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The annual Equine Education Day provides young riders with horse care basics.

Equine Ed Day attracts eager participants

An annual educational opportunity at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) has become a favourite event for young horse enthusiasts.

This year the 4-H and Pony Club Educational Day will draw more than 250 young riders who are eager to learn more about horse health. Participants come from across Saskatchewan and Alberta.

The event will be held Saturday, March 5, at the WCVM. The day's activities include games, a trip to the anatomy lab, talks and live horse demonstrations created and presented by veterinary students. While the focus is on horse health and wellness, organizers promise the event will be enjoyable.

"The whole event is supposed to be a bit of a learning opportunity as well as lots of fun," says Whitney McLean, third-year veterinary student and public relations representative for the event.

The WCVM's Equine Club – a student chapter of the American Association of Equine Practitioners –presents the event each year, which is tailored to riders between six and 18 years old.

McLean says the goal is to teach riders who are just starting out about how to keep their horse healthy and when to call the veterinarian – ultimately helping out the veterinary community by producing informed horse owners.

McLean wishes a similar event would have been available to her while growing up in Victoria, B.C. She believes the popularity of the education day is due to how unique it is.

"This just doesn't exist anywhere else. I grew up riding and it would have been really interesting for me — especially being that I wanted to be a veterinarian from a young age — to know more about horses … and horse health and horse care," she says.

"There's a lot of controversy and a lot of misleading information out there about horse health and horse care. I think events like this can help with that."

This year, sponsorship from Boehringer Ingelheim and the company's VETERA vaccine line has allowed the organizers to keep costs down for participants while still raising funds for the equine club.

Registration is already full for the 2016 education day, so interested participants are encouraged to keep an eye out and register early for next year's event.

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