Equine Guelph, the horse owners’ and caretakers’ center at the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada, has announced that it will offer its new “Gut Health and Colic Prevention” online course for free to the first 50 grooms and trainers to register from each racing sector in Ontario: Standardbred, Thoroughbred, and Quarter Horse racing.

The three-week online course will run from Jan. 22–Feb. 11, 2018 on Equine Guelph’s online training platform, The Horse Portal.

The 2016 Equine Guelph Horse Racing Industry Survey indicates that gut issues were ranked as the No. 3 health issue behind respiratory issues and injuries. Not only is colic the No. 1 killer of horses, but also is a major issue facing the horse racing industry. Excessive amounts of grain in the diet and forage variation are thought to contribute to an increased risk of colic and other gut issues. Changes in stabling, exercise level, and stress levels can also cause an increased risk of colic.

"Educating the horse racing community on how to reduce the risk of colic and gut issues will be extremely valuable to grooms and trainers," says Hugh Mitchell, chair of Ontario Racing. "This training will also benefit the health and well-being of the elite equine athletes as well."

The three-week online short course will be flexible and practical with content appropriate for the racing industry. The course will be delivered from respected experts from the horse racing community. For the first time, trainers and grooms from the three sectors will come together in discussion groups to share expertise and experience with each other.

"Offering the Gut Health and Colic Prevention course at no charge will be an appealing way to engage the racing community to try out flexible, online learning on The Horse Portal," says Gayle Ecker, PhD, Equine Guelph director.

To register, visit TheHorsePortal.ca/OntarioRacing and apply the appropriate coupon code for the free course valued at $95. Registration for the 150 free courses will be administered on a first-come-first-served basis to the first 50 trainers and grooms from each sector.

This program is an online training partnership between Ontario Racing and Equine Guelph, with funding provided by Grand River Agricultural Society. Project partners include: Central Ontario Standardbred Association, The Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association of Ontario, Ontario Harness Horse Association, Quarter Racing Owners of Ontario Inc. and Standardbred Canada. The online course is sponsored by Intercity Insurance Services Inc. and Capri Insurance Services Ltd.