Story: Jackie Bellamy-Zions
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 being:
‘Equine Welfare – Canada’s Code’
‘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
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.