Excitement and fall are in the air as all the students once again return to campus! This has always been one of my favorite times of year. I love visiting with the students, meeting new people, and catching up with friends as they return. You know what else the fall brings? The Open Space Pace.

I have some front-line news to share with you all today. Several cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) have been reported right here in New Jersey. This news has caused my friends at the Equine Science Center to make sure all my vaccinations are up-to-date. Now, I’m sure all of you know how much I dislike my annual vaccinations. Don’t worry, though, I always behave myself and stand quietly while the veterinarian is here. I won’t embarrass myself or my friends at the Center. I make sure all of my friends here at the Center, though, are very aware of my complaints. You can’t blame me. I mean who really enjoys a needle stick? I decided it was time I called my investigative skills into action again. I set out to learn all I could about vaccines in hopes I could rid myself of some of these vet visits throughout the year.

It’s one of my favorite times of year – time to head back to school! Can you believe there’s a hint of fall in the air and students are returning to campus? All of those returning students bring plenty of snacks and attention for me! As much as I love the food and care showered upon me, I have to admit I also look forward to having classes start because of all the cool new things I get to learn from my friends. As I look forward to heading back to school, I thought I would continue my series on careers in the equine industry by interviewing someone who decided to make a career out of teaching and discovering cool things through research.

The Equine Science Center hosted an Alumni Reunion in conjunction with the annual Hambletonian Veterinarian Continuing Education Conference. Our Center staff and students had the opportunity to join the conference and learn all about the latest in equine health and management. Then it was off to the Meadowlands Racetrack where they set-up for an evening of catching up with friends and watching live harness racing.

Oh boy, do I have a story for you guys! I LOVE clover, and my pasture was filled with it this past week. It was the best week ever! Anyway, I was minding my own business grazing, but then all of a sudden I started drooling uncontrollably! It was definitely not an attractive look, and the mares in the neighboring pasture started laughing. There was saliva everywhere! So I had to find out, what was happening???

I’