Partnership means horseless 4-H horse clubs are a reality

Equine Guelph and 4-H Ontario recently an­nounced a new partnership that will see the creation of a 4-H online horse learning commu­nity in the online learning environment develop­ed by Equine Guelph.

The Grand River Agri­cul­tural Society has provided $10,000 as initial funding.

The 4-H horse curriculum and new horse industry re­sourc­es will be combined in a featured virtual learning envi­ron­ment. Youth will be able to access 4-H learning to pursue equine interests and develop their knowledge and experi­ence on the horse, the industry, and leadership. The 4-H club leaders will have the resource materials they need to support club meetings.

The Grand River Agricul­tur­al Society of Centre Well­ington is taking a leadership role in bringing the project to life with its financial commit­ment – a point that resonates with Paul Walker, president of the 2009 board of directors for the society, in noting the group’s commitment to youth, volun­teers, the industry, and commu­nities.

He said, “The Grand River ­Agricultural Society is pleased to provide opportunities for people to be involved in their community by facilitating activities, volunteer opportu­ni­ties, and support for individuals or organizations that aspire to enhance agricultural, environ­mental and rural initiatives.”

By expanding the reach of resources in a virtual setting for a learning community, the scene is set for increased participation and new ways of learning, including by those without access to a horse. Gayle Ecker, director of Equine Guelph, noted that the project will allow youth to better under­stand the horse and start a lifelong learning pathway, mesh­ing with Equine Guelph’s own learning programs.

4-H, through its volunteers and members, has a unique op­portunity to embrace new, in­novative and creative ideas in all areas including on-line learning. The greater the reach, the greater the impact will be to all members and volunteers.

“Our choice to embrace these new quality, innovative and sustainable programs will lead to an incredible future. We certainly thank the Grand River Agricultural Society for their support and Equine Guelph for providing such a wonderful learning platform. We look forward to sharing further News as the program grows and evolves,” said 4-H Ontario Executive Director Lyndon Stewart.

The partnership between 4-H Ontario and Equine Guelph creates learning opportunities starting at 6 to 10 years old with EquiMania, 10 to 21 years old with 4-H, and 18 and over with Equine Guelph and the Equine Studies option at the Uni­versity of Guelph. The part­nership addresses the current and future needs of the in­dus­try.

Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and caregivers’ Centre at the University of Guelph.

It is a unique partnership dedicat­ed to the health and well being of horses, supported and over­seen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicenter for academia, industry and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole.