Master Equine Managers

Denise Schwab, Beef Field Specialist, Southeast
Problem Statement:

More and more people in Iowa own horses for leisure, recreation and work, however we dont even have an accurate count of horses in Iowa.  The horse industry has been long overlooked by Iowa agriculture and by economists.  The impact of the Iowa horse industry is sizeable, yet very few if any ISU Extension programs have been targeted to horse owners.
Programmatic Response:

The Master Equine Manager program was designed to provide in-depth training to increase the knowledge and skill in equine science, care and training.  The first pilot attempt at the Master Equine Manager program in southeast Iowa had nine paid participants, which included one feed salesman, two stable managers, and six horse owners and enthusiasts.  The program was designed with cooperation from Dr. Charles Abraham and the Abraham Equine Clinic in Cedar Rapids.  The program included six sessions on nutrition, health, facilities, evaluation, conditioning, and hoof care. 

The Master Equine manager program made me go back to some of the basics to break info down better for my lesson kids.  This is a nice way to get further education to understand the equine industry and be better able to relate with others in business.   These are just two of the comments received from participants.  Participants scored the overall program at 3.56 on a four point scale.
Five of the participants said the nutrition session increased their knowledge some, and two said a lot.  The most important things they said they learned were how small a horses stomach is relative to its entire alimentary tract, how to evaluate hay quality, and how to identify different forages.  One said she would suggest their bovine nutritionist take samples of their horse hay to run rations.
Participants gave an average score of 3.94 on a four point scale for the health care session.  Five said it increased their knowledge about common diseases and parasite control a lot and four said some.  Four said it increased their ability to recognized common injuries a lot and five said it helped some. One participant said the most important thing he learned was how pervasive worm infections are, and another said they learned the important things to be able to tell a vet in an emergency.
The facilities session scored 3.57 overall, and five of the participants said it increased their knowledge of facilities and equipment, and facility design a lot and three said some.  Participants said they learned how to plan for manure management, the importance of drainage, more about air flow, and soil packing for stall floors.  One said as a result of this session they were going to improve access to their paddock by adding gravel.
The evaluation session focused on identifying lameness problems and chiropractic care.  Participants gave it an overall score of 3.57 also.   Participants said they learned what things to look for in confirmation, issues related to lameness, and how to look at a horses gait to diagnose which limb is lame.  One participant said she would now look closer at what may be perceived as bad habits to determine if confirmation or pains may be the cause of the vice.  One participant later said he started flexing and stretching the stifles and forelegs on his foundered mini and it seemed to help him.  Another said the demonstration of chiropractic treatment was fascinating.
Participants gave an overall score of 3.4 to the session on exercise and conditioning.  Four said it helped them better understand the importance of conditioning a lot and four said some.  This session migrated into a session on most common problems with the horse, but participants really seemed to enjoy that and would like a session next year just on these most common problems.  Participants said they learned more about the physical problems of the eye and hoof, and using parallel lines of pastern, shoulder, and hooves to evaluate soundness prior to selection.
The last session was on hoof care.  Participants said they learned how shaping the hoof can help reduce stress on joints, what to ask my farrier and how to better judge when animal needs trimming.  One said as a result of this program he would keep in touch with his farrier better and one would watch her farrier more carefully as they work on her animals.
Plans are underway for another session next year with similar speakers and format.  Current participants strongly encouraged continuation of the program and several were willing to help in promoting future programs.  One even suggested this group continue to meet in the future to maintain their network of horse support and education.

May 4, 2006
107 - Iowa Beef Center

Page last updated: July 8, 2006
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