First of its Kind to Try and Prevent Health & Welfare Crisis
January 14, 2021 – Ontario Equestrian (OE) has announced information about funding being made available to Ontario equestrian facilities experiencing financial hardships affecting animal care.
The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has approved $3 million to support riding schools, trail riding facilities, therapeutic riding centres impacted by the pandemic. The application process can be found on the OMAFRA website – Equine Hardship Program.
Lobbied as a joint effort between OE, Equestrian Canada (EC) and Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), this funding is the first of its kind in the province and country. OE and EC undertook fundraising campaigns at the start of the pandemic to support at-risk teaching horses facing dire health and wellness circumstances.
“While OE’s For the Herd campaign, with the incredible support of our membership and the community, was able to raise $213,744 early on, the need for support far outweighs that amount,” explains Tracey McCague-McElrea, OE’s Executive Director. “OE is standing by to help support our members as they go through the application process to access these necessary funds.”
Of the estimated 6,328 equine businesses in Ontario, OE projected that 2,212 were at high risk due to finances, supplies, or inability to qualify for existing government relief programs. This is estimated to have affected 11,060 employed equines.
“This landmark funding provided by OMAFRA will not only help prevent an animal health and welfare crisis, but it will also help the equestrian facilities that have been in insurmountable deficit since March,” says Peter Chiddy, President of Ontario Equestrian. “These facilities and their school horses are how children and adults get started in equestrian sport.”
OE would like to thank Agriculture Minister Hardeman and the staff at OMAFRA, for their on-going support and collaboration on this most critical issue.
The funding will be made available through an application process on the OMAFRA website. To learn more and apply, visit the OMAFRA’s Equine Hardship Program website.
Photo courtesy of Ontario Equestrian