CHAPS open house offers rare view of Penn State’s equine science programs

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Sept. 30 will mark the fifth annual Penn State Horse Barn Open House, hosted by the Collegiate Horseman’s Association at Penn State (CHAPS) and the Penn State Equine Research Team. The event will be held in connection with the third annual Celebrate Agriculture Day at Beaver Stadium, an event designed for Penn Staters to honor the agricultural roots and history of the University.  

The open house will be held at the equine science facilities' “Old Barn,” directly across from Beaver Stadium, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The on-campus horse farms are home to approximately 70 American quarter horses and an active breeding facility, which raises about 20 foals per year and trains them for sale by the time they reach two years of age. Penn State-raised horses are used in many classes for the equine science minor and for research projects.

The barns typically aren’t open during football weekends, so Celebrate Agriculture Day is a unique opportunity for the public to meet some of the horses. But the open house is more than just a chance to get a peek inside the barns. The members of CHAPS and the Penn State Equine Research Team are proud to showcase the long history of equine science and what they contribute to agriculture at Penn State today, they said.

“The open house is important because it allows the general public, especially those with no agricultural background, to see what Penn State students in the equine science program are doing,” explained CHAPS President Rachel Reaser, a senior animal science major with the equine science minor, from Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania.

The event is entirely student run and organized, noted CHAPS vice president Sydney Vogt, a senior animal science major with an equine science minor, from Berlin, Pennsylvania.

“Every year the students work extremely hard throughout the week prior to the open house in preparation for this event," she said. "We clean the barn from top to bottom, bathe and groom horses, set up displays and decorate the barn appropriately. It’s a team effort and everyone always puts in 100 percent!”

Students from CHAPS also will be selling equine science merchandise, including their popular foal calendars. “Each month features a cute picture of the previous year’s foals. The calendars make great gifts, and they’re also the club’s biggest fundraiser,” Vogt said.

“We also have a ‘Name the Foal Contest’ for the chance to name one of this year’s babies.” For the kids -- and maybe adults, too -- there will be a station for face-painting, complete with saddles to try out.

“People will get to see our horses, interact with our students and hopefully gain a sense of how important Penn State's agricultural programs and the teaching barns are,” Reaser added.

CHAPS is a club for equine enthusiasts of all experience levels and majors who meet to learn more about horses through lectures, discussions and hands-on activities. The Penn State Equine Research Team is made up of science-oriented students who study different aspects of horse health and performance. 

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Last Updated September 21, 2017