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Welcome from the Director


Rutgers University Board for Equine Advancement


Equine Needs Assessment Survey Results


Horses 2017: “The Best of the Best” a Recap of the Center’s Largest Event


Rutgers Equine Scientist Elected President of the Equine Science Society


2016-2017 Events: A review through our Facebook Photo Albums


Effects of Grazing System, Season, and Forage Carbohydrates


Effect of Stall Bedding Depth on Horse Cleanliness, Bedding Use, and Air Quality


Integrated Cool-Season and Warm-Season Equine Rotational Grazing Systems


The Effects of Acute Strenuous Exercise on Fecal and Gut Microbiota


Acute Exercise and Training Alter BranchedChain Amino Acid Metabolic Signatures


NE 1441 Project - A Partnership Between Northeast Academics


Science & Technology: Using 3D Scanning to Better Fit a Saddle


RUTH - The Rutgers University Teaching Herd


Academic Updates & News


Equine Science Center Presents 2017 Awards


Ernest Bell Memorial Scholarship

Rutgers Equine Science Center 57 US Highway 1 New Brunswick, NJ 08901 848-932-9419 Designer Kyle Hartmann Photographers Anna Fojtik Kyle Hartmann John O’Boyle Rutgers Equine Science Center esc.rutgers.edu



Rutgers University Equine Option

Website & Social Media



Community Events esc.rutgers.edu/outreach-events

The Equine Science Center Focus Areas LAW

Equine Health & Well-Being

Land Use Policy & Management

Integrity of Equestrian Sport

Economic Growth & Industry Sustainability

Environmental Stewardship

esc.rutgers.edu facebook.com/RutgersEquineScienceCenter





Dr. Karyn Malinowski Founding Director


ince its inception, the Center has established itself prominently within state, national, and international equestrian communities through its research and outreach programs, strategic partnerships with state and federal agencies and private entities, dynamic website, and the widespread recognition and acknowledgment it has received as a result of the impact of its programs. The Equine Science Center is the force behind connecting invaluable research findings to the greater community and in promoting best management practices and knowledge to those caring for and working with horses. In the past year the Center celebrated its 15 year anniversary of delivering “Better Horse Care through Research and Education.” We certainly celebrated in style! Horses 2017 was a weekend long extravaganza of workshops and a vendor/trade show for equine enthusiasts of all disciplines and experience levels. Over 300 people attended the conference over the course of two days. Featured keynotes included Scientific Journalist Wendy Williams, and Dr. Jeff Thomason from the University

of Guelph. Breakout sessions allowed attendees to spend quality time with some of the best equine specialists in the business. Each day ended with an hour long “Ask the Experts” question and answer panel of the day’s featured speakers. A VIP Reception was held for dignitaries and donors on Saturday evening where the new Co-Chairs of the Rutgers University Board for Equine Advancement, Dr. Amy Butewicz and Mr. Warren Zimmerman, were introduced. In the past year RUBEA adopted a new set of by-laws and welcomed several new members. I look forward to the board helping advance the mission of the Center for years to come. Along with our usual involvement in key industry events such as the Open Space Pace, the Jr. Breeders Symposium and the Hambo Veterinary Conference, to name a few, we also hosted our annual Summer Showcase, the Evening of Science and Celebration and Ag Field Day at Rutgers Day. Please view the events section of this report for descriptions and photo galleries of all of these and more. I am extremely proud of my colleagues, Dr. Ken McKeever and Dr. Carey Williams who both were elected to leadership roles of the Equine Science Society at its annual meeting in June. Dr. McKeever was elected society president and Dr. Williams was


elected to the board of directors. Way to go Ken and Carey! By assembling diverse and multifaceted research teams, we are better equipped to thoroughly investigate equine issues that matter to our stakeholders and advance our mission. Center faculty and staff procured almost $500,000 in grants and contracts, and approximately $100,000 in gifts during the 12 month reporting period; resulting in four book chapters and 15 refereed journal articles, 35 popular press articles and 11 invited talks. Because of the commitment from private donors, the Center was able to fund three research projects (two in support of graduate students) in the past fiscal year. In 2017 the Center presented the Gold Medal Horse Farm award to the Neinart family from Hidden Hills Farm and the Spirit of the Horse award to Jeanne Vuyosevich from Sunset Meadow Farm. On a sad note the Center lost several members of its family this past year. Dr. David A. Meirs II, former chair of RUBEA, Patrick Guirnalda a former graduate student in my lab, and most recently two former RUBEA members, Max Spann, Sr. and Peter Cofrancesco III. Their devotion and dedication to the Center and its mission will be sorely missed! Best,




he School of Environmental and Biological Sciences at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, differs from other schools at Rutgers because in addition to its teaching, the Agricultural Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension strive to implement research and outreach programs which address high priority needs of New Jersey agriculture.

Because the equine industry is recognized as one such high priority, the School established the Equine Advisory Committee in 1992. This committee, made up of a broad base of horse industry representatives and equine enthusiasts, was formed to assist the school in decisions regarding its equine teaching, research and outreach programs, and to promote and support these activities. Later renamed the Rutgers University Board for Equine Advancement (RUBEA), the board recently celebrated its 25-year anniversary. The new co-chairs of the board, Dr. Amy Butewicz and Mr. Warren Zimmerman, were formally introduced at a VIP reception following the recent “Horses 2017� Conference. Attended by many Equine Science Center supporters and leaders from the industry, the reception showcased some of the many recent accomplishments and achievements of the Center. RUBEA members provide volunteer leadership functions to the Equine Science Center. They are selected for their leadership within the equine community or dedication to its advancement; ability to advise the Center on its direction, work product, and to identify development opportunities for the Center; and willingness to financially support the Center in its work. Besides personally pledging a gift, each member fundraises to the best of their ability to bring in additional donors and/or additional contributions annually. Members also serve as advocates for the work of the Center, School, and Experiment Station among their many stakeholder groups. These can include the University administration, alumni, students, prospective students, potential donors, employers, professionals, and the general public.


Leadership Board



JOHN MAIERON Member At-Large


DYLAN KLEIN Member At-Large

CATHY NICOLA Member At-Large

TAYLOR PALMER, JR. Chair-Emeritus

SAM LANDY Member At-Large


RYCK SUYDAM Chair-Emeritus

ROD LAW Member At-Large

MAX SPANN, JR. Member At-Large

DR. KARYN MALINOWSKI Center Representative

The Equine Science Center





he Rutgers Equine Science Center is a designated Center of Excellence at Rutgers-The State University of New Jersey. The Center’s mission is to promote, “Better Horse Care through Research and Education.�

As part of the land-grant university system, the Center is obligated to provide outreach programs to serve the equine-related community. To do so, it is best to understand the needs of those constituents. The Center maintains a database of equine professionals and enthusiasts for distribution of educational and promotional material. In January 2016, a survey was conducted via email to determine the most pressing needs of the equine-related community.

The survey revealed a diverse industry with 46% of respondents classifying themselves as recreational riders. Most participants were interested in horse health (78%), and nutrition (57%) information. Owners relied predominantly on veterinarians (89%), printed materials (83%), and horse-related websites (78%) for care and business information. Responders also ranked highly the five programmatic focus areas of the Center, including horse health, land use, integrity of equestrian sport, environmental stewardship, and development of future leaders. The Center collected comments about how it can be even more useful to the equine-related community, which will help in planning future events, research, and programming.

