Royal and Equine Guelph exhibit drew record crowds this year

Record crowds swarmed the Equi­Mania exhibit at the 2008 Royal Agricultural Winter Fair.

Presented by Equine Guelph, organizers estimate that over 60,000 people visited its interactive youth equine exhibit featuring the launch of a new safety initiative, Play Safe. It’s HorseSense.

A partnership between the Farm Safety Association (Coun­try Kids Safety Net­work), Kubota Canada, Ontario Equestrian Federation, System Fencing, and Equine Guelph, the initiative taught youth how to stay safe around horses and tractors.

Each day, kids com­peted in a safety trivia contest, tested their knowledge of tractor safety at the Kubota Safety School, searched for safety issues in the Hazard Hunt in the Horse’s House, and wore horse hats sporting the newly branded safety message.

“We had over 17,000 walk­ing billboards of our safety message with kids wearing the horse hats,” said Dean Ander­son, executive director of the Farm Safety Association.

“It is exciting to see that a critical safety message can be deliver­ed in a fun and interactive way.”

Between 1990 and 2005, 63% of animal-related injuries among youth in Ontario occur­red in incidents involving hors­es.

For children aged 16 and under, machine runovers were the predominant cause of fatal injuries at 46%. 

In addition to horse farm safety, kids and parents learned more about horses: how to braid a tail, the potential car­eers available in the horse in­dus­try, how to bandage a horse’s leg, identifying horse bones, equine nutrition, the dif­ferent breeds, and information on parasites.

For the young and the young at heart, every visitor to EquiMania came away from the exhibit learning at least one new thing about horses.

“This year was absolutely amazing – our best ever,” said Gayle Ecker, senior manager of Equine Guelph.

“The exhibit was swarming with horse en­thu­siasts hungry to learn more about horses,” she said.

Sponsors of the 2009 Equi­Mania travelling education centre include: Farm Safety Association, Grand River Agri­cultural Society, Kubota Can­ada, Pfizer, Shur-Gain, System Fencing, Standardbred Canada.

EquiMania’s next stop is the Can-Am All Breeds Equine Em­porium in London from March 20 to 22.

Equine Guelph is the horse owners’ and care givers’ 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 epicentre for academia, indus­try and government – for the good of the equine industry as a whole.