada, N1G 2W1, Tel: (519) 824-4120 ext. 54205    

Early diagnosis of Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS) is an important area of study especially considering one of the first signs can be laminitis, a serious and sometimes life-ending condition. Catching EMS in its initial stages can facilitate early intervention with an appropriate exercise and diet plan to reduce the chances of laminitis developing.   In a first of its kind study, researchers at Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky and the University of Guelph have been collaborating to find out if there are changes in the intestinal microbiota of horses afflicted with EMS. It is known that humans with metabolic disorders have these changes so the researchers set out to compare ten horses with EMS to ten horses in a control group by analyzing fecal microbiota with next generation sequencing of DNA.   Dr. Scott Weese, researcher at the Ontario Veterinary College says, "The study revealed a decrease in the fecal microbial diversity for the EMS horses as well as differences in the overall community structure when compared to the metabolically normal control group of horses." Both groups of horses were of comparable age and fed a similar all-forage diet for at least two months before sampling. Links have been made between obesity and lower microbial diversity in human, dog and horse studies but there is still much to learn about optimal values for diversity. With more research toward understanding the changes in microbiota and what influences these changes, it is possible this technology will be used in the future to help in management of syndromes such as EMS.   For more information on the signs of metabolic syndromes including EMS, visit Equine Guelph's Senior Horse Challenge healthcare tool. Click this Link.   "Every horse owner wants their horse to enjoy the best quality of life through all their years," says Dr. Robert Tremblay, Bovine/Equine Specialist at Boehringer Ingelheim Canada. "For more ways to spot the early signs of diseases and illnesses use Equine Guelph's Senior Horse Challenge online tool. This interactive quiz will help horse owners to learn more about health challenges facing senior horses and gives ways to recognize signs of metabolic syndromes."   by:  Jackie Bellamy-Zions     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.   Equine Guelph, 50 McGilvray St, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1 Canada  

I remember that first ride at 4. I also remember later getting kicked in the stomach by a pony, hitting the wall and sliding down to a sitting position. When Mom asked if I was okay, my response was - "I really shouldn't have patted him on the bum when he didn't know I was there." That incident was the spearhead for lifelong learning.   Barn rat to begin; my first horse at 17; Living and working on the Harness Racecourse for a few years (and shadowing the vets whenever possible); Working in a show stable. Lessons, shows, hunters, games and trail riding. And now, rider, driver of miniatures, and teacher.   When my horse retired in 1997, life forced me in different directions. When I met my husband, I jumped back in with both feet. He was a typical, "well we've always done it this way and we haven't killed a horse yet"... horseman. Now he is my daily student.   In 2009 I had a strong sense that I'd like to do "something" with horses and helping people. As I had no idea exactly how that would look, I signed up for an online course through Equine Guelph; Health and Disease - thought I'd "try it out" and see where it led me. I was hooked after the first week! I went on to earn my Certificate in Equine Science with distinction in 2010 and my Diploma in Equine Studies with distinction in 2011. In January of 2012 I was asked to guest lecture for the Behaviour course - my absolute favorite and deeply rooted passion. This is an honor I continue and anticipate with delight!   In 2010 I opened Wellspring Equine Consulting. The underlying basis is to teach people horse behaviour, but also how they communicate, and how we can learn and understand their body language so we can interact appropriately.   Most of my clients are beginners or returning to horses. They are thirsty to learn in-depth aspects of behaviour and learning theory, basic care and nutrition, first aid, vitals, anatomy, environment, farm planning and more. Explaining the important "why's" about our care, interaction and impact on the horse is a focus. After ground work comes driving lessons. Throughout all the knowledge transfer is learning relational parallels of horses in comparison to humans. Clients gain mentorship from the horses, but also from myself. I am also giving back to grass roots with youth day camps, workshops for Pony Clubs and OEF rider levels.   My credentials are slowly opening doors to new places that I can help our horses!   I enjoy periodically writing for magazines, assisting the Miniature Horse Club of Ontario with their website, and more recently started managing the Equine portion of the annual Central Ontario Agricultural Conference in Barrie Ontario. Recently, I have worked to spread awareness in my Town Council, encouraging creation of regulations/by-laws and fire and safety protocols. This year, free fire inspections of farms upon request by owners are available. It has been wonderful to put the knowledge gained from Equine Guelph's courses to use; providing knowledge, meeting with the people putting such inspections in place while learning the hurdles they must jump.   Without Equine Guelph's courses under my belt, my confidence in teaching would have been sorely deficient. As the courses began, I had a lot of moments that sounded like, "well I knew that!" more moments that were, "oh. I didn't know THAT!" and what really made me laugh, "I always did THAT, but I didn't know it had a name and I didn't know why I did it!" Regardless of the years and diversity of my experiences I learned there was and still is, so much to continue discovering, as science uncovers new understandings and horses themselves add to my considerations. Equine Guelph courses have been a life changer for me, my clients and the horses we all affect.   by Wendy Eagle    Graduate Student  