Age Demographic 20 & Under

21 - 35

36 - 60

61 & Over

Out of


Responses Horses Owned 0

16 - 30


Over 30

8 - 15





he Equine Science Center concluded its 15-Year Anniversary Celebration with a weekend long extravaganza presented by the Center and its yearlong partners Merial Animal Health, as the title sponsor, and the New Jersey Farm Bureau and UHM Properties, Inc. as Diamond Sponsors. Held at Rutgers University’s newest, state of the art conference facility, The Livingston Student Center in Piscataway, attendees were treated to two full days of equine-related education. The theme of “Horses 2017”

featured “The Best of The Best,” with the program highlighting the most popular speakers featured at Center programs from the past 15 years. Drs. Karyn Malinowski and Carey Williams assembled a group of speakers on a variety of topics for everyone from new horse owners to professionals alike. The “Horses” format, which included a vendor trade show throughout the day, allowed attendees to learn about new or popular products and vendors, and had not been held in the Northeast since the Center hosted it last in 2009.

Dr. Michael Fugaro, along with Dr. Elias Perris, presented “Keeping Your Horse Healthy: Basic Veterinary Care.”

Keynote speakers included Scientific Journalist Wendy Williams, who presented on the history of horses, and Dr. Jeff Thomason, who discussed the importance of proper footing. Each day the “Ask the Experts” panel allowed attendees to submit questions related to the varying topics discussed in their presentations. This new format was a crowd favorite. 11

A VIP Reception was held for dignitaries and donors on Saturday evening. This opportunity allowed contributors, who have donated time and resources to the Center, to be honored and thanked for all that they do. The Center thanks all speakers, sponsors, vendors, and attendees for making this a truly memorable event.


Elected President of the

Equine Science Society


r. Kenneth H. McKeever, Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences at Rutgers University, and the Associate Director of Research at the Rutgers Equine Science Center, was elected President of the Equine Science Society (ESS) at its bi-annual meeting, June 2, 2017 in Minneapolis. The Society is the preeminent international body of equine researchers, teachers, extension specialists, and industry representatives whose focus is to promote quality research in the areas of equine science. Dr. McKeever will serve a twoyear term as president, after previously serving on the Board of Directors as secretary/treasurer and vice-president. Dr. Carey Williams, Associate Professor in the Department of Animal

Sciences at Rutgers University and Associate Director of Outreach at the Center, was also elected to the Board of Directors where she joins Center Director, Dr. Karyn Malinowski. As ESS President, Dr. McKeever’s major goal will be to build public awareness of the excellent research, teaching and outreach efforts of Society members whose wide range of expertise is a major resource for horse owners, veterinarians, policy makers, and anyone interested in better horse care through research and education. Dr. McKeever will also strive to bridge a connection between past and future medical science, and its history of using horses as a comparative model which resulted in many of the classic discoveries in the field of medical physiology in the 18th and 19th centuries.


Outgoing president Dr. Lori K. Warren, from the University of Florida, accepts the gavel from incoming president Dr. Kenneth H. McKeever as thanks for her meritorious service to the Society at the 2017 Equine Science Society meeting in Minneapolis, MN.


2016-2017 Events

Rutgers Equine Science Center added 1 new photo from February. RUESC hosted the Big Ten Academic Alliance with visitors from Iowa State University, Michigan State University, and Purdue University (all land-grant institutions), and VicePresident for Academic Affairs and Administration, Karen Stubaus, at the Equine Exercise Physiology Lab. #Rutgers #RUESC #EquineScience #Horses #15YearsOfExcellence

Rutgers Equine Science Center welcomes you to a review of all of the events we hosted & attended in 2016-2017. Come take a look at just some of the many photos taken over the last year. From events that were hosted by the Rutgers Equine Science Center, to events that we attended in partnership with our friends and supporters from across New Jersey, we had a very busy year. #RUESC #Rutgers #EquineScience #15YearsOfExcellence #Horses

Rutgers Equine Science Center added 84 new photos from November to the album: 2016 Evening of Science and Celebration. The annual Evening of Science and Celebration highlighted the ESC’s work in advancing equine science. Congratulations to Jeanne Vuyosevich for winning the 2017 Spirit of the Horse Award and Hidden Hills Farm for winning the 2017 Gold Medal Horse Farm Award. #RUESC #EquineScience #Rutgers Rutgers Equine Science Center added 203 new photos from March to the album: Horses 2017. The Horses 2017 The Best of The Best conference was a two-day educational program aimed to bring the most recent updates from established professionals in the equine industry to the general public. #Rutgers #RUESC #EquineScience #Horses #Horses2017 #15YearsOfExcellence

Rutgers Equine Science Center Hosted the webinar “Gastric Ulcers,” as a part of the Equine Science Center’s Fall 2016 Webinar Series. Dr. Carey Williams was join by Dr. Andrews who gave his talk discussing the best, research-tested ways to help prevent or decrease the severity of gastric ulcers. #Rutgers #EquineScience #Horses #15YearsOfExcellence #RUESC


Rutgers Equine Science Center added 1 new photo from March.

Rutgers Equine Science Center added 1 new photo from April.

At the First International Equine Forum at the American University in the Emirates (AUE), Dr. McKeever represented the ESC on three panels: Behavior & Psychology, The Future Directions for Research & Education, and Equine Welfare: Nutrition, Breeding, Doping, and Injuries. #Rutgers #RUESC #EquineScience #Horses #AUE #15YearsOfExcellence #AmericanUniversityintheEmirates

Dr. Malinowski sets the stage at the 15th Annual Mid-Atlantic Nutrition Conference in Timonium, MD with her research focused on the physiology of aging! #RUESC #15YearsOfExcellence #EquineScience

Rutgers Equine Science Center added 4 new photos from April to the album: 2017 NJ Legislative Tour. The ESC was a stop on the Legislative tour organized by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station Board of Managers, the New Jersey Farm Bureau, and the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture to highlight the phenomenal work of the physiology lab! #RUESC #NJAES #EquineScience #ExercisePhysiology

Rutgers Equine Science Center added 1 new photo from April. With over 300 attendees, the 2017 Junior Breeder Symposium was the biggest yet! The horse session reviewed horse vaccines and disease by Dr. Meredith Steudle, biosecurity by Dr. Leslie Serephin, and sportsmanship by a rider panel, and finished the day with Equine Jeopardy. #RUESC #EquineScience #Rutgers


Rutgers Equine Science Center added 1 new photo from June.

Rutgers Equine Science Center added 68 photos from April to the album: 2017 Ag Field Day @ Rutgers Day.

Dignitaries from the horse industry joined by Dr. Malinowski presented the groundbreaking ceremony of the new Gwendolin E. Stableford Winners Circle at the Horse Park of New Jersey to pay tribute to Ms. Stableford, whose life-long passion was Saddlebred Horses and the New Jersey horse industry. #RUESC #EquineScience #Horses #MonthOfTheHorse

Rutgers Day 2017 marked the last event of our #15YearsofExcellence celebration, with over 800 “Equine Science 4 Kids” Sports Bags given away, and both treadmill demonstrations filled to capacity! #RUESC #Rutgers #Horse #EquineScience

Rutgers Equine Science Center tabeled at the Fair Winds Farm Open House. Rutgers Equine Science Center added 43 new photos from July to the album: 2017 Summer Showcase.

