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 email@example.com) or Gayle Ecker at (519) 824-4120 ext 56678 (or firstname.lastname@example.org)
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 email@example.com) or Gayle Ecker at (519) 824-4120 ext 56678 (or firstname.lastname@example.org) 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
They make hoof prints in our hearts, blessing us with their beauty and grace. An inexplicable bond forms with a cherished companion requiring no words during your time together. Equine Guelph and Intercity Insurance understand what it is like to suffer the loss of a beloved equine friend. “Hoofprints was created for courageous people wishing to share their memories and pay respect to their dearly departed equine partner or person in the horse community,” says Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker. A photo and story are posted on the Hoofprints webpage as a positive means to cope with the devastating loss and a way to grieve with fellow horse lovers. “We are proud to partner in a program facilitating a loving way to remember the horses and horse people who have had a huge impact on our lives,” says Mike King of Intercity Insurance. By dedicating an Equine Guelph donation in their name, their legacy lives on giving back to horse health and welfare through Equine Guelph’s programs. Equine Guelph thanks Intercity Insurance for sponsoring the Hoofprints Tribute Program and for supporting other horse welfare initiatives including Equine Guelph’s Colic Risk Rater online interactive tool and two brochures: Colic Prevention and Fire Safety Pocket Book of Promises. 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 EquineGuelph.ca.
Equine Guelph would like to announce a wonderful opportunity for members of the harness racing industry. After the rash of barn fires in Ontario at the beginning of 2016, Equine Guelph and its partners were quick to respond, bringing educational material regarding fire prevention to the horse industry. During the summer of 2016 a pilot program will be introduced for horse farms involved in the racing industry; including thoroughbred, standardbred and quarterhorse racing, whether racing, training or breeding. A limited number of visits will be scheduled for farms interested in having a fire prevention professional walk through their facility, providing a valuable assessment and recommendations to maximize safety. So many members of the racing industry were devastated by the tragic fires earlier this year bringing a focus on fire safety and prevention to the forefront of industry interest. Equine Guelph is pleased to be able to offer this valuable, one-time, learning opportunity to the racing industry of Ontario. "It is our belief that an investment in fire prevention and safety education/training will help protect people, horses and facilities." says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph. "Prevention is key and this is a special opportunity to become more aware of the steps we can take to reduce the risk. Our horses are depending on us to protect them." For more information on fire safety and prevention visit EquineGuelph.ca/tools/fireprevention.php Farms interested in scheduling an assessment, please contact Dr. Susan Raymond, Equine Guelphslraymon@uoguelph.ca or call 519-824-4120 ext 54230
Equine Guelph thanks Ross Millar and all his dedicated staff including: auction organizer, Janice Blakeney, auctioneer, Brad Bowie and all the artists who made this fundraiser a huge success for the second year in a row. "Equine Guelph has been a part of the Can-Am from the very first show and we are pleased to receive this special donation from the Can-Am. Our thanks to all the artists who donated beautiful artwork, along with Amber Marshall for her contribution as well," said Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph. "It is great to partner with such wonderful people who share our passion for educating the horse industry on equine health and welfare." With close to 10,000 in attendance at Can-Am, six lucky bidders came away from the evening extravaganza on Saturday April 2, 2016 with some impressive artwork while helping out a great cause. Special thanks go to the incredibly talented Canadian artists who donated their work with 100% of the proceeds going to Equine Guelph: Ann Clifford (acliffordsculpture.com/#!horses/cbnu), Mark Grice (markgricetheartist.weebly.com), Shawn Hamilton (clixphoto.com) and Nola McConnan (merriweatherdesignstudio.com). Thank you also to Amber Marshall who donated two gift packages and photo shoots. Young admirers were very enthusiastic in their bidding for these two unique items. EquiMania!, Equine Guelph's interactive youth safety display has a long history with Can-Am, appearing for the past 11 years (since the inception of EquiMania!). "Can-Am is proud to promote equine welfare and is happy to lend support," says president, Ross Millar. "Our long-standing relationship with Equine Guelph is rooted in a mutual passion for educating horse owners and care givers." Visit EquiMania.ca to learn more and to bring EquiMania! to your event. Jackie Bellamy-Zions
