Bringing horse communities together during COVID-19

Posted on Wednesday, September 9th, 2020

This summer, a team of undergraduate research assistants created the Equine Information Source (EIS) to support equine communities across Canada as they adapt to COVID-19.

“Living through this pandemic has been hard for a lot of people, and the media has done its part in documenting the hardships of those in our community, but our team wants to share the positive stories and changes that have emerged from this,” shares Amanda St-Onge, one of the students working on the project.

The students, working with Prof. Katrina Merkies from the animal biosciences department, have researched, compiled and created resources to horse owners and facility managers to help navigate through the pandemic.

The majority of resources are available on YouTube in video format, including video interviews with industry professionals, such as vets, farriers, and equestrian business owners providing insight on pandemic challenges.

Video topics include preventative care, saddle fitting, financial advice, and features on special initiatives that have come out of the pandemic.  

The EIS also partnered with Equine Guelph and Equestrian Canada to disseminate information across multiple platforms.

The students found that the impacts of the pandemic have brought a lot of positive outcomes for the industry, including fundraising initiatives and volunteering land for grazing.

“Our community has never pulled together more than it has over the past few months and hopefully we can continue this trend,” says St-Onge. “This pandemic has stripped most of the horse community of its competition goals and has brought us back to the main reason we got involved with horses in the first place, because no one enters the horse world thinking, ‘I want to win ribbons’; we come into the horse world thinking, ‘I love them, and I want to care for them.’”  

For more information, contact
Prof. Katrina Merkies, kmerkies@uoguelph.ca

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