NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — Rutgers students are preparing horses for the upcoming Ag Field Day on the Cook Campus on April 28.
Launched in 2015, the Rutgers University Teaching Herd (RUTH) has been comprised of four permanent and four to five foster horses each year that are used to teach students with zero to minimal horse experience the basics of horse care and showmanship.
The herd has been made up of several breeds: Standardbreds, Thoroughbreds, Saddlebreds, Arabians, Haflingers, and Paints. The foster horses all come from rescues throughout New Jersey, and some will be available for adoption after the spring semester.
The students work with the horses for about six weeks to develop and perfect their skills before competing on Ag Field Day. The horse show begins at 10 a.m. on the Rutgers farm.
A “Meet and Greet” event is planned for April 7, from 3 to 5 p.m. at the horse barn on College Farm Road so prospective adopters can see the horses in person.
Meet the herd:
Barron — Edelweiss a.k.a “Barron” is a grey 25-year-old Warmblood gelding, who has been loaned to Rutgers from Farrington Farms in nearby North Brunswick. He was originally a dressage horse before taking part in Farrington Farms’ lesson program. Everyone loved when they got to ride Barron; he taught many people how to jump 2’6" and gave them a lot of confidence in themselves, along with being a favorite on “Paint the Pony” day at camp! He is blind in his right eye, but that doesn’t stop him. While his arthritis has slowed him down just a bit, he is a very sweet boy, with a ceaseless patience that only comes from being an elderly gentleman and veteran lesson horse.
Lady — Lady D Kosmos a.k.a “Lady” resided with the Standardbred Retirement Foundation prior to being adopted by Dr. Carey Williams as part of her pasture and exercise physiology research in January 2006. Now will be taking on a new job as one of the Ag Field day horses. Lady is a superstar all around, she is usually a student favorite in the research class. Lady is very sweet and well mannered. She is available to a new home.
Augustina — Augustina or, as she is affectionately called, “Auggie” (or "Tina" by some) is an approximately 16-year-old American Saddlebred that stands around 16 hands high. This sweetheart of a mare was believed to have an Amish background before coming to the Saddlebred Rescue. She is available for adoption. She walks, trots, and canters under saddle and would be best suited for a lesson program or as a trail horse. She can be nervous at times but responds well to praises and is quick to please her handler. She is available for adoption.
Soldier — Soldier was rescued from the auction and was believed to be used by the Amish horse previously. Soldier is a liver chestnut gelding with an "in your pocket" personality, you can't pull out your phone in front of this guy without his ears coming forward to look good for the camera. He can walk, trot, and canter under saddle (although may need some tuning up with the canter). He is an absolute gentleman on the ground, stands perfectly for grooming and loves every second of it! Soldier would be perfect as a trail horse or anyone looking for a lifelong partner. He is looking for a new home.
Dreamer — Dreamer was rescued by Forgotten Angels Equine Rescue from the auction where she was nervous and frightened of everything around her. Thanks to the time and dedication Forgotten Angels put into her care she has learned to not only trust humans but love the attention they give her. She has shown in 4-H lead line classes, been used in pony camp, and has participated in pony classes at local shows. She would make the perfect partner for children to love, take to shows and gain some experience with. She has a calm demeanor and sweet personality and looking for a new home.
Gus — Gus is a 26-year-old Paint gelding who was donated from Farrington Farms in August of 2016. This elder statesman was unable to continue jumping in the lesson program due to lameness and as such, he became a member of the permanent teaching herd. Standing at approximately 15.2 hands, Gus guides and teaches his students as any experienced retired lesson horse would. He is a sweet soul with endless patience for the novice handler; his gentle and “bombproof” nature not only allows him to remain cool and collected through various distractions but also gives his students a confidence that can be seen when they handle him.
Wiser — Wise Investment a.k.a “Wiser” is a quirky Thoroughbred gelding that stands at 17 hands and had a short racing career before suffering a leg fracture. He rehabbed with his owner before he was selected for a research study conducted by Dr. Ken McKeever regarding saddle fit. He was a favorite for the study and, at the end of the project, the students asked his owner if she would consider donating him, to which she said yes. At 13 years old, Wiser thrives when in consistent work, and loves praise and attention; he is very curious and always wants to know what everyone is doing. He blossomed last year for his first Ag Field Day, and is expected to be just as impressive this year.
Molly — Molly is a 26-year-old, dark brown Standardbred mare standing around 15.2 hands tall. She is as close to perfect as they come, standing perfectly for her students to groom, handling and showmanship judging, and practicing veterinary procedures. She was formerly one of Dr. McKeever’s research horses, along with Marci, before aging out of the protocol and being donated to RUTH. She is the “go-to” horse for the newer students to give them the confidence to be strong horse handlers. She enjoys her time preparing for Ag Field Day with all the attention from her students as well as the public.
Marci —Marci was one of Dr. McKeever’s research horses before aging out and being donated to the RUTH program. She has been a student and staff favorite over the years due to her sweet demeanor and patience with her students. Marci is a dark brown, 20-year-old Standardbred mare standing at approximately 15.2 hands. Marci loves to be groomed and worked with by her students, she has been deemed one of the best “teachers” at RUTH. She has been used for farm tours, students practicing bandaging and vital skills, as well as conformation and judging clinics!
To help offset the cost of keeping the horses at Rutgers, sponsors are sought. A three-month sponsorship is $750. Contact Dr. Carey Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
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