Quick Links

Yes You Can….Learn to Make a Difference With Horses

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   March 15, 2012 07:42

Guelph, Ontario – March 9, 2012 - The University of Guelph’s award winning continuing education program has unveiled their new Equine Welfare Certificate which will offer students the opportunity to explore animal welfare issues in the horse industry both locally and globally.


Made up of six online courses, this program has been designed to engage students who have a passion for making a better world for our equines, and will examine the biological and emotional factors that affect a horse’s quality of life. Course content will include housing, management practices and procedures that can affect the well being of horses.


"It is extremely important that everyone who owns or works with horses understands not only the complex issues, but also the common practices in daily care and management that can affect the welfare of horses,” explains Tina Widowski, Director of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare. “Through our partnership with Equine Guelph, we are able to combine top expertise in both equine science and animal welfare science to deliver a practical and well-rounded program in Equine Welfare."


Offered by the Campbell Centre, Equine Guelph, and the Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support, the Equine Welfare Certificate core courses include Equine Welfare, Advanced Equine Behaviour, Advanced Equine Health through Nutrition, and Global Perspectives in Animal and Equine Welfare, as well as two elective courses including Health and Disease Prevention, The Equine Industry, Equine Nutrition, and Advanced Equine Anatomy.


The Equine Welfare and Advanced Equine Behaviour courses will be offered during the fall semester beginning September 10, 2012; however, the required pre-requisite courses for this certificate are currently available for registration, with courses starting in May 2012.

While acknowledging that most only want the best for their beloved equines, many horse lovers yearn for the chance to better understand why horses do the things they do and recognize situations that may compromise horse welfare. “This program has been designed to provide students with the tools to become familiar with negative emotional states and recognize how welfare can be objectively assessed in the horse to improve its overall health,” says Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph.


For more information, please contact the Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support at info@coles.uoguelph.ca, call 519-767-5000 or visit www.EquineWelfareCertificate.com.


About The Centre of Open Learning and Educational Support

The Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support provides expertise and leadership to the University of Guelph community and our partners in the following: the scholarship and practice of teaching, technology-enhanced education, open learning and professional development. We provide support for teaching and learning that is evidence-based, responsive, developmental, and based on best practices.


Tags: , , ,

clinic | competition | disease | employment | general | workshop

WCVM Students Journey Beyond Borders

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   March 10, 2012 11:47

By Lynne Gunville
Steve Kruzeniski in Ghana

Veterinarians Without Borders/Vétérinaires sans Frontières (VWB/VSF – Canada) has selected six students from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine to be part of its 12-member student program for 2012.

This summer, WCVM students Colin Taylor, Rebecca Jackson, Graham Ellingsen, Andrea Pellegrino, Morgan Findlay and Steve Kruzeniski will travel to Asia, South America and Africa as volunteers for the global veterinary organization.

• Colin Taylor, a first-year WCVM student, will be working at the Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre (KAT Centre) in Kathmandu, Nepal. He and a teammate will help to provide care and treatment to the animals – mainly stray cats and dogs – while sharing their experiences and knowledge with the centre’s veterinarians and other staff.

photo courtesy of Steve Kruzeniski

The KAT Centre partners with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and the Humane Society International (HSI) in their efforts to eliminate rabies in Kathmandu and to create a stable, healthy street dog population. Currently, there are more than 20,000 dogs living on the city’s streets.

Photo courtesy of VWB/VSF

• Second-year WCVM student Rebecca Jackson and first-year WCVM students Graham Ellingsen and Andrea Pellegrino will travel to Puerto Natales, a small Patagonian community in Chile. They will participate in a collaborative project investigating ways to reduce the problems associated with large numbers of free-roaming dogs.

The students will monitor the behaviours, social activities and roaming patterns of male dogs before sterilization. Their findings will contribute to the project’s goals: improving animal welfare while reducing human-dog conflicts and disease transmission.

