Ontario Equine executive director Tracey McCague and Equine Guelph director Gayle Ecker • Photo by Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Ontario Equestrian Donates to Research at Equine Guelph

Ontario Equestrian presented a check for more than $28,000 to Equine Guelph for research as part of their new branding launch during the Ontario Equestrian (OE) Member Appreciation Party at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair on Nov. 7, 2017.

Fulfilling the decision of the OE Board and their promise to members in 2016, $1.50 per 2017 OE member was accrued (in replacement of the plastic membership card) into the Ontario Equestrian Member Equine Research Fund to be sent to Equine Guelph at the end of every year as part of the Equine Guelph annual research allocation.

In a recently circulated survey, OE members were asked to choose where they thought the most benefit would be gained for their horses: 1) respiratory health research or 2) gut health and colic prevention research. More than 5000 members voted, and gut health and colic prevention was the majority choice.

This builds on an already active area of research on the health of the digestive tract. For example, Dr. Katrina Merkies is investigating the effects of steaming or soaking hay for horses; research by Dr. Scott Weese has shown that metabolic disorders are associated with changes in gut microflora; and Dr. Luis Arroyo Castro is investigating equine gut contents and its crucial role in health with a simulated “glass gut” model.

For horses kept in domestic situations, it is important to understand what contributes to gut health and how to prevent issues like colic, colitis and other disturbances. This area of research focuses on greater understanding of the functioning of the digestive tract and the prevention of issues. 

“Ontario Equestrian has been a long-time and valued partner with Equine Guelph, and we have joined in many partnership programs that support horse health, welfare and safety,” said Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph. “This new research funding, as part of their new re-structuring program, is a great addition to the Equine Guelph research program at the University of Guelph and will build on existing areas of expertise at the University in support of horse health.”

Ontario Equestrian represents more than 22,000 individual members who come from all sectors of the horse industry. The membership base includes professionals, amateurs, competitors and recreational enthusiasts of all ages and disciplines. Ontario Equestrian is committed to horse welfare and providing leadership and support to the individuals, associations and industries in Ontario’s horse community.

Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ center at the University of Guelph. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicenter for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.EquineGuelph.ca.