Fair Winds Farm, one of New Jersey’s largest and most successful Standardbred farms, presented facilities, mares and foals, and staff at their Open House. #Rutgers #RUESC #EquineScience #Horses #MonthOfTheHorse

Attendees of the annual Summer Showcase weathered the sweltering heat at the Cook Farm to experience a treadmill demonstration, an anatomy lesson, and a game of Equine Jeopardy. #Rutgers #RUESC #Horse #EquineScience

Rutgers Equine Science Center added 3 new photos from the summer and fall. Wine and Equine events were hosted throughout the state to inform horse and farm owners of the latest environmental research and opportunities for federal funding! The first one took place in June at Dorsett Farms. #RUESC #EquineScience


Rutgers Equine Science Center added 63 new photos from September to the album: 2017 Open Space Pace.

Rutgers Equine Science Center added 35 new photos from July to the album: Jilin University Student Summer Program.

At the annual Open Space Pace event, the Rutgers University Equine Science Center joined spectators and families for a wonderful day at Freehold Raceway. #RUESC #EquineScience #Rutgers

Undergraduate and graduate students from Jilin University (JLU) in China visited for tours of the different types of research and activities that are conducted in the Exercise Physiology Lab and the Ryders Lane Environmental Best Management Practices Demonstration Horse Farm. #Rutgers #RUESC #EquineScience #Horses

Rutgers Equine Science Center thanks everyone who was able to attend events we hosted & attended in 2016-2017.

Rutgers Equine Science Center added 24 new photos from July to the album: China Scholarship Council – Chinese Univ. Administration Tour.

Everyone at the Center hopes that you had as great of a time as we have. From our annual “High-Speed Treadmill Demo” at Rutgers Day, to our special weekend-long conference “Horses 2017: The Best of The Best,” we have had some truly memorable events.

Hosted by the Rutgers China Office, guests representing a wide range of colleges and universities in China, attended a three-week long lecture series and had the opportunity to tour the equine research facilities on the Cook Farm. #Rutgers #RUESC #EquineScience #Horses

We hope that you continue to join us in the future, and share with others the wonderful opportunities that the Center helps to provide. Be sure to take a look at some of our social media platforms to read, hear, and watch some of the resources that you might not know about. #RUESC #Rutgers #EquineScience #15YearsOfExcellence #Horses

facebook.com/RutgersEquineScienceCenter pinterest.com/RutgersESC twitter.com/RutgersESC http://youtube.com/c/RutgersEquineScienceCenter




ue to a lack of horse grazing data, many equine pastures are managed according to livestock protocols. There is a need to further analyze equine grazing recommendations because horses metabolize nutrients differently than ruminants, and exhibit selective grazing behaviors not seen in cattle. In addition, feeding management goals for horse producers are different from those in other livestock species; horses are fed to maintain weight and sustain athletic performance, unlike cattle that are fed for maximal growth to reach market weight.

If properly managed, most classes of horses can receive adequate nutrition from pasture alone.

components, they provide an overall amount of the NSC in the grasses.

The nutritional quality of pasture for horses is largely determined by the content of structural and non-structural carbohydrates of the grasses.

Pasture sugar (NSC) content is a concern for horse owners because research has shown a horse’s metabolic response is affected by forage carbohydrates (Hoffman et al., 2010; Silverthorn et al., 2016).

Structural carbohydrates (SC) reflect fibrous components, whereas non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) reflect the sugar portions of the grasses. Dr. Williams’ lab analyzed the specific sugars that make up NSC, which include ethanol soluble carbohydrates (ESC), water soluble carbohydrates (WSC), and starch. By measuring these sugar

In addition, other studies have linked grass sugar overconsumption to altered insulin sensitivity and laminitis (Treiber, et al., 2006; Kalck et al., 2009). Due to nutritional concerns, the objective of this study was to determine the horses’ blood glucose and insulin levels in response to the soluble carbohydrates in the forage of

Dr. Carey Williams explains the importance of environmental stewardship at the Ryders Lane Environmental Best Management Practices Demonstration Horse Farm to a group of international students from China.

continuously versus rotationally grazed pasture systems. For the study, two continuous grazing systems and two rotational grazing systems were used. There were three Standardbred mares grazing on each pasture. Horses in the continuous systems had access to all areas of the pasture, whereas rotational systems only allowed horses to graze one section at a time. All of the fields were seeded with a cool-season grass mix, indicating the grasses stored a portion of WSC as an energy reserve. The study had three separate sample collection periods in June, August, and October 2015. The collections included blood, fecal, and forage samples starting


at 8:00 AM, and continuing every 4 hours for a 24-hour period. Forage was evaluated for nutritional composition including ESC, WSC, and starch. Blood was assessed for plasma glucose and insulin. Overall, the rotational fields had higher sugar content than continuous fields. Specifically, the rotational systems had higher levels of WSC and ESC, which is similar to recently reported research (Daniel et al., 2015). Despite the varying content of sugars in the grazing systems, there were no treatment differences between the horses’ blood glucose and insulin concentrations. This indicates that horses in the rotational systems did not metabolize the higher amount of

sugars in the grasses differently than horses in the continuous systems. In fact, all horses stayed within a normal blood glucose and insulin range throughout the study. This information is consistent with another study that analyzed grass height and the horse’s metabolic response (Siciliano et al., 2015). The study also found a positive correlation between insulin and ESC. However, the correlation was only present at certain times during the sampling periods. This indicates when the ESC content in the grasses was high, the horses would have a higher blood insulin response. This correlation was present during June in the continuous fields, August in both the continuous and rotational systems, and October in the rotational fields. A previous study showed the same positive correlation with plasma insulin and ESC in April and May, but not August or October (McIntosh, 2007).

Conclusions and Future Directions The sugar concentrations of the grasses within the continuous and rotational grazing system did not significantly affect the horses’ metabolic responses. Essentially, the sugar content might not have been high enough to elicit a physiological change in the blood glucose and insulin response of the horse. In relation to identifying safe grazing strategies for horses prone to equine metabolic syndrome and insulin dysregulation, it would be important to conduct future studies that analyze the effects of both warm and cool season grasses on glucose and insulin dynamics. In addition, further investigation of the relationship between pasture sugar content and the metabolic responses in the horse is important to understanding physiological changes occurring in horses suffering from chronic episodes of pasture-associated laminitis.


The first of its kind in the United States, the Ryders Lane Environmental Best Practices Demonstration Horse Farm teaches horse farm operators how to be better stewards of the land.

