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Learning Safe Horsemanship Through Understanding BehaviourJanuary 2013

Story by: Jackie Bellamy

Equine Guelph is pleased to announce a second offering of their Horse Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop April 1 – 14, 2013. This two week online course is designed for horse people who would like to learn more about the best practices for handling horses safely. Education is pivotal for prevention. Injuries due to horses are one of the leading causes of animal-related hospitalizations and fatalities (Source: Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting – CAIR). A recent study conducted by UK Healthcare/UK College of Agriculture revealed that 40-60% of equine-related injury patients believed their injuries were preventable and due to rider error.

Learning Safe Horsemanship Through Understanding Behaviour"The popularity of Equine Guelph's new Horse Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop was established as it sold out within two hours of the first offering announcement," exclaims Equine Guelph's director, Gayle Ecker. "We are pleased by the interest that horse people are showing in educating themselves 'why' horses behave the way they do in order to become safer handlers."

Ten sections will be covered: the horse in the wild – a herd and flight animal, the modern day horse, how horses see, how horses hear, horse herd behaviour – how horses interact with each other, horse handling/approaching a horse, rider/helmet safety, trailer loading safety basics, safety around the barn and paddocks, and fire safety.

This two week online course is designed to be fun and flexible. Students will be engaged by interactive games, challenges and high-profile guest speaker, Dr. Rebecca Gimenez will be sharing her vast knowledge. Dr. Gimenez, who comes from a large animal emergency rescue background and teaches horse handling skills all over the United States says, “I believe that students will benefit from what we have learned about horse behavior in the crisis and emergency situations (especially barn fire response and roadside incidents). Above all else, students will learn SIMPLE ways to prevent the worst disasters in their stables and paddocks. Horses can exhibit EXTREMIST behaviors - where fear and panic drive them to do things that most owners and handlers cannot imagine in daily life. Our job is to teach students to perform a risk assessment for safety, and then react correctly in these types of scenario."

Upon completion of this course, participants are eligible to receive a certificate from Equine Guelph. This eWorkshop also qualifies for Equine Canada coaches updating credits. Coaches should also stay tuned as a “train the trainer” kit is also under development and scheduled for release late this spring.

Funding for this program has been generously provided by Canadian Agricultural Safety Association through the Growing Forward Program and partners: Equine Hippique Canada, Kubota Canada, SSG Riding Gloves, Saddle Up SAFELY, System Fencing, UK Ag Equine University of Kentucky, UK Healthcare, Workplace Safety & Prevention Services AND all equestrian federations across Canada.

Don’t miss out on the second offering of Equine Guelph's new Horse Behaviour and Safety eWorkshop April 1 -14, 2013 for $75 plus HST as space is limited.

For more details contact Susan Raymond at or visit: Behaviour Safety Program