David H. Andrews, Story County Extension Education Director, Central Area
A need for a program in Central Iowa to highlight current opportunities and challenges to raising horses as a business. Prior to this time there had been only three classes for the Master Equine Manager Program held in South Central, Eastern, and Western Iowa. Due to the large number of horses being raised for business and pleasure purposes in Central Iowa another class was needed.
Iowa State University Extension in Story and Marshall Counties worked jointly to sponsor the MEM class. A focus group consisting of Story and Marshall county equine business owners, Equine Management Professors at Iowa State University and Ellsworth Community College, and the County Extension Education Directors for Story and Marshall discussed which topics would be most beneficial. In addition to classes held at the Story County Extension office; stables in Story, Marshall, and Hardin counties were visited where the owners presented the business management side of raising and selling horses. Twelve of the original participants completed the eight week course and took part in optional sessions at Prairie Meadows Racetrack, a Judges Clinic, and Western Edge Tack and Supply.
Horse owners who operate businesses in six different central Iowa counties learned the latest techniques in nutrition, health care, selection and evaluation, facilities management, and insurance needs during the eight-week course. Class participants had the opportunity to visit and learn from leaders in the equine industry regarding how to manage a stable and how to select the breed of horses in demand in todays marketplace. A side benefit was the opportunity class members had to network and discuss common problems affecting all equine business owners. In the time since the class ended both Story and Marshall County Extension offices have had many requests for additional education in equine management. Several of the participants have commented on changes they have made to their business model and adoption of practices affecting the health and condition of their horses.
120 Farm and Business Management
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September 27, 2007
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