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The University of Guelph’s Prof Souhaila Sarkis kindly invited me to deliver a lecture to her class on Equine Facility Management and Design, on 03 March 2017. I drew primarily on my past experience as head of Canada’s national equestrian federation.
The students in this class will graduate into a highly-specialised vocation, at a moment when it is on the cusp of dramatic changes.
The profession’s clients are driven by deeply-held dreams, but ones that can grate uncomfortably against practical realities. The sector’s economics are astonishingly vast, but defy conventional wisdom. The overall community’s demographics are unlike those of any other sport, but will shortly collide with fundamental changes in the composition of our national population.
All these factors will create significant opportunities for these students as they begin their working lives, if they are prepared to think critically about how they can remedy the market failure that has beset their predecessors. They will also have a rare opportunity to remodel the equine marketplace, to enable the industry to evolve with our country.
The rush of events has deprived me of the time to record an audio track to mirror the lecture I delivered in Guelph, so I have simply posted (at the top of this page) the slides I used to accompany my words. Without a spoken explanation, some of the images will undoubtedly require a leap of imagination to interpret!
I was delighted to meet Prof Sarkis’ students, and to have a chance to hear their views and ambitions for their craft. They were a bright and able group, and I feel optimistic for them and for Canadian equestrianism.