Rutgers Young Horse Teaching & Research
RU Hermes and RU Sergent Pepper meeting for the first time, RU JennyAnyDots at Ag Field Day with student Kristen McGuinness, Tory Hanke settin RU Shivna at auction, RU Tinman at Ag Field Day with student Kate Entwistle
Photos By: Sarah Ralston and Tory Hanke

2009-2010 Horses: News Archive

July 2, 2009

Written By: Sarah Ralston

A New Era For The Young Horse Teaching And Research Program

This year we are "re-inventing" the Young Horse Teaching and Research program to accomodate the changes in the economy and the equine industry needs as we perceive them. One of our goals for the Young Horse program has always been to study and help to promote horses that are "in need" of promotion and research. The North American Equine Ranching Information Council (NAERIC) draft cross horses which we had used in the past are now well recognized as valuable equine animals, commanding high prices even as weanlings.  Our research over the past 10 years has documented the unique nutritional needs of young draft cross horses. The data are available on our website ( see Research )  and in Equine Science Society proceedings from 2007 and 2009. We have learned to identify behaviors in the free ranging nursing foals which give us a good clue as to their disposition and trainability, allowing us to more consistently select excellent horses for the program.  However, the NAERIC horses are no longer "at risk" and have a well established markets in a variety of disciplines. 
            On the other hand, the over 9000 Bureau of Land Management (BLM) mustangs that have been removed from the public ranges to prevent overgrazing are definitely in need! They can be wonderful equine athletes, excelling in a wide variety of disciplines, especially as trail and lesson horses. Unfortunately general public perception is that mustangs are "wild", difficult to handle and not very useful. We hope to help change that perception by incorporating yearling mustangs into our program. We anticipate that they will not be more difficult to train than our unhandled NAERIC weanlings have been. As long as we select the yearlings based on the same criteria we have established over the years for the weanling draft crosses, they should be attractive, well behaved horses with tremendous athletic potential by the time the auction is held on April 26, 2010. We will be selecting 4 yearling BLM mustangs to be used in the program this year. It will be interesting to compare them to the 4 unhandled weanlings we will get from our known bloodlines in North Dakota and the 4 yearlings left over from this year, both with respect to training and growth performance. If all goes as planned, we will gradually switch the program to focus primarily on mustangs and other potentially unwanted horses.

For more information on the BLM mustangs go to:
Watch for news and updates throughout the summer!

August 27, 2009
Mustang Update
Written By:
Sarah Ralston

Robin Rivello came this morning and we got two of the horses, Rose and Casanova, out of their stalls for the first time for a leading lesson. Cass acted as if he had been doing it all his life, Rose needed a bit more guidance but overall they did well. Marley and Canella are still working on trust issues but making great progress. Marley did protest Cass's coming out by trying to join him over (and through!) the bars but no damage to horse or stall and he settled quickly when he realized he had hay and Cass was still in sight (and that he really could not crawl out)! Renee Hines, his student who met him for the first time today, succeeded in rubbing him all over on both sides-a major break through for him

August 26, 2009

Written By: Sarah Ralston

Draft cross yearlings, Pardner, Firedance, Shivna and Glinda hopped happily onto the trailer to go back to the Ryders Lane barn. They were VERY happy to be turned out in the large back field with tons of good grass for the next week until the students get back, when the daily routine of being in stalls at night and day turnout with training and data collection sessions will resume.

August 24th, 2009
Written By: Sarah Ralston

We selected 4 yearlings at Cornell University on Friday/Saturday. Robin Rivello, president of the US Wild Horse and Burro Association, and her husband, Mike, generously donated their time and expertise to get them down here and unloaded safely on Sunday (8/23/2009).
The new RU Mustangs are:
  • RU Canella, a small, stocky blood bay filly with a star and front sock who was born in the holding facility in Reno, NV on April 2, 2008. Her dam  (freezemark 95601825) was from Palomino Valley Center, Sparks, NV. She is shy but as of 8/24 let Robin and Dr. Ralston rub her left side without fuss (Still working on getting to the right).
  • RU Rambling Rose, a medium size VERY pretty light bay (? Brindle?)   filly with a blaze, snip, lip and three white socks from Bald Mountain region, Battle Mountain BLM Office, NV. Rosie LOVES her scratches and rubs all over her body and was even starting to give to a gentle pull on a lead rope. Will do anything for hay!
  • RU Casanova, a black bay colt with a tiny star from North Stillwater region, Winnemucca, NV . Cass already loves being rubbed all over his body-even his legs!
  • RU Marley, a very tall black bay colt with a heart shaped star and right hind pastern from North Stillwater             region,Winnemucca, NV . Marley is not too sure about this touching thing but loves his hay and will tolerate touches if it is associated with eating. He'll come around quickly.Photos are up on the 2009-2010  page with many more to come in next few days!