A respected authority in large animal handling techniques brought her expertise to the Ontario Veterinary College's Large Animal Hospital in early June.   More than 50 staff, registered veterinary technicians, clinicians, interns and residents from the UofG's OVC joined a half-day Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) course with Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, focusing on safe transfer and handling of large animals.   "She shared some great knowledge and experience with us that will help us provide more efficient and safer patient care - not only safer for the patient but also safer for our employees," says Amy Richardson, Supervisor, Patient Care and Service Delivery in OVC's Health Sciences Center.   Gimenez customized her TLAER course offering for the OVC session, providing hands-on opportunities with equine models using a variety of large animal techniques, tactics, and procedures to safely move and handle animals. Participants practiced assembling halters from ropes and straps, perfected using a sideways drag and roll to position a horse onto a glide, and worked as a team to set up an Anderson sling in the Large Animal Hospital. Anderson slings can be used in multiple scenarios to lift a large animal or to elevate an injured animal and relieve pressure on its limbs.   Participants also tackled emergency scenarios, rescuing an injured horse model from a trailer, first stabilizing the patient and then working together to safely move the animal out of the trailer using a glide.   Based in Georgia, Gimenez developed the TLAER training in the mid-1990s with Dr. Tomas Gimenez. She has travelled extensively training first responders, veterinarians and veterinary technicians in these techniques.   Key to every scenario is safety "for self, team and the animal," says Gimenez. Positioning is vital with horses to stay clear of the head and kick zone of the legs. She advocates assigning one individual as the incident commander during rescue operations or emergencies and another to focus solely on safety. She is also a strong advocate for helmets and gloves when working with horses.   Planning is also vital in an emergency situation. An 'aha' moment during the training for Carina Cooper, a large animal internal medicine resident, was the reminder that an emergency situation may have been happening for hours. "Take the time to come up with a good plan and equipment. A best laid plan is worth way more than rash decisions."   While the rescue training focuses on emergency situations, techniques are applicable to day-to-day work with animals.   "It's easier to do these things in a clinical situation where you have lots of people and all the equipment you need, but you're trying to prepare the veterinarian and the veterinary technician for a situation where there is only one or two of them and they need to be able to use mechanical advantages or tools that will make their job easier and safer," she adds.   "It was an excellent course and good refresher for what we do here," says Andrew McHitchison, who provides clinical support in the OVC HSC. "Rebecca is a fantastic speaker."   Many of the tips Gimenez suggested were straightforward, adds Richardson, how to position proper ropes or straps for forward assists, backward assists, and how to make rope halters.   "Sometimes you may have a horse that either doesn't have a halter or doesn't have one that fits properly so we can fabricate one quickly and simply from cotton rope which we have in stock," adds Richardson.   "Maneuvering in a trailer, how to use the sling in an efficient manner, using straps to move a horse into a sternal position, and even hospital or stall design recommendations to make your life easier when handling or moving animals were all helpful tips for in-hospital cases," adds Cooper.   First responders from Adjala-Tosorontio, Guelph/Eramosa, and Erin Fire Departments, with previous TLAER training through Equine Guelph also assisted with the workshop.   "We are so pleased to have this opportunity to facilitate bringing this training to the large animal clinic. There are so many professional groups that benefit from this level of expertise for safety and welfare of both animals and people involved. We are committed in our ongoing efforts for this program and look forward to future training offerings," says Dr. Susan Raymond, Communications and Programs Officer, Equine Guelph.   "Rebecca was quite pleased with our facilities and to see a lot of the equipment that we have in place to help us do a better job and to make things safer for all of us," adds Richardson. The training offered hospital personnel a chance to ask questions and "learn from one of the best in the world,"   The training was sponsored by Merial, the Ontario Equestrian Federation and Equine Guelph.   by: Karen Mantel      

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