Olds College, in Alberta, Canada, is introducing a new certificate program dedicated to equine reproduction.
Launching in fall 2018, the application period opened Oct. 1 for the equine reproduction technician (ERT) certificate program.
The first of its kind in Canada, the ERT program is an eight-month blended learning certificate program aimed at providing graduates with the knowledge and skills necessary to work in or operate an equine breeding facility. The program combines four months of online learning with four months of onsite hands-on training.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to offer specialized training for people interested in equine reproduction,” said Marion Anderson, DVM, MS, equine science instructor and the ERT program instructor. “This program will allow anyone who wants to own, operate, or work in a breeding or foaling facility to gain the skills and experience necessary to be successful. It will also open doors for students in the equine science program, as they will have the opportunity to take the new ERT program to follow up their studies and become certified in equine reproduction.”
Students will learn about the anatomy and physiology of the mare and stallion, as well as breeding management, maximizing fertility, and managing infertility. They will also study the anatomy of early pregnancy, maximizing and caring for periparturient mares, the stages of parturition, and the care of the neonatal foal. Students will have the opportunity to participant in the commercial breeding and foaling operation at the college.
“There are a number of benefits to offering this program in a blended online and on campus format,” said Dalin Bullock, MS, dean of animal science and horticulture at Olds College. “This format will allow working professionals to take the online courses at convenient times. It also means that their careers and personal lives are impacted for a shorter timeframe.”
Along with the launch of the ERT program, the college has also made significant changes to the existing equine science program. Students will now be accepted into the program as either English or Western riders. During the first year, all students will take the same courses that will include basic information on husbandry, science, barn management, farm equipment operation, and breeding, in addition to daily riding courses.
The second year of the program is designed to give students the opportunity to tailor the program to their own interests. In addition to required courses, students will now have the option of choosing from a variety of elective courses including advanced riding, starting and training young horses, coaching, therapeutic riding, rehabilitation therapy, foaling, and driving the draft horse. Students interested in additional training in reproduction can also take the ERT.
“The equine science program at Olds College has developed a reputation for being a national leader in hands on equine training,” said Bullock. “Thanks to the reputation of our program, we have successfully attracted some of the best instructors in the industry. Dr. Marion Anderson will be instructing the ERT certificate program, while Wendy Johnston, Dwayne McArthur, Fallon Rice, and Joanne Wright, along with newcomers Tara Lambie and Shawn Seabrook will oversee the equine science program.”