Dr. Carey Williams Associate Professor, Department of Animal Sciences Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences LAW




r. Williams joined Rutgers University in July 2003 as its Equine Extension Specialist and the Associate Director of Extension at the Equine Science Center, taking an active role in teaching, conducting research, and working with the equine and academic communities to ensure the viability of the horse industry in New Jersey. A Wisconsin native, Dr. Williams started her schooling with a bachelor’s degree in Equine Science from Colorado State University (1998), where instead of strengthening her passion for veterinary medicine, she realized her passion for nutrition and teaching. She received her master’s and doctorate degrees in Animal and Poultry Sciences (with an emphasis on equine nutrition and exercise physiology) from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. At Rutgers, Dr. Williams maintains a herd of Standardbred horses for nutrition, exercise, and pasture research. Her exercise work dealt with strategies for decreasing the stress of intense exercise through nutritional modification and antioxidant supplementation. Her nutrition and pasture work has focused on different grazing systems and how they impact horse health and the environment. She has also maintained the Ryders Lane Environmental Best Management Practices Demonstration Horse Farm where she performs research on the BMPs. Dr. Williams has been author or co-author of over 40 scientific journal articles in her field of expertise. She has also authored eight book chapters on antioxidant, oxidative stress, supplements, and pasture management for horses. Along with self-written publications, you may have seen her name in various publications like The Horse Magazine, Equus, Practical Horseman, and The Blood Horse as an expert interviewee. You may have also listened to one of her webinars or appearances on radio shows. 21

E-Mail: cawilli@sebs.rutgers.edu Phone: 848-932-5529

REFERENCES Kalck, K.A., N. Frank, S. B. Elliot, and R. C. Boston. 2009. Effects of low-dose oligofructose treatment administered via nasogastric intubation on induction of laminitis and associated alterations in glucose and insulin dynamics in horses. Am. J. Vet. Res. 70:624-632. Daniel, A. D., B. J. McIntosh, J. D. Plunk, M. Webb, D. McIntosh, and A. G. Parks. 2015. Effects of rotational grazing on water-soluble carbohydrate and energy content of horse pastures. J. Equine Vet. Sci. 35: 385-386 (Abstr.). McIntosh, B. 2007. Circadian and seasonal variation in pasture Nonstructural Carbohydrates And The Physiological Response Of Grazing Horses. Doctoral Dissertation, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA. Siciliano, P.D., and Gill J.C. 2015. Effect of pasture sward height on blood glucose and insulin profiles in grazing horses. J. Equine Vet. Sci. 35:429 (Abstr.). Treiber, K. H., D. S. Kronfeld, T. M. Hess, B. M. Byrd, R. K. Splan, and W. B. Staniar. 2006. Evaluation of genetic and metabolic predispositions and nutritional risk factors for pasture-associated laminitis in ponies. JAVMA. 228:15381545. Williams, C. A., L. B. Kenny, and A. O. Burk. 2017. Effects of grazing system and season on glucose and insulin dynamics of the grazing horse. J. Equine Vet. Sci. 52:87. Abstract #108.



ow deep should you bed your horse’s stall?

Is there such a thing as an ideal bedding depth? Most recommendations for horse owners and barn managers are based solely on personal preference and anecdotal evidence, with no supporting scientific data. In the 2016-2017 academic year, researchers conducted a study comparing bedding depths of four and eight inches. Wood shavings were used as bedding material. Ten Standardbred mares were stalled overnight, five horses per treatment. Horses remained on their respective treatment for two weeks. After a one-week wash-out period following the

initial treatments, horses were crossed to the alternate treatment for the final two weeks of the study. Stalls were cleaned, waste was weighed, and bedding was replenished to the four or eight inch levels each day. Bedding treatments were compared for bedding use, waste disposal, animal and stall cleanliness, cost of bedding used, stall temperature, and dust particle production at different levels of bedding. Statistical analysis for this project is still underway. However, after preliminary analysis, one notable difference is an increased level of bedding use and cost of bedding on the eight inches treatment. Other parameters such as stall cleanliness, temperature, and waste disposal appear to be similar between treatments.

Dust particle production appears quite variable. Results from this study will be used to make recommendations about bedding usage in horse stalls, with the goal of helping producers make better management decisions for their equine operations.

Future Directions In addition to completing statistical analysis and drafting bedding recommendations, future research will focus on composting of waste products from horse stalls. Waste products from this project were weighed and separated for compost by treatment. Dr. Mike Westendorf is currently conducting these on-going studies at the Ryders Lane Environmental Best Management Practices Demonstration Horse Farm.

Dr. Michael Westendorf Professor, Department of Animal Sciences Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences LAW




r. Michael Westendorf has been employed as an Extension Specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences at Rutgers University since 1993. Providing leadership for statewide nutrient management and animal waste management programs, he carries out an applied research program in the areas of byproduct utilization as animal feed & nutrient management to reduce the effects of animal waste on the environment. He also develops educational materials including fact sheets, videos, computer programs, and on-line courses for distribution through Rutgers Cooperative Extension that serve the needs of the state’s livestock farmers. Dr. Westendorf’s work at Rutgers has been done in collaboration with Rutgers Cooperative Extension faculty and staff, as well as colleagues in the New Jersey State Departments of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), and the New Jersey Farm Bureau. Although Rutgers undergraduate Animal Science majors come from primarily urban areas, there is a renewed interest in production agriculture among students. Dr. Westendorf spearheaded recent changes in the Animal Science curriculum and is heavily involved as an instructor for undergraduate Animal Science courses including Production Animal Management, Farm Productivity Analysis, and Dairy Cattle Artificial Insemination. These courses allow an effective learning experience for production students and promote the skills necessary for them to pursue a variety of related agriculture careers.


E-Mail: michael.westendorf@rutgers.edu Phone: 848-932-9408

REFERENCES Komar, S., R. Miskewitz, M. Westendorf, and C. A. Williams. 2012. Effects of bedding type on compost quality of equine stall waste: implications for small horse farms. J. Anim. Sci. 90:1069-1075.



n this new project, researchers will investigate the potential for increased horse pasture productivity through implementation of an integrated cool- and warmseason grass rotational grazing system. This project will also evaluate drivers of forage preference within the system and determine the association between forage type, nutrient content, and changes in metabolism and the gut microbiome. Productivity and production costs will be assessed to determine if this grazing strategy provides an economic advantage for

horse producers. Traditional cool-season pasture grasses are well adapted for winter survival and growth in periods of cooler temperatures in spring, early summer, and fall. However, these species are less tolerant of heat and drought, leading to a period of low forage productivity called the “summer slump.” Conversely, warm-season grasses produce their greatest yields during the hot summer months. Developing a grazing system comprised of complementary cool- and warm-season forage varieties would potentially provide more uniform productivity over the grazing

season, increasing overall yield and reducing costs associated with supplemental feeding during periods of summer drought. Integrating warm-season grasses into a cool-season pasture system may also be well suited to feeding and nutritional goals of horse producers. Due to low non-structural carbohydrate (NSC) content, warm-season grasses are often recommended for horses suffering from insulin resistance, equine metabolic syndrome and pasture-associated laminitis. This project will also evaluate the hindgut microbiome of pasturemanaged horses, providing

Graduate student Jennifer Weinert takes samples of grass clippings as a part of her research on pasture forage and its impact on the equine microbiome.

insight into mechanisms by which horses successfully adapt to subtle dietary change and the influence of the microbiome during adaptation failure (i.e. during episodes of grass founder or metabolic dysfunction).

Measuring grazing preference of horses managed on the same pasture system over multiple days and months will help to further characterize the effect of forage nutrient content on grazing preference in horses.

In addition, this project will investigate the association between equine forage selection and nutrient content.

The results of this project will shape best management practices in equine grazing designed to improve economic sustainability of equine operations.

What drives forage palatability within a given forage species and stage of maturity is not completely clear. Nutritive factors in pasture forage display interspecies differences and vary both diurnally and seasonally as well as with changing environmental conditions.


In addition, these results will provide key information for stakeholders in the equine industry concerned with the effects of NSC intake from pasture forage in horses predisposed to insulin resistance and laminitis.

Jennifer Weinert Endocrinology & Animal Biosciences Graduate Program Rutgers Graduate School - New Brunswick LAW




ennifer Weinert is a non-traditional Ph.D. student in the Department of Endocrinology and Animal Biosciences at Rutgers University. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science – Equine Emphasis from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and went on to work in the western performance horse sector of the equine industry. Weinert’s background in 4-H and AQHA competition as a youth initially led her to pursue a career in horse training. Working at Reining Horse training facilities in Texas and Wisconsin provided invaluable practical experiences and gave Weinert an even greater appreciation for the scope of the equine industry. Following her time in industry, Weinert returned to UWRiver Falls to manage the equine enterprise at the Campus Laboratory Farm. In that capacity, she oversaw management and maintenance of 60-90 university-owned teaching horses and all equine facilities, including over 40 acres of pasture land. Weinert also took on a new role managing the UW-River Falls Horse Breeding Program, with responsibilities including ultrasonography and insemination of mares, foaling, and collection and processing of stallion semen. In her first semester of graduate school at Rutgers, Weinert assisted with pasture research investigating the effect of continuous and rotational grazing systems in horses on environmental quality, animal health, and production cost. Weinert is looking forward to beginning the new grazing project in 2018. This research will be incorporated as a part of her doctoral dissertation.


E-Mail: esc@njaes.rutgers.edu Phone: 848-932-9419

REFERENCES Allen, E., C. Sheaffer, and K. Martinson. 2013. Forage nutritive value and preference of cool season grasses under horse grazing. Agron. J. 105:679-684. DeBoer, M.L., M. R. Hathaway, K.J. Kuhle, P.S.D. Weber, C.C. Sheaffer, M.S. Wells, R.S. Mottet, and K.L. Martinson. 2017. Glucose response of horses grazing alfalfa, cool-season perennial grasses and teff across seasons. J. Equine Vet. Sci. 52:79. Julliand, V. and P. Grimm. 2017. The impact of diet on the hindgut microbiome. J. Equine Vet. Sci. 52:23-28. Schultz, M.L., C.C. Sheaffer, D.N Catalano, A.M. Grev, and K.L. Martinson. 2015. 86 Forage nutritive value, yield, and preference of warm season grasses grazed by horses in the upper Midwest. J. Equine Vet. Sci. 35.5:420-421. Tracy, B.F., M. Maughan, N. Post, and D.B. Faulkner. 2010. Integrating annual and perennial warm-season grasses in a temperate grazing system. Crop Sci. 50.5:2171-2177.



he gut microbiome is considered to be the ‘second brain’ of animals and humans.

Diverse microbial communities of bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and yeast inhabit the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) of animals and humans. The extent to which the microbiome communicates with host cells and influences the regulation of host processes is an active area of research. Hindgut fermenters like horses have specialized compartments such as the cecum and large colon, where microbes supply the enzymes to ferment complex plant material into usable short chain fatty acids.

One of the factors that can influence the fecal microbiome (FM) is exercise training, which has been found to change the composition of microbial communities in the GIT of humans, mice, and rats. Another factor that can influence the FM is psychological stress mediated by the autonomic nervous system and its influence on the GIT. For example, in mice, psychological stress caused by deprivation of food, water, and bedding or social disruption has been shown to cause significant changes in specific members of the FM community. High fat diets can also alter the FM in ways that are similar to feeding stress.

Furthermore, exercise training appears to induce beneficial FM alternations in mice fed a high fat diet (HFD) when compared to those fed the HFD alone. This suggests that exercise training may have a protective effect. However, recent studies of rodents documented that it takes weeks of exercise training to initiate changes in the FM. To the best of the researchers’ knowledge, no studies have previously been published on the effects of a single bout of acute intense exercise on the fecal microbiome of the horse or other species. Furthermore, Dr. Janabi and his colleagues are unaware of any published study that has examined the effects of exercise

training on that response to acute exertion. The physiological rationale for this Center funded study focused on the well-recognized responses to intense exercise that alter the internal milieu of the gastrointestinal tract. These short term responses to intense exertion include: intercompartmental shifts of fluid, changes in autonomic tone, and increases in sympathetic drive that alter motility. The responses also include the well-documented decrease in blood flow to the splanchnic region that allows an increase in blood flow to the skin, muscles, and other vital organs in humans, dogs, and horses. This temporary decrease in blood flow to the mesenteric region leads to a temporary decrease in oxygenation to the intestinal mucosa and an increase in the abundance of the anaerobic bacterial genus Clostridium.

Horses are athletic animals and, like humans, it is well recognized that for the horse, exercise training has many beneficial effects related to the adaptive physiological response to the repeated acute challenge of exertion. The present study was performed to test the hypothesis that acute intense exercise would alter the FM and secondly, that the adaptive effects of exercise training would alter the response to acute exercise in horses. Each of eight horses performed two rounds of testing undergoing both a graded exercise test (GXT) and a parallel standing control (SC) trial before (GXT1 and SC1) and after (GXT2 and SC2) 12 weeks of exercise training. A graded exercise test is a test conducted on the equine high speed treadmill where horses begin a warm-up at four meters/ second at a slow trot with an

Dr. Janabi oversees the research using the high-speed treadmill as a tool to investigate the effect of exercise on the equine microbiome.


increase in speed of one meter/ second every minute until the horse reaches fatigue. Rectal fecal samples were taken 24 hours before and after exercise testing. In the training portion of the experiment, eight horses were exercise trained for 12 weeks, and four additional horses were used as a parallel seasonal control. To identify bacterial community changes over time for both groups, rectal fecal samples were collected, DNA was extracted, and the 16S rRNA gene (V3- V4) was sequenced using the Illumina Miseq platform. One-way ANOVA, Shannon diversity index, and Principal Coordinate Analysis (PCoA) were used to identify differences among samples. Interestingly, the researchers found that Fusicatenibacter saccharivorans, a bacteria found to be decreased in ulcerative

colitis patients, and Treponema zioleckii, a bacteria found to degrade fructan in sheep rumen, were significantly decreased when the samples collected before SC1 were compared to those collected after SC1.

Also Treponema spp. showed significant changes during the exercise training period. Shannon diversity index was decreased in the exercise group at the beginning of the study, but then returned to pre-training levels.

None of the changes observed in SC1 happened in SC2. The exercise training group showed significant changes in the levels of Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, and Spirochaetes phyla, while there were no changes in the gut microbiota of the seasonal control group through the three months of the study.

PCoA showed significant separation between time points of the exercise training group as far as the levels of genera and species represented.

Moreover, with training, two genera significantly changed in their relative abundance over time, namely Clostridium and Dysgonomonas. Dysgonomonas spp. was significantly changed in abundance during the exercise training period.

Conclusions and Future Directions Acute intense exertion does not appear to alter the fecal microbiome of the horse. Moreover, chronic exercise training does not appear to produce a change in this acute response to exercise. Twelve weeks of exercise training had a measurable effect on the 29

gut microbiome of horses and these changes, regardless of the bacterial taxa, started to appear in the early part of training. Interestingly, these changes were transient and reversed by the last weeks of the experiment. Further investigation is needed to determine whether the co-occurrence of bacteria such as Treponema spp. and Dysgonomonas spp. reflects syntrophic relationships. Elucidation of competitive or cooperative microbial interactions could guide probiotic supplementation strategies for greater energy availability and feed efficiency. It will also provide insight into microbial interventions against inflammation and illnesses affecting the athletic horse.

