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Education Opening Doors and Eyes in the Racing IndustrySeptember 2017

Story: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

“Knowledge acquired in Equine Guelph online courses has opened doors for me in the industry,” says, Standardbred breeder, Cameron Lago. “The racing industry is a tight knit community and since taking the courses, I have seen a few big name trainers pushing towards hiring Equine Guelph students and have motivated a few friends to look into them.”

Cameron Lago Stocks winner 2016In the fall of 2016, Cameron applied for, and was awarded the Stuart Stocks Memorial Equine Award. This enabled him to enroll in two online courses, furthering his knowledge in training horses to perform at their peak while maintaining their welfare. A representative on the Canadian Council of Animal care, Lago already possessed a deeply rooted passion for horses and maintains, “When you are training horses to their maximum performance level, it is important that you treat them humanely.”

After taking the online Exercise Physiology course, Lago says he gleaned important information on how different muscle fibers are being used and how their composition will reflect on how well the horses perform at the track. Learning about bone remodeling has had an impact on how he will train his foals; walking at increased rates progressively as they grow up to ensure bone structure can handle training, while maintaining a balance of not pushing so hard that it becomes and animal welfare issue.

“The networking component and online community was an awesome experience,” says Lago. “It was probably my favorite part!” Cameron explains they were learning, from other online students, about racing in Australia and New Zealand, while also learning about how dressage riders and jumpers train differently.

Cameron also took the online Genetics course looking for ways to maximize his breeding program and is planning on taking Equine Guelph’s nutrition course soon. Lago says the courses so far have been a huge asset, “You are gaining an inside view on what is happening in individual athletes and making sure each individuals needs are met to 100%.” In the Exercise Physiology course Lago explains the lessons learned regarding the importance of sourcing an equine nutritionist. Like a human athlete; what you put in is what you get out. Lago says, he is really looking forward to taking the nutrition course.

The flexibility of the online courses is great. Lago has been away from his home farm in Guelph, working in Alberta and completing studies in Agriculture. Due to the 24/7 accessibility of the online courses, he was able to fit everything into his busy life.

Deborah CorcoranDeborah Corcoran was also awarded the Stuart Stocks Memorial Equine Award in 2016. As a Barrister, Solicitor and groom at Woodbine race track she sees the value in continuing education and is determined to become an advocate for horses and their lifecycle planning. With a soft spot for senior horses and second careers for race horses, Corcoran has been involved in fundraising for Mindy Lovell of Transitions Thoroughbreds, a non-profit organization that provides intervention, rehabilitation, retirement, re-homing, and re-training for off-track thoroughbreds for sport and pleasure.

Deborah also has her own ideas for a Fifty for $50 deal providing 50 minutes of legal opinion, advice, drafting, etc with all proceeds going to Transitions Thoroughbreds. As a newcomer to the horse industry with five years of experience under her belt, Deborah says, “The Equine Behaviour online course was a catalyst in my journey to further my education and to learn more about horses. My commitment is to horse welfare in general and therefore I must keep learning.”

Entries for the next Stuart Stocks Memorial Equine Award will be accepted until Nov 15, 2017.

Another new award has also just been announced which will be of interest to participants in the Standardbred industry. The Roger L’Heureux Memorial Equine Award has been established in loving memory of Roger L’Heureux by David L’Heureux and Crystal Fountains Inc.

See Equine Guelph Tuition Awards for entry details on how to apply for both of these opportunities.

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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