Bigger, better equine experience planned for Ag Progress Days

University Park Pa. -- The Equine Experience at Penn State's Ag Progress Days has a history of delivering a mix of attractions and activities that educate and entertain horse lovers of all ages.

As Penn State's Equine Science program has expanded, so has the Equine Experience, noted Ann Swinker, associate professor of equine science, offering more attractions for horse enthusiasts. Together with the Pennsylvania Equine Council, this year the Penn State Equine Science program will engage Ag Progress Days visitors with training and breed clinics, demonstrations, informational displays, lectures and hot-topic attractions from the horse industry.

Suzanne Myers, the 2008 Midwest Mustang Challenge winner, riding her mustang Jazz, will give daily training clinics, demonstrating the methods she used with the wild mustang to win the challenge. The Midwest Mustang Challenge gives about 50 trainers 100 days to "gentle" previously untouched 3- and 4-year-old American mustangs. The mustangs were then judged on conditioning, ground work and a "horse course" that required maneuvers and included obstacles found in trail and recreational riding situations.

Other presentations scheduled in the large horse arena are a musical display of Benchfield Farms famous spotted draft horses, a six-horse Percheron hitch from Diamond Lane Farm and "Dancing with your Horse: Musical Freestyles."

"For those seeking more than a show, a lecture series also will be held in the Equine Learning Center, where seminars will highlight current issues such as national animal identification, the unwanted horse and manure management," said Swinker.

"If Ag Progress Days visitors are looking for a chance to take a break, get out of the sun and learn something new, they will be welcomed into the new Equine Educational Lounge," she adds. "The lounge will be available to visitors on Tuesday and Wednesday, when they can browse information put together by Penn State faculty, researchers and students. The information ranges from equine liability laws, to trail riding, handling, money management, showing and nutrition."

Pennsylvania Equine Council's Learning Station is a new addition to this year’s Equine Experience and another location where people can cool off and challenge their minds, according to Swinker. The station is located in the exhibit building and allows visitors to test their equine knowledge and visit with PEC members.

The Pony Express pony rides again will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday. The 4-H Equine Skillathon, an opportunity for 4-H members to test their equine knowledge, will take place Thursday morning at the Equine Experience.

To learn more about the 4-H Skillathon, visit: http://www.das.psu.edu/das/4-h/horses/calendar-deadlines-and-event-details.
To obtain a complete Equine Experience program, call (814) 863-7639.

Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, nine miles southwest of State College on state Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 19; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 20; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 21. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days Web site at http://apd.psu.edu.

EDITORS: Contact Ann Swinker at (814) 865-7810or by e-mail at  axs15@psu.edu"> axs15@psu.edu.

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Last Updated March 19, 2009