September 20, 2009
Written By: Jorge Pang

Firebro has an official name!
Firebro (Firedance's full brother) has been named RU Woodstock by his sponsors, the Colts Neck Trail Riders. 

Woodstock next to his brother, Firedance

September 11, 2009
Written By: Sarah Ralston
The four draft cross weanlings are here! They arrived yesterday at ~ 11:45 AM in very good condition.
RU Brisa was the first to step off the trailer like the brave filly she is. The others came off quietly too. We had them in their stalls and got their halters on within 30 minutes without a major fuss from any of them.

Brisaarrive tonkgenesis FirebroKimEringenesis
RU Brisa stepping into her new world; RU Honky Tonk comparing notes with RU Genesis; Kim Ward with her new best friend, a colt nicknamed Firebro; Erin Koci with the filly she selected in North Dakota, RU Genesis.

Melissa Reese with her selection from the North Dakota trip, RU Brisa, Alexandra Bidawid getting to know RU Honky Tonk

Photos by Lauren Seddon.

October 8, 2009
Sarah Ralston

Mustangs and weanlings get their first hoof trim!
Eric Fisher trimmed the 4 mustangs and 4 weanlings in only 1 1/2 hours. There were no major battles and Eric even commented that Marley should come to my house to teach RU Sir Galahad (Class of 2001 who he shoes) how to behave!
Cassfirsttrim            Genesis first trimm
          Casanova standing like a gentleman in the aisle                  Genesis getting her hind feet  done in the stall
           Photo by Robin Rivello                                            Photo by Sarah Ralston

October 10, 2009
Sarah Ralston
Coming Out Party a major Success!
Over 40 people crowded into the Ryders Lane barn to admire the young horses being used in the Young Horse Program this year. All of the horses were taken out individually to meet their sponsors (if present) and be admired by the crowd. Even the mustangs were exceptionally well behaved despite the large crowd and noise. It was great to see so many old friends and to make some new ones!
Rosiepamlooksmall        Woodstocksponsorssmall       SandiPardsmall  
     Mustang yearling RU                          Draft Cross weanling, RU Woodstock with  the           Yearling draft cross RU Pardner with
ambling Rose with
student                    with his sponsors, the Colts Neck Trail Riders                his sponsor, Sandra Denarski
      Pam Brzezynski                                                    and student, Kim Ward                                     (hidden student, Samantha Rodgers)

 CarlaGenesis                 TonkMeyersKelly              Crowd
Carla Prentiss with "her'                      Jane and Bill Meyer with RU
Honky Tonk              Part of the crowd admiring the young horses.
  weanling, RU Genesis                                    and student Kelly Steimle                                   The yellow US Wild Horse & Burro goody   
                                                                                                                                                             grab bags were courtesy of Robin Rivello
Photos by William Kaminski

October 13, 2009
Mustang colts gelded
Sarah Ralston
RU Marley and RU Casanova were castrated by Dr. Dan Keenan, using a standard procedure open/open castration. They were sedated with Xylazine then dropped with Ketamine for the procedure, using normal doses of the drugs, though Dr. Keenan did increase Marley's ketamine dose a little, as he would have done for any more nervous type horse. The surgeries went well. Cass stayed down a fairly long time after the procedure was done, apparently waiting until he felt sure he could get up and walk normally because that is what he did! Marley made an initial very early attempt, decided that was not a good idea and laid there sternally with his nose on the ground for another 5 or 6 minutes. He was much more wobbly when he did get up (A bit sooner than Cass!) and it was rather cute-he kept looking at the ground and shifting his front feet as if to try find solid ground that wasn't "spinning" :-)

The next morning both geldings appeared in good spirits and had great appetites. The incision sites were draining well and normally swollen. Their students worked them in the round pen for 10 minutes and both colts were more than willing to trot and canter on command! The students watching were all commenting on the gorgeous, floating trot that especially Marley has (Though Cass is really elegant too).


