$3 Million COVID-Relief for Ontario Equines

Photo: Andreé-Ann Brunet Photography

Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Contributes $3 Million to Continue Funding Support of At-Risk Equestrian Facilities

RICHMOND HILL, ON., January 14, 2021 – Ontario Equestrian(OE) today announced information about funding being made available to Ontario equestrian facilities experiencing financial hardships affecting animal care.

The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) has approved $3 million to support riding schools, trail riding facilities, therapeutic riding centres impacted by the pandemic. The application process can be found on the OMAFRA website – Equine Hardship Program

Lobbied as a joint effort between OE, Equestrian Canada (EC) and Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA), this funding is the first of its kind in the province and country. OE and EC undertook fundraising campaigns at the start of the pandemic to try support at-risk teaching horses facing dire health and wellness circumstances.

“While OE’s For the Herd campaign, with the incredible support of our membership and the community, was able to raise $213,744 early on, the need for support far out-weighs that amount,” explains Tracey McCague-McElrea, OE’s Executive Director. “OE is standing by to help support our members as they go through the application process to access these necessary funds.”

Of the estimated 6,328 equine businesses in Ontario, OE projected that 2,212 were in at high risk due to finances, supplies, or inability to qualify for existing government relief programs. This is estimated to have affected 11,060 employed equines. 

“This landmark funding provided by OMAFRA will not only help prevent an animal health and welfare crisis, but it will also help the equestrian facilities that have been in insurmountable deficit since March,” says Peter Chiddy, President of Ontario Equestrian. “These facilities and their school horses are how children and adults get started in equestrian sport.”

OE would like to thank Agriculture Minister Hardeman and the staff at OMAFRA, for their on-going support and collaboration on this most critical issue.

The funding will be made available through an application process on the OMAFRA website. To learn more and apply to OMAFRA’s Equine Hardship Program, visit http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/equinehardship.htm


About Ontario Equestrian: 

As the recognized provincial sport organization (PSO) for equestrian, we believe horses and horse sport are important to who we are as Ontarians. From first time riders to seasoned competitors, more and more people are experiencing the special bond between horse and rider. 

At Ontario Equestrian, we are focused on enhancing the experience for our members. Since its inception in 1977, Ontario Equestrian has been dedicated to promoting the sport and providing programs, while establishing supports and guidelines for a safe and level field of play for both equine and human athletes.

Media Contact:Brandon Hall, b.hall@ontarioequestrian.ca

Filed Under