University of Guelph Equine Industry Symposium

The fourth annual Equine Industry Symposium will be hosted by BBRM Event Management students in Rozanski Hall room 101, at the University of Guelph main campus on November 17, 2019, from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

The Symposium is a chance for industry professionals to learn about and discuss the industry as a whole. The main focus of this year’s Symposium will be ‘Change’. Professionals from different backgrounds in the industry will discuss ‘Our changing relationship with horses, being the change your horse needs, making changes in the industry, and human behaviour change for horse welfare. Speakers include Dr. Sandra Olsen, Lisa Ashton, Debbie Busby, and a panel discussion with Anthony MacDonald, Warren Byrne, and Danielle Yaghdjian. Once again we have the pleasure of having Akaash Maharaj as the facilitator for the day.

This event is free and open to anyone involved in the equine industry looking to discuss changes in the industry. Advanced registration is required.

You can register for the Equine Industry Symposium through eventbrite here.

Lunch will be served at this event. If you have any dietary needs or restrictions please contact

Free parking is available in P10 and P12 on weekends.

2018 Recap

The 2018 Equine Industry Symposium was held on Saturday, October 27th in Thornbrough Hall at the University of Guelph from 8:30am until 4:30pm. Horse enthusiasts from a variety of sectorparticipated in engaging discussions on standards and professionalism. All the speakers were well-received by the attendees. Opening remarks from facilitator Akaash Maharaj focused on the impact of the Canadian equine industry, particularly how it dwarfs the dairy industry. Invited speakers included Catherine Geci, Business Development Manager at the University of Ottawa, who spoke about the importance of professionalism in building connections and lasting partnerships; Dr Kendra Coulter, Professor of Labour Studies at Brock University, reported that 50% of stable workers earn minimum wage or less and almost half of the workers are improperly classified as independent contractors, and are thus are not protected by the Employee Standards Act; Pam Coburn from Ontario Equestrian explained four main gaps in the industry: 1) horsemanship and understanding of horses’ needs, 2) athlete and coach development, 3) competition eligibility, and 4) the fragmentation of the sport; Diane Creech, elite dressage rider, compared coaching certification between Germany and Canada; Len Kahn, Kahntact Marketing, talked about the importance of branding; Cally Merritt, Ontario Association of Veterinary Technicians, stressed standards as proof of providing the best services possible, particularly in an industry where certification is not mandatory.
Co-facilitator Tim Nelson summarized six action items that arose from the discussions:

  1. Create standardized job descriptions for employees at horse facilities across all sectors
  2. Collaborate and consolidate horse organizations and associations – pool strength for a unified voice
  3. Identify champions to lead the future vision of our industry
  4. Identify exemplary employers as role models
  5. Identify funding opportunities
  6. With a unified voice, meet with government representatives to raise awareness of the size and scope of the equine industry in Canada (which is larger than the dairy industry).

The discussion is expected to be continued through the horse portal (Equine IndustrySymposium under the Conferences tab) with industry input and involvement in bringing these action items to fruition. 

Past Symposiums

View recap information on the 2016 EIS and Winter 2018 EIS events.


For information on future symposiums, please contact