Next week will be a time of picnics and relaxation for many people here in the United States. While these festivities are a fun way to spend a summer day, the fireworks lighting up the evening sky as night falls can be a cause of anxiety and concern for many. Among those who may dislike the loud noises fireworks produce are my four-legged friends. Convincing your neighbors and towns to not have fireworks is probably unrealistic, but there are still some steps you can take to keep you and your horse safe this 4th of July!

This summer is already flying by! The Month of the Horse is halfway over. I hope you enjoyed New Jersey Equestrian Safety Week and were able to purchase some new safety gear! With July quickly approaching, that means the annual Summer Showcase is also quickly approaching! Join us on Wednesday, July 13th for a fun and educational day on campus. We are back in-person this year. Yippee!!

Do you remember me promising you another exciting surprise for the Month of the Horse? Well, it’s here! This year the Month of the Horse will include an Equestrian Safety Awareness Week. Equestrian Safety Week will be June 5th through 11th this year. This is the perfect time to check your tack room and make sure all that safety equipment is up to date. If it’s not, you might want to visit your local tack store to replace or purchase what you need. Many of the New Jersey tack stores will be offering discounts. Watch our social media accounts for a full listing of the tack stores offering discounts during Equestrian Safety Week. Let’s take a quick look at some important considerations for keeping yourself safe around horses.

Boy, has this spring semester flown by. Can you believe June is only two weeks away? I certainly can’t. I looked at the calendar the other day and thought I was reading it incorrectly. My friends at the Equine Science Center assured me I was correct. In New Jersey, June is a very special month. Do you know why?

If your horse’s pasture is anything like mine, you can tell spring has arrived! My pasture is covered with tender, green shoots of new grass. Yum!! This is one of my favorite times of year to munch on the grass in my pasture. It turns out this preference of mine isn’t that surprising according to research. Non-structural carbohydrates (NSC) are highest in the spring when plants begin to grow again after being dormant in the winter. NSC is a measure of the fructans, sugars, and starches found in feedstuffs. Sugar sounds good to me, so it’s no wonder I like this fresh spring pasture! While I think this makes my pasture a paradise, these high levels of NSC can be harmful for some horses.

I am SO excited!! Ag Field Day at Rutgers Day returns as an in-person event this year after a couple of years of virtual events. I can’t wait to welcome you to campus and the Equine Exercise Physiology Laboratory. As you know, I love interacting with visitors (especially when they bring me doughnuts). Make plans to join us on Saturday, April 30th. The event begins at 10AM and will go through 4PM.

If the mounds of horse hair on the barn floor are a reliable indicator, spring has arrived. You may want to enjoy the beautiful spring weather by squeezing in a few extra rides. Spring brings its own set of responsibilities for horse owners, though. One of the items that should be at the top of your to-do list is scheduling your horse’s spring vaccinations, if you haven’t already done so. Spring vaccinations are a critical part of any good equine management plan. Putting in the time and effort to schedule vaccines now will keep your horse healthy in the coming months, giving you more time to enjoy pleasant days on horseback.

Boy, oh boy. Today is a busy day in the Rutgers Equine Science Center office! Our staff is hard at work sending out posts and emails about Rutgers Giving Day. This annual event is a major fundraising occasion for the university and Equine Science Center. This is a great day to donate because your gift can have a greater impact through matching challenges and other fun challenges the university puts on. Every little bit helps, so even if you have five dollars to donate, we’d love it if you chose to give to our research fund. UMH Properties, Inc. on behalf of Sam Landy will generously match the first $10,000 donated on Rutgers Giving Day, so your donation will have double the impact!

I think there’s hope that spring is right around the corner! Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but all my friends and I are shedding out our winter coats which means the days are getting longer. Spring will bring fresh green grass along with it. Lurking among these juicy shoots may be some plants that are harmful to your horse. It’s never a bad idea to review poisonous plants and check your pasture for them.

Fluctuating temperatures, thawing mud, and clouds of horse hair floating in the air after a good grooming session are telltale signs that spring is on the way. A good grooming session that hits all of those itchy and hard to reach spots is one of my favorite activities (it may even come close to eating sometimes)! All of these signs of spring have me looking forward to our upcoming events! The next one on the calendar is the Junior Breeder Symposium. Go ahead and mark your calendars for Saturday, March 26th!