Newcomers to the Horse Industry Succeed with OEEEP Program

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Graduates like Susan Walker are following their hearts and entering the horse industry thanks to the Ontario Equine Education and Employment Program (OEEEP).

Ontario residents, 18 years and over, that are unemployed or underemployed and not in school full-time can apply by the June 24, 2022 deadline for the last offering of this amazing free program set to run from July 11 – Sept 5, 2022. 

After eight-weeks of online training on the care and welfare of horses and job-readiness skills, the graduates move into work placements, which has been a key component to the success of the OEEEP program.  OEEEP was launched in January of 2022, to help an industry in need of workers, with financial support from the Ontario government through the Ministry of Labour.

Graduate Susan Walker extols the virtues of the Ontario Equine Education and Employment Program. Susan talks about what she learned and the goals it has helped her achieve finding her place in the horse industry.

Susan knew exactly where she wanted to go for her work placement and with the financial incentives offered to employers, the win-win opportunity was easily arranged with the therapeutic riding centre, PRANCE, operating out of Miramichi Farms in Port Elgin, ON. 

After the initial week of online workshops with VPI Working Solutions, we moved into the Equine Guelph virtual learning on  “I learned so much about the horses themselves,” reflects Walker.  “The environment; things that I knew little bits about but not in the context of the holistic care of the horse.  It really helped to put a lot of pieces together.  I had a lot of aha moments.”

Next, it was back to VPI for the final week for placement preparation workshops, such as resume building and mock interviews.  Not having done a job interview in a long time, Walker praises the guidance of the VPI employment program crew, “the extremely talented and capable crew really helped me through things I thought were limitations and helped with how to do interviews and write resumes.”

“Take full advantage of this OEEEP program if you can,” Susan encourages anyone thinking of beginning a career with horses.  So grateful to the neighbour who informed her of the program and encouraged her to apply, Walker adds, “Don’t be intimidated by the horses or the establishments of horses.  There is so much to learn and the people that work with the horses are very generous with their knowledge.  Horses are incredible animals to work with.”

The Ontario Equine Education and Employment Program pairs people keen to learn more about horses with employers seeking help; the program is open to any aspect of horse business: hunter/jumper/dressage/eventing barns, breeding facilities, show barns or boarding operations, western stables, race training centres and backstretch barns, or any other equine-related positions anywhere in Ontario.

The OEEEP program was created by the Ontario Harness Horse Association (OHHA) in partnership with the Ontario government and is supported by Equine Guelph through their online training on and the site, which along with facilitators at OHHA, helps connect graduates of the program with prospective employers.

Employers wishing to learn more about the financial incentives and benefits of hiring OEEEP graduates can contact Ashley MacDonald, placement and program co-ordinator, at the Ontario Harness Horse Association.

30 of the 60 spots are already filled with candidates eager to turn their passion for horses into gainful employment in the fifth and final offering of the OEEEP program.

Don’t miss out on the last session July 11 – Sept 5, 2022.

Apply by the June 24, 2022 deadline to start your career with horses.