• First-year WCVM student Morgan Findlay will provide veterinary care and extension to smallholder dairy farmers living in rural Kenya. She will also work on a research project investigating the effectiveness of various drugs on the gastrointestinal parasites found in dairy cattle.

As part of the dairy health management program, Findlay will work on a team composed of North American and Kenyan veterinarians and veterinary students. Team members will collaborate on clinical, extension and research activities with the goal of benefiting all participants as well as the local dairy farming community.

Photo courtesy of VWB/VSF

• Fourth-year WCVM student Steve Kruzeniski, a member of the VWB/VSF 2010 student program, will donate his time and skills to a goat production project taking place in Mbarara, Uganda. He and a teammate will help train paraveterinarians (people trained to help veterinarians), assist in disease monitoring and vaccination programs, organize livestock management workshops and conduct on-site inspection visits of existing farms.

The goat production project was developed by WCVM professor Dr. Claire Card in partnership with the University of Saskatchewan, the Foundation for AIDS Orphaned Children and VWB/VSF. It’s aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of Ugandan families by providing them with goats and goat training.

Since its inception in 2006, the goat production project has laid the foundation for a more hopeful future and has raised the socioeconomic status of some of the most vulnerable families – many of them affected by HIV and AIDS.

Originally published at WCVM Today (www.wcvmtoday.com), news blog for the Western College of Veterinary Medicine. 


26 nations qualify for London 2012 Olympic Games

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   March 9, 2012 14:58



In Jumping, Azerbaijan, Ireland, Portugal, and Russia qualified through the FEI Olympic Athletes Rankings in Jumping bringing the total number of nations represented by individual riders to 11. Argentina, Colombia, Ireland, and Japan will be represented by two riders each whereas Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Egypt, Jordan, Portugal, Russia, and Syria will be entering one individual each. Fifteen countries will be represented by teams.

The only countries that will field full teams in all three disciplines (Jumping, Dressage and Eventing) is Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the USA.

In total 200 riders from 41 nations have qualified to compete in the equestrian events at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The FEI Olympic Athletes Rankings in Jumping, Dressage, and Eventing was published the 2nd of March. They are the final stage of the qualification by nation process, which concluded the 1st of March.

75 riders will participate in jumping:


Tags: , , , ,

clinic | competition | entertainment | general | jumping

One Rider Spot Left in the Hendrik Gabael clinic March 19-21st.

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   March 5, 2012 18:21

I have a rider who needs to sell her spot in the Hendrik Gabael clinic March 19-21st.  Please let me know if you are interested in her spot.  The cost is 480$ for 3 private lesson plus stabling.  The clinic is hosted at Maple Leaf Meadows.



780-343-6299 text



Tags: , , , , , , ,

clinic | dressage | general | symposium | workshop


posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 24, 2012 07:14

Did I hear you SHOUT YES????

Just "like" @HorseOwnerToday and @FunkyGeeGees for an entry, "share" with your friends for 10 entries and then let us know, email us at bonnie.n@horseownertoday.com. Winner will be drawn when @Funky GeeGees and @HorseOwnerToday have 1000 Fb likes.

Record Crowds Attend the Inaugural Saskatchewan Equine Expo

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 21, 2012 12:24

Biosecurity Tool – Does Your Barn get the Green Light?

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   February 14, 2012 18:37


With all the breaking news on the importance of biosecurity – Isn’t it time to bone up on preventative measures your barn could be taking?   Calculate your horse farm’s risks with Equine Guelph’s Biosecurity Risk Calculator, a tool designed for horse owners to generate a report that grades them on their biosecurity management practices on their farms.  See if you score a green, amber or red light.

Live and online at Biosecurity Calculator, the interactive tool is an educational resource of Equine Guelph (University of Guelph) developed in collaboration with Colorado State University and sponsored by the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation and Vétoquinol Canada Inc.


"Every horse owner should think about a biosecurity management plan,” says Karen Ann Paradis, Equine Product Manager of Vétoquinol. “Having a solid understanding of equine health, infectious disease and disease control is paramount in reducing biosecurity risk in a high-risk industry."


