Equine Guelph Celebrates 18 Years of Online Studies


Now is the time to further your horse knowledge or take your business to the next level.

One can only binge watch for so long.  While horse-related outings are sparse at the moment, there is a perfect way to increase your equine savvy, connect socially with peers, guest speakers, expert instructors and stay physically distant.  It’s time to join the outstanding online learning community at Equine Guelph.

Equine Guelph has been a pioneer in the development of evidence-based, award winning online education for 18 years!  The very first course, Management of the Equine Environment, was offered in May 2002, and it remains the quintessential first choice for students embarking on their journey into the online learning community.  Stewardship of the Equine Environment is another eye-opening course for those looking to operate an environmentally friendly facility.

“I did not know many of the issues discussed during the Stewardship of the Equine Environment even existed,” says equine studies diploma graduate Jennifer Olley. “It gives a great basis for all the other courses. Although the Equine Guelph Courses are complete in themselves, I have found that many of the courses dovetail into each other, one course may just touch on a subject introducing it, and then later in another course that same information (which has been already introduced) will lead to an in-depth discussion on it.”

When Equine Guelph director, Gayle Ecker, first set out to combine evidence-based knowledge to support horse welfare there were some nay-sayers proclaiming you could not learn anything about horses in an online format.  Fortunately, that did not deter Ecker from becoming a pathfinder and launching the first online equine education program from an accredited university in 2003.  It all began with six courses which comprised the Equine Science Certificate.  After Management of the Equine Environment, followed Equine Exercise Physiology in September 2002, Health and Disease Prevention, Functional Anatomy, Equine Reproduction in 2003 and Equine Nutrition in January 2004.

Fast forward to 2020 to discover there are now 4 electives to choose from in the 6 course Science Certificate:  Growth & Development, Equine Behaviour, Exercise Physiology and Equine Genetics.  The 4 core courses remain:  Management of the Equine Environment, Health & Disease Prevention, Equine Nutrition, Functional Anatomy.

The course line up has grown to 21! Three certificate programs and a diploma program later, Equine Guelph boasts students from over 40 different countries and the success stories speak for themselves.  Over 500 students a year range from high-school graduates looking for horse training tips to veterinarians looking to round out their knowledge of equine behaviour.  It matters not if the student is an equine enthusiast or industry pro; the common thread is applying the knowledge gained from online learning in a very practical way out in the field and when interacting with horses.

“It has been a great journey, from a first horse to a commercial breeding operation.  And I learned what I needed through Guelph online, without leaving home or my horse,” says Laureen at Bar TT Cowhorse.  “Thank you for your part in the offering of these courses.  Everyone provided a piece that I needed along with many other details that have turned out to be quite useful.  I’m sure we have saved money, time and injury through my online study.

The Diploma in Equine Studies was approved in 2007 for students to complete a select ten courses (6 core and 4 electives).  Since 2009, ten elective choices have been added.   With a multitude of varied career opportunities in the horse industry, students can truly customize their educational pathway towards their career goals.

Flexible study and 24/7 access that fits into the horse-person’s busy schedule has been the key for many students who work full time while taking the 12-week courses.  Based at the University of Guelph, Equine Guelph’s courses are updated with the latest scientific information from research advancements and are continually senate-reviewed.

The horse community appetite for online learning continued to grow and in January of 2010 the Equine Business Certificate saw the last course added to the 5 core courses and 3 electives.  Eager students registered for each new offering as they became available and the first graduates of the program received their certificates in April of the very same year.

The five core courses include: Management of the Equine Environment, Equine Business Management, Marketing & Communications in the Equine Industry, Finance & Risk Management, The Equine Industry.  Students can choose between one of the three electives:  Equine Journalism, Equine Event Management and Stewardship of the Equine Environment.

“The Equine Business Management course has given me the tools to start an equine business, with a solid understanding of the requirements and a business plan to use” says diploma student,” Monica Laane-Fralick.  “Analyzing the costs beforehand, during operation, and projecting income really opened my eyes to what would be needed to be successful and profitable.  This course is so thorough in dissecting all the details – market research to financials to the human resources side. While my focus during the course was on opening a boarding facility, I can use the principles I learned to open any type of equine venture.”

Always responding to the feedback from the horse community, the creation of courses and certificate programs continue to accumulate national academic awards as well as international awards.

The call for more courses to improve equine welfare was answered when Equine Guelph partnered with the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare in 2011 to develop the Equine Welfare Certificate.  This certificate entails four core courses:  Equine Welfare, Advanced Equine Behaviour, Global Perspectives in Equine Welfare and either Equine Nutrition or Advanced Equine Health through Nutrition.  Students also choose 2 of 5 Electives: Equine Health & Disease Prevention, The Equine Industry, Advanced Equine Functional Anatomy and either Nutrition or Advanced Equine Health through Nutrition.

Finally, in January 2017, Equine Guelph launched TheHorsePortal.ca to offer short courses delivering practical online training on hot topics of equine care.  This initiative brought together partners from coast to coast across Canada with 10 provincial equestrian federations keen to make the learning opportunities available to their members at very affordable prices. National organizations including Equestrian Canada, Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare and SaddleUp Safely also partnered right from the start.  It was not long before global success stories emerged for Horse Portal students and more partners joined in to offer targeted courses for their members including Ontario Racing. 

No more excuses of not enough time or procrastinating about pursuing your passion for horses.  There is something for everyone, with the HorsePortal.ca short courses (1 – 3 weeks) and the 12-week offerings which can be taken alone or combined to work towards three different certificates (Equine Science Certificate, Equine Business Certificate and Equine Welfare Certificate) and the Diploma in Equine Studies.

The time is now for elevating your equine knowledge with online learning!
Join the learning community today at EquineGuelph.ca