Equine Guelph Offers Course on Equine Industry History

As long as humans and horses have worked together, people have realized the need to refine and adapt their animal husbandry techniques. But preparing for the future often means reviewing and appreciating the past. Equine Guelph, the horse owners' and care givers' center at Ontario, Canada's University of Guelph, encourages students to examine the evolutional history of horses, their domestication, and the impact on the human-horse relationship of today with its online course, "The Equine Industry."

With a glance to the past, students will learn about various aspects of the horse industry--both racing and non-racing--and consider the type of industry we want to build for the future, explains course instructor Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph.

"Students will gain an appreciation of the whole horse industry from '40,000 feet,' along with its accomplishments and its challenges," says Ecker. "Many of us in the horse industry stay in our discipline 'silos' and do not get the chance to understand the issues faced by other sectors of the industry, many of which are shared challenges. The way forward would benefit from us working together as a whole industry."

The 12-week online course will also provide students with a look at the various roles played by the horse throughout history such as work and warfare, and allow students to seek out information about the different sectors of the industry today and the principle challenges that are currently facing the industry.

Students will also benefit from key guest speakers who will share their passion for equines of the past, including Jeff Thomason, MSc, PhD, a researcher at the University of Guelph, who will discuss the evolutionary changes to the horse's hoof and its implications; Derek Nelson, a historical military strategist who will discuss the role of the horse in the military; and Sandra L. Olsen, PhD, director of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's Center for World Cultures, from whom students will learn of the first evidence of domestication in horses.

"Scientists and the public at large gain a more thorough understanding of the critical roles that horses have played in human culture through the discoveries made in recent years by various researchers in molecular biology, archaeology, anthropology, history, and other related fields," says Olsen, an archaeologist whose research has focused on the horse and human relationship through time. Olsen is currently investigating images of horses in rock art in Saudi Arabia (visit Saudi-Archaeology.com for more information on her work).

"Horses have made a tremendous impact on humanity, particularly in the areas of transportation, trade, work, the transmittal of language and technology, religion, accumulation of wealth, sports, and most notably, warfare, and conquest," she says.

Other courses offered in Equine Guelph's Winter 2013 lineup include:

  • Equine functional anatomy;
  • Equine behavior;
  • Management of the equine environment;
  • Equine nutrition; and
  • Marketing and communications in the equine industry.

Registration is now open, with early bird registration ending Dec. 7. Courses run from Jan. 7 to March 31, 2013.

For more information, please contact the: Centre for Open Learning and Educational Support at 519/767-5000 or www.equinestudiesdiploma.com.


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