After taking the 10 minute, 42 question Biosecurity Calculator quiz - turn those amber scores green by increasing your knowledge with Equine Guelph’s biosecurity workshops this March and 2 week e-Session April 16 - 29.    The combined feedback from the Biosecurity Calculator and Equine Guelph’s upcoming programs will provide you with the best practices for decreasing risk of infectious disease in your horse(s).  


To learn more about Equine Guelph’s biocesurity programs visit:    www.EquineGuelph.ca/biosecurity.php

Unwanted Horse Coalition presents at Horse World Expo

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 23, 2012 16:33

WASHINGTON, DC – January 23, 2012 - The Unwanted Horse Coalition (UHC) was invited to participate in the University Seminars, courtesy of University of Maryland, at the Horse World Expo on January 20th in Timonium, Maryland. Ericka Caslin, UHC Director, gave an informative presentation about the UHC and unwanted horses to a group of Expo attendees.


The presentation, titled Unwanted Horses: The Issues and the Solutions, focused on responsible ownership and the options horse owners have when faced with the difficult decision of finding their horse a new home. Caslin said, “Many horse owners are not informed about the help that is available to them. The UHC helps owners understand their options, from donation to therapeutic riding programs, to horse owner assistance and grant programs.” Caslin gave the attendees information about the UHC’s Operation Gelding Program, as well as other similar programs offered by organizations throughout the industry. Caslin also reported the findings of the UHC’s 2009 Unwanted Horses Survey, which details the scope of the problem, the causes, and possible solutions.


Each attendee was given a copy of UHC’s brochure, The Problem of the Unwanted Horse: Own Responsibly and information about how to find additional materials on the UHC website, free of charge.


“It is extremely important to make sure that each horse owner has the knowledge of responsible horse ownership. In order to help our nation’s unwanted horses, we need to make sure we provide the tools and information to horse owners about their options,” said Caslin.


For information about the UHC or to request a speaker for your event, please contact Ericka Caslin at ecaslin@horsecouncil.org or 202-2964031. For information about horse owner assistance programs and facilities that accept horses, please visit www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org


The Unwanted Horse Coalition

The mission of the Unwanted Horse Coalition is to reduce the number of unwanted horses and improve their welfare through education and the efforts of organizations committed to the health, safety and responsible care and disposition of these horses. The UHC grew out of the Unwanted Horse Summit, which was organized by the American Association of Equine Practitioners and held in conjunction with the American Horse Council’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in April 2005. The summit was held to bring key stakeholders together to start a dialogue on the unwanted horse in America. Its purpose was to develop consensus on the most effective way to work together to address the issue. In June 2006, the UHC was folded into the AHC and now operates under its auspices.

Tags: , , , ,

clinic | entertainment | general

American Horse Council's 2012 Immigration Reform Outlook

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   January 21, 2012 19:58


Despite substantial efforts to recruit and train U.S. workers, horse farms, ranches, horse shows, trainers and others must rely on foreign workers and use both the H-2B and H-2A temporary foreign worker programs to meet their labor needs.  For this reason immigration polices have a profound impact on the horse industry.


In 2011 numerous bills were introduced in the 112th Congress concerning immigration, most enforcement oriented.  Most notably, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee Lamar Smith (R-TX) introduced the Legal Workforce Act (H.R.2885), which would require all employers to use the federal E-verify system to make sure their workers are authorized to work.   The House Judiciary Committee held hearings on this bill and reported it out of committee on September 21.


“In the Summer and Fall we saw a lot of action in Congress on immigration.  Committees in both the House and Senate held numerous hearings and the House Judiciary Committee approved a mandatory E-verify bill. Since then however, there has been little movement on the issue because even Members of Congress who are in favor of beefing up enforcement and passing mandatory E-verify can’t agree on the best way to proceed,” said AHC Legislative Director Ben Pendergrass.