The sun is shining, birds are singing, flowers are blooming and the temptation is to launch full-on into your horse-training endeavours. You may have kept fit throughout the winter on the ski slopes or at the gym but what about your horse? Unless you had access to an indoor arena or migrated south for a few months with your four legged friends, chances are your horse’s fitness level is not quite sufficient for competition or strenuous outings yet. While there is no fool-proof way to avoid all circumstances that could necessitate a lameness exam, there are precautions every horse owner can take to reduce the risk of injury. As with every great fitness program, the key to success is a logical progression and controlling the factors you can control such as footing, stable management and horse health care. Logical Progression Many training programs have a pinnacle event in mind. In this case, a work back plan is created based on when you want the horse to be in peak fitness. The journey leading up to the main event consists of weeks and months of conditioning including a lead up with smaller events to ensure the horse is ready for the more strenuous task ahead. It only takes one month off for a horse to start loosing fitness. If you are coming back from a winter of inactivity, it is wise to start slow with 20 minutes of walking and to build up from there. Increase the length of conditioning sessions first, before increasing intensity. It is not realistic for a horse to be in peak physical condition at all times. Good fitness programs do not ask a horse for maximum exertion on an ongoing basis but allow for peaking and tapering, muscle building and down time for repair. Increasing cardiovascular fitness, strength training and flexibility in a progressive way will increase fitness and make the horse stronger and more resilient when the time comes for a maximal performance. A horse that has been fit previously will return to fitness faster than one that has never been fit before. Each horse’s training program needs to be tailored to the individual with consideration given to: age, breed, conformation, discipline requirements and previous injuries. One of the learning objectives in the Equine Guelph, 12-week online course, Equine Exercise Physiology, is to design and monitor a year-round training program for a horse (using training principles, structuring the workout, monthly and yearly plans). Also addressed are topics such as: base conditioning, aerobic and anaerobic exercise and recovery, monitoring of conditioning gains and prevention of health and performance problems and more. No Footing, No Horse Back to that sunshine again. Oh boy, is it tempting to go ride outside now! Before you step out consider all the footing factors. If you have been lucky enough to train in an indoor ring all winter, chances are your horse has been enjoying consistent, even, well-maintained footing. The outdoor options will not be exactly the same. Even if you are simply moving to an outdoor arena, there will be changes in depth, surface material, drainage and so on. While riding on different surfaces can be hugely beneficial, it takes time for horses to adapt, both to the new surface and possibly to the new training intensity. Dr. Brianne Henderson explains in her archived article on legs, “Bone is always changing and responding to stress. Microdamage can occur within the bone as a consequence of repetitive strain. Overtraining causes this “microdamage” to occur at a faster rate than the body can fix and so the repair is never as strong as the original bone. A similar ‘micro-damage-repair’ cycle occurs within the tendons and ligaments.” The chance of repetitive strain injuries can be significantly reduced with judicious training and the incorporation of lighter work days and rest days. Training in deeper footing and muddy conditions can predispose horses to soft tissue injuries such as sprains and strains. Those taking to the roads need to be aware of the impact on joints and bones, which can occur when training on harder surfaces. Training on hills is a great work out for both balance and strength training, but again logical progression of duration and intensity of workouts are all important to avoid fatigue and lameness issues. It pays to be choosy about the footing you ride upon. Not all surfaces are a good match for all disciplines. Dr. Jeff Thomason of the Ontario Veterinary College has done intensive research studying surfaces and how the horse interacts with a variety of footing. More information on this research can be found on the Equine Guelph website in archived news article: “From the Ground Up” . Shape Shifting Everyone knows about the importance of deworming and vaccination but no spring checklist would be complete without due diligence on the stable management aspects of dental care and saddle fitting. A painful mouth due to sharp points can manifest as reluctance to be ridden. There are many changes constantly occurring in a horses mouth and having a dental exam performed by a veterinarian once or twice a year is recommended for both digestive health and to avoid set backs in training. The saddle fitter