Over 160 horse enthusiasts assembled for the highly acclaimed production of War Horse and a special Equine Guelph Gala evening at the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto on March 8th 2012. The special fund raising evening benefitted the Equine Guelph-Ontario Equestrian Foundation ‘War Horse’ Welfare Education Fund.
\”The War Horse Toronto production brings back into the spotlight the welfare issues that faced millions of horses in the First World War,\” says David Mirvish, producer, Mirvish Productions and Chancellor of the University of Guelph. \”Recognizing the ongoing need for equine welfare awareness and education, we are pleased to partner with Equine Guelph and the Ontario Equestrian Federation to create the \’Equine Guelph-OEF War Horse Welfare Education Fund\’ in honour of these brave horses and to develop courses that teach horse care and welfare to future champions of the horse. Through education, we hope to help Equine Guelph in their admirable quest of \’helping horses for life.’” The incredible turn out of horse industry supporters at Equine Guelph’s pre-show meet-and-greet was a testament to the shared sentiment.
The wine was divine and the appetizers appealing, but it was the puppets that brought the passion with a spellbinding show. The crowd of horse lovers did not need any convincing of how near and dear the bond between horse and human can be. Not a dry eye could be found as the audience rode along on the journey of “Joey”, the beloved War Horse. To top it off, after the production, gala attendees were treated to an exclusive introduction to the life-like puppets and their marvelous, detailed craftsmanship. Breyer (through Kroeger Distributing in Canada) donated 24
Traditional limited edition \’Joey\’ model/War Horse book box sets, signed by David Mirvish, as a fundraiser for Equine Guelph’s gala evening. Many attendees arrived early for the opportunity to trot off with one of these very special mementos.
For future performances, War Horse Toronto will generously donate $10 to the Equine Guelph-OEF ‘War Horse’ Welfare Education Fund for each War Horse ticket purchased by OEF members for performances between February 10 – May 6, 2012. And, as a special thank you, at the performance, OEF members will receive a complimentary CD of the music of War Horse (one per order). Call 416-872-1212 or 1-800-461-3333 to order tickets and provide this special benefit code – WHFUND. Dianne Graham, executive director of the Ontario Equestrian Federation comments, \”I thought that the puppets were magical and found the original stage production to be absolutely mesmerizing. I am certain that \”War Horse\” will have a very successful engagement!\” She adds, \”The Ontario Equestrian Federation in partnership with Equine Guelph is proud to be part of a collaboration which which will ultimately benefit the welfare of all horses.\” Equine media in attendance were awe-struck and nearly speechless with initial reactions: “Wow, terrific!”, “Not what I expected”, and “How Lifelike.”
Funds raised are helping Equine Guelph develop new courses, teaching the highest degree of skills in horse care and welfare. This will help ensure horses receive the best possible care and will contribute to the reduction of welfare issues. “In an industry where well-intentioned old wives tales are often passed down rather than scientific knowledge, the horse is often the victim of mistreatment, says Equine Guelph Director, Gayle Ecker. Education in horse welfare will result in benefits including: well-informed caregivers, healthier horses, lower vet bills and fewer unwanted horses.”
Ecker continues, “Tonight, Equine Guelph is pleased to announce that we are able to offer the first Equine Welfare Certificate online program in Canada. The support of the industry has enabled us to open this opportunity for students starting in May of this year, with the first offering of the new Equine Welfare course in September of this year. We will be developing further courses that will become available online throughout the year.”
Support Equine Welfare through Education and experience War Horse at the Princess of Wales Theatre. Visit www.EquineGuelph.ca for more information and to learn about another special evening Equine Guelph will be hosting at War Horse Toronto on May 10, 2012.