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Fire Prevention Resources

Fire is an ever-present concern for stable owners and Equine Guelph has compile a list of excellent Fire Prevention resources.

According to Retired Chief of Fire Prevention, Bob Webb the most common reasons for barn fires is faulty equipment, not being aware of managing the cleanliness of the area, and storage of straw and hay in your barn. As a home owner you can reduce your risk by maintaining your electrical equipment (including heaters), using equipment that is code compliant and that your equipment is away from things that will catch fire.

Preventing fires is a proactive strategy and depends on daily management of your barn.

The best thing you can do today is call your local fire department and schedule a walk through of your facility.

For more of the interview with Bob Webb and other resources that will assist you in preventing barn fires visit Equine Guelph’s Preventing Fire Resource Page

Photo Credit: pianissimo/

Equine Guelph’s Gayle Ecker wins prestigious award

Leadership and innovation are at the core of The Equine Industry Vision Award presented to Gayle Ecker, Director of Equine Guelph. Equine Guelph supports the health and well-being of horses through education, research, health care promotion and industry development and Gayle has been an exceptional leader in the equine industry.

The award was established and sponsored by Zoetis, and awarded in partnership with American Horse Publications.

Read more in the media release from June 2015

American Horse Publications Release, FLORHAM PARK, N.J.

Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, was named the recipient of the 14th annual Equine Industry Vision Award. Zoetis, in partnership with American Horse Publications (AHP), presented the award to Ecker at the AHP Seminar in San Antonio, Texas.

The Equine Industry Vision Award is the first major award to showcase innovation across the equine industry. Established and sponsored by Zoetis, the prestigious award recognizes ingenuity and service, and it serves to inspire those qualities in others.

“We are proud to recognize Gayle for her heartfelt work in connecting people, especially youth, with horses,” said Kate Russo, equine biologicals marketing manager, Zoetis. “Gayle’s passion for utilizing science-based knowledge to educate people on the health of horses is unmatched. Zoetis is proud to present her with an award to recognize her lifelong commitment to advancing the equine industry.”

Ecker is director of Equine Guelph, which she has led since its inception in 2003. The center at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, supports the health and well-being of horses through education, research, health care promotion and industry development. It is supported and overseen by equine industry groups.

Ecker was instrumental in the creation of the center by writing the grant that led to the development of its education and communications programs. She was a pioneer in online education. In 2002, she established a first-of-its kind educational approach that provides virtual learning pathways for career development in the equine industry. She also serves as an instructor for the program.

She also led the development of Equine Guelph’s youth exhibit, EquiMania!, which features interactive stations that teach young horse enthusiasts about equine safety and wellness. The exhibit first appeared at the 2005 Can-Am All Breeds Equine Expo and also has traveled to the 2010 World Equestrian Games ™ in Lexington, Kentucky, and the Minnesota State Fair. Each year, Ecker and her team improve the exhibit with up to 25% new materials based on attendee feedback.

“I am so grateful for the opportunity to be recognized,” Ecker said. “My passion is truly my students — seeing their thirst for knowledge and knowing the time I invest will be tenfold when they go out and make a difference.”

As a former researcher, Ecker’s expertise is in exercise physiology. She has been the assistant chef d’equipe for the Canadian Endurance Team, traveling around the globe to support the team at international events, such as the Pan American Games, the World Equestrian Games and World Endurance Championships. These days, Ecker enjoys trail riding aboard her two quarter horses.

Ecker also was named to the Can-Am All Breeds Equine Expo Hall of Fame in 2014, when she received the Builder Award. In 2010, she received the Readers’ Choice Award in the exceptional equestrian category from the Equine Consumers’ Guide 2010. Ecker also was named one of the top 15 horse people of the year by Western Horse Review in 2008.

Other finalists for this year’s Equine Industry Vision Award included:

· the EQUUS Foundation, a charitable foundation that provides
financial support and service to equine charities across the United
· Jim McGarvey, chairman of the board for Back Country Horsemen of
· Juli S. Thorson, editor-at-large for Horse & Rider.

Previous recipients of the award are:

· Patti Colbert (2014)
· The Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship
International (PATH Int’l) (2013)
· Equine Land Conservation Resource (2012)
· Robert Cacchione (2011)
· John Nicholson (2010)
· Charlotte Brailey Kneeland (2009)
· Sally Swift (2008)
· David O’Connor (2007)
· Stanley F. Bergstein (2006)
· John Ryan Gaines (2005)
· The American Quarter Horse Association (2004)
· Don Burt (2003)
· Alexander Mackay-Smith (2002)

About American Horse Publications

American Horse Publications is a nonprofit professional association dedicated to promoting excellence in equine media and better understanding and communication within the equine publishing industry. For more information on the association, please contact: Chris Brune, American Horse Publications, at or 386-760-7743, or visit the AHP website at

About Zoetis

Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 60 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and markets veterinary vaccines and medicines, complemented by diagnostic products and genetic tests and supported by a range of services. In 2014, the company generated annual revenue of $4.8 billion. With approximately 10,000 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2015, Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in 120 countries. For more information, visit


All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Inc., its affiliates and/or its licensors. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2015 Zoetis Inc. All rights reserved. GEQ-00117

Media Contacts:
Wendy Irvine

Media Contacts:
Kassi Hoxmeier
Bader Rutter

Registration for the Summer Semester is now Open

Join us this summer for one of our award winning Equine online courses. Classes Begin Monday, May 9, 2016. Our online courses allow you to stay at home with your horses while you learn the science behind making good decisions for your horse’s health and welfare. Whether it’s for personal enrichment or expanding your knowledge when it comes to horses, consider taking an award winning Equine online course from Equine Guelph.

Summer Semester Dates:

The summer semester courses begin Monday, May 9  and end Sunday, July 31, 2015.

Early Bird Registration is April 8, 2015. Register by this date and save on your registration.

The Summer Courses

2016 Course Schedule

Need more information? Contact Us

Open Learning and Educational Support

Make a connection with your horse by studying equine behaviour

By understanding your horses better, you can help keep them at their best.

We live in a technologically driven information age where there is an app for almost anything, but when it comes to horses, there is no substitute for your own instinct and knowledge. Learn to better understand horses through their own eyes and how to care for their physical and behavioural needs with Equine Guelph’s online course, Equine Behaviour.

“The primary focus in this class is not to explore what horses can do for humans, but to teach humans what they can do for horses, to facilitate willing partnerships by maintaining optimal physical and behavioural health,” says course instructor Dr. Sid Gustafson.

Within this 12-week course, Gustafson says students will learn about the evolution of the horse, tracing the horse’s development through time in order to appreciate the nature of the horse. Students also discuss domestication science to understand the merging of human society with horse society and the social constructs that are shared between humans and horses. Other topics include horsemanship based on learned science, equine welfare, social play, training, and the various stereotypies that affect horse behaviour such as cribbing, rearing and bucking.

An equine behaviourist, novelist, and veterinarian, Gustafson was raised with horses on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana and was able to experience the culture of horses and humans in a natural setting. He operates a pet and equine practice in Big Sky, Montana, where “these days, my students and horses are my primary teachers”.

To learn more, please visit

“The objective of this course is to make the world a better place for horses, and subsequently make it a better place for horse folk,” he says. “Students learn how to care for horses as horses prefer to be cared for.”

Equine Behaviour and Advanced Equine Behaviour are part of the Equine Studies continuing education program.

Equine Behaviour will be offered in our Summer 2014 semester. Read our detailed course description.

The Equine Behaviour course is open to all and can be taken as a single course. Students looking for a more in-depth study may be interested in the Equine Welfare Certificate, Diploma in Equine Science or Equine Science Certificate.

Need further information? Please contact:
Marjory Gaouette, Manager Program Development
University of Guelph, Open Learning and Educational Support

Equine Welfare

Can you recognize pain and distress in horses? Are some training methods bad for horse welfare?  Is it acceptable to slaughter horses?

These are the types of questions nearly every horse owner and professional in the horse industry is facing every day.

Equine Welfare is a new course being offered through distance education at the University of Guelph that will help horse owners and people in the horse industry to address these and other difficult questions in an informed and objective way.

“Animal welfare is important consideration for anyone who cares for horses or is associated with the equine industries. This course will help them to better understand the issues, the science used to assess animal welfare and the ethical decision-making process that uses the science” says course instructor Janet Higginson Cutler.

People who take this course will learn about the science of animal welfare and how it is measured. Students will explore the ethics of controversial issues surrounding the use of horses and the history of the human-equine interaction.  Other topics covered include: recognizing pain and distress in horses and examining specific practices in the horse industry that can compromise horse welfare.

This course is relevant for all horse owners, people associated with the horse industries, members of the veterinary profession, and those employed in regulatory agencies that oversee the care and use of horses.

Equine Welfare will be offered in our Summer 2016 semester.

Detailed Course Description


The Equine Welfare course is open to all and can be taken as a single course. Students looking for a more in-depth study of Equine Welfare may be interested in the Equine Welfare Certificate.

The Equine Welfare course is jointly offered by Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare, Equine Guelph and Open Learning and Educational Support.

Need further information? Please contact:
Open Learning and Educational Support