By: Jackie Bellamy-Zions
Learning the language of equines has set Sandra Rwese on a path to collaborate with the Uganda Olympic Committee and the Uganda Equestrian Association (UEA). After enriching her newfound passion for horses with the Equine Guelph online course- Horse Behavior and Safety- in 2018, Rwese was publicly recognized by the UEA. They saw the opportunity to work together promoting horse welfare in Uganda where the equine industry is just in its infancy.
Rwese immediately fell in love with horses after a horseback riding safari vacation in South Africa, just five short years ago. Having graduated from the University of Guelph 30 years earlier, Equine Guelph was the natural choice for her very first course in horse care, behavior and safety. Knowing she was now destined to follow her newfound passion, Rwese set out with determination to achieve a growing list of goals.
“I personally know the University of Guelph is a leading equine science university and the Ontario Veterinary College is ranked number one in Canada and seventh worldwide,” says Rwese. “Equine Guelph’s reputation is absolutely strong.”
Joined by her classmates from as far afield as Iceland, Argentina and New Zealand, Rwese learned about equine herd structure and hierarchy, and many of the traits horses and humans share. She learned the importance of knowing and respecting the herd leader and picked up many tips to help her on the journey to future success in horse training and barn management.
“The group discussions were very informative, says Rwese. “We each shared valuable tips to help solve stable management matters – issues that would otherwise escalate into more complicated problems. The instructors were very knowledgeable, providing scientific information in a way that was easy to understand and put into practical application.”
Seven short days after completing the Equine Guelph Behavior and Safety online course, a trip down to Botswana in (Southern Africa) put that new online knowledge to work during a one-week practical farm stable training session. She was happy to report her success and share her plans for further studies both hands-on with an Fédération Équestre Internationale course in Switzerland and with more online courses from Equine Guelph including Genetics and Nutrition.
Rwese is full of ambition to gain knowledge that will help develop programs to improve horse welfare in Uganda and reduce unnecessary vet bills that could stifle the growing industry. She says that Uganda is humid most of the year and many stables own horses that may not be a good “genetic” fit for the environment thus the interest in the online Genetics course at Guelph.
Envisioning her retirement plans, Rwese shares that her ambitions include starting a Pony Club, becoming involved in Equine Assisted therapies and spending the rest of her life working with horses.
“I can’t thank Equine Guelph enough for this opportunity,” says Rwese. “It was convenient; I could study anywhere with the flexible online learning. It was affordable and it has really been a door opener.”
The next offering of Behavioor and Safety on TheHorsePortal.ca is November 25 – Dec 6. Where will your passion for horses take you?