Tag Archives: horses

Check out these new MSU Extension bulletins

Several new bulletins are now available in the Michigan State University Extension Bookstore. All are produced by Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Communications. All three are available as free PDF downloads. E3203 Wildfires

 Protect Your Great Lakes Shoreline Home From Wildfires (E3203) is written by Mark F. Hansen, Extension educator-on-call emeritus and consultant emeritus. The bulletin, part of the Wildfire Series, gives tips to incorporate preventative practices such as providing a defensible space to reduce the chances your shoreline home will catch fire in the event of a wildfire. E3198 Rebuilding an Eroding Bank

Rebuilding an Eroding Bank on an Inland Lake: A Comparison of Traditional and Prefabricated Encapsulated Soil Lifts (E3198) is written by Jane Herbert, senior Extension water resource educator, and Gina Frasson-Hudson, Extension research assistant. It was edited by Rebecca McKee, editor, and designed by Alicia Burnell, graphic designer, both of ANR Communications. Shoreline contractors as well as shoreline property owners will benefit from this bulletin, which compares the traditional method of “hardening” eroding shorelines using rock riprap and vertical seawalls with a more natural erosion control measure, such as an encapsulated soil lift. E3200 Rotational grazing

Rotational Grazing for Michigan Horses (E3200) was written by Tom Guthrie, Extension statewide equine educator; Karen Waite, equine Extension specialist; and Kim Cassida, forage specialist in the Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences. It was edited by Rebecca McKee and designed by Alicia Burnell. The bulletin describes what a rotational grazing system is and helps horse owners and managers decide whether a system is right for them, their land and their horses.

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It starts with social media

You’ve heard our communication’s folks talk about leveraging social media to tell our story. Karen Waite gave us a good lesson in the power of social media when trying to spread rich, educational information.

On Jan. 29, Karen, a Michigan State University Extension equine specialist, used her Facebook status update to remind horse owners to be mindful of extra precautions they should take during the extreme temperature drop about to occur.

Beth Stuever in ANR Communications saw the update and made this simple suggestion, “This would make an excellent post on msue.msue.edu.”

Within an hour, Karen forwarded a short, science-based article called “Watch Horses for Hypothermia When Temperatures Drop” to ANR Communications. Fifteen minutes later the article was live on the MSU Extension website.

From there, ANR Communications worked to push the information out via Facebook and Twitter. By 5 p.m. on Jan. 29, it had been shared at least 35 times by people and groups on Facebook. By 9 a.m. on Jan. 31 (right about the time the temperatures were beginning to drop), the article had been viewed 841 times. More than 630 of those views were from people who saw it on Facebook. As of Feb. 6, the article has been viewed more than 1,000 times.

One of those early views was by Rosemary Parker, a Kalamazoo Gazette reporter and MLive contributor. Rosemary used it as fodder for two articles: “Horses, Livestock May Suffer Hypothermia, Colic With This Week’s Weather Swings, MSU Expert Says” and “Wednesday’s Weather Swing in Southwest Michigan Can Be Deadly for Horses.” Though we don’t know exactly how many people saw these articles, Rosemary tells us they received “wide readership.” And we know that they were shared collectively on Facebook by nearly 800 people.

So what’s the lesson here? Timely information is important. Our MSU Extension News articles don’t have to be long or time consuming to gain a following. Timeliness is key. And when the media calls, we need to be ready to talk.

Some may argue that Facebook spreads a lot of false or misleading information. Unfortunately, that’s true. But let’s not let that stop us from using social media to educate with facts.

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4-H experience and family support leads to self-confidence, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity

Emily “Emmy” Love started riding horses when she was 7. The horse she and her family purchased at age 8 grew to be her best friend. That’s when she started in 4-H. She wanted to be involved with her best friend as much as possible and what better way than through 4-H?

Being an active member of the Wild Riders 4-H group from age 8 to 17 solidified Emmy’s passion for riding. The 2011 Petoskey High School graduate will follow her passion this August when she will train in France with Benjamin Aillaud, twice vice-champion of the world and four-time champion of France in four-horse carriage. He is equestrian director for Cavalia and Odysseo, equestrian shows developed by one of the Cirque du Soleil founders. The shows combine equestrian arts and acrobatics.

On spring break this year from Albion College, Emmy and her parents, Tom and Cindy Love, attended a Cavalia Odysseo show in Florida. Emmy took advantage of the opportunity to interview Aillaud for the Albion Equestrian Blog. This interview led to an experience of a lifetime for Emmy. A week after the interview Benjamin and his wife, Magalie, offered Emmy a position in France. Emmy will work with the couple’s 4-year-old son, Nuno, to immerse him in the English language for half of the day. The other half, Emmy will spend training in dancing, acrobatics and trick riding.