Cass, Tonk (who will be gelded next month) and Marley sharing a mid-morning snack before the surgeries
Photo by Sarah Ralston

October 14, 2009
Controlled behavior tests reveals that the Mustangs are as good or even better than our weanling and yearling Draft crosses in basic handling responses.
Sarah Ralston
Two weeks ago all 12 horses were put through a standardized test where in they were caught in the field by Dr. Ralston, who led them to the round pen, walked around it once, halted and made them stand still for one minute. She then rubbed their face and ears, ran her hands firmly over their torso and abdomen, asked them to back up 3 steps, turn on the forehand and turn on the haunches. The students who were observing then clapped their hands loudly outside the pen with the young horse facing them. The final tests were when Dr. Ralston picked up a broom, showed it to the horse, laid it down on the ground and asked the horse to walk over it twice, then led the horse around the pen from the right side. All tasks were graded by the students' and Dr. Ralston's consensus on a scale of 0 to 4.5, with:
 4.5 being an A+=no resistance, perfect response, and
 0=F=pulling away and resisting violently.
 Only one horse got an F on any of the tests: Shivna did NOT like the broom even though she had seen it many times during Ag Field day training in the spring, and decided to "leave".

The average overall scores were: Mustang Yearlings 3.78 +/- .06,
Draft Cross Yearlings: 3.74 +/- .14 (If we omitted Shivna, the Yearling Draft Cross average was the same as the Mustangs).
The weanling Draft Crosses got 3.63+/- .07. It should be noted that the weanlings had had only 3 weeks of training versus 5 for the mustangs.

Casstest1009  Ellatest Rosietest Marleytesthooflift
    RU Cassanova during a pause     RU Canella turning             RU Rosie leading from right          RU Marley hoof lift!
Photos by Samantha Vitale

November 11, 2009
RU Woodstock was castrated by Dr. McAlister. The surgery was uneventful and he is recovering nicely. RU Honky Tonk will be done on November 18 because he also needs to have a small umbilical hernia repaired.

November 30, 2009
RU Honky Tonk returned to his herd-mates today for the first time since his castration on the 18th.
Click here for more information.

December 8, 2009
Two weeks ago, on November 19th, the mustangs had their teeth floated for the first time.
Check their photo galleries for pictures!

December 15, 2009
Last Wednesday the horses started their "24-hour" turn-out routine; they will remain outside (with access to both paddocks and run-in sheds) until the start of spring semester. The weanlings (Genesis, Woody, Honky Tonk, and Brisa) are brought in daily to be fed 2 pounds of Safe Choice pellets. (This ensures proper phosphorus intake.)  The mustangs and 2-year old draft-crosses are brought in twice weekly to be reminded of their manners during brief grooming sessions.  Despite the chilly weather, the horses are acclimating well and seem to be enjoying the freedom afforded by extended turn-out.

December 23, 2009

The horses had some festive photos taken last Thursday; everyone was quite cooperative!

Ella, Glinda, Cass, and Shivna

January 2, 2010


With the arrival of 2010, the horses continue to thrive in their 24-hour turn-out routine (though they seem to equally enjoy their bi-weekly grooming sessions!) The new year also brings other updates: our "weanlings" are now yearlings and our "yearlings" are now two-year olds! There are some new photos and updates on the research students participating in the program this spring semester. 

January 14, 2010

Today all of the horses were brought in to be weighed, measured, groomed, and handled. Brisa, Genesis, Glinda, Shivna, Cass, and Ella had their hooves trimmed.  The remaining horses will have their hooves trimmed next week.

January 20, 2010
The beginning of spring semester marks the end of 24-hour turn-out.
Yesterday, the horses were brought in at 4pm to freshly-bedded stalls and buckets full of hay cubes. With the start of classes, we will resume our former schedule: the horses will be turned out at 8am and brought in at 4pm daily. Also note that the yearlings will no longer be receiving Safe Choice pellets, as the total mixed ration (TMR) hay cubes provide sufficient nutrients to meet their current requirements.

Also check out our newest group photos HERE!

January 24, 2010
It's a Baby!
Ella is going to be a mother!
On January 21st, the vet verified that RU Canella is pregnant--with a 6-7 month foal!
Given the 11 month equine gestation length and uncertain date of conception, we can expect the baby to be born any time from late April to early June.

February 1, 2010
NEXT PUBLIC PREVIEW of the young horses will be February 7 at 5PM, following the Equine Science Center's Equine Seminar on "Keeping your Horse Sound" and "Unwanted Horse and Responsible Horse Ownership".
Go to for seminar details and registration and click here for directions to the Ryders Lane barn where the horses are. BE AWARE THERE IS A TOTALLY NEW TRAFFIC PATTERN DUE TO RTE 1  CONSTRUCTION AND THAT ACCESS TO THE BARN IS NOW FROM RYDERS LANE or Rte 1 NORTH only!

