UC Davis seniors have used the last few months to prepare for their graduation day. Likewise, UC Davis horses have spent the last six months training for their own “graduation.“
The 16th annual UC Davis Horse Barn Production Sale will take place June 21. The event will take place at the UCD Horse Barn Arena at 3 p.m.
On sale this year will be two weanlings (horses that have just been weaned), five yearlings (horses between the age of one and two) and five adult horses. There will also be three yearling mules and one two-year-old mule available for auction.
Student interns – also known as foul managers – at the UCD Animal Science Horse Barn spend their winter and spring quarters readying the horses for auction, working a minimum of 15 hours a week.
“It’s an amazing experience because the barn is left in large part to the management of us interns,” said Sandy Knowles, a 2007 animal biology alumnus. “There’s a lot of responsibility, and it really forces you to be independent and take the initiative, otherwise horses can get hurt or babies can get sick.“
Knowles said the managers essentially teach fundamental skills to the horses.
“In as little as two quarters, these horses learn basic ground manners, and can stand to be clipped, shod, bathed, trailer loaded, round penned and lounged,” said Jamie Deuel, a second-year foul manager. “Plus, these animals are used to being around loud noises and working with a bunch of people.“
This event not only allows interns a chance to showcase their hard work and dedication spent with the horses but also helps raise money to run the barn.
The UC Horse Barn is expected to function without funding from the university. This includes medical care, food, bedding and maintaining facilities for the animals.
“We must operate on the funds received from selling our foals and breeding services,” said Nicole Webster, the Equine Facilities Supervisor. “The main function of this facility is to provide educational opportunities focusing in equine husbandry.“
Last year, total profits of $22,515 were raised, according to animalscience.ucdavis.edu. In 2006, the average price of a horse was $1,830, and in 2007 it was $1,216, according to the website.
Horses get auctioned off to breeders, riders and families who will use the horses in the industry. After spending two quarters preparing horses to be auctioned off, Knowles actually purchased one of the yearlings, Cleo, which she trained herself.
“The barn really helped cement my interest in equine veterinary science, particularly neonatal care, which I absolutely love,” Knowles said.
The program is mutually beneficial for the horses and the students. The horses learn their basics and get auctioned off to good homes – graduating on to a new life. The students have the opportunity to work on a hands-on project, in which the physical result of their hard work is evident.
This year’s production sale expects 100 to 150 attendees. The sale preview begins at 3 p.m., which will be followed by demonstrations at 4 p.m. and a barbeque at 5 p.m. The actual sale begins at 6 p.m.
For more information, go to animalscience.ucdavis.edu/horsebarn/productionsale.
JUNE QUAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.