I have been involved in education of people involved in the horse world for over 40 years. During that time, I have seen so many changes in the way information is shared. One thing that has not changed is the need to obtain information that is relevant and accurate. New and current horse owners have multiple of sources of information related to breeding, raising, training and keeping horses at their disposal. Unfortunately, many of these sources are steeped in folklore and often contain many myths and unsubstantiated information. The internet is a great example in that there is a plethora of misinformation that many horse owners rely on as they consider it to be a credible source of information. Fortunately, much of this misinformation does not cause irreparable damage to the horse. Lost time and money are probably the major consequences the owner faces. There are also good resources on-line that are available to horse owners but ferreting out which to trust can be a daunting task, especially for the novice owner. Learning who the expert is, is a difficult task.
I believe another reason for owners not getting or using good information is a fractionation of the means of delivery. By this, I mean I don’t see information being shared via multiple modalities and when it is its usually different topics or different sources. Taking a topic and delivering the message via Facebook posts and live presentations, along with videos, podcasts, blogs, and in person delivery at events would do a couple of things. It would reinforce the topic and keep it in front of the horse owners while allowing them to choose the delivery that best fits their needs. Some people learn through visual means, a video; others are more attuned to learning through reading, articles; and others may prefer hands-on learning. Not only the delivery method needs to be variable and available, but the ability to return to that video, article, etc., allows the horse owner to reinforce what they have learned. Proven, science based or unbiased, easily understood information that one can reference will go a long way in minimizing this information gap. Finally, a short quiz will be used where appropriate to aid in the learning process.
The website is a comprehensive means to help deliver information that will benefit horse owners from the novice to the professional. An educational program that will help move everyone forward in becoming a better horseman will ultimately benefit the horse. That is the main goal of this EQUI-UNIVERSITY. I believe every person involved with horses wants to do the best job possible in the care of the horse. They are hungry for unbiased, fact-based information that they can use in taking care of their horses. I have presented lectures/clinics around the world and the common question from horse owners is “what I can do better”.
The website uses multiple means of disseminating the information. Ways that will allow people to obtain the information in a way that best suits them. The following is the basic breakdown of these methods and timing.
A combination of PowerPoints/ videos, articles, etc. are employed. For example, if the topic was “Biosecurity and how it affects you and your horse”, then for a given time each of these means of distribution would concentrate on that topic. This would keep the focus on one topic and I believe will improve the outcome and improve the understanding of the information. There will be 2 new topics per month, with a two week “blitz” on that topic. Where appropriate, “live lectures/seminars” will also be included. A weekly blog is used to supply additional information often related to things happening in the industry at that time. The blog and postings will also be used to update information, especially that related to research and publications. All the information on the website will be “non-commercial”. Basically, this is Horse Husbandry 101 to Horse Science 400.
My colleagues and friends will also contribute to the educational information. This will allow access to experts in various fields, those involved in some new ideas and research.
Some of the topics include:
- Biosecurity: How does this affect those going down the road and the recreational owner?
- Animal Welfare: Am I doing the right thing?
- Nutritional topics.
- Forages, pastures.
- Breeding topics/Reproduction.
- Foot care.
- Horse health.
- Conformation: Form to Function (best as a live demonstration).
- Basic safety when handling horses
- I want a horse: What should I expect? (For the new owner or one that wants to get their first horse or someone who can bring their horse “home” for the first time.)