February 9, 2010
Sunday evening's public preview was a success!  The horses were all exceptionally well-behaved and seemed to enjoy the extra attention. Many of the horses, including Cassanova, Pardner, and Brisa, demonstrated their trotting abilities, while others--like Rosie and Canella--showed off their recently-learned "back-up" commands.

February 11, 2010
The horses had their wolf teeth extracted today by the dentist.  The procedures went smoothly and all of the "patients" are fully recuperated. Go to News for other recent updates!

March 3, 2010
Recently, many students have been working with Wild Horse and Burro Association President, Robin Rivello. 
Click HERE for photos of the training sessions

The Young Horse Auction Information is now available! Click here for dates, location and bidder registration forms.

March 5, 2010
We are on TV! See Lynda Ha's segment on the Young Horse Teaching and
Research Program HERE!

March 17, 2010

Correction to the Horse News March, 2010 story, Pg. 40 on our program
The Cornell adoption where we selected our mustangs was not a "3 strike adoption." It was for BLM horses that were to be adopted under the regular BLM adoption regulations. The ones we selected were in a special group of 2-strike horses. They would have become "3 strikes" if no one selected them at the Ithaca adoption and they would have then been sent to a permanent holding facility in the mid-west or western United States. Under ordinary adoption regulations, non-3 strike horses must be kept for a full year before a title is issued to the new owner. The 3-strike horses can be purchased without that restriction. Since our program only runs for a 9-month period, we had to use the 3-strike horses. The BLM officials made very generous concessions that allowed us to purchase our four 2-strike mustangs as “3-strike” horses. This is not, however, a usual practice and in the future we will wait to get truly 3-strike mustangs (ones that were NOT selected at an adoption event that were already 2-strike) from the BLM adoption events.

Under ordinary circumstances, adopters seeking "3-strike" horses (i.e. those that have been through 3 adoptions events without being selected) must visit one of the permanent holding facilities.

March 18, 2010
The young horses are all at the Red Barn on College Farm Road now! RU the Good Witch had been taken to MidAtlantic Equine Medical Center on Tuesday to get a large abcess on her hock repaired (Thank you, Dr. Doran and colleagues!). The prognosis is excellent for future soundness but she may have a "capped hock" for ever. She and RU Shivna were taken to the Red Barn yesterday - they both hopped onto the trailer without a fuss and seemed pleased to be back at the Red Barn, though they would have preferred to be outside. The others were brought over this morning. We were very proud of all the young horses-not a single one put up a significant fuss. RU Rambling Rose and RU Brisa had to inspect the stock trailer floor a little longer than the others but stepped up quietly once they assured themselves that it was ok. They were all put in their new stalls for an hour or so while an efficient crew of students put up the round pen and sorted out the grooming boxes and record books. The horses were finally turned out in their new paddocks around noon.  We got videos of the major play that ensued, that will hopefully be put up on U-tube in the near future!
Now on to the final training for Rutgers Ag Field Day and the Auction!

At the gate    TonkPard
                           RU Woodstock, RU Marley and                RU Honky Tonk and RU Pardner
                                  RU FireDance looking at the fillies.                                 looking at us!

RU Genesis, RU Canella and RU Brisa inspecting the waterer

March 24, 2010
Ag Field Day sessions officially began on Monday, March 22nd!  Each of the young horses has been paired with a student with whom he/she will continue training.  This week, the students are bonding with their assigned horses through extensive grooming and handling sessions. They are being switched from the experimental Total Mixed ration cubes they have been fed all year to a more traditional ration of good quality hay and the cubes and a little concentrate to help with shedding out and coat shine (Empower and/or Safe Choice pellets donated by Nutrena). Two of the horses, however, Glinda and Shivna, are already shed out and dappled! They are only getting hay and cubes!

March 26, 2010
New Donors! Dr. Mary Beth Gordon, Director of Research and New Product Development, Longview Animal Nutrition Center, Purina Mills, Inc has generously offered to donate fancy showhalters with nameplates for the young horses. We have orded them from Rick's Saddle Shop in Englishtown, NJ and they will hopefully be ready in time for the Public Preview, April 10, but if not-look for them on the horses at Ag Field Day and the Auction!

April 7, 2010
If you are interested in seeing these horses "up close and personnal" we are having as public preview this Saturday (April 10) at 5PM - 7PM at the Red Horse Barn on College Farm Road/Sheep Fold Lane on the Cook Campus. The horses will be shown individually in hand and at liberty in the round pen. Bidder registration forms will be available and DR. ralston and the students will be there to answer your questions about the horses and the program. There is no charge to attend  but we would appreciate your letting us know if your are coming since we will be providing light refreshments and need a head count!
Please contact or call 732-932-9404 and leave a message!