Dr. Ali Janabi Microbial Biology Graduate Program Rutgers Graduate School - New Brunswick LAW




tarting college at the University of Baghdad in 1997, Dr. Janabi began taking classes to become a veterinarian. Five years later, Dr. Janabi would graduate with his B.S. in Veterinary Medicine and Surgery. While his coursework would encompass all animals, he would continue his education with a Masters program focused on large and production animals to ultimately graduate with a M.S. in Veterinary Clinical Science. Once Dr. Janabi graduated, he took a job working with a government dairy herd which was seeing an increase of bacterial infections in the cow and calf populations. These infections included tuberculosis and brucellosis, which not only had the potential of infecting the rest of the herd, but also the human population as well. This was troubling due to the fact that tuberculosis could be transferred to humans through the aerosolized form of the bacteria. An opportunity for Dr. Janabi came in the shape of a program sponsored by the Iraqi government, “The Higher Committee for Education Development in Iraq� (HCED), which would enable Janabi to travel to the United States to study and receive a higher degree. Committing to a five-year program in cooperation between HCED and Rutgers University, he would travel to New Jersey to begin doctoral studies in the field of microbiology. After successfully completing his doctoral studies at Rutgers, Dr. Janabi joined the faculty at Al-Qadisiya University in Al-Diwaniya, Iraq where he will teach at the Veterinary School specializing in clinical science & internal science. Dr. Janabi hopes that one day his time at Rutgers can be expanded on, possibly with some help from the Arabian Horse Center at his new university.


E-Mail: esc@njaes.rutgers.edu Phone: 848-932-9419

REFERENCES Janabi, A.H.D, L.J. Kerkhof, L.R. McGuinness, A.S. Biddle and K.H. McKeever. 2016. Comparison of a modified phenol/chloroform and commercial-kit methods for extracting DNA from horse fecal material. Journal of Microbiological Methods 129:14-19. Janabi, A.H.D., A.S. Biddle, D.J. Klein and K.H. McKeever. 2016. Exercise training-induced changes in the gut microbiota of Standardbred racehorses. Comparative Exercise physiology 12(3):119-129. Janabi, A.H.D., A.S. Biddle, D.J. Klein and K.H. McKeever. 2017. The effects of acute strenuous exercise on the faecal microbiota in Standardbred racehorses. Comparative Exercise Physiology 13(1): 13-24.



he equine athlete is highly dependent upon skeletal muscle metabolism for providing adequate power, speed, endurance, and strength.

Skeletal muscle also plays a pivotal role in whole-body metabolism and health (e.g. glucose disposal).

Muscular responses to exercise training in the horse have yet to be fully elucidated, especially the subcellular events that determine the muscle’s ability to withstand and adapt to repeated and intensive aerobic stimuli.

Indeed, reductions in skeletal muscle mass and strength due to aging, spelling and/or disuse are associated with increased inflammation, risk of disability, comorbidity and mortality, while increased muscle mass and function are associated with better health, increased longevity, and improved exercise performance.

The horse’s body is over 50% skeletal muscle by mass and is therefore highly dependent upon its locomotive, oxidative, and force generative properties.

Thus, the proper maintenance of skeletal muscle mass and function is crucial for the performance, health, and longevity of the equine athlete.

Chronic exercise training leads to improved health as well as increased muscle mass and function, however, anabolic agents such as clenbuterol that further increase muscle mass in the horse are widely used and not without deleterious health sideeffects (e.g. cardiac complications and reduced aerobic capacity). A potential mechanism that has been proposed to govern the beneficial cellular adaptations to exercise in mice and humans is a tripartite collection of signal transduction events emanating from the endoplasmic or sarcoplasmic reticulum collectively known as the unfolded protein response (UPR).

Cellular activities regulated by the UPR include general protein synthesis and turnover, genespecific translation, and altered gene expression with the ultimate goal to regain sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) homeostasis. The UPR is activated in response to cellular stressors such as calcium disturbances, exercise, hypoxia, and energy deprivation that affect the SR. If initial attempts to regain SR homeostasis via UPR activation cannot be achieved, the UPR can then become hyper-reactive, promoting cell death through a network of transcriptional regulators. In addition to exercise, clenbuterol can affect SR homeostasis by inducing passive calcium leakage. This in turn may activate the UPR alongside myotoxicity and apoptosis – two well-characterized effects of highdose clenbuterol use.

Thus, the SR and UPR are critical links between the appropriate cellular responses and adaptations to exercise, as well as the harmful effects of clenbuterol use in the horse. To date, few studies have examined the effects of exercise on SR function and homeostasis in mammalian skeletal muscle. Further, the UPR and its role in the response and beneficial adaptation to exercise is not fully characterized in skeletal muscle. Finally, no studies have ever been conducted in horses. Therefore, Klein and colleagues wished to characterize the UPR in mature Standardbred horses in response to an acute GXT before and after chronic exercise training, as well as detraining in order to establish the role(s) of the UPR in the adaptations to exercise and the mediation of the inflammatory response.


Rutgers Alumni Dr. Charles Kearns teaches graduate student Dylan Klein how to measure horse body fat percentage using ultrasonography.

A sub-experiment of this broader research was to investigate the changes in equine skeletal muscle branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism following exercise and training. BCAAs provide several metabolic and physiologic roles. Metabolically, BCAAs promote protein synthesis and turnover, signaling pathways, and metabolism of glucose. There is limited information regarding the changes in equine skeletal muscle branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) metabolism following exercise and training. Using a metabolomics informatics approach, the researchers aimed to interrogate the effects of a single bout of acute, maximal exercise on BCAA metabolism before and after a 12-week training program in mature, Standardbred horses; and hypothesized that an acute bout of maximal effort exercise would significantly alter BCAA metabolism in skeletal muscle and that 12-weeks of training would modify that response.

Maximal effort exercise produced significantly increased foldchanges (1.2 to 2.9-fold) of various metabolites associated with BCAA catabolism at T1 compared to T0 that disappeared by T2 with no differences between unfit and trained horses. However, compared to unfit horses, trained horses exhibited increased fold-changes (1.2 to 4.2-fold) of several other BCAA catabolites in the pre-exercise state (T0), particularly the BCAAderived acylcarnitines. Further, these same catabolites were found to be significantly elevated in the trained horses compared to unfit horses at T1 (1.6 to 4.2-fold) and T2 (1.4 to 2.9-fold) post-exercise.

Conclusions and Future Directions Klein and colleagues concluded that acute, maximal effort exercise significantly altered skeletal muscle BCAA metabolism 3hrs post-exercise and part of this

Eight unfit, Standardbred horses were subjected to a graded, incremental exercise test (GXT) to volitional failure before (GXT1) and after (GXT2) a 12-week training program previously shown to significantly increase VO2 and exercise capacity. Percutaneous needle biopsies were obtained from the M. gluteus medius immediately before (T0) and at three hours (T1) and 24 hours (T2) following GXT1 and GXT2. Frozen muscle samples were submitted to Metabolon, Inc. for global metabolite profiling via UHPLC-MS/MS. 33

response is conserved, regardless of training status. Further, exercise training for 12 weeks produced distinct alterations in BCAA-derived acylcarnitines in skeletal muscle and highlights the different manner in which trained horses metabolize BCAAs compared to unfit horses. This is the first study to characterize the impact of acute exercise and training on equine skeletal muscle BCAA metabolism using a metabolomics informatics approach. A better understanding of the molecular mechanisms by which horses adapt to vigorous exercise may lead to new discoveries that can help them more effectively regulate whole body metabolism, reduce chronic inflammation, recover faster from training and/or injury, and prevent the widespread use of anabolic agents, such as clenbuterol, that have harmful side effects.

Dylan J. Klein Nutritional Sciences Graduate Program Rutgers Graduate School - New Brunswick LAW




ylan J. Klein is a graduate of Rutgers University where he earned his Bachelor’s of Science in nutritional sciences, dietetics. Currently, he is working on his Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry and physiology under the guidance of Drs. Ken McKeever and Tracy Anthony. Much of Klein’s research interests utilize the equine athlete as a comparative model for understanding exercise physiology and metabolism. Using transcriptional and metabolomic bioinformatic approaches, his work focuses on the molecular and cellular adaptations that govern the beneficial effects of exercise in skeletal muscle, and improve performance and promote health. Further, his research characterizes the relationship between body composition and maximal aerobic capacity over periods of training and detraining. A better understanding of the mechanisms that mediate skeletal muscle adaptations with exercise and relative inactivity can lead to better nutrition, exercise, and managementrelated interventions that can improve health and reduce the risk of injury and disease. The journey that led Klein to work with horses is one of irony – and possibly fate. He grew up in central NJ where his best friend’s father owned and raced thoroughbred horses. Moreover, in middle school, he worked at the once active Standardbred breeding farm, Perretti Farms, as a summer farmhand. If that wasn’t coincidence enough, Klein’s grandfather – who always wanted to be a jockey – asked that upon his death, he be cremated and his ashes spread at the Monmouth Park Racetrack. It is there that he and his family would visit every Father’s Day to watch the horse races in honor of his grandfather and his favorite sport. Yet, it wasn’t until his second year of graduate school that Klein ever handled a horse. Nonetheless, he felt right at home and considers himself extremely lucky to be working with such an amazing animal. 34

E-Mail: esc@njaes.rutgers.edu Phone: 848-932-9419

REFERENCES Bakker AJ, Head SI, Wareham AC, Stephenson DG: Effect of clenbuterol on sarcoplasmic reticulum function in single skinned mammalian skeletal muscle fibers. Am J Physiol 1998, 274:C1718-1726. Cao SS, Kaufman RJ: Unfolded protein response. Curr Biol 2012, 22:R622-626. Deldicque L, Cani PD, Delzenne NM, Baar K, Francaux M: Endurance training in mice increases the unfolded protein response induced by a high-fat diet. J Physiol Biochem 2013, 69:215-225. Ogborn DI, McKay BR, Crane JD, Parise G, Tarnopolsky MA: The unfolded protein response is triggered following a single, unaccustomed resistance-exercise bout. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol 2014, 307:R664-669. Valberg SJ: CHAPTER 12 - Muscle anatomy, physiology, and adaptations to exercise and training. In The Athletic Horse (SECOND EDITION). Edited by McGowan DRHHMM: W.B. Saunders; 2014: 174-201. Wu J, Ruas JL, Estall JL, Rasbach KA, Choi JH, Ye L, Bostrom P, Tyra HM, Crawford RW, Campbell KP, et al: The unfolded protein response mediates adaptation to exercise in skeletal muscle through a PGC-1alpha/ATF6alpha complex. Cell Metab 2011, 13:160-169.

Scientists Researching the Environmental Impacts of Equine Operations

DR. AMY BURK University of Maryland DR. ROBERT CAUSEY University of Maine DR. MASOUD HASHEMI University of Massachusetts DR. KRISHONA MARTINSON University of Minnesota DR. BRIDGETT MCINTOSH Virginia Tech University DR. PAUL SICILIANO North Carolina State University DR. ANN SWINKER Pennsylvania State University DR. JESSIE WEIR University of Florida DR. MICHAEL WESTENDORF Rutgers University DR. CARISSA WICKENS University of Florida DR. CAREY WILLIAMS Rutgers University

NE 1441




he Northeast-1441 USDA Regional Project, Environmental Impacts of Equine Operations, began its second five-year project cycle in 2014.

This group, led by Rutgers faculty members Drs. Michael Westendorf and Carey Williams, as well as more than 15 scientists at other institutions, conducts research and outreach concerning the impact of horses and farm management upon the environment and water, air, and soil quality.

Parasite Management The parasite management program has resulted in a better understanding of parasites and how they are destroyed by composting. Research at the University of Maine demonstrated that after seeding compost piles with the bacteria Streptococcus Equi, the organisms were gone in less than 24 hours. Researchers were interested in knowing how long S. Equi would remain viable in sterilized horse bedding, and found the bacteria remained viable for less than 24 hours in a non-sterile versus over 48 hours in a sterile environment. A survey of horse farm parasites on Pennsylvania horse farms showed that all farms had a high shedder animal while some horses displayed good immunity. In this trial, producers learned how to do their own fecal egg count testing, 68% took steps to improve pastures, 45% removed manure from pastures, and 43% of farms

Horses Cascade and Jackie look on as undergraduate students take measurements of herbage mass on the Ryders Lane Environmental Best management Practices Horse Farm

showed parasiticide resistance to Pyrantel and Fenbendazole.

Pasture Management Pasture management research at several institutions, including Rutgers, has resulted in improved understanding of equine-pasture interactions. All stations involved in rotational grazing research determined that rotational grazing systems had many advantages over continuous grazing systems. At Rutgers University, the first year of a rotational grazing project found that horse condition did not differ between continual or rotational systems. However, horses did have a decrease in body weight, condition, and fat during the winter months, which increased again in the spring.


At North Carolina State University, researchers studied restricted grazing on body weight and activity to determine if horses grazing on pasture can lose weight by restricting the time or space allowed on pasture. A 35 day study period with two groups of grazing horses showed that restricted grazing horses did have a decrease in weight (a 35 kg reduction while continuously grazed horses gained 14 kg). Several of the team members participated in the Annual Waste to Worth Conference, an International Animal Waste Management Conference. Some of the researchers presented on their findings. These are on-line as a proceedings at: http://articles. extension.org/pages/63747/wasteto-worth-2017.

Science & Technology: Using 3D Scanning to Better Fit a Saddle



n July, a research team from the UK led by Dr. David Marlin, Science Supplements, and Trace Ward, Co-founder and CEO of Ergon Equine Ltd. came to the Equine Exercise Physiology lab for a two-day dynamic 3D study that took previous state-of-the-art one step further, drawing on cutting-edge technology adapted from the motion picture

Dynamic 3D scanning enabled 3D video to be obtained, potentially allowing researchers to identify and extract shape changes between different phases of the stride. This detailed movement data will give insights into the ways in which we can improve saddle function and enhance horse health and performance. Like many athletes, racehorses are subject to high rates of injury during training and racing, with the back being a common area of injury.

