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Equine industry symposium set to spark changeOctober 2019

EIS posterOn November 17, the 4th annual Equine Industry Symposium will be hosted by the University of Guelph.

Join attendees from different areas of the horse industry to discuss the theme of "change" and what the word means for the equine community.

“With a consistently growing industry, keeping pace with change is crucial for everyone,” says Katrina Merkies, event organizer. “As part of an inclusive community we can all work toward improving the welfare of the horse.”

The Symposium will be held in Rozanski Hall, Room 101 on the University of Guelph campus. The event will run from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Registration is now open for this free event.

The symposium agenda features three international speakers:

- Dr. Sandra Olsen from the University of Kansas will discuss the evolution of our relationship with horses. As a renowned scientist and zooarcheologist, Dr. Olsen has extensively researched horse domestication and the development of horse-human relationships.

- Lisa Ashton, a clinician from the United Kingdom, will present an evidence-based approach to riding and training. Ashton advocates to "be the change your horse needs". Ashton runs two educational equestrian businesses, EquiSci and, which are both dedicated to helping horses by helping people.

- Debbie Busby is a BHS certified Stage 4 coach and registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist in high demand by a variety of people from riders to PhD students to veterinarians. Busby is often called on to provide expert witness opinion in legal disputes involving horse welfare and specializes in human behaviour change for animals. The symposium will also hold a panel discussion featuring industry entrepreneurs Anthony MacDonald (, Warren Byrne (The Horse Agency), Linda Hauck (Tapestry Equine Products), and Pam Coburn (Ontario Equestrian) presenting how they have embraced change in the industry.

“Experiences and approaches shared by the panel members are intended to spark open conversation with attendees,” says Katrina Merkies. “Their innovative and forward-thinking approaches will showcase how we can expand and improve our equine industry.”

Akaash Maharaj, former CEO of Equine Canada, is returning for a fourth time as the symposium facilitator. This event is organized by students in the Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management -Equine Management program. Updates leading up to the symposium will be shared on Facebook: "Equine Industry Symposium 2019".