Category Archives: Education

Crafty Ponies – Educational Soft Toys for Kids

At work this week I was looking at an education article we referenced for our students.  It was put together by Crafty Ponies.  Curious, I headed along to the main part of their website to see what it was all about.  It turns out Crafty Ponies are plush toys for children!  But they are created in a way to educate children about ponies and horse care.  Educational soft toys for kids – neat!

Crafty Ponies | Equus Education
Crafty Ponies | Equus Education

I’m all for horse related toys and gadgets, but to find soft toys that are created to educate children about horses and horse care really appeals to me.  You can find various ponies with their apparel – saddles, bridles, rugs, etc.

“Crafty Ponies are committed to helping children learn about ponies through Crafty Ponies soft toy ponies and their miniature realistic working toy tack and equipment, on-line videos and cartoon horse and pony lessons.”

It can be nice to get soft toys for children.  But perhaps for the youngster who is already showing themselves to be horse crazy, an educational toy is worth considering.  I love the idea of the Crafty Ponies Craft Kit.  Not only do you get a plush pony and it’s riding accessories, but you also get to make some jumps for the pony.  And the coolest bit?  The packaging is what gets turned into the jumps.  What a great idea!

There are many horse products in the industry that with a little thought can provide more than just the entertainment or the use that that product is designed for.  With a little innovation a simple kid’s toy can become a great educational tool, too.  What horse product could you provide that works on more than one level?

“But what truly horsey girls discover in the end is that boyfriends, husbands, children, and careers are the substitute-for horses.” ― Jane Smiley

Free TAFE and Equine Careers


Free TAFE and Equine Careers | Equus Education

The Victorian Government has set up an initiative known as Free TAFE for Priority Courses.  This provides Victorian residents with more chances to study at TAFE without incurring course fees.  (Material fees may be a cost incurred by the student for particular courses).  The idea is that particular courses are free where this a demand for qualified workers in Victoria.  This is set to fill an area where there’s currently a gap and in a way this guides potential students on topics where jobs are likely to be encountered.  So I had a look through the list of courses at work and got to thinking about Free TAFE and Equine Careers.

No, there aren’t any equine qualifications that come into these priority courses.  But, there are qualifications that I could see leading to a niche horse area.  So what are some of the courses?  And how could they link to a horse career?

  • Certificate III in Tourism – what’s to stop you from gaining a job in the tourism industry and aiming for one that focuses on specifically tailoring holidays to equine enthusiasts?
  • Certificate III in Agriculture – although this is not horse focused, it does look at pasture and crops which could definitely apply to many large horse properties as future work.
  • Certificate III in Horticulture – what’s to stop this from helping you get in the door at a racetrack to maintain their turf for race days?
  • Certificate IV in Accounting and Bookkeeping – again, this qualification could be very fitting to someone wanting to pick up work on a thoroughbred stud in the finance side of things or in a riding school or equine organisation.

Want to find out more about this initiative?  Visit the Victorian Government website.  The free TAFE page offers a list of all Free TAFE courses available in 2019.  What’s to stop you from considering Free TAFE and Equine Careers for 2019 if you’re Victorian based?

Keeping Current as an Equine Educator

As a teacher at TAFE in the equine department, it is important that I stay current with my knowledge and qualifications. In fact, it’s this way across the board for TAFE teachers! But let’s stick to equine 😉 There are many free resources online that equine professionals can use to keep themselves informed and current. Keeping current as an equine educator means I ensure my job. It is my responsibility to make sure I am educating myself about latest practices and proving current capabilities and knowledge.

Keeping Current as an Equine Educator | Equus Education
Keeping Current as an Equine Educator | Equus Education

The subjects that I am helping to teach and assess, I need to prove that I have the knowledge and qualifications to do so. As I come across new resources, courses, quizzes, webinars, etc that focus on topics covered in the units that I teach, I take part in them. This helps to keep my knowledge current whilst also providing me with new avenues to explore information and resources.

Occupational health and safety seems to be a subject in any course. It is definitely prevalent across the horse care, performance and breeding courses that I help to teach. So something like the Free Safety Signs Quiz that you can undertake online and even get a dated certificate with your name on it is a great way to prove currency in an important topic.

Likewise, the free Biosecurity Course at My Horse University is relevant to me.  This is for the biosecurity units that I help to teach and mark in. Again, this free resource results in a certificate on successful completion with the student’s name.

Keeping Current as an Equine Educator

There are a number of free resources online. Many of these you may inadvertently stumble across.  This is as you research information or resources to guide your students or employees toward. Information fact sheets or booklets are another piece of information that can be added to the list.  These are read resources to prove currency.

