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Equine community comes together to celebrate Equine GuelphOctober 2008

Caledon, Ontario – Equine Guelph played host to a 5th Anniversary ‘Celebration of Partnerships’ dinner in Caledon on Tuesday, September 30. Over 100 industry leaders and partners assembled on a night to remember to celebrate the accomplishments of Equine Guelph and discuss plans for the next five years.

Mare and Foal

Dr. Alastair Summerlee, president of the University of Guelph (right) with Alec Hughes, sculpter of Equine Guelph's "Mare and Foal".

The gathering was a veritable ‘who’s who’ of the equine industry, with all disciplines coming together in an unique social setting to trade horse stories – perhaps even tall tales – and to raise a toast to the burgeoning success of 5-year-old Equine Guelph. Set in the rolling hills of Caledon, the legendary Tralee Estate served as the backdrop for the special event. The stunning 140-acre country property, used for classic and cross country driving competitions, as well as, a banquet facility, was generously donated for the evening by owner Dr. Ray Cormack, Ontario Veterinary College (OVC) graduate of 1949.

Dinner Guests

Dr. Alastair Summerlee, president of the University of Guelph (U of G) and Dr. Elizabeth Stone, dean of OVC and co-chair of the Equine Guelph Advisory Council brought greetings and congratulations on behalf of the University. Both acknowledged the importance of industry partnerships and recognized the outstanding contribution of the collaborators that have made Equine Guelph possible: E.P. Taylor Research Fund, Equine Canada, The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario, Ontario Equestrian Federation, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario Racing Commission, OVC, Standardbred Canada and U of G.

“On behalf of all the horses in Ontario who have benefited and will benefit from research funded through Equine Guelph,” says Dr. Jeff Thomason, co-chair of Equine Guelph’s Research Committee, “I thank you.” This heartfelt statement evoked deep emotion with the audience of horse lovers and was rewarded with silent lumps in throats and a wave of applause.

Thomason is eternally optimist about the future of equine research and creating a better day for every horse. He predicts that in the near future, research will be at a level that is mostly cell-based. “The key is the connection from the cell to the whole animal,” hypothesizes Thomason. “Equine research will be a different kettle of fish within five years.”

Thomason announced the launch of a new Equine Guelph Researcher Award which will recognize an outstanding U of G researcher as voted by the industry. The award is a bronze statue of the “Mare and Foal” – the icon of Equine Guelph – sculpted by Alec Hughes, who was present at the gala.

As the evening drew to a close, the latest issue of U of G’s Research Magazine was unveiled and distributed to guests. The special edition publication on equine research was published to mark Equine Guelph’s 5th anniversary – full of fascinating stories about equine research being conducted at the U of G.

“It is important to stop, reflect and celebrate five years of partnerships and progress,” says Gayle Ecker, senior manager of Equine Guelph. “We wanted to say thank you in a very special way. It was wonderful to see all walks of (equine) life come together in the name of the horse. Tonight was indeed special.”

Founded in 2003 at the University of Guelph, Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ Centre at the University. 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.