November 17, 2019 – Guelph, Ontario

Be part of the change for the Equine Industry


By: Alex Dineley


On November 17, the 4th annual Equine Industry Symposium will be hosted by 2nd year students in the Bachelor of Bio-Resource Management, Equine Management degree. The Symposium will be held in Rozanski Hall, Room 101 at the University of Guelph. It will be a full day starting at 9am and ending at 5pm.

Come join those from all different areas of the horse industry to discuss the theme “change” and what the word means for the equine community. With a consistently growing industry, keeping pace with change is crucial for everyone. As part of an inclusive community we can all work toward improving the welfare of the horse.


Three international speakers will highlight how change affects our industry.

Dr. Sandra Olsen from the University of Kansas will discuss the evolution of our relationship with horses. As a renowned scientist and zooarcheologist, Dr. Olsen has extensively researched horse domestication and the development of horse-human relationships, being involved in excavations of the earliest documented domesticated horses in the Botai region of prehistoric Kazakhstan.


Lisa Ashton, a clinician from the United Kingdom, will present an evidence-based approach to riding and training. Ashton advocates to “be the change your horse needs”. Ashton runs two educational equestrian businesses, EquiSci and Equicoach.life, which are both dedicated to helping horses by helping people. Ashton achieved an Associate Diploma from Equitation Science International in Australia in 2012, and trains both professionals and leisure riders in the science of riding.


Debbie Busby, also from the United Kingdom, is a BHS certified Stage 4 coach and registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist in high demand by a variety of people from riders to PhD students to veterinarians. Busby is often called on to provide expert witness opinion in legal disputes involving horse welfare. Busby specializes in human behaviour change for animals. Through her presentation we can learn the steps we can take to not just talk about change, but to do it.


A panel discussion featuring industry entrepreneurs Anthony MacDonald, Warren Byrne, and Danielle Yaghdjian will present how they have embraced change in the industry.

Anthony MacDonald, a harness driver with over 3000 wins, runs Thestable.ca, a business that allows people to own a fraction of a racehorse for a small cost.

Warren Bryne runs The Horse Agency, a racing and equestrian consultant business. As a successful equestrian both at the racetrack and in the showing Jumping world, Bryne has focused on marketing and promoting equestrian sports.

Danielle Yadghdjian is the Vice President and General Manager of the Pickering Horse Centre in Pickering Ontario. Yaghdjian is a certified Equestrian Canada competition coach as well as a Master Coach Developer.

Experiences and approaches related by the panel members are intended to spark open conversation with the attendees of the symposium on innovative and forward-thinking approaches to expanding and improving our equine industry.


We have the pleasure of welcoming back Akaash Maharaj as our facilitator, as he has for the past three Equine Industry Symposia. As a former CEO of Equine Canada, Maharaj has led Canada’s National Equestrian Team through very successful Olympics and Paralympics, and currently heads the Equine Public Policy Group to develop and champion public policies that will advance the collective interests of the Canadian equine sector.


The last symposium was held on October 27, 2018, with over 170 participants. Open discussion about standards and professionalism in the equine industry was moderated by Maharaj and Tim Nelson, the CEO of Livestock Research Innovation Corporation. Key points included analyses of best practices to determine standard practices, how to close the age gap seen between younger riders whose parents no longer pay for their lessons, to those who pick it back up when they are older and can afford it, and how to gain insight from those outside of our industry. These points led to animated and fruitful conversations that will continue at this year’s symposium.


Get updates and follow the progress leading up to the symposium on Facebook “Equine Industry Symposium 2019”.
Book your ticket now. This is a free event, but requires advance registration.

See event details

Equine Researchers Directory

Want to know who's researching what in the Ontario equine industry? Click here to find out.

Discover Researchers