2021 Symposium | Ontario Agricultural College

2021 Symposium

2021 - Opportunities

The 6th annual Equine Industry Symposium was held virtually November 22-24, 2021. The theme of “Opportunities" was expanded over three sessions to discuss Social License to Operate, Inclusivity and Career Paths. Over 600 people registered for the event hosted by students in the Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management students in the Equine Management degree program with support from Equine Guelph, Ontario Equestrian and Equestrian Canada. This year KX94.7 New Country radio was the official media sponsor. The goal of the symposium is to provide an opportunity for horse enthusiasts from all over the world to listen to equine industry professionals talk about their role in the industry, sharing their experiences and wisdom. 

On the first evening, five international speakers discussed Social License to Operate (SLO) and Public Trust in detail. Julie Fiedler introduced the concept of SLO, followed by Jackie Wepruk’s unique perspective of SLO in dog sledding. Sabrina Briefer discussed SLO in horse husbandry in Switzerland. Jody Hartstone discussed why SLO is important in high level equestrian sports. The final speaker, Jessica Buckley, talked about SLO in the Ontario horse racing industry. 

The second evening explored challenges and solutions surrounding inclusivity in the equine industry. Akaash Maharaj, who has been supportive of EIS since it began, moderated the evening, providing an introduction to the topic. Simone Williams shared her wealth of experiences working with paraequestrians; Lorna Cameron and Linda Greening from Hartpury College in the UK explained their inclusion initiatives. After discussion on four main topics of racial ethnic minorities, physical disabilities, social and economic exclusions, and urban participants, Maharaj concluded the evening with some future directions. 

The final evening focussed on career paths through a panel discussion moderated by Christine Reupke, Director of Equestrian & Breed Sport at The Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and Competition Manager of The Classic Series horse shows. Reupke talked about how the equine industry is continuously growing requiring continuous learning. Natalie Keller Reinert, equestrian novelist, shared her unique profession on incorporating horses and the equestrian lifestyle in her books. Kathryn Lefrançois, Equine Sports Therapist and Veterinary Technician, emphasized “making opportunities instead of waiting for opportunities.” Nina Ekholm Fry incorporates equine interactions into mental health treatments. Lindsay Nakonechny from Equestrian Canada introduced attendees to coaching programs and the new animal care assessment program. Brandon Hall, Director of Marketing and Communications at Ontario Equestrian and independent horse trainer encouraged attendees to make their job their passion.  

Almost 650 people registered from eight different countries to attend the symposium. At the end of the each evening attendees were able to select a charity to support in recognition of the speakers. The result was Whispering Hearts Horse Rescue who received a total of $750. 

Recordings of each evening are available to view on the BBRM Equine Management YouTube channel.