Equine Canada commonly known by its acronym, EC, is Canada’s comprehensive national governing body for equestrian sport. It is the executive branch of Canada’s national equestrian teams; the national association and registry of Canadian equestrian athletes; the national regulatory body for equestrian coaches, competition organizers, and judges; and the national federation of Canadian horse breeders and Canadian breed registries.
In this role, EC governs Canada’s official relations with the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), as well as Canada’s equestrian relations with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee. It also governs relations between the government of Canada and Canadian equestrian athletes and professionals.
EC governs eight FEI disciplines: dressage, driving, endurance, eventing, reining, show jumping, paraequestrian, and vaulting. Two of the FEI disciplines have remained independent of EC: horseball and tent pegging.
EC also governs the following non-FEI disciplines: hunt seat, pony club sports, saddle seat, and some breed-specific sports. It does not regulate the non-FEI disciplines of classical dressage, horse racing, polo, or rodeo sports.
The organization serves recreational riders by certifying riding coaches and instructors, publishing national riding tests and standards, and encouraging public participation in horse sports.
EC acts as the representative of Canada’s horse breeders and breeding registries to Canada’s federal government. It also promotes Canadian-bred horses internationally.
EC was created through the merger of the Canadian Equestrian Federation (CEF), which governed domestic equestrianism, and the Canadian Equestrian Team (CET), which represented Canada in international competition. The CEF was itself the result of an earlier merger between the National Equestrian Federation of Canada, the national domestic equestrian sport organisation, and the Canadian Horse Council, the national equestrian industry association.
EC’s teams at the 2008 Olympics won one gold and one silver medal. EC’s team at the 2008 Paralympics also won one gold and one silver medal. This represents the highest Canadian equestrian achievement at any Summer Games in the history of the Olympic movement.
Damagingly in a bilingual and multicultural country, equestrian sport is often perceived in Canada as a captive of white, anglophone, social climbing classes, for which money is more important than talent or good sportsmanship. EC has fought against this perception with mixed results.
EC has supported the right of horse owners to euthanize animals that are untreatably ill or injured. This has caused conflict with the Canadian movement to ban horse slaughter.