If you are a professional in an industry where you need to prove currency, keep a log of achieved courses and certifications, read resources and attended webinars throughout the year.  This is so that you can easily prove relevant professional development. Definitely as an educator it’s worth seeing what you can utilise for free online to build your competency and currency.

LOTE and Horses: Careers and Education

I was recently listening to a podcast from my church and the speaker made reference to a woman within their organisation. Her role related to language other than English (LOTE) churches. And I suddenly got to thinking about LOTE and horses. Horses can be found almost anywhere around the world.

That is, excluding Antarctica and unfortunately the island of Rodrigues where my husband is from! In many different countries, different languages are spoken. And yet the task of caring for and looking after horses is the same no matter what the language.

LOTE and Horses: Careers and Education | Equus Education
LOTE and Horses: Careers and Education | Equus Education

LOTE and Horses

I have touched on the concept of a horse dictionary before and think LOTE and horses could be explored further. What if there were courses, Podcasts, resources and other such tools to help those who speak a language other than English to learn horse terms in English, or another language? It would open up their opportunities relating to work. If they already know horses, then learning another language will help them to pursue horse work in other countries outside of their native home.

I remember a Korean couple working with me at the racetrack. They definitely knew horses, but their limited English slowed things down with regards to communication. It was difficult for staff and the manager to communicate effectively. And although this didn’t stop work being done, it did make the process less efficient. Having even an application that you could turn to, type in your term or phrase and then have it translated to other languages could greatly help international workers! Not to mention their colleagues and bosses.

Of course, creating a generic course that could then be managed by different teachers who are competent in various languages would be a great creation, too. Students could undertake the same course, but have different teachers around the world to help translate from various languages. LOTE and horses I believe would fill a gap. Especially when there are people currently working to unify horse qualifications around the world. This will help to determine who is at what skill level in various countries.

Profile On: Denise O’Meara, Equine Land Conservation Resource

Denise O’Meara was kind enough to answer some questions regarding her work relating to the Equine Land Conservation Resource.

Denise O'Meara, Equine Land Conservation Resource | Equus Education
Denise O’Meara, Equine Land Conservation Resource | Equus Education

How much of your day/week is related to horses?
8 hours per day, 5 days per week. Additional 6-8 hrs per month in evening meetings.

What is it exactly that you do?
I am the director of education for Equine Land Conservation Resource (ELCR), a non-profit national organization focused on educating and advocating for equine land, facilities and trails through locally based organizations. Let’s face it – No Land, No Horse.

We are the only national organization to take on this task. I perform research into a variety of related areas, give presentations, write articles, administer webinars, monitor our online website educational library, and also handle technical assistance inquiries from around the country. I also provide content for social media platforms and create communication and marketing pieces. On top of this I am also a professional landscape architect (that’s the PLA) and have a background in thoroughbred racing and farm management.

In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and earning a liveable income?
Other non-profit organizations may have representatives that advocate and otherwise spread the word about the need to protect land for equine activities.  To get an idea of potential areas of study that might lead prospective students into land protection jobs look at the six issues that ELCR focuses on six issues: Planning and Zoning, Conservation Tools, Access to Public Lands, Access to Private Lands, Best Management Practices and the Economic Impact of Horses.

Jobs such as this one, combining equine knowledge and land conservation expertise, are replicated locally in mostly volunteer situations.

However, it is possible to earn a living in national breed and discipline organizations that have paid staff, as faculty and staff for equine science and equestrian programs at colleges and universities, in government agencies, and as staff for land trusts and other land conservation organizations, such as Nature Conservancy. One may also earn a living in positions training horses and riders, boarding horses, and farm management.

Denise (second from left) from Equine Land Conservation Resource at Jefferson Memorial Forest in Louisville, KY | Equus Education
Denise (second from left) from Equine Land Conservation Resource at Jefferson Memorial Forest in Louisville, KY | Equus Education

What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
First, acquire an equine science, equine management, business, communications, natural resources or other degree that will fit in to the employment/research area of choice. If you can afford to, take one or more intern positions. It’s amazing what you will learn.

Learn to communicate well, both verbally and in writing. Also learn about conservation. Network as much as you can. Most jobs worth having are the result of relationships rather than putting resumes out there by the hundreds. That said; develop a good portfolio of work.