April 9, 2010
We have a YouTube channel where you can view videos of our horses!
Click HERE to visit our page.

April 11, 2010
Yesterday we held our annual Public Preview of the young horses.  We had a small, select group attend and I'm pleased to say that all of the horses were on their best behavior for round-penning demonstrations.

April 18, 2010
Two new "Highest Honors" sponsors have come forward:

Art Taylor, our Ag Field Day Horse Show judge is part of a new ONLINE  auction They will be posting videos and photos of the horses by Friday, April 23 but you will need version 7 player to see them.  there is a link to download a free version in their Help section.  IF YOU ARE PRE-REGISTERED to bid (see our auction link for forms and details) on Sunday, April 25 on  you can bid on-line through them! This is their first horse auction (They have specialized in other types of auctions before).

Tom Byrne: took some amazing photos at the VIP Preview on April 17. To see the file click HereHe will be taking photos at the Ag Field Day Show and Auction too!

April 22, 2010
The weather forcast for Saturday, April 24 is looking good! Come see the young horses perform "in hand" for their students 10AM-12 noon and play at liberty in the pastures on College Farm Rd, Cook Campus during the Annual Ag Field Day events from noon to 4PM when Dr. Ralston and students will be in the red horse barn to answer your questions and show you the horses.

We are on the Equine Journal Website! Go to: and look at "Breaking News".

Click Here for the Auction Brochure. The Auction will be held rain or shine on Sunday April 25.

April 26, 2010


We couldn't have asked for more cooperative weather on Saturday; between the sunshine and impressive performances by students and horses alike, Ag Field Day was a success! The winners of each class are posted below. Photos will be posted soon.

Grooming Class, Fillies:
First Place: RU Rambling Rose- shown by Rebecca Freiday, groomed also by Sharielle Lawrence -Cadet
Second Place: RU Genesis- shown by Catherine Ruesch, groomed also by Jackie Teson

Grooming Class Geldings:
First Place: RU Woodstock - shown by Carly Painter, also groomed by Devan Murphy
Second place: RU Casanova - Shown by Elizabeth Gibbs, also groomed by Dana Delfino
Grand Champion Grooming Class: RU Rambling Rose
Reserve Champion: RU Casanova

Novice Handling:
First place: Lauren Wheeler with RU Brisa
Second Place: Taleen Terjanian with RU Honky Tonk

Advanced Handling:
First Place: Rebecca Freiday with RU Rambling Rose
Second Place: Carley Painter with RU Woodstock
Grand Champion Handling: Carly Painter showing RU Firedance
Reserve Champion: Rebecca Freiday showing RU Casanova

Although the weather on Sunday was less than desirable, the auction was equally successful. All of the horse sold to good homes and will be leaving the Red Barn within the next 10 days!
Details will be posted soon.

Dr. Ralston has decided to continue the program! We will need sponsors for the 2010-2011 class of 6 to 8 BLM Mustangs! Stay tuned for details...

May 18, 2010
The auction was a success and there was a lot of interest in the mustangs.  Click HERE to see the final results of the sale and where the 2010 graduates went this year-all to very good homes!
Not one of them had more than minor hesitations about getting onto a wide variety
of trailers (Everything from standard two horse bumper hitch with ramps to huge stocktrailers!) to go to their new homes. We were very proud of them all.

They are all settling in nicely in their new homes, though Shivna and Brisa decided to jump fences (with variable success) to join other RU graduates on the farms they now call home and Casanova decided it was too scary to walk by a chainsaw being used (who could blame him?) and ran to hide behind a mare in another field...No harm done, just a lot of laughter at his expression!

We will be posting updates on their webpages as they come in over the summer.

June 13, 2010
RU Canella's foal was born June 12, 2010 and it's a Female mule !
Her owners, Kathy and Kurt Landis report:
"Well Canella FINALLY had her baby at 4;30 on june 12th and its a girl--LANDIS END FARMS NEVADA MAGIC--OR MAGGIE FOR SHORT --look at the pictures she is the cutest baby in the world (we are a "liitle" predjudice)  mom and baby are resting comfortabley and are doing very nicely and we are very relieved that thy are both healthy. Thanks for everyones support we will keep you posted on her progress." 
RU Canella looking very smug  about her special baby, LANDIS END FARMS NEVADA MAGIC!
Photo by K. Landis



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