The Equestrian Canada (EC) Health & Welfare Award recognizes an individual or organization that has contributed directly to the improvement of horse health and welfare in Canada through years of hard work and dedication, and Equine Guelph is the deserving recipient for 2019.
Equine Guelph, based at the University of Guelph in Ontario, is recognized as an international leader in promoting the health, welfare and safety of horses and their caretakers. Acting as a vital link between industry, research, and horse owners and caretakers, Equine Guelph has been a pioneer in the development of evidence-based, award winning online education since 2002.
From nutrition to disease prevention to stable management, Equine Guelph offers over 20 courses through their Equine Certificate and Diploma programs, which attract 900 students per year from more than 40 countries. Their programs are senate-reviewed and have received both provincial and national academic awards.
Applauded for their collaborative approach to equine education, Equine Guelph has partnered with the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare since 2012 in developing the Equine Welfare Certificate. The program focuses solely on the welfare of horses from a practical, evidence-based approach and has garnered global recognition. In fact, as a result of this program, Equine Guelph Director, Gayle Ecker has been invited to attend the World Horse Welfare Conference in London, ENG, annually since 2015.
Equine Guelph has also built lasting partnerships with national and provincial equestrian organizations that have resulted in the creation of vital tools for equestrians, including TheHorsePortal.ca. The flexible, online health and welfare courses offered through TheHorsePortal.ca feature short, practical courses accessible from all web-based devices for busy equestrians, and provide continuing education credits, as well as opportunities to engage in peer-to-peer discussion and engagement.
Other innovative programs Equine Guelph has pioneered in recent years include EquiMania! – a unique travelling exhibit that has won two international awards for educating youth on horse health, welfare and safety. They have also developed a hands-on training course specifically for SPCA agents and inspectors responsible for equine welfare assessment. In addition, Equine Guelph created the Ontario Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue Program to help first responders in the safe handling of large animals that require emergency rescue, while their Fire Prevention program trains horse and facility owners in fire risk reduction within barns.
These initiatives just scratch the surface of the education, support and tools Equine Guelph provides to the Canadian and global equestrian industry. Their countless resources also include everything from a vaccination equi-planner to a colic risk rater to free access to current research materials.
EC applauds Equine Guelph’s invaluable work to drive positive change and continuous learning in the equine industry, and is honoured to recognize this Canadian-based, globally-respected organization with the 2019 EC Health & Welfare Award.