Racehorse Respiratory Health – Winter ’22

Jan 24 – Feb 28

2 weeks (5-10 hrs/wk)

Archived, Registration is Closed

Are respiratory issues affecting your horse’s performance on the track?

In the 2017 Ontario Horse Racing Industry Survey conducted by Equine Guelph, ‘respiratory issues’ was ranked the number one health issue. 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 several different respiratory concerns.  There are ways to reduce the risk through many daily management routines.

This online short course can be of benefit for all racehorse trainers and grooms in order to reduce the risk of respiratory issues in your barn, and improve your horse’s performance on the track!


FREE for AGCO Licence Holders!   

  • Click “Enroll” in the “AGCO Members Only” registration box below.  Must have a valid AGCO membership.
  • On the Registration page, fill out the required fields, then under “Have a coupon?”, enter the code RespiratoryHealthOR and click “Apply”
  • The cost of the course will now be free of charge.  Agree to the Terms and Conditions and click “Submit.”
  • You are now registered for the course!


Major Lesson Topics:

  1. Introduction – Respiratory Health in racehorses
  2. The Equine Respiratory System
  3. Understanding how horses breathe
  4. Detecting respiratory issues and/or discomfort
  5. Diagnosing respiratory issues
  6. Common respiratory problems
  7. Prevention – the racehorse lifestyle
  8. Prevention – other factors
  9. Assessment of Current Practices
  10. New Research

Full Course Outline

Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the course, you will receive a Certificate of Completion from Equine Guelph – the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph.

Time Commitment:

  • Occurs over a 2-week period
  • 5-10 hour time commitment is required during this period
  • No set times to be online!  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

“Racehorse Respiratory Health was a very informative and helpful class…From the racing perspective it demonstrates another significant outreach of horse racing, namely the veterinary and academic community.”


John Balzer – Standardbred Owner, Breeder and Trainer
Student – Racehorse Respiratory Health

Carlo and “River Seven”

“I want to thank Equine Guelph for allowing me the opportunity to learn about Racehorse Respiratory Health. The opportunity to work on the program on my schedule was great. The more we learn about our Equine Athletes the better stewards we will be to these magnificent animals.”

Carlo Tucci – Owner, Tucci Stables (Waterdown, ON)
Student – Racehorse Respiratory Health

“I have taken a few courses with Equine Guelph, but I have to say this one resonated with me the most. I learned so much from this course, and I am so grateful for all of the knowledge. The videos and discussions were extremely helpful and informative. I learned so much in this course. As a racehorse owner, you not only need to have knowledge about how to help your horse’s respiration and avoid respiratory issues, but more importantly, you also need the correct, and factual information and knowledge. This course provided that and so much more with the extra resources and articles. I am so grateful to the Course Facilitators, Equine Guelph and the Horse Portal for offering this course! It is so vital to anyone who owns a horse, especially those in the racing industry. I totally recommend this course!”

Manjit Singh – Thoroughbred Owner
Student – Racehorse Respiratory Health


“I didn’t know what to expect when I signed up for this course. Having been around standardbred racehorses most of my life I thought I knew a great deal about this subject but I was surprised there was so much more to learn. I highly recommend taking this course.

Frank Reid – Standardbred Owner (Lasalle, ON)
Student – Racehorse Respiratory Health


Course Instructor – Dr. Sarah Shaw

Dr. Sarah Shaw is a private practice owner and a large animal internal medicine specialist working in Ontario, Canada. After graduating from the Ontario Veterinary College, she spent one year in a large animal ambulatory practice and then completed an internship at the Equine Medical Center of Ocala. She then pursued a large animal internal medicine residency at Texas A&M where her research focused on Rhodococcus equi pneumonia in foals. In 2016, Dr. Shaw began working at Rotenberg Veterinary P.C., a practice with a focus on Thoroughbred mares, foals, sales yearlings, and racehorses. Concurrently, she has developed a diverse equine internal medicine referral caseload and is an adjunct professor at the Ontario Veterinary College.

Course Instructor – Dr. Amy Lack

Dr. Amy Lack grew up riding and showing horses in western New York. She obtained her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Missouri in 2015 and completed a residency in internal medicine at Mississippi State University in 2019. During her residency, she completed a Master’s thesis with a focus on Equine Asthma. Amy joined the Large Animal Internal Medicine service at the Ontario Veterinary College in July of 2020.


Course Facilitator – Gayle Ecker

Gayle Ecker is the Director of Equine Guelph and played an instrumental role in its birth and ongoing development as a Centre for the horse owner at the University of Guelph. She has dedicated her energies to advancing the equine industry through education and communications on health, welfare and safety. Gayle continues working on a ‘pyramid of education’ model – an educational approach that provides learning pathways for career development at all levels (youth education > industry skills > Equine Science Certificate and Diploma >leading to higher education) in the equine industry. In collaboration with the Office of Open Learning, Gayle developed the Equine Studies program targeted to the equine industry to provide over 20 online courses that can be combined for Business, Science and Welfare Certificates or an Equine Studies Diploma. She also acts as an instructor in many of the courses, and also for several courses on The Horse Portal.

Ruleen Lilley

I started working with Standardbred horses 40 years ago at Mac Lilley Farms.  In the 1980’s it was not considered lady-like to be present in the barn when horse breeding was taking place.  Boy, have we women come a long way! Now we have women handling the stallions, training, driving, and owning these marvelous animals. I’m married to a fulltime, lifelong Standardbred horseman, Jeff. We have two sons, Alex and Gerald. You would think after dragging them to every racetrack as children, they might have turned off the sport, but both are fulltime horsemen too. I guess we have all caught the horse bug. My favorite time of the year is Springtime, witnessing the miracle of birth.

In 2022 we celebrate Mac Lilley Farm’s 50th year of breeding Standardbreds. In those years we have stood over 50 stallions, and bred more than 12,000 mares. We have raced at tracks from PEI to Edmonton and many tracks across the USA. This life has shown us: struggles, and thrills, and I wouldn’t have chosen any different path. I look forward to being your Standardbred Ambassador and learning even more about the horses we are privileged to work with each day.

Renée Kierans

My involvement in the horse racing industry has spanned close to 40 years, and covers many facets of the industry. My involvement with horses in general has been life long.

Jobs throughout the years have been those of an exercise rider, pony rider, outrider, starting gate crew, trainer and owner. I worked for 12 years doing on air broadcasting and handicapping for Woodbine and Mohawk, covering both thoroughbred and standardbred racing. I have also been an instructor for the Woodbine presented groom school on several occasion.

Aside form working with race horses, I love the time I get to spend working with show hunters and, when my schedule allows, competing in a few horse shows throughout the season.  My partner is a Hall of Fame standardbred trainer, so racing, and horses in general, are really my life not just my job, and I wouldn’t change a thing.