The role of the saddle is to provide a mounting point for the stirrups, and to distribute the load of the rider along the horse’s back. However, existing racing saddles have been shown to regularly exceed the pressures that are known to cause pain and damage and lead to a shortened stride. This detrimental effect on the performance and health of racehorses has a significant cost to racehorse owners, trainers and jockeys. Previously, custom fitting a saddle to a horse involved taking three basic measurements from the horse’s back: 1) in a line from just behind the shoulder to up and over the withers; 2) at thoracic vertebra 18 (T18); 3) a measurement of the curvature of the horse’s spine would also be taken, from the withers to T18. More recently, 3D scanning technology has allowed detailed topographical information to

be obtained, allowing for an improved match between the 3D ‘photo’ of the stationary horse and the static saddle frame. This is the first time that work of this kind has been attempted, and it would not have been possible without the invaluable support and cooperation from Drs. Ken McKeever and Karyn Malinowski, along with thoroughbred racehorse owners Gale Thompson and Judy Batcha from whom the horses needed for the study were borrowed. This work required a high-speed treadmill, experienced operators, and sensible thoroughbred horses that were able to run safely without a harness. Also, critical to the success of this study were the very capable students who did such a great job training, preparing, and running the horses on the treadmill for this study.


Animal Science graduate Kate Goodman preps Wise Investment for the 3D saddle fitting trial by covering the horse’s midsection with talcum powder to show contrast on the cameras.




ast year the faculty and staff decided that Rutgers Animal Science students needed a group of horses dedicated to teaching demonstrations. Unlike the current research herd, comprised strictly of Standardbreds, these horses would be used only for teaching and outreach purposes, as well as participating in the annual Ag Field Day Horse Show. Thus, the

Rutgers University Teaching Herd (RUTH) was born! Two of the older Standardbred mares that were everyone’s favorites joined RUTH. No Kidding Marcie and Molly, are 18 and approximately 24 years old, respectively, and help novice students learn about safe handling of horses. In the fall of 2016 two new members of the Herd were added - Wiser (Jockey Club registered name-Wise Investment) is an 39

11-year-old Thoroughbred gelding that raced as a younger horse, but suffered a fracture that ended his career. He went back to his owner for some rest and recovery. Wiser came to the Herd through Dr. Ken McKeever’s research lab. He participated in the 3D Saddle Fitting research study and quickly became a Rutgers’ Cook Farm favorite. When the project was nearing completion, Wiser’s owner, Gale Thompson, was asked if she

After six weeks of working on grooming and showmanship skills, a Horse Fitting and Handling participant poses with her RUTH partner.

would consider donating him to the program - fortunately, she said yes! The second addition is Gus. Gus is a 25-year-old Paint gelding who was donated at the end of August 2016. His previous owners claimed that he was unable to continue jumping in their lesson program due to lameness. Gus has become an outstanding addition to the Herd because of his patience with novice students. In the past he was used for horse camps, and became accustomed to young children learning how to groom and handle horses. The four RUTH horses “teach� under the supervision of Dr. Eli Perris, a Rutgers Part-Time Lecturer, and the owner of Perris Equine Veterinary Practice in central New Jersey. 40

Dr. Perris started teaching the Horse Management Laboratory, a once a week three-hour class dedicated to teaching students management and care of horses. This ranges from handling and restraint, to dentistry and emergency care. Future classes for the RUTH horses include Horse Practicum, Livestock Evaluation & Selection, and the very popular Animal Handling & Fitting where the horses are shown on Ag Field Day. In the spring, the Herd expands to include several fosters for the Animal Handling & Fitting class. One of the best parts of this teaching program is that at the end of the year the foster horses can be adopted during Ag Field Day at Rutgers Day!




r. Barr y Jesse joined the Center as the Associate Director for Academics in Fall 2017. The semester began with around 100 first year students entering the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) with the intention of declaring Animal Science as their major. Around 40 transfer students also enrolled in SEBS this fall as declared Animal Science majors. Overall, the number of Animal Science majors is down slightly from last year.

However, enrollment in SEBS overall was significantly lower than last year, allowing Animal Science to maintain itself as the largest of the majors offered by SEBS. Relatively few adjustments have been made to the Animal Science curriculum so far this academic year. The most significant change has been the switch from raising dairy heifers to beef cows, due to the University Of Delaware deciding to have their heifers raised by another facility. A concomitant proposal was subsequently made to change 41

the 11:067:201 course from Dairy Cattle Practicum to simply the Cattle Practicum. This will allow the same course to cover both beef and dairy breeds of cattle should the opportunity arise in the future to once again have dairy cattle on the Cook Campus. Another practicum under discussion, poultry practicum, would allow students to obtain experience working with poultry at SEBS. Students have been particularly excited about this opportunity. Implementation is likely to be a year away in order to navigate approval through the various academic committees.





he Equine Science Center was proud to present this year’s “Spirit of the Horse” award to Jeanne Vuyosevich to recognize her tireless effort over several decades to never give up on ANY horse. Jeanne Vuyosevich’s Sunset Meadow horse farm in Farmingdale, NJ is a sanctuary for horses in need of care, treatment, or a good home. Vuyosevich was nominated by Dr. Cathy Ball, who was supported by over a dozen letters from friends and clients who echoed Dr. Ball’s sentiments. When she was 11 years old she lived abroad in Spain with her parents where she rode Andalusians. When she came home, she was very active in 4-H from a young rider to adult leader and instructor and horse show judge. As an adult she was employed in her “dream job” as foaling manager for the successful Holly Crest Stables.


Vuyosevich became an expert in foaling, and foal and broodmare care. Her whole life has evolved around horses and her Sunset Meadow Farm operation is the culmination of a great career in the horse industry and living the horse life. Vuyosecvich is the embodiment of the “Spirit of the Horse.” She has re-homed many ex-race horses on her own and has established organizations such has Re-Run using her ability of networking to find these hard working horses their forever homes where they can enjoy a more natural “Horse Lifestyle.” The 2017 winner of the Gold Medal Horse Farm award was Hidden Hills Farm, owned and operated by the Nienart Family. Hidden Hills Farm, located in Hillsborough Township, New Jersey, is situated on 40 acres of grassy land. The facility boasts a large outdoor (and attached indoor) arena, as well as an ample turnout. The Nienarts have made a


commitment to conservation and worked with the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) for planning, technical assistance, and grants to make their idea a reality. They worked with these groups to develop a comprehensive nutrition management plan, developed a soil erosion/water reclamation plan, and use “rotational grazing” to make sure that their farm is not only aesthetically pleasing, but an example of environmental sustainability and management. The award and overall program gives recognition to outstanding equine farms for their dedication to environmental sustainability and management. It also underscores the efforts of the New Jersey equine industry to maintain the beauty of the Garden State. The program is a collaborative initiative by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University (NJAES), the Rutgers Equine Science Center, and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA).




lena Rizzo was awarded the 2017 Ernest Bell Memorial Scholarship at the January 29th Breeders Award Luncheon sponsored by the NJ Department of Agriculture!

Rizzo, who graduated in May of 2017, served as president of the Society of Animal Science and conducted her G. H. Cook Independent Honors Research Thesis on the effects of grazing systems on equine metabolism. She was advised by Dr. Carey Williams.

The award, presented annually to a senior Animal Science major, recognizes outstanding scholarship and commitment to the state’s horse industry.

Rizzo is now working at the Center on multiple projects including publications, Equine Science 4 Kids, and research assistance. 43

Elena Rizzo receives the 2017 Ernest Bell Memorial Scholarship from Dr. Carey Williams at the Annual Breeders Awards Luncheon.

Better Horse Care through Research and Education

Equine Science Center Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Administrative Services Building II 57 US Highway 1, South New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Profile for Rutgers University Equine Science Center

Rutgers Equine Science Center's 2017 Annual Report  

Rutgers Equine Science Center's 2017 Annual Report