Horse Emphasis Program of the Animal Science MajorDr. Kari Turner
The nationally recognized College of Agriculture at the University of Georgia encompasses an outstanding Animal and Dairy Science Department. The equine section of the department is rapidly growing, with the addition of new faculty members and the creation of new equine courses. This growth will continue throughout the years to come.
Recently, several changes have occurred within the Animal and Dairy Science curriculum. Students are now able to choose areas of emphasis within the Animal and Dairy Science curriculum. One of the areas is equine science management. Students selecting the horse emphasis option take Animal Nutrition, Phys. of Reproduction, Horse Production, and either Horse Nutrition and Exercise Physiology or Applied Reproduction of the Horse, as well as other horse and animal science classes. A description of each equine course is provided below.
ADSC 2630-2630L: Pleasure Horse Management. Spring Semester. This survey course is taught for students of all majors to gain a broad understanding of the horse industry and sound management practices needed for horse ownership. Topics for discussion include breeds, nutrition, reproduction, genetics, facilities, behavior, parasites, and diseases. Laboratory time will allow students to gain hands-on experience in a variety of horse-related topics such as handling, identification, nutrition and reproduction.
ADSC 3230-3230L: Light Horse Evaluation. Spring Semester. The principles of equine conformation and the performance horse are reviewed and practiced in this class. Students evaluate classes of 4 horses either at halter or in various performance classes. Students interested in participating on the Horse Judging Team in the upcoming Fall semester may have the opportunity to travel to the Middle Tennessee State Horse Judging Contest in late Spring.
ADSC 3250-3250L: Advanced Light Horse Evaluation. Fall Semester. Students on the Horse Judging Team compose this class to advance their knowledge of conformation and the performance horse of all breeds. The team works out with many of the top professionals in the Southeast prior to competition. Contests attended by the team include the Quarter Horse Congress, AQHA World Show and NRHA Reining Judging Contest. ADSC 3230 is a prerequisite.
ADSC 3630-3630L: Horse Production. Fall Semester. This course will cover more advanced topics of nutrition, reproduction, genetics, behavior, diseases, lameness, exercise physiology, and current issues important to the horse industry. The laboratory time will permit hands-on exposure to many management practices, including vaccinations and deworming. Prerequisites include Practicum in Animal and Dairy Science (ADSC 2000), and two of the following: Introduction to Genetics of Livestock Improvement (ADSC 3110), Feeds and Feeding (ADSC 3310) or Physiology of Reproduction in Farm Animals (ADSC 3400).
ADSC 3830: Equine Science Seminar. Fall or Spring Semester. Industry awareness and exploration of various topics associated with equine health and production.
ADSC 3910: Internship. Students may receive 3-6 hours credit working with an approved employer in a learning situation. Students have worked in assistant training and farm maintenance positions, in businesses associated with the horse industry, and other areas related to the animal science field in which experience would be advantageous upon graduation.
ADSC 4200. Livestock Merchandising. Spring Semester. Students learn principles and activities involved in successfully promoting and merchandising horses. Additionally, students will be assigned one (or more) horses to train and condition for the annual 4-H Horse Benefit Auction.
ADSC 4390/6390. Horse Nutrition and Exercise Physiology. Fall Semester. Basic principles of nutrition, including digestive anatomy, ration formulation, and feeding management will be covered. This class will also cover principles of exercise physiology, including basic function of all major physiological systems and adaptation of the horse to exercise. Prerequisites include Animal Nutrition (ADSC 3300) and Feeds and Feeding (ADSC 3310). ADSC 3630 may be taken either as a co-requisite or pre-requisite.
ADSC 4400/6400-4400L/6400L. Applied Reproduction in the Horse. Spring Semester. Application of equine reproductive management principles associated with artificial insemination, embryo transfer, pregnancy detection, semen collection, and reproductive record management are covered.
ADSC 4500: Operant Conditioning and Training Horses. Spring Semester. The innate equine behavior and principals of operant conditioning are studied prior to the assignment of a 2-year old horse to break to ride. Students work with young horses throughout the semester to enhance their experience and aptitude for understanding and modifying the behavior of horses.
Snyder Barn. The Snyder Barn serves as the breeding farm for the University of Georgia. A band of approximately 50 Quarter Horse broodmares and several stallions are maintained at the facility. Foals are raised on the farm, and then transferred to the Equine Training Unit as long yearlings to begin training in the ADSC 4500 (Operant Conditioning and Training) course. The Snyder barn also serves as a teaching facility, as the Reproduction class holds its laboratories there, as well as several other labs associated with reproduction in other courses. Several research projects are also on-going at the facility. Students also have the opportunity to become involved in the horse breeding operations by working at the facility. Student workers are able to gain valuable experience in breeding practices such as collection of the stallions, palpation of the mares, and artificial insemination, as well as general horse management skills.
Equine Training Unit. The Training Unit, also called the Arena Farm, is located on the same facility as the Livestock Instructional Arena. The facility consists of a covered arena as well as an indoor, climate controlled arena, providing ample riding space. A classroom is located within the facility as well, allowing several equine courses to be held at the facility. Approximately 30 horses are managed on the farm, and are mainly used for teaching purposes. Once the two-year-olds, received from the breeding farm, have completed the breaking and training class, they are sold to the public through an auction held at the training facility. A small band of horses is maintained year-round for use in hands-on labs and other activities such as Animal Science in Action. The NCAA Equestrian Team shares the facility as well. Several of their horses are used in the Animal Science classes, thus increasing both the diversity and number of horses available for use in classes. Approximately 4 student workers are employed at the farm throughout the year.
Aside from the horse judging team extracurricular activity, several clubs are available to the undergraduates. Most of the Animal Science undergraduates are involved in the largest club on campus, the Block and Bridle Club. This very active club sponsors several events throughout the year including the Little International (a day of showing all livestock species trained by the student), the Great Southland Stampede Rodeo in April, a spring trip to outstanding farms in the Southeast, and various social events. Of special interest to the equine student are the UGA Horsemen's Association and the Equestrian Teams. The Horsemen's Association meets with horse industry leaders and professionals. These experts relate their expertise and insight into a wide variety of areas within the horse industry and aids students' process to "network" with the industry. Currently there are two Equestrian Teams at the University of Georgia – the club team and the varsity team. The club team participates in Zone 5, Region 2 of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association. Team members and alternates are selected during tryouts each fall and spring semester. Each team rider accumulates points on individual placing at IHSA shows. When a certain amount of points are acquired they move up a level and qualify for regionals. The top three riders of each class go to the zone competition and the top two riders from the zone compete at Nationals. The Equestrian Team holds practice sessions weekly. The team members host horse shows, clinics, and work on various projects to subsidize the private donations on which the team relies for financial support. The varsity team began NCAA competition in the Fall of 2002. There are approximately 70 women on the team. Riders compete in either English (Equitation, Equitation Over Fences) or Western (Horsemanship, Reining) disciplines. For more information, please see the website http://georgiadogs.collegesports.com/sports/w-equest/geo-w-equest-body.html
The above course work and opportunities should give graduates an advantage upon graduation if they can employ the scientific and practical skills learned in the program. Many graduates go into private businesses, drug and feed sales and promotion, public relations for breed organizations, writers for agricultural publications, and a great many other roles associated with the horse industry other than the traditional riding, training, and veterinary positions.
For information, contact Dr. Kari Turner, Animal and Dairy Science Department, E.L. Rhodes Center, The University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia 30602 or by phone (706) 542-8588. Email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.