Horse reproduction clinics available this spring

February 9, 2010

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Historic Prophetstown will host three horse reproduction clinics at the RX Acres Belgian breeding farm in Brookston in conjunction with Purdue University Extension.

The clinics take place Feb. 19-20, March 13-14 and April 9-10. Registrations are still being accepted for the March and April clinics.

Topics covered will include health, first aid and feeding of pregnant mares, foals and stallions, neonatal foal care, foaling and stallion management. 

Registration is $250 for Historic Prophetstown members and $300 for non-members. The form can be found online at http://www.prophetstown.org/registration%20form.pdf or completed by calling 765-576-4700. 

The clinics fill up quickly, with space for 7-8 people at each one, said Melissa Brown, clinic instructor and Historic Prophetstown manager of agricultural operations. She advises those who are interested to sign up two weeks or more in advance. 

Brown also noted that the reproduction clinics are open to anyone who has an interest in horse breeding.

“We believe that there’s a lot of knowledge of horse breeding and reproduction out there, but people want practical experience themselves if they’re going to be confident horse owners,” said Mark Russell, Purdue professor of animal sciences and equine Extension specialist. 

Clinic attendees will get practical experience through hands-on experiences.
 
“Participants will collect semen and prepare it for shipment, take semen that has been shipped to us and prepare it, and then we’ll breed mares with it,” Brown said. 

Two Purdue veterinary students will be at each clinic to interact with attendees as they learn about the breeding practices. Russell believes having these students attend is beneficial for everyone.

“This not only helps to develop the understanding between the other participants at the workshops of what veterinarians bring to the breeding operation but, just as importantly, the veterinary students get a chance to learn what real industry needs are and what kinds of questions they’re going to be asked when they graduate,” Russell said. 

While the clinics work primarily with Belgian draft horses, the skill sets learned can be applied to horses of all breeds. 

Along with the reproduction clinics, Historic Prophetstown also will offer draft horse driving clinics May 1-2 and Sept. 4-5. There is an enrollment limit of 10 people per clinic.

“There’s a lot of interest with people wanting to drive,” Brown said. “We just teach people about draft horses and how to use them on their farm or their facility.”

The driving clinics are open to anyone, and Brown said people from all walks of life participate. In the past, Historic Prophetstown has instructed people with little or no horse experience who want to learn more about drafts. 

“There seems to be a resurgence of interest in real horsepower,” Russell said.

The registration fee and process is the same as the reproduction clinics, and forms and more information can be found online at http://prophetstown.org/clinicsworkshops.html

Writer:  Julie Preble, 765-494-8402, jmpreble@purdue.edu

Sources:  Melissa Brown, 765-576-4700, agmanager@prophetstown.org
                   Mark Russell, 765-494-7677, mrussell@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-8415;
Steve Leer, sleer@purdue.edu
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