Are we masters of change? 4th Equine Industry Symposium Recap

Posted on Sunday, December 1st, 2019

Written by BBRM Equine Management students

Two female students smile and pose with an Instagram frame

The opening remarks at the 4th annual Equine Industry Symposium held at University of Guelph challenged attendees to consider if they are masters of change. Akaash Maharaj, facilitator of the Nov 17th event, told the audience that if they want to become masters of change the industry must create incentives and show those in the horse industry and those at a large what change they want to see and how they want that change to happen.

The symposium’s theme of change was embodied by the three international speakers. The first speaker, zooarchaeologist Dr. Sandra Olsen, captivated the audience with her knowledge and research of horses during ancient times. As horses traveled to different locations through trade, importation, tributes, marriage, gifts and war booty, care and management practices traveled and evolved with them. However certain management practices have not changed since ancient times, such as the stabling of horses.

The second speaker, Debbie Busby, spoke to the audience about “Human Behaviour Change for Animals”.  Busby said that human behaviour is the root cause for most animal suffering, and detailed the four pillars of change: the stages of behaviour change, the psychology of change, the environment of change and the ownership of change. Busby gave examples of behaviour change with positive outcomes for horses based on her own equine behaviour consultancy in the United Kingdom.

The third keynote, Lisa Ashton, entreated all horse lovers to be the change that horses need. Stating that the audience members need to make a difference, she pointed to evidence-based research can help the industry know better and do better.

The entrepreneurial panel portion of the event presented five professionals from various areas of the equine industry as “Agents of Change.” Warren Byrne representing Canna Horse, Linda Hauck representing Tapestry Equine Products, Anthony MacDonald, representing, Gayle Ecker representing Equine Guelph, and Lisa Ashton representing EquiSci each spoke about the industry change needed.  

The Equine Industry Symposium was organized and hosted by second year students in the equine management major of the Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management.

The students wish to thank all the sponsors that made the day possible, including the lunch sponsor Ontario Racing, the breaks sponsor the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, the Ontario Agricultural College and the departments of Animal Biosciences and Food, Agriculture and Resource Economics, the Grand River Agricultural Society, System Equine, and Schleese Saddlery.

Raffle prizes were donated by Greenhawk, Saddlefit4Life, Jennifer Bailey, Stride Snacks and Lea-Louise Gadsby.

View the photos from this year’s symposium on Facebook or email for details on next year's event. 

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