Penn State Receives Legacy Award from AQHA
Posted: January 20, 2012
Dr. Terry Etherton, Head of the Department of Dairy and Animal Science, said, "Penn State's equine program has a strong historical legacy of success, and it is gratifying to receive this distinguished recognition of the continuity of this outstanding program." He noted that the program began in 1955 when the American Quarter Horse became the breed of choice for departmental emphasis.
The American Quarter Horse was selected, in part, because of its popularity in Pennsylvania and because livestock judging contests replaced draft horses with Quarter Horses.
The era of the Quarter Horse began with the purchase of the stallion Sorrel Chief purchased as a yearling from Michigan State University. Two mares, Akins Shirley and WMD Orphan Annie, became the foundation broodmares in the breeding program.
Penn State's herd usually contains 3 to 5 stallions and 12 to 20 mares, and all horses are used in teaching, research and extension programs. Undergraduate Research programs using the herd presently emphasize nutrition, growth and development. Extension programs utilize the horse to reach youth and adults alike in a variety of topics related to management, ownership, and handling of horses. Courses emphasize farm management, reproduction, marketing, training and nutrition.
Stallions stand to outside mares with both on-farm breeding and transported cooled semen available. Most offspring are maintained until they are two years old, used in the handling and training program and marketed through the student run sale in late April.
Penn State's renown as a leading breeder was solidified when they purchased the palomino Quarter Horse stallion Skip Sioux in 1971 from Hank Weiscamp in Alamosa, CO. In all, Skip Sioux produced only 255 AQHA registered foals; 66 of these foals went on to be point earners. In 1982 Penn State was the sixth leading breeder of halter class winners due to Skip's success as a sire. This marked the first time a University was ranked as a leading breeder, and Penn State earned this distinction several times in several categories throughout the early 1980's. More information about the history of horses at Penn State can be found at: http://www.das.psu.edu/about/history.
Brian Egan, Penn State Horse Farm Coordinator and Equine Science Instructor said, "We strive to produce attractive, well balanced, structurally correct, athletic horses with a willing attitude and adaptability to many situations. These horses are used to educate the future leaders of our industry as well as the public on correct management, handling, and training techniques."
Donations of outstanding horses over the years have been extremely important in creating a herd that has proven useful in all aspects of the Penn State program. A great example of this is the stallion PSU Dynamic Krymsun who is a result of a donated breeding to One Hot Krymsun for the superior Western Pleasure mare Dynamic Zippo. This young stallion's foals are already proving beneficial to the usefulness of the herd. There is no doubt that recent donations will allow the herd to continue its success into the next 50 years.