Emmy will begin her one- to two-year experience this August. In the meantime, she’s in training to strengthen her body for the rigorous training she’ll receive.

Emmy believes 4-H helped her develop the discipline involved in riding.

Says Emmy, “4-H made me a well-rounded rider. I learned how to ride every discipline and the rules that were entailed in each of them. It caused me to get out of my comfort zone.”

4-H gave her the strong foundation of personal responsibility required to care for and train with horses.

“4-H taught me not only the fun parts of riding but also the financial side. It opened my eyes to see how much raising and taking care of an animal of that size actually costs. This resulted in me being even more thankful and also to work harder to show my parents that I loved taking care of this animal and I loved that he was my responsibility,” Emmy said.

Emily Love and her horse

Emmy Love and her horse

This discipline, work ethic and sense of responsibility led to showing in 4-H horse shows at the Emmet-Charlevoix County Fair and representing Emmet County 4-H twice at the Michigan State University State 4-H Horse Show.

The experience of showing at the fair boosted Emmy’s confidence in social situations.

Emmy said, “By bringing my horse to the fair, 4-H helped me conquer that fear of talking to adults. It pushed me to become more self-confident.”

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MSU Extension well represented at national equine event

Wendy Powers, Agriculture and Agribusiness Institute director, and Tom Guthrie, Michigan State University Extension educator, were invited speakers at the national 2011 Equine Science Society Symposium in Murfreesboro, Tenn., May 31 to June 3. The two presented a session on environmental issues for the horse industry to 310 attendees. This was an honor as there were only a few invited speakers. Both Tom and Wendy presented Michigan as a leader in issues related to horses and the environment. Following the presentation, an equine faculty member requested that publications developed by MSU Extension be sent to Kentucky, which as you know, is a leader in the horse industry.

 Karen Waite, MSU Extension equine specialist, presented two papers at the symposium, one co-written by Taylor Fabus, visiting instructor in the Department of Animal Science. Christine Skelly, associate professor in the Department of Animal Science, also presented. The accepted publications were peer reviewed, and the associated papers were published in the Journal of Equine Veterinary Science.

 Click here to view the line-up of presentations and posters.


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State 4-H Horse Jamboree participants develop science literacy skills

On April 16, 275 4-H’ers from across the state participated in the State 4-H Horse Jamboree at the MSU Pavilion for Agriculture and Livestock Education. The event included Horse Judging, Hippology and the Horse Quiz Bowl. Fifty adult volunteers made the event possible in addition to animal science event coordinator Carla McLachlan, visiting instructor Taylor Fabus and Michigan State University Extension equine specialist Karen Waite.

 In Horse Judging, young people evaluate eight classes of four horses, place and answer questions about the horses, and then prepare and deliver sets of oral reasons to defend their placings.

 According to Karen, “It’s a tremendous way to develop critical thinking, confidence and public speaking skills with the horse as a tool to excite youth.”

 In Hippology, young people in the junior division, ages 9 to 13, participate in a variety of equine-related activities including a written exam, a slide test and identification stations. Senior members, ages 14 to 19, participate in those same activities and also judge two classes, and develop and deliver solutions to a prepared and a spontaneous equine-related problem.

 Horse Quiz Bowl is an equine game show in which youth test their knowledge about horse care and management in a team format.

 All three of these events provide educational opportunities for youth regardless of their learning style preference.

 And Karen says, “They have the chance to develop and improve their science literacy without really knowing that they are learning about science. They just think they are learning about horses!”

 That kind of hands-on learning, driven primarily by their natural curiosity, is the basis for success of our 4-H program in helping youth to prepare for successful life as adults.

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Ag Expo=education, education, education

As someone who knows more about fish than cattle, Ag Expo has always managed to teach me a thing or two about production agriculture. This year, expo visitors have the potential to learn more than ever thanks to a plethora of educational sessions hosted by our own MSU Extension educators and specialists.

Highlights include a session that will earn equine owners a good horsekeeping seal of approval, a special event that will introduce livestock producers to some profitable environmental options and a discussion about crop marketing by our own Jim Hilker.

Spread the word! Make sure the farmers in your area join us July 21-23. And, if you use the popular social networking site twitter, be sure to look for tweets with the event hashtag: #AgExpo.

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