Favourite horse memory?
I don’t think there is just one. Here are three of many that come to mind:

  1. When training at a local thoroughbred track, I had been away for a while. When I walked down the shed row, one of my horses, anticipating my return, began nickering in his stall and poked his head out in greeting.  He laid his head on my shoulder and closed his eyes. Not a mild mannered horse by any means, this horse had taken to me like a faithful pup.
  2. During my years foaling mares at our Kentucky farm, a client’s mare had a poorly presented foal and was making no progress.  This was to the point of her life being endangered. We called our vet, but until he arrived, we had to do something. I had to push the foal back up into the mare as far as possible and give her a light muscle relaxer. When the vet arrived, we were able to manipulate the foal out of the breach presentation.  We got him out, saving both that lovely mare and her foal. In those moments after the birth, listening to the mare nicker as she nudged her healthy newborn was singularly amazing.
  3. I guess the best memory would be running a horse named Mane Minister in all three Triple Crown races. He was third in each race. It was thrilling to see the horse do so well in exceptional company, and to be part of the entourage and celebrate all three race outcomes in the tracks’ turf club inner sancta for triple crown owners whose horses had won, placed or showed.

Future goals?
After a couple of decades in thoroughbreds, two degrees as well as an equal period as a landscape architect, I’m looking forward to “retirement” in a few years and enjoying my family and the rest of the world through travel and adventure.

Best thing about your sport/profession?
As an educator in this field, I’m constantly immersed in research about community planning, land protection and the horse industry. As a landscape architect, I’ve grown to understand both development and conservation, and how important both are to the liveability of cities and towns. As for my years in the thoroughbred racing and breeding world, it’s very hard work and incredibly rewarding!”

The Equine Gnathological Training Institute

Have you heard of the word gnathology? It was a new one for me recently! It relates to mastication (chewing) and teeth in general. The Equine Gnathological Training Institute (EGTI) is a horse dentistry school. It provides hands on training that focuses on the care of teeth in horses, mules and donkeys.

The Equine Gnathological Training Institute | Equus Education
The Equine Gnathological Training Institute | Equus Education

As it states on their website:

“The mission, purpose and goal of the Equine Gnathological Training Institute is to fill the needs of the horse and the people who care for them through quality training for responsible gnathological practitioners, providing quality services and relationships in the field of animal husbandry.”

EGTI is setup to provide realistic training for those wishing to get into the area of equine dentistry. They aim to provide this at a reasonable price with the primary goal of helping the horse. This is achieved through enabling personal training, efforts and endeavours for those wanting to care for horses’ teeth.

You can utilise the Equine Gnathological Training Institute website for two main purposes:

  • to develop a rewarding career through training and qualification
  • as a practitioner, owner or training seeking additional practical training and beneficial information

The Equine Gnathological Training Institute

Equine gnathology specifically looks at the masticatory system of the horse. This covers the physiology of it, disturbances to normal function and potential treatment for these issues. If a horse is unable to chew properly, then this affects their body condition, their comfort and ultimately their ability to perform. It is further stated on the site:

“Because equine gnathology is not generally a part of veterinary or dental school training but part of normal animal husbandry similar to horseshoeing, most is learned through specialized private schools and experienced mentors.”

Interested in equine dentistry as a career? Then be sure to check out the Horse Dentistry website.  Telling people you’re studying at the Equine Gnathological Training Institute may be a mouthful, but I’m sure it would be worth it!

The Equine Land Conservation Resource

I came across the Equine Land Conservation Resource recently when made aware of a free webinar. My Horse University were hosting this and it was being presented by someone very passionate about land conservation for horse riders. This setup works to engage as well as strengthen local equine land conservation efforts. You can check them out online.

They have many articles online, looking at various aspects:

  • Conservation Tools for Horse Lands
  • Equine Access to Public Lands
  • Benefits of Horses to Our Communities

The Equine Land Conservation Resource | Equus Education
The Equine Land Conservation Resource | Equus Education

And the list goes on. You can view all of their resources on their website. And if you would also like to get involved in the ELCR, then you can join them for a membership fee.

Apparently the Equine Land Conservation Resource works through their members and partners to help raise awareness in their local areas. This focuses on issues like the loss of horse lands.

Regarding joining on their website, it states:

“Your support helps ELCR continue to provide resources for those who are acting locally to keep land open for horses and horse-related uses. By lending your support now, you will help protect the lands we need to enjoy and care for our horses for generations to come.”

You can do so as an individual for a $28.00 fee or as a business for $100.00. Or maybe you would like to gift a membership to someone else. This you can also do for $28.00.

This setup seems like a great benefit to those who love exploring trails on their horses. I can see that it would also greatly benefit those who run a trail riding business. But I am sure the resources would be of general benefit to horse land owners, too.

“Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.” ― W.C. Fields

The Western Canadian Farriers Association

A not for profit organisation was set up in 1983 to benefit Farriers in Western Canada. This is known as the Western Canadian Farriers Association. It states on their website that their main purpose is “to organise farriers for the promotion of excellence in the art and science of farriery.”

