Ag Progress Days offers new information for equine devotees

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State's Ag Progress Days exposition, Aug. 13-15, will provide entertaining yet educational activities for horse lovers of all ages and experience levels, according to organizers in the College of Agricultural Sciences.

The event's annual Equine Experience will offer a full schedule of training and breed clinics, demonstrations, informational displays and lectures, noted Ann Macrina, senior instructor in the Department of Animal Science.

"This year, Dave Rohrbauch, of Bee Tree Trail, will demonstrate Percheron draft horses hitched in various configurations including one with 10 horses," said Macrina, who coordinates the Equine Experience events. "These magnificent horses will be hitched and driven once each day, plus once for a special performance during the Wednesday Evening Extravaganza, with each performance showcasing a different hitch.

"The Evening Extravaganza will open with a salute to America presented by the Youth Ambassadors of the Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association, followed by a racing game demonstration sponsored by the Keystone Appaloosa Club."

On Tuesday, the Mid-Atlantic Friesian Association will present its noble Friesian Horses. Retired racehorses will make their appearance on Wednesday as Cheryl Keller, of New Vocations Racehorse Adoption Program, will show how these superb athletes can transition to different careers.

Ben Nolt, a certified riding instructor, horse trainer and clinician with more than 50 years of involvement with the horse industry, will give a demonstration -- titled "Teaching Your Horse to Drive" -- using miniature horses.

Other events will feature drill-team performances and horseback racing games, and the Pennsylvania State Police Mounted Patrol will demonstrate crowd control using horses.

Penn State faculty, staff and students also will conduct handling demonstrations geared toward helping horse owners learn skills to work with their horses more safely and confidently.

Other breed and training demonstrations will feature Quarter Horses, Paso Finos and -- although not a horse breed – Border Collies. "Visitors can watch as these highly intelligent animals herd sheep," Macrina said.

In addition to the riding and training demonstrations, a series of lectures will be presented in the Equine Learning Center. Tuesday will feature a mini-conference on equine nutrition and management with equine experts from throughout the Northeast and Midwest. The Wednesday workshops will cover new information on equine chiropractic care, dentistry, bit selection and fitting, tack care, and handling equine emergencies.

Returning this year on Thursday is the Penn State Equine Science Horse Quiz Bowl competition. Teams of four in two age divisions (8-12 and 13-18 years old) will compete in a test of equine knowledge. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Pennsylvania Equine Council's Learning Station will allow visitors to groom a horse, visit with council members and learn what issues are at the forefront of Pennsylvania's equine industry.

Penn State equine science faculty and staff will be available all three days at the Equine Arena and Equine Exhibits Building to answer questions and provide information.

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 Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 13; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 14; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 15. Admission and parking are free.

For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogress.

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Last Updated July 11, 2013