Gut Health & Colic Prevention: EXCLUSIVE TO RACING – Winter ’20

Jan 20 – Mar 2

2 wks (5-10 hrs/wk)

Are gut issues affecting your stable’s performance on the track?

In the 2017 Ontario Horse Racing Industry Survey conducted by Equine Guelph, ‘gut issues’ was ranked the third health issue of concern after respiratory issues and injuries. Racehorses are elite athletes and best performance can only be achieved with optimal health.  Given the demanding life of the equine athlete, a high number of racehorses are at risk of digestive tract health concerns such as ulcers and colic due to:

  • The stress associated with being a high-level athlete, including race day, transport, and limited turn-out
  • High energy concentrates and the need for high energy diets to sustain performance and body condition
  • Intense exercise which can affect the digestive process

Digestive health is a high priority for the racehorse and a lack of optimal gut health can impact on the health, performance and welfare of the elite equine athlete, and add up to costly medical treatments. This online short course can be of benefit for all racehorse trainers and grooms in order to reduce the risk of ulcers, colic and digestive tract issues in your barn, and improve your horse’s performance on the track! Never taken an online course before? No worries! This course takes a common sense, practical and flexible approach to training – no prior online learning experience required.

Equine Guelph thanks the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for providing education, training and awareness project funding in support of AGCO licensees.

Improve Performance – Reduce the Risk of Ulcers and Colic

This course was exclusively developed for the racing industry and has a specific focus on racehorses. Learn the risk factors and preventative management strategies from industry experts on how to break the cycle and promote digestive wellness. You can prevent gut issues such as ulcers and colic by:

  • Calculating your Risk
  • Assessing your Management Plan
  • Developing Preventative Strategies

This course may be of interest for trainers, assistant trainers, grooms, jockeys, drivers, owners and other current AGCO licence holders.

You will learn to:
  • Identify risks factors associated with ulcers and colic
  • Understand different types of ulcers and colic
  • Detect early signs and symptoms of ulcers and colic
  • Assess your management plan
  • Develop preventative strategies
  • Implement practical ways to reduce your horse’s risk of ulcers and colic

This course will first introduce you to the workings of the horse’s digestive tract.  It will show you how it all works together to provide the horse with the nutrition it needs for performance, growth and health support.  We will then look at why horses are susceptible to colic and ulcers by looking at modern management practices in the horse racing industry.  Learning to prevent gut issues such as colic and ulcers is our goal.  Step by step, we will work to identify the key risk factors and learn how to make important practical changes in how we manage and care for our horses – we can reduce the incidence of these painful and debilitating health conditions.

Did you know? Research on colic suggests that 80% of colic episodes are linked to our management practices.  In other words, 8 of the last 10 colic episodes may have been caused by their caretakers!  Can we learn to prevent colic by changing our management practices?
Course Topics 
  • Why are Racehorses susceptible to Colic and Ulcers?
    • Modern Horse vs. Natural Environment of the Wild Horse
    • Overview of the Anatomy of the Horse’s Digestive Tract
  • What is Colic?
  • What are Ulcers?
  • Major Risk Factors Associated with Colic & Ulcers
    • Housing/Turnout
    • Activity Level
    • Forage
    • Water
    • Concentrates
    • Dental Health
    • Parasite Control
    • Other Colic Risk Factors (horse-related and environmental)
    • Assessing and Managing Change
    • Why is Adaptation So Important?
  • Detecting Colic & Ulcers
    • Signs of Colic – REACT
    • What to do if your horse has colic
    • Sign of Ulcers
    • What to do if your horse has ulcers
  • What Next?
  • More Resources
  • Conclusion

Daily assignments and activities (not graded, but recommended for personal achievement)

Time Commitment:

  • Occurs over a 2-week period
  • 5-10 hour/week time commitment is required during this period
  • No set times to be online each week!  Log in at your own convenience and learn at your own pace.
  • Recommended you visit the course site at least 5 times a week, preferably once or more each day
  • Course is entirely online, so travel to the University of Guelph is NOT required


  • All materials are provided online within course site


  • 16 years of age or older

For more information, please email [email protected] Phone: 519 824-4120, ext. 54205

Nancy Tamblyn and Kevin Sampson“Thank you for providing this course! My husband is a 3rd generation full-time Standardbred trainer and was pretty much born and raised at the race track. We thought he knew everything there was to know based on the generations of knowledge he had in his head. By the end of the first day of the course, we were already discussing possible new strategies and techniques. By the end of the 3rd week, we realized how little we actually knew and are now implementing many new methods to lessen the chances of colic happening at the track and at the farm. All trainers should be asked to take this course before they can be certified.”

