Equine Welfare with Gayle Ecker @ Equine Guelph @ University of Guelph
Posted April 3, 2019
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” ~Gandhi
We welcome Gayle Ecker, from Equine Guelph to chat with us about Equine Welfare and the relevance of considering it from the equine’s perspective. Equine Guelph is the horse owner’s Centre at the University of Guelph, supported and overseen by equine industry groups, and dedicated to improving the health and well-being of horses!
Gayle Ecker was initially the senior manager of Equine Guelph when the centre was opened in 2003. She played an instrumental role in its birth. After promotion to Managing Director, Gayle continued to develop new programs and bring new partners to advance the equine industry through education and communications. Gayle also created the pyramid of education model and educational approach that provides learning pathways for Career Development at all levels (youth education > industry skills > Equine Science Certificate > higher education) in the equine industry. In collaboration with the Office of Open learning, Gayle developed the Equine Science Certificate program an online program targeted to the equine industry. She also acts as an instructor in the program.
Discussing equine welfare can be challenging. We have different perspectives and our responses to various issues can often be emotional. We had the honour of chatting with Gayle to ask her, what is one of the biggest misconceptions is of the care of a horse?
“That's an excellent question. And it's kind of a complicated answer. But if we boil it down to its absolute base, it's people not respecting the horse as a horse. It's not a bicycle, it's not a dog, and it's not a human. And so one of the biggest problems that I hear is some goes, “Oh, I don't like being out in the rain. So I'm going to keep my horse in the stall, or I'm really cold today. So I'm going to put extra blankets on my horse,” or you know, things like that, or they treat it like a dog.
And we have to understand a horse is a horse.
And that's all it can be is a horse. It's not your partner in life. It's you know, it can be a great friend, it can be a buddy, but you cannot be an alpha horse in the herd. The horse knows you're not a horse. Yeah, they accept you into their herd as a human, but they know you're a human. And we have to understand and respect that they are a horse.”