A recent agreement between Olds College and Equine Guelph, part of Ontario’s University of Guelph, has yielded the formation of a new Olds College certificate program. Beginning in July 2011, students will be able to enrol in the College’s new one-year Western Recreational Rider Certificate program. By completing two additional elective courses in that timeframe, students can also acquire Equine Guelph’s Equine Science certificate in addition to the College’s Western Recreational Rider certificate. 

“This program is tailor-made to ignite and build a passion for horses like no other. Between the day-to-day learning and a breathtaking pack trip through the Canadian Rockies at the end of the program, there are very few ways a horse enthusiast could have more fun,” said Dalin Bullock, Chair, Olds College School of Agriculture. “It also serves as an excellent foundation for students who are interested in learning the fundamentals before going more in-depth and obtaining our Equine Science Diploma.”

The program consists of one year of blended programming, broken down into four required on-line courses offered by Equine Guelph and six on-campus courses offered by Olds College.  It begins this July with eight weeks of on-campus instruction followed by two semesters of part-time on-line instruction from September to April.  The program finishes with eight weeks of on-campus instruction in May and June.  Putting their new knowledge to practical use, students finish the program with the Wilderness Wrangler course, which includes the three-day pack trip through the Rockies – embodying the ideals and romantic imagery Western horsemanship is famous for.

“Equine Guelph is pleased to be a part of the Western Recreational Rider Certificate,” said Gayle Ecker, Director, Equine Guelph.  “Combining practical hands on experience with Guelph’s award-winning science-based programs will give students a solid base of knowledge and the confidence to move forward into a successful equestrian career.”

Program size is limited to 24 students per year. The on-campus portion of the programming will focus on recreational riding with an emphasis on safety and horse care.  Students will follow the rider level certification as outlined by Equine Canada and will be required to perform a self assessment of both their physical ability and horsemanship skill.  In addition, students planning to bring their own horse will be required to perform an assessment of its suitability for the program.