Nancy Tamblyn and Kevin Sampson – Standardbred Owners, Breeders and Grooms (Sampson Standardbreds)

Palomino Horse“This course should be mandatory for anyone who owns or takes care of a horse(s), especially grooms in the racing industry. I became a better groom for taking it and I have no doubt you will as well.”

    Jeff Hunt, Groom (Classy Lane Stables, Puslinch, ON)


One Moon - Krista Cole, Owner

One Moon – Krista Cole, Owner

“This course was very informative and truly interesting. There was a lot of information covered on the subject and it was broken down in sections each day. Was very enjoyable to take.”

Krista Cole, Thoroughbred Trainer (Krista Cole Racing Stables, Brampton, ON)



“I found this course very helpful with giving me more insight to exactly why and how a horses gut works. What factors are involved in causing colic and ulcers. I found the on line class on stomach ulcers were particularly helpful in understanding how the stomach acid builds up on an empty stomach and in time can cause ulcers and also found it interesting how such a high percentage of horses that compete and or in stall most of the day are more susceptible to ulcers. It was a coincidence that just prior to the start of this on line course I had 10 of my horses scoped for ulcers. 8 out of the 10 had ulcers. The 2 that did not, were on turn out for months prior to the scoping. The 8 that had ulcers were confined to their stalls and in light training. Since the scoping the 8 horses have been put on cimetidine tablets daily and given full hay nets with free hay to nibble on 23.5 hours out of the day. We will be rescoping the worst case, which was a 4 out of 5 on the ulcer scale. The results will be interesting. It has been 3 weeks since the ulcer medication and without scoping I can see a difference in a few of the horses already. ex: The coats are much shinier, their attitudes are more relaxed and laid back making them much easier to deal with. One horse in particular used to be a stall walker and very ribby, now she just relaxes in her stall and she has put on a lot of weight.”

Debra Rombis, Thoroughbred Owner/Trainer, Fort Erie ON


Palomino Horse“This course provides valuable insight for anyone that has an interest in improving the management of horse health. The take away is that good management saves horse lives and reduces expensive vet calls.”

Jackie (Calgary, AB)


Don Kapper is a highly experienced equine nutritionist. Don graduated from Ohio State University and achieved his credentials as a Professional Animal Scientist from the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists in 1996 and has been a sought-after speaker for equine meetings in both the U.S. and Canada. He was a member of the “Performance Electrolyte Research” team at the University of Guelph and wrote the chapter on “Applied Nutrition” for the authoritative veterinary textbook: “Equine Internal Medicine”, 2nd edition.  Don is now retired after 35 years of helping owners, trainers and veterinarians understand their feeds and feeding, to improve the health and welfare of their horses.


Mike KingMike King  – Mike has been a leader in the equine insurance business for more than 25 years’ operating from his offices in Aurora Ontario. Mike is a Partner in CapriCMW Insurance Services Ltd., a national brokerage.  Since 1998, Mike has been the Principal broker at Intercity Insurance Services Inc. in Aurora, Ontario, a general insurance brokerage with a specialized focus on the equine industry.  In addition to his role at Intercity Insurance, Mike is a Partner in Capri Insurance, a brokerage based in British Columbia.

Mike has been involved in the horse industry for most of his life having participated at one point or another as horse owner, pleasure and competition rider, coach, judge, and facility manager. Today, various insurance programs under his management and oversight serve over 80,000 equine enthusiasts from coast-to-coast.  As a specialist, Mike is regularly invited to speak to groups on topics related to risk management and insurance in the equine industry across Canada. Mike participates as a guest instructor twice a year in the Equine Business Management certificate course at the University of Guelph to share his insights with an International student body and is proud to be a long standing Education Patron at Equine Guelph.

Course Instructor

Nicole Weidner Nicole Weidner Course Instructor

Nicole is a PhD candidate at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. Nicole’s MSc and PhD work have focused on animal nutrition, with a focus on links between nutrition and disease. She has been fortunate enough to be mentored by board certified veterinary and PhD animal nutritionists during her time at the University. Nicole is also interested in education. She has experience as a teaching assistant and guest lecturer with courses offered by the University, and has taken several certificate programs centered around developing an understanding of various educational strategies and approaches.

AGCO Licence Holders Only!

access until March 2, 2020 12:00 am

$95 Value – Free with Coupon Code!