Whether riding for recreation or using for ranch work, horses are an important part of many North Dakotans lives. With approximately 29,000 horses in the state, the feeding, care and management of these horses is often at the forefront of their owners’ minds.
After multiple requests from horse owners, a group of NDSU Extension agents and specialists hosted the first NDSU Extension Horse Management Workshop in 2015. The group then used the participant feedback from the in-person meetings and expanded their workshop to include online learning opportunities.
“In 2020 and 2021, we’ve offered both a spring horse management series and winter horse management series,” says Mary Keena, NDSU Extension livestock environmental management specialist based at NDSU’s Carrington Research Extension Center. “We also recognized that many horse owners work during the day, so offering the webinars over the lunch hour and making them available to watch later was part of the appeal.”
Topics for the workshops have included transitioning your horse from winter to spring and summer feeding, facilities management, grazing strategies, manure and nutrient management, managing your horses during a drought and the basics of conditioning for performance events.
“Due to COVID-19 in 2020, the webinars were only offered online,” says Paige Brummund, NDSU Extension – Ward County agent. “But that didn’t slow down participation. The webinars were viewed more than 1,100 times on YouTube.”
In 2020, 252 people from North Dakota and Minnesota registered for the webinar series, as well international participants from Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Peru.
In 2021, the Extension group offered an in-person horse management series in both the spring and winter that was attended by 25 people, with more than 372 views online.
One participant stated that due to the program they have changed their pasture size, rotation schedule and let one over-grazed area rest for the year.
Another participant shared that they have changed their parasite control strategies to help reduce parasite resistance because of what they learned during the webinars.
In 2022, the series is returning with education on four new topics: mortality management, geriatric horse and foal care, hay management and bedding management.
“Horses can be vital partners in agricultural life, equine-assisted therapy and as companion animals,” says Keena. “Our job is to provide their owners’ opportunities for learning, so that they can continue to enjoy and care for them.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Mary Keena, 701-652-2951, firstname.lastname@example.org
Paige Brummund, 701-857-6444, email@example.com