In response to concerns that mandatory E-verify would cripple the U.S. agricultural industry several bills, like the American Specialty Agriculture Act (H.R.2847) and the Legal Agricultural Workforce Act (H.R.2895), were introduced.  These bills would create new, less burdensome temporary foreign agricultural worker programs to replace the current H-2A program. However, no consensus emerged on which of the many proposals on the table would  best accommodate the needs of agriculture.


 “It is absolutely vital for the horse industry to have access to functioning, efficient, and cost effective foreign temporary worker programs to meet its labor needs and the horse industry can not support any bill unless it provides for those needs,” said AHC President Jay Hickey. “We would like Congress to reform our system in a comprehensive way.  However, as we enter another election year it is unlikely Congress will have much of a desire to deal with a hot-button issue like immigration.”


“It is likely more immigration bills will be introduced in 2012 and there maybe action taken on specific issues like the H-2B wage rule, but right now it doesn’t look like Congress will take action on major legislation like mandatory E-verify,” said Pendergrass.    


Link to full article on AHC website


Find us on Facebook



As the national association representing all segments of the horse industry in Washington, D.C., the American Horse Council works daily to represent equine interests and opportunities. Organized in 1969, the AHC promotes and protects the industry by communicating with Congress, federal agencies, the media and the industry on behalf of all horse related interests each and every day.                       

The AHC is member supported by individuals and organizations representing virtually every facet of the horse world from owners, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, breed registries and horsemen's associations to horse shows, race tracks, rodeos, commercial suppliers and state horse councils.

FEI Dressage: Blood Rule To Be Voted On

posted by Horse Owner Today    |   December 3, 2011 09:17

Blood rule to be voted on this weekend…

November 9th, 2011 at 11:42 pm

The FEI’s proposed blood rule will be voted on this weekend at the FEI General Assembly in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. There has been public outcry and heated debate about the proposed rule, which was released in June, with cries of animal cruelty and labelling of dressage as a ‘Blood Sport’. There are a number of conflicting views as to whether the rule is a good or bad thing but given the campaign in Europe it looks unlikely that it will be passed. Read on for a number of different viewpoints and let us know what you think…

Adelinde and Parzival

The proposed rule would mean that if a horse, at a top level Games or Championships, is seen to have blood anywhere on its body it can be assessed by an FEI veterinarian and if it is then deemed fit to compete, can restart its test. Up until now riders have been eliminated if there is any blood visible on the horse. While blood is not specifically mentioned in the FEI Rule Book for Dressage Events, the FEI has previously been able to refer to their all-encompassing rule that a reason for elimination is if: “the performance is against the welfare of the horse.”

The proposed new rule is as follows:
At top level events (Olympic Games, Championships and Finals for seniors), where FEI vets will be present at the warm-up arena, they would examine the horse and the test would resume if bleeding from minor injuries had stopped. If the bleeding had not stopped, the horse would be eliminated. Where vets are not present to examine the horse, bleeding would result in immediate elimination.

At the 2010 Lexington World Equestrian Games Adelinde Cornellisen was eliminated when blood was spotted in the horse’s saliva. Adelinde and her horse Jerich Parzival were tipped to win the dressage but had no grounds for appeal when they were stopped in their test. Once the horse returned to its stable the bleeding had stopped and after being assessed by the Dutch Team vet it was revealed that the horse had a very small cut on its tongue. Ground jury member at Lexington Stephen Clarke, who judged at C, said that informing Cornelissen that she was eliminated was “the worst moment of my career.”

The International Dressage Officials Club, the International Dressage Riders Club and the Association of International Dressage Event Organisers have all objected to the proposed new rule and have sent the FEI Dressage Board a clear message that they against the blood rule and want to promote a positive image for the sport of dressage.
This rule was proposed by the Dutch chef, Sjef Janssen, as a way to clarify the vagaries surrounding the rule, and allow riders at top-level competition a chance to compete if the injury would not cause the horse pain or inhibit performance. They did not predict the furore of debate that has raged among the world’s dressage riders, trainers, spectators and national committees; each with their own opinion…

