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New “OEF Member Equine Research Fund”May 2017

Story: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Tracey McCague-McElrea and Gayle EckerThe Ontario Equestrian Federation and Equine Guelph are pleased to announce yet another level of partnership in order to help address the needs of the horse industry. The “OEF Member Equine Research Fund” is a revolution in helping horses for life by funding ground-breaking research. The unique annual program brings members into the fold in a program that stands to further best practices in equine healthcare. $1.50 per OEF membership fee is being paid to Equine Guelph to fund research. It is less than a cup of coffee, but collectively the funding adds up and can really make a difference in the lives of horses.

The Ontario Equestrian Federation is pleased to report over $23,000 has been raised so far in this new initiative. “And that number should be approximately $33,000 by the end of the year, based on our membership targets for 2017,” remarked Tracey McCague-McElrea, OEF Executive Director. “When we all work together and maximize the resources we have available, it is amazing what we can do as a community. I applaud our members for embracing this initiative.” The OEF is committed to horse welfare as well as providing support for over 22,000 members of the equine community in Ontario.

Ontario Veterinary College Dean Jeffrey Wichtel says, “The new OEF Member Equine Research Fund will provide stimulus to drive research that stands to improve the overall health and well-being of horses.” Equine Guelph has been disseminating research findings, in the form of lay summaries, and making this information available to all facets of the equine industry since its inception in 2003.

“OEF has been a proud supporter in the past of research conducted at the University of Guelph,” says Dr. Jeff Thomason, co-chair of the Equine Guelph research committee. “The OEF contribution will be applied to the next round of funding, but 2 recently funded projects illustrate the range of possible and practical uses for that contribution.”

OVC researcher, Dr. Alex zur Linden is creating 3-D print outs of equine joints for training vets to use ultrasound to safely guide the needle in joint injections. In the Ontario Agricultural College, Dr. Katrina Merkies is investigating the effects of steaming or soaking hay for horses. Merkies will be studying effects including feeding behaviour and impact on nutrient density.

"I commend the Ontario Equestrian Federation on their initiative in developing this successful Funding ‎Program to support Equine Guelph's horse health programs and hope that the example they have set encourages other Provincial Sport Organizations and Breed Associations to take up the challenge and do the same," says Al Patterson, Equine Guelph Advisory Council co-chair.

“Equine Guelph thanks the OEF and its members for their contributions,” says Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. “The equine community is bound together by common beliefs and aims when it comes to taking the best possible care of our horses. We welcome all horse associations to consider a similar membership program to become involved in the funding equine research which helps horses for life".

The Ontario Equestrian Federation represents more than 22,000 individual members who come from all sectors of the horse industry. The membership base includes professionals, amateurs, competitors and recreational enthusiasts of all ages and disciplines. The OEF is committed to horse welfare and providing leadership and support to the individuals, associations and industries in Ontario's horse community.

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.

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