is another important member of your healthcare team. Horses change shape over time and at different stages of training. Ensuring proper fit is important not only for the horse’s comfort but also for correct muscular development. Several appointments throughout a year are not uncommon and the spring check up is one of the saddle fitter’s busiest times of year. Know your Horse Health Knowing your horses’ normal heart rate, temperature and breathing rate before you begin a training program is important. “A work back plan falls into place once you have an understanding of your horses’ current fitness level and set an end goal,” says Equine Guelph’s director and former advisor for Canada’s endurance team, Gayle Ecker. A free 16-point horse health check is available with Equine Guelph’s Horse Health Tracker App as well as body condition scoring and a weight estimator. Knowing your starting point and what is normal for your horse is vital information for moving forward and monitoring your horses health through every stage of its training. Tracking how quickly vitals return to normal after exercise gives the horse owner a measurable indicator of fitness level. As a horses exercise routine ramps up, nutrition and electrolyte balance will also need to be adjusted accordingly. Early Detection Flexibility is of course a component of any training program. No matter how well we plan, setbacks can and will occur and it is of paramount importance to detect and address any health concerns early on. Early detection and treatment generally result in a more favorable prognosis. Archived article by Dr. Brianne Henderson, “Legs, Common Injuries, and how we can Treat Them” can be found on Equine Guelph’s news page. To practice your early detection skills for lameness, visit Equine Guelph’s free online healthcare tool, Lameness Lab, kindly sponsored by Zoetis. Lameness Lab reviews causes of lameness, goes over checklists, looks at when to call the veterinarian and what to expect in an exam. Finally, take the video challenge to see if you can spot the lame leg! To gain a wealth of information on conditioning programs, sign up for the Equine Guelph 12-week Exercise Physiology course beginning May 9. Equine Guelph would like to wish you all the best with your horse training programs. More resources promoting horse health and welfare can be found atEquineGuelph.ca.
The number one killer of horses other than old age is colic. If you search "equine colic" on the World Wide Web, over 400,000 results will appear! Many of them explain colic as a common yet potentially deadly disorder of the digestive system with a wide array of causes. To understand why the domesticated horse is prone to colic, it is important to compare how different the life of a modern horse is compared to its wild counterparts − one of the first lessons learned by participants of Equine Guelph's Colic Prevention two-week eWorkshop. Horses in the wild graze for 16-20 hours and travel 8km/day or more whereas modern horses are often confined to stables or smaller turnout areas, fed concentrate diets and undergo more intensive exercise activity. It is no surprise that the modern use and management of the horse is a huge departure from its natural feeding and activity pattern which can place them at higher risk of digestive issues that can lead to colic. Being aware of these differences and taking preventative measures can minimize their effects and help reduce the risk of colic. Equine Guelph has two resources available to aid you in caring for your horse and its approximate 85 feet of digestive tract. The two-week online short course will help you identify risk factors and assess your management in order to implement preventative measures. It is "cheap insurance" at only $75 + hst. Equine Guelph also has a handy healthcare tool which helps you assess your personal risk with the "Colic Risk Rater". After answering a series of questions, a customized rating for your horse is provided. Intercity insurance is the generous sponsor of this tool. "Given our decades of experience in insuring horses from coast to coast, we know that colic is one of the highest risk factors in the Canadian herd," says Mike King of Intercity. "We can think of no better risk management tool to prevent colic than education." Knowledge is the best defense when more than 80% of colic cases are management-related. Learn how to reduce your risk in practical ways that you can easily implement. "This course is a must for all horse owners as knowledge is the first and best defense against colic!" says Natalie Price, Ontario, Canada, Student. Visit EquineGuelph.ca to sign up for the next Colic Prevention eWorkshop April 11 and take 15 minutes to assess your risk with the Colic Risk Rater healthcare tool. by Jackie Bellamy-Zions
The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) recently presented the first of four cheques totaling $125,000 to benefit the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) Student Liaison Program at the University Of Guelph. On February 25, a donation of $31,250 was presented by the GRAS, owner/operator of Grand River Raceway, at the Elora track. The OAC Student Liaison Program aims to increase the number of applicants to all OAC programs and increase awareness in urban and rural Ontario. The program promotes and showcases the abundance of opportunities and careers in agriculture and food to high school students, parents, educators and guidance counsellors. Since 2010, there has been a 35 per cent growth in OAC undergraduate program enrolment. This is due in part to participation in over 75 external events and the delivery of 35 student outreach events including Reach Ahead Days, certification training and skills competitions. In total, over 3,800 high school students have attended events hosted by the Ontario Agricultural College since Fall 2010. "Support from the Grand River Agricultural Society enables us to continue to demonstrate Ontario's agri-food education and career opportunities to high school students and teachers," shares Jonathan Schmidt, OAC Associate Dean - Academic. "We continue to see an increased interest from rural and urban schools offering Special High Skills Majors, who are looking for our leadership in providing training and certification," he adds. "Support from the GRAS will help us continue to meet these needs and showcase the breadth and depth of agri-food." Going forward, the program will adapt to meet the increased interest from high school teachers and students in online activities and outreach materials as well as career planning and counseling for current OAC students. The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) is a not-for-profit corporation, incorporated under the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Act of Ontario and governed by a volunteer board of directors reporting to OMAFRA. The GRAS mandate is to encourage awareness of agriculture and to promote improvements in the quality of life of persons living in an agricultural community. Kelly Spencer
After spending only five minutes browsing my email inbox, I am reminded of the need to promote Equine Guelph's Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop to anyone and everyone who ever plans to spend time in the company of equines. A horse has died while being hand-grazed. It's neck broken after stepping into a lead shank chain which was not being used over the nose but doubled through the halter instead. A Facebook video shows a toddler frolicking in a paddock with a loose pony. The caption is cute, but watching the clip fills me with dread. I see the pony going back and forth between inquisitive behaviour to defensive body language warning of an impending kick. An accident is waiting to happen if the parents continue to believe this pony is a harmless toy for their tot to play tag with. Photos of people with horses roll in - halter too low on the nose, handler in a precarious position if the horse spooks, the list goes on. An education in how horses react to what they perceive as frightening doesn't need to come from the school of hard knocks. As a horse-crazy child born of "non-horsey" lineage, I can tell my fair share of stories about learning the hard way. I wish this popular two-week online course had been around when I was driving my parents insane with demands for riding lessons. Now, as a coach, my lessons revolve around safety, starting with ground handling. The Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop teaches horse owners to read their horses body language and understand their motivations as a prey species. "We are pleased that horse people are interested in educating themselves about 'why' horses behave the way they do and how that translates into becoming better and safer handlers," says Equine Guelph Director, Gayle Ecker. Students of the program are 16 years of age and up and they are welcomed by a community where shared experiences further learning. Led by experts, this course has received high praise from parents, new horse owners and coaches who then pass the knowledge on to their students. This eWorkshop qualifies for Equine Canada coaches updating credits and is approved by the Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians. Guest speaker, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez, brings a wealth of experience, teaching horse handling skills all over the world in her Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue courses. She communicates from first-hand knowledge that horses can exhibit extremist behaviors; where fear and panic drive them to do things that most owners and handlers cannot imagine in daily life. "Ignorance is no longer 'bliss' when it comes to one's ownership and relationship with their equine partner, says Gayda Erret, previous student. "One gains vast knowledge they may never have realized they needed." It is so easy to become complacent in many of the ten topics covered such as: fire safety, trailer loading and safety around the barn and paddocks. This course is a great refresher for industry experts and an excellent start for those new to the world of equines. Don't miss out on Equine Guelph's Horse Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop February 22 to March 6, 2016, for $75 plus HST. Space is limited. For more details contact Susan Raymond at email@example.com or visit: http://www.equineguelph.ca/eworkshops/behaviour_safety.php by Jackie Bellamy-Zions Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Equine Guelph's year of "Full-Circle-Responsibility" welfare campaign, ended with a wonderful journey. Gayle Ecker was an invited guest to the World Horse Welfare conference in England! Presentations from this invitation only event can be viewed on the World Horse Welfare website. Ecker also attended information meetings at the World Horse Welfare headquarters near Norwich, followed by a tour through Hall Farm (one of their major horse rescue centres). The trip continued on to The Horse Trust to learn about their horse rescue operations and education programs. A visit to the Hampshire Fire and Rescue also provided information on training of first responders for technical large animal rescue in the UK. Can you say whirlwind tour? "The World Horse Welfare conference was excellent and demonstrates that we share many welfare concerns between Ontario and the UK, including the need for more education for horse owners to support equine welfare," says Ecker. "Important relationships were developed with these organizations. This will result in information sharing to move forward the important initiative of advancing horse welfare." Horse Welfare has been at the core of Equine Guelph's mission since day one and we offer specialized online courses including Equine Welfare, and Global Perspectives in Equine Welfare. Equine Guelph's Equine Welfare Certificate was launched in June 2012 and attracts students from all over the globe and from many different backgrounds. "As a full-time equine veterinarian, I wanted to explore my understanding and awareness of current issues relating to welfare within the equine industry. All stakeholders within the industry have pre-formed perspectives and this course allowed students to share different opinions and thoughts about salient issues within the equine world. I experienced the level of passion that horse owners and horse lovers have regarding not just their own horses, but the horse population in general. Although these issues are not always straightforward with resolutions that all stakeholders consider satisfactory, the dialogue was thought-provoking and enlightening. The online format allows people with busy schedules to fully participate on their own schedule without missing out on any topics. I would certainly take another online course offered by Equine Guelph in the future." Greg Evans, DVM, BSc. Ag. The Equine Welfare certificate, made up of six online courses, is offered by the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare (CCSAW), Equine Guelph, and Open Learning and Educational Support at the University of Guelph. Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada
Puslinch Firefighters' were dispatched to a Public Assistance call for a horse stuck in a horse trailer on October 12th, 2015 around 09:30 hours. Ten Firefighters were in attendance for the nearby horse farm on Wellington Road 34 in Puslinch Township. The crew responded quickly; and were at the scene within 7 minutes from the initial pager activation. A 14 yr old mare named "Heidi" was trapped halfway through the side door of the trailer and could not move forward or backwards. The owners and by-standers assisted in keeping the horse calm and relaxed while fire personnel quickly derived a plan of action to free the trapped horse. It was determined that the best and safest option was to use hydraulic spreaders above the horse to spread the opening apart. It was quickly determined other hydraulic devices and cutting options were out of question due to safety and noise that could further hinder the stuck mare. Dealing with a matter of inches, Heidi was quickly and successfully freed. Miraculously, she sustained zero damage or injury throughout the entire event; not even so much as a cut or scratch. The horse trailer also sustained minimal damage. The entire process from arrival on scene to complete extrication of the horse took a total of 13 minutes. Among the firefighters who responded, three of them had recently attended the Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue (TLAER) course only eight days earlier, organized by Equine Guelph, University of Guelph through Susan Raymond, PhD. Communications & Programs Officer. The TLAER course, instructed by Dr. Rebecca Gimenez (TLAER Inc.) was conducted over 2 days (October 3rd & 4th) at the Grand River Raceway in Elora, ON. The course was very informative and covered both in-class sessions and practical scenarios on both artificial and live animals. "Utilizing the information from this course proved valuable both in maintaining personal safety zones around the animal and scene while coming up with an effective plan to quickly and safely extricate the large animal," said firefighter Michael Dailous. This was the second horse rescue call for the month of October; both calls only days after several firefighters in attendance had taken the TLAER course. Story by: Michael Dailous Equine Guelph | 50 McGilvray St | Guelph | Ontario | N1G 2W1 | Canada