Creating a sustainable equine teaching program on a suburban university’s campus requires considerable ingenuity since keeping a horse on campus is very expensive. Maintaining a herd dedicated for teaching and outreach can easily cause a budget to go in “the red.” However, the Department of Animal Sciences on the Rutgers Cook Campus came up with a creative solution, which involves “fostering” horses from equine rescue/placement programs and seeking sponsors to help pay for their per-diem costs. Some of the fostered horses will be available for adoption after the Ag Field Day Horse Show on Rutgers Day in late April, leaving a core herd of four horses for teaching and outreach throughout the year.
This new and exciting addition to the department’s Equine Teaching program is called the Rutgers University Teaching Herd (RUTH): Fostering Horses for Teaching and Extension. The eight horses in RUTH will allow faculty to expand students’ hands-on learning experiences and service in outreach. The horses will be dedicated solely to outreach endeavors, such as clinics and treadmill demonstrations, and teaching activities in didactic (classroom-based) courses like Horse Management and Comparative Anatomy and experience-based classes including Horse Practicum and Animal Handling, Fitting and Exhibition. In the latter course, students learn how to groom and train horses for in-hand exhibition on Ag Field Day. [Read more…]