The Western Canadian Farriers Association | Equus Education
The Western Canadian Farriers Association | Equus Education

I like that the act of trimming and treating horses hooves is seen as both a science and an art! The WCFA is governed by a constitution and by-laws and membership occurs annually.

They further state on the WCFA site:

“The WCFA is not only an association concerned with farriers, but with everyone in the horse industry, aiming to inform the public, and particularly the horse owner, of the quality and standard of farrier service that is available.”

On the front page you can focus on their main points:

  • Find a farrier
  • Ask a farrier
  • Join our membership
  • Our newsletter

The Western Canadian Farriers Association

The site has more to offer than the above including business articles and articles by farriers. You can also find out about the association and membership fees.  Knowing about associations like this could benefit you.  Especially if you’re running a sole proprietorship or small business as is often the case as a farrier.

You’re able to show you run a quality business offering a great service by being part of a recognised association. You can also stay up to date on the latest news in your industry, promote your services and connect with other farriers in the region.

“A horse which stops dead just before a jump and thus propels its rider into a graceful arc provides a splendid excuse for general merriment.” ― H.R.H. Prince Philip

Alberta Horse Industry Website

Does your local area have a governing body relating to the horse industry? I became aware of the Alberta Horse Industry (Horse Industry Association of Alberta) recently. As it states on their website:

“The Horse Industry Association of Alberta (HIAA) was established in 1991 to act as an organizing body for the Horse Breeders & Owners Conference. In 2003, the Board of Directors of HIAA saw opportunities for a broad-based industry organization to assist in the development and growth of the horse industry.”

Alberta Horse Industry Website | Equus Education
Alberta Horse Industry Website | Equus Education

It’s such a great thing when there’s a setup to collectively promote areas of interest in a particular industry. This may be horse events, competitions, information sessions, educational tools, grants, etc. The list really could go on and on! How wonderful to have one place where you can go to gain resources for your business as well as your passion.

Alberta Horse Industry

The Mission as well as the Vision of the HIAA is found on their front page:

“To provide a unified voice for the Alberta horse industry and strengthen it through advocacy, education and research.”
“A growing, profitable, united Alberta horse industry, recognized nationally and internationally.”

This site has a list of resources that may be of interest to locals:

  • Awards
  • A directory
  • Research projects
  • Biosecurity
  • Equine Scholarships for Albertans

What a line up! I really love to see local equine initiatives. Perhaps you’re running a business or looking to within your hometown.  It really is a blessing to have a one stop shop where you can go for advice and also resources. If you’re in the area of Alberta, Canada and a horse fan, do you know about this resource?

“When I hear somebody talk about a horse or cow being stupid; I figure it’s a sure sign that the animal has somehow outfoxed them.” ― Tom Dorrance

HEART Equine Academy

I love coming across new equine education possibilities online! HEART Equine Academy offer online equine courses. Now HEART stands for Happy Equines: Applicable and Relevant Teaching. Don’t you love that? I do! And I hope to profile one or two people from this equine education setup in the near future. Stay tuned!

HEART Equine Academy | Equus Education
HEART Equine Academy | Equus Education

HEART Equine Academy is an online place where you can go to further your equine education. The instructors are made up of “positive, experienced horse people from around the world.” They offer courses and tips in equine care, competing horses, photography and even art. You will find different courses on offer over terms of the year.

HEART Equine Academy

You can find out about their current courses that start October 15 as well as previous courses. They are aptly named!

  • Be Brave! An online course that runs for 6 weeks, focusing on confidence with and around horses.
  • Drawn to Horses. This is a course that focuses on creating portraits of horses.
  • Horses in Focus. Want to be an equine photographer? This course may be for you!

As it states on the HEART Equine Academy website, their focus is on developing equine excellence.

“…we understand “equine excellence” to mean developing a deeper relationship with your horse. To do that we all need more knowledge. Learning never stops! Plus, it’s fun :-)”

Instructors for these courses include an educator who focuses on counselling and dressage, an experienced designer and photographer who loves horses as well as a scientist who focuses on the relationship between humans and their animals with a focus on behaviour.

There is also a Certificate Equine Massage Therapist, a professional equine artist who breeds as well as trains horses and finally an instructor who has a bachelor in biochemistry and a Master Herbalist diploma. What a line-up!

You may be interested to see previous courses they’ve run on their courses page and also keep in touch with their Facebook page to find out about future courses. With the vast knowledge and skills their instructors offer, it looks like many courses could be provided in the future!