Equine Guelph Marks Two Decades of Equine Education and Research

Posted on Tuesday August 15, 2023

In July 2023, Equine Guelph added another milestone to their long list of achievements: 20 years of equine education and research. What began as a vision to elevate equine welfare and advance best practices has evolved into an institution that has left a significant impact on both equine enthusiasts and the broader industry. 

“One of the biggest things we stress in our programs is evidence-based information,” says Equine Guelph director Gayle Ecker. “By combining the latest scientific research with practical application for horse owners, our students gain the knowledge and tools they need to make a real difference for the horses in their care.” 

As a trailblazer in the equine world, Equine Guelph has consistently pushed the boundaries of knowledge, offering a comprehensive range of programs, courses, and research initiatives that cater to the diverse needs of the equine community. Over the past two decades, Equine Guelph has proven their commitment to excellence in education, notably through their partnership with Open Learning and Educational Support (OpenEd) to develop the Equine Studies Online program. 

“We’re thrilled to celebrate 20 years of not only equine education and research, but the impact it has had on our learners (and their horses!) throughout the years,” says Michelle Fach, executive director, OpenEd. “Offering online courses and programs in partnership with Equine Guelph has allowed us to reach a global audience of some of the most passionate horse enthusiasts, and enable learners to develop skills and competencies that are informed by current research and evidence-based practices.” 

Consisting of three certificates and a diploma, the program provides students with the practical knowledge and skills needed to navigate the complexities of equine care, management, and well-being. On average, the program sees between 900 and 1,000 students per year with ages ranging from 18 to 80 years old. 

What makes the program stand out? “A big highlight for the program that sets us apart is our guest speakers,” says Ecker. “For each course, we bring in two to three renowned guest speakers for students to interact and engage with—an opportunity that they likely would not otherwise have.” 

“A sense of community, extensive knowledge and experience, and a commitment to teaching and learning are evident in the high-quality research-focused programming that has been and continues to be developed within the Equine Studies portfolios,” says Jill Ferguson, equine program manager at OpenEd. “I look forward to our continued partnership with Equine Guelph and the future of equine knowledge and research.” 

Equine Guelph’s many years of hard work and dedication have earned them provincial, national, and even international recognition. 

“An exciting award that we were honoured to receive was the Equine Industry Vision Award from the American Horse Publications,” recalls Ecker. “This award is in recognition of leadership, creativity, and contribution toward positive changes in the equine industry, and we were the first Canadian organization to receive it.” 

With two decades of dedication, innovation, and commitment under its belt, Equine Guelph has no intention of stopping anytime soon. 

“There are continuing changes in the equine industry globally that are helping us move these programs into different environments,” says Ecker. “We look forward to the opportunities and challenges that the future holds as we continue to inspire individuals to make a positive difference in the lives of horses.” 

Learn more about Equine Guelph or visit Equine Studies Online to see a selection of available courses and programs.