I can almost smell the scents of Thanksgiving in the air! Can you believe Thanksgiving is almost upon us? As you might guess, Thanksgiving is one of my very favorite holidays. What’s not to like? You get to eat all sorts of yummy food, spend time with friends and family, and take time to reflect on the blessings in your life! To me, that sounds like the perfect combination. Of course, the Thanksgiving feast holds a special place in my heart (even though doughnuts are not usually considered part of a traditional Thanksgiving meal).

Where has the fall semester gone? I can’t believe our annual Evening of Science and Celebration is here. You’re invited to attend this fun event! Join us on Thursday, November 11th from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM for a program packed full of science. You can also help us celebrate the evening’s award winners. The event will be fully virtual and is free to all! You will need to register for the event beforehand. You can do so at https://go.rutgers.edu/Evening2021.

I can’t wait for fall to fully arrive. Those mornings with a hint of crispness in the air make me want to kick up my heels and take off across the field! I also love to see the fun fall decorations people put up. Some of them can be a little scary, especially if they rattle in the wind. I must admit, though, those scary decorations give me the perfect excuse to show off my moves in front of the ladies. Do you know how quickly I can do a spin and launch into a gallop? It’s fast. While all of these antics are fun, my mind quickly turns to food. I’ve got to replenish all that energy I expended on the fun and games! 

I have an exciting post for you this week! I decided it was time to dive back into my series on careers in the equine industry. This week I interviewed one of our very own, Dr. Kenneth McKeever. Dr. McKeever is an equine physiologist who works at Rutgers University as a Professor in the Department of Animal Sciences and the Associate Director for Research at the Equine Science Center. If you’ve ever been to one of our events such as the Evening of Science and Celebration, you might have heard him talk about his research or a related topic.

Things have been busy at the Equine Science Center. Our students have returned to campus, and they have filled it with such positive energy! Our labs have also been busy as research projects get under way or continue. Sometimes I have to take a quick cat nap just thinking about all the fun things going on. It can be exhausting. One of the ongoing research projects is our big project with veterans and horses. I know I’ve given you some hints in the past about this wonderful project. Today, though, we’re going to set off on an investigative journey to take a deep dive into one particular aspect of this project. Journey along with me as I learn about heart rate and heart rate variability.

It’s been a while since I set out on an investigative journey. I decided it is once again time to break out my sleuthing skills. What fun and exciting topic will we explore this week? Microchipping! Do you know what microchipping is? How about why we might use a microchip? Don’t fear. If you don’t know the answers, I’ll fill you in on everything I learned in my investigation.

It’s hard to believe.  Back to school season is upon us once again.  I’m excited to see students repopulating the campus as we prepare for classes and our students’ return here at the Equine Science Center.  Most of us associate school with learning, after all, that is its primary purpose.  Most people have some idea of how they learn and retain information.  What do you know about how horses learn, though?  I thought I’d take a short dive into the research on learning and cognition in horses and report back to you. 

You may have met Jennifer Weinert-Nelson, a Ph.D. candidate here at the Equine Science Center. While she has been a student at Rutgers, she has helped me out on lots of projects! She even had a hand in creating the new Equine Science 4 Kids! activity book. While Mrs. Weinert-Nelson spends plenty of time here at the Equine Science Center, she’s also completed some pretty cool research utilizing the pastures at the Ryders Lane Farm. She is close to completing her research and wrapping up her time here at Rutgers. I thought this would be the perfect time to learn a little more about what she has been working on.

If you remember, we visited with a 4-H Agent a couple of a weeks ago to explore another career in the equine industry. Well, I’m back with another installment in the equine careers series. We’re going to take a few moments to visit with another 4-H Agent. It’s always helpful to hear about careers from a couple of different perspectives as you’ll often learn different things from different people.

I’m back once again to report on a career in the equine industry. You’ve probably noticed we host many events in conjunction with the New Jersey 4-H program. I’ve always thought being a 4-H agent would be fun. You get to interact with kids and horses all the time! What’s not to like about that job description? I decided to take a deeper dive into the life of a 4-H agent. Keep reading for an interview with Carol Ward, a 4-H agent in Somerset County.