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American Association of Equine Practitioners

The AAEP is the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to equine veterinary medicine and is a leading medical authority on the health and welfare of the horse. From pleasure horses to elite equine athletes, the AAEP and its nearly 10,000 members work to raise the standard of horse health for all breeds and disciplines.

Day 5: Off to the races!, Barrel races that is.

We are currently in the town of Itu, Brazil experiencing the wonderful things that they have been doing with different horse breeds, one of them being the quarter horse. To get this experience we went and stopped at the Haras Raphaela ranch to talk to them about the things that work for them regarding the care and breeding of these horses as well as the barrel racing aspect in which their horses compete in. The ranch is about 160 acres and only about 100 of that is used for horse needs. The manager of the barn informed us that they use a large quantity of mares in the embryo transfer side of things, because by using another horse to raise the young it leaves the top level competitors for barrel racing to continue doing just that. He went on to speak to us about the different things they do for the horses like having an acupuncturist to come around once a month to see if any of the horses need it, as well as at least 3 vets coming and going constantly, with even an agronomist coming once a month to ensure that the quality of pasture stays at its peak condition.  After having toured the grounds and seeing the spectacular facilities we even got the opportunity to watch trainers from different areas around Brazil work horses on barrels and see the technique and thought they put into their training. Overall we had the time of our lives and can't wait to see what is next in store!





May 27/28 - Arrival at the Resort

Dr. Gobaso showed us the school yard and teaching facilities after our morning breakfast. When comparing the buildings to our own, there are several pros and cons to each to take into account. What I believe to be essentially important to their school system is the rustic architectural structure of the buildings, and the food at their cafetaria that is grown right there on the farms. What I like about our classes over theirs is how clean and organized our buildings are because it appears that our educational system is more structured, even with its flaws. On a side note, we all had a great laugh feeding the carp in the pond in front of the school. Afterwards, we took a bus ride to the research barns where we had the privilege of witnessing banana fields, nelore cross cattle, etc. It was great to see that many Brazilian farmers also favor using Alis and Massey tractors to my ammusement. The Brazilian students gave us a quick guided tour of the facilities after we got off the bus, and presented their research findings. It was quite difficult trying to get over the language barrier when asking them questions over their findings, but the overall experience proved to be beneficial in learning their interests. We than rode the bus to a river full of restaurants where we had a fish buffet. The scenery was something I could get use to as the shops and riverbed looked like a scene from the movies. The food was very much like an American buffet, in the sense that there was a couple great dishes with the rest being filler or questionable at best. Following the buffet we said our good byes and took an airplane ride to Gioania. The bus ride to the resort from the airport was long with one sketchy stop along the way, but it was well worth the wait. The resort had many amenities such as two meals a day, swim up bars, and zip lining. Pictures and words alone are not enough to describe the enormity and excitement of this place. The resort was in a gated community of sorts and gave a sense of safety, until you walked in town a couple blocks. Personally, I liked this about the resort because you could escape during the night life to witness tents of the food vendors. Lastly, the waterpark that was included was overall impressive, but it was not as good as the Wisconsin Dells. The water park here had several slides, but it felt like it was going for more of a relax on the beach feel. What shined the most was the hot springs at night with rocks beneth our feet. We all spent most of the night here, and will likely do so tomorrow. 

Jared G.


Lloyd Veterinary Medical Center | Iowa State University

Iowa State University has been a leader in veterinary medical education throughout its history. It holds the distinction of organizing our country's first public veterinary college. Since its founding in 1879, the College of Veterinary Medicine has evolved into a major teaching, research and service center for the state of Iowa and beyond. 
 The depth of expertise found in Iowa State's Veterinary Medical Center is not found anywhere else in the state.

Dr. Peggy A M. Auwerda

Peggy M. Auwerda
Associate Professor
Equine Extension and Outreach Specialist
Area of Expertise: 

Rotational Grazing for Horses

Grazing management allows for maximizing pasture use and nutrient availability. The average horse will graze continuously for a few hours, rest, and then continue eating. Horses are selective grazers, or they prefer young, immature plants and will graze some areas down to the bare ground. In other areas of the pasture, they will allow the plants to grow to maturity. Mature plants have lower palatability and nutrient availability. By utilizing management techniques, the quality of the pasture the horse consumes can be enhanced.


Horses Have A Highly Developed Sense of Smell

Olfaction (smell) is important for horse’s survival. Smell helps horse select what they eat (horses are sensitive to poisonous plants, moldy forage and grain, dirty water, etc.). Horses use smell to detect other horses by smelling feces, urine, and body odors. Smell is very important in detecting the sex and stage of estrous in mares.

Horses only breathe through their noses, or they can’t breathe through their mouths. The term for this is an obligate nose breather.  Horses have a large nasal cavity with structures called turbinate bones. Within the turbinate’s, inhaled air is mixed, warmed and distributes scents. Olfactory receptors are positioned towards the top of the nasal cavity. Olfactory epithelium lines the inside of the upper nasal cavity and connects olfactory neurons held in the turbinate’s to olfactory bulbs in the horse’s brain. The olfactory bulbs are relatively large in size and include numerous folds that increase the surface area over the receptor cells. Horses are thought to have about 300 million olfactory receptors, which is considerably higher than humans (five or six million olfactory receptors).

The horses nasal cavity
The horse's nasal cavity

Horses have an accessory olfactory system known as the vomeronasal organ that detects pheromones and volatile odors. When a horse breathes in strong odors, the vomeronasal organ expands, contracts, and sends the aroma to the brain. In response, the horse will display the flehmen response where they extend their neck, raise their nose, open their mouth slightly and curl the upper lip. The flehmen response is commonly demonstrated by stallions, but mares and geldings may also demonstrate the response. The flehmen behavior can appear as early as the first day of life in foals.

Flehmen response in horses
A horse displaying the flehmen response

Remember, odors can be used to smell predators, stage of estrous cycle, and social recognition of other horses and even people. It is beneficial to allow the horse to smell your hand, tack, or whatever is causing them to be anxious when working around a horse.


  1. Beaver, B. 2020. Equine Behavioral Medicine. Academic Press.
  2. Rorvang, M V., B L Nielsen, and A N McLean. Sensory Abilities of Horses and Their Importance for Equitation Science. Front. Vet. Sci 2020 7:633

ISU Equine Farm

The Department of Animal Science at ISU proudly maintains the historic horse barns located on campus. The horse barns provide students with the opportunity to learn and work in a hands-on setting. The historic barns house two student apartments, an office, reproduction lab, equine treadmill, and classroom.
 The university maintains a herd of Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred broodmares which are used for teaching and demonstrations for ISU students, youth, and the public. In addition, the university offers breeding services to the public.