UF/IFAS Extension Agents offer a fountain of knowledge for equine lovers
Mark your calendars horse lovers, because the UF/IFAS Extension Office of Osceola County is offering a Horse Short Course and Trade Show this November, 18 at the South Florida Fairgrounds in West Palm Beach. It will be of special benefit for those concerned with what a horse eats, what comes out the other end and everything in between, by addressing health topics concerning nutrition, parasites, and gastrointestinal issues in horses.
Offering a tentative agenda of three topics, Lindsey Wiggins, a UF Regional Livestock Extension Agent and the event’s chairperson, maintains that each subject offers “a ‘classroom’ component to give the audience an opportunity to listen to the experts give research-based information, usually through power point presentations.” Running from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., attendees can enjoy presentations about Horse Nutrition, Ulcers in Horses, and Parasite Control. Each topic has a hands-on element and a chance to interact with the experts offering horse sense gold on each topic. “It’s a great program,” adds Courtney Davis, Extension Agent for Dairy/Water Quality. “We try to focus it on a basic level so anybody can understand it, but, at the same time, we have people there who are experts in their fields, so if anybody does have any more technical questions, they can easily be answered.”
The Equine Nutrition topic will be led by Dr. Carissa Wickens, who is the “new Extension Equine Specialist at the University of Florida,” shares Davis. “She is looking to break into doing more horse programming with people in the state.” Dr. Wickens will also be presenting the Parasite Control topic with Extension Agent Lindsey Wiggins. For a hands-on component tailored for those who really like to get down-and-dirty with their horse knowledge, Wiggins shares that the Pest topic “will include a lab that will enable the participants to bring their horse’s manure to be evaluated for debilitating parasites.”
The Ulcers in Horses topic also offers a lab component, adds Wiggins, whereby after the presentation, “the audience will watch a horse receive a gastroscopic exam, which will be displayed on a large screen… the ulcerated horse being scoped will be selected prior to the program.” That particular topic will be led by Dr. Megan Green, a veterinarian with Merial, the animal health company that is sponsoring the Horse Short Course. “Merial is the company that manufactures Ulcergard and Gastrogard, which are the only FDA-approved products for equine stomach ulcers,” Wiggins reports. “As you may know, stomach ulcers hinder a horse’s performance and can even cause death— among other issues.”
The Horse Short Course will also address horse health and performance, straight from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. According to Wiggins, with the Horse Nutrition segment, participants will first “learn how to properly ration their horse’s diet and possibly reduce their future feed bills by implementing the management practices taught.” Then, Wiggins adds, the segment on Parasite Control will give attendees the knowledge to “be able to select an anthelmintic that will efficiently rid the gut of harmful parasites, which will enhance their horse’s performance and overall health.” Lastly, Wiggins maintains, “the audience will be able to identify signs and symptoms indicating if their horse has Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome and employ a veterinarian to treat the animal and get them back in the arena!”
For more information, register online at http://www.eventbrite.com/e/horse-short-course-trade-show-registration-5499097950, with discounts for FFA and 4-H members.
story by ERIKA ALDRICH