Kyra Kyrklund – President of the International Dressage Riders Club

Kyra Kyrklund stated that the IDRC does not agree with the proposed rule: “Our viewpoint is that if there is blood in the mouth in the competition, the horse should be eliminated. The rider should have the right to appeal if he or she feels it was not blood and in that case have the chance to start again…I don’t think they should get a second chance if it is blood…The appeal is a right the rider should have. What if the judge is seeing something that isn’t there? In Kentucky they [the FEI stewards] felt the sides of the horses after the test with a white glove. One horse had sweat and brown from dirt, not blood, and the stewards were very upset until they figured out what it was.” Kyrklund also added that the proposed rule has practicality problems and would be hard to administer: “What about shows that don’t have an FEI vet “on guard” by the dressage arena all the time. What if the horse starting last in the competition starts to bleed? There are no pauses left, when should that one start again? And how much warm up time would be allowed for a re-start? What if the horse starts to bleed again, can it have a third go?”

Kyra Kyrklund

Astrid Appels – Editor of eurodressage.com

Astrid Appels has covered the controversy surrounding the rule on her website, and has linked to a petition started by Fair zum Pferd against the introduction of the blood rule, which has received more than 12,000 online signatures including major dressage figures such as Steffen Peters, Anabel and Klaus Balkenhol and Wilfried Bechtolsheimer. Australia’s Andrew McLean has also signed it. Astrid wrote that “Dressage might be on the verge of officially becoming a blood sport,” asking if the FEI Dressage Committee will “propose the IDTC-inspired rule which allows blood to taint our sport, or will sense for the welfare of the horse return to dressage?” Astrid went on to say that Sjef Janssen, in proposing the rule, believes that “medal potential and hard money are more important than animal welfare.” Astrid also accused Germany’s Sönke Lauterbach of preferring medals to horse welfare stating that he “decided to vote on a rule which promotes a negative image of the dressage sport allowing bleeding horses to re-appear in the show ring in order not to lose medal chances.”

Sönke Lauterbach – Secretary General of the German Equestrian Federation

Germany, one of the strongest competitors in international equestrian competition, initially planned to vote in favour of the blood rule but has now reversed its position. Originally Sönke Lauterbach was in favour of the rule: “This rule only works at Championships and not at other international and national dressage events…It is undisputed that a horse will only stay in the competition based on a veterinary diagnosis. The point is to distinguish a minimal injury from a real health problem. The welfare of the horse will remain the main priority. There are plenty of veterinarians at top events, which can guarantee a quick check-up.” However, following the outrage that swept through the dressage world, with claims of medal potential being more important than horse welfare, he stated that Germany would not vote for the blood rule to be introduced at the FEI General Assembly. Lauterbach explained that they reversed their decision as “we wrongly assessed the reactions of our athletes, judges, veterinarians and members about the so-called Blood Rule.”

Sönke Lauterbach

Sjef Janssen – Dutch National Trainer

Sjef Janssen, board member and former president of the International Dressage Trainers Club (who proposed the rule), considers the vitriolic outcry about the blood rule unjustified and the rule perfectly reasonable: “I don’t approve of blood, let that be clear. Blood is a signal that there is something wrong. In my opinion a specialist needs to step up and check what’s wrong, like in the proposed rule. To me it’s irresponsible and not good that one judge takes this decision. Firstly he’s a judge and not a vet and secondly it has to happen by someone impartial and knowledgeable.” In regards to the concern about the fairness of the rule – as it would only allow restarts at Championships and Olympics and not at lower levels – Sjef stated: “It’s not feasible to make this rule happen at all shows, but for shows where large interests are at stake, I think the installment of the rule is very justified.”

