Since its inception in 2016, the Equine Industry Symposium hosts and participants have set out to be agents of change. As the organizers, preparing for the 5th annual event this November, the students of the Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management degree program in Equine Management are embodying change. Amidst a pandemic that has thrown all sorts of curve balls to every industry, including the equine industry, the event will switch to a new virtual format. Nov. 16 – 20, 2020, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm EST each evening, the focus of this years’ event will be on the pandemic and how it has impacted the equine industry. The theme: Resilience: Rethinking, Restructuring, Re-evaluating due to COVID-19.

The free event, held each year at the University of Guelph, has attracted a growing number of industry professionals that are interested in “being the change” the horse industry needs. The Equine Industry Symposium is for everyone with an interest in horses. It was born from a desire to have the industry working together in unity, despite division between disciplines/sectors. Participants and world renowned guest speakers all come together because they care about horse welfare and a healthy, prosperous industry.

Everyone involved in the horse industry, be it as an owner, competitor, facility manager, discipline specialist, trainer, coach, official, business owner, recreational rider, or any of a myriad of other roles, face both daily and long-term challenges in sustaining their particular equine pursuits. The welfare and wellbeing of the horse and the long-term health and growth of the industry in all sectors are topics of importance for all equine professionals.

On Monday evening, Bronwynne Wilton from the Wilton Group will give a summary of the report provided to Equestrian Canada on the effects of COVID-19 on the equine industry. An open discussion with Danielle Glanc, farm policy analyst with the Ontario Federation of Agriculture, Jonathan Zammit, executive director of Ontario Racing, and Christine Reupke, director of Equestrian & Breed Sport at the Royal Horseshow in Toronto, Canada will provide insight on how they viewed and approached the pandemic from their respective equine communities. To make your voice heard, please fill out this survey prior to the symposium to let us know how the pandemic has affected you.

On Tuesday evening, Melanie Barham will discuss farm and business planning. Sean Jones from Sunlife Financial will provide a 5-step action list for designing a recession-proof financial plan. Catherine Willson, equine lawyer, and Mike King from Capri CMW insurance will discuss insurance implications and risk mitigation in light of COVID-19.

Wednesday evening will examine the effects of the pandemic on horse welfare. Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, will present the minimum standards of care as outlined in the Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines. Roly Owers, CEO of World Horse Welfare, will analyze what welfare means and how to cope with pandemic restrictions without compromising welfare. Bettina Bobsien will discuss responsible decision-making for older and retiring horses.

On Thursday evening Stewart Everett, UK Equine Register, and Nic de Brauwere, Redwings Sanctuary, will outline the traceability program in the UK. Kristy House from Equestrian Canada will give a summary of how traceability will be implemented in Canada and how it will assist with emergency situations like the pandemic.

Friday evening will begin with an address from Assistant Deputy Minister Frederic Seppey, Market and Industry Service Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Cananda, on how the equine industry is positioned and how the ministry can support the industry moving forward. Kristy House, Equestrian Canada and Tracey McCaugue-McElrea, Ontario Equestrian, will discuss how industry organizations are helping the industry as a whole. The symposium will conclude with highlights of some of the positives that have emerged from the pandemic.

Note that certified coaches can receive one updating hour for each evening attended. While this event is free, attendees may wish to support “For the Herd”, an emergency fundraiser administered by Ontario Equestrian to assist riding schools that are struggling to provide for their horses due to the loss of revenue from lessons and camps due to COVID-19. All proceeds raised go toward riding school facilities and their school horses across the province. For more information and to donate visit the For the Herd Website.

Join in every evening from Nov. 16 – 20, 2020, from 7:00pm to 8:30pm EST by REGISTERING TODAY HERE.