February 8, 2022 — Guelph, ON — A gift of $150,000 over three years from the Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) to Equine Guelph will initiate the partnership of a multi-year initiative to continue building and developing programs of value to the horse industry.
The generous donation from GRAS will support important Equine Guelph programs in job training and educational pathways to careers. Initiatives undergoing further development and expansion will include Equine JobTrack, the Large Animal Emergency Rescue program (LAER), and the EquiMania! youth program.
“Grand River has already been instrumental in the redevelopment of Equine Guelph’s widely used job board,” says Equine Guelph director Gayle Ecker. “The 20-year-old JobTrack was relaunched in the summer of 2021 as EquineJobTrack.ca, a more powerful platform for connecting job seekers and employers with expanded search and sort functions. The goal of Equine Job Track has always been to link jobs with training to support growth of the equine industry and rural development in Ontario, and now thanks to ongoing generous support from GRAS, continued expansion nation-wide is planned!”
The Large Animal Emergency Rescue program will also see expansion of the current program, which has provided training for hundreds of first responders in Ontario, into a hybrid micro-credential model. The new models will feature a series of short online Awareness Level courses, as well as offerings of a hands-on workshop for Operational Level.
“The first foray into webinars for Equine Guelph’s Large Animal Emergency Rescue awareness level workshop proved hugely successful with all four webinars launched in 2021 selling out quickly!” says program co-ordinator, Dr. Susan Raymond. There is a huge demand for this important knowledge in the equine community and among first responders who want to provide the best outcomes when called out to rural emergencies. The 90-minute online sessions introduced best practices for mitigating both handler and animal risk for successful rescues, and provided a foundation for future hands-on practical training.
The development of the hybrid model will allow a high number of participants to access introductory training material online, while providing critical hands-on training at an advanced level to first responders.
Finally, with our youth representing the future of the equine industry, the highly interactive EquiMania! program has been responsible for introducing a whole slew of kids to the incredible world of horses. Whether seeing the exhibit at a fair or trade show, or visiting the online activities at www.EquiMania.ca, learning about caring for horses and how to be an integral part of their world has always been fun. The support from GRAS will help ensure the addition of new programs to engage the passionate, next generation of our future equine industry.
“We at Grand River Agriculture Society are thrilled to once again partner with Equine Guelph in the launch of these latest initiatives,” shares Garth Green, President of GRAS. “There is such a natural fit between our organizations through Grand River Raceway, but it goes further with our commitment to youth and education. Equine JobTrack, the Large Animal Emergency Rescue program (LAER) and the EquiMania! youth program, are all such vital programs, supporting the development of these aligns with our desire as an organization to improve accessibility, and inspire innovation and leadership in the industry."
Photo courtesy of Equine Guelph