Sjef Janssen

Sissy Max-Theurer – President of Austrian Equestrian Federation

Sissy Max-Theurer indicated that Austria was still undecided about the controversial rule. “There were many discussions about it in the dressage world and I can see the problem from all angles, as horse owner, judge and show organizer,” she stated. “Personally I haven’t made a decision yet on the rule. In my opinion you have to find a rule that treats all riders equally and not only the senior riders at the Olympic Games, World and European Championships. I don’t find it fair. In principle, I favour that there will be a veterinarian at all national and international competitions who can judge from the warm up ring if a horse can compete or not. It continues to happen that a horse harmlessly bites its tongue or lip, without harsh involvement of the hands. In principle one has to be fair to the horse but also to the rider. I can imagine that a test could continue after a horse has been rung out for blood in his mouth and a check-up by a vet shows that it’s a minor injury. However this has to be rule at all shows and not just at championships.”

Chris Hector – Editor of The Horse Magazine

“It is pretty scary to find I’m lining up with Sjef, but on this occasion I agree with him. I guess all of us have at one time or another bitten our tongue, it hurts but it is a long way from your heart. It really was a pity not to see Adelinde and Parzival compete at the last WEG, and if – as the Dutch claim – the horse’s tongue had stopped bleeding by the time it got back to the stables, why then not let the horse compete? We are not talking about horses bleeding internally as a result of physical stress, we are talking about simple, minor accidents. We are not talking about horses being allowed to compete when they are bleeding but about horses being allowed to compete when they are not bleeding. The rule change was only proposed for major major events where expert veterinary advice is always on hand. The talk of the millions of people watching every second of dressage on television ready to desert the sport at the sight of a speck of blood is sheer fantasy – the sort of people who are interested in dressage know how easily horses can bleed in the mouth from very minor accidents. Obviously at this sort of event, the stewarding should be of such a high standard that there is no chance that the blood can result from rough riding. I think the proposed new rule was a sensible one torpedoed by an hysterical campaign that has as more to do with anti-Dutch sentiment than logic. I have spoken to a number of riders who privately agree that the proposed rule is a good one but they are unwilling to publically speak out because they fear they will be crucified on Astrid Appels’ eurodressage website and/or savaged by the formidable Kyra Kyrklund who seems quite obsessive on this issue. I have watched a couple of million (well it feels like that) tests over the past thirty years, and can recall two occasions when a horse was sent from the ring for a mouth bleed – one was an eventer, the other was Parzival at Lexington. Statistically it is highly unlikely that I will witness another ‘blood’ incident, but just imagine for a moment that next year at the London Games, Uthopia bites his tongue and it is bleeding when he enters the ring. They are immediately disqualified (I’m assuming that Astrid and Kyra will get their way) and despite the fact that five minutes later the horse is perfectly fit to compete, Carl Hester, and the British team are eliminated. I do hope Mesdames Appels and Kyrklund are around to explain why that is a good thing for dressage…”

Chris Hector

Mary Hanna – Australian Olympian

“It seems to me that the recent debate about the ruling, in regard to blood in a horse’s mouth has become highly emotional, and not always rational. The purpose of the rule should be to safeguard the welfare of the horse, and prevent any form of cruelty. It is also important that we have one rule for all. To have a more lenient rule for international competitions than national or regional competitions is very unfair. However, I think we need to get things in perspective. If I break my fingernail and it bleeds, I do not stop riding my horse, playing golf, or sailing my boat! If I bit my tongue, I wouldn’t stop either. Likewise for the horse there is a big difference between a horse accidentally biting his tongue, or having bleeding from the corner, or the inside of his mouth due to rough hands of a rider. A minor and accidental biting of the tongue should be easy for a steward to identify, as opposed to a mouth bleeding from rough riding. Surely a vet is not needed to identify this problem. Well educated judges, or stewards should be able to make an assessment of the situation, and prevent a whole team of riders being taken out by a small and inconsequential nick to the tongue. I notice in Europe debate over this issue has reached hysterical levels. Surely common sense can prevail. Stewards are educated to be on the look out for any form of cruelty, and this is a very good thing. Rough riding should not, and is not tolerated in our sport. I believe stewards and judges should be able to make an on the spot decision over this matter. If they decide the blood is only a small amount from a small nick, the rider should be able to continue. If the bleeding is more obvious and from the rider being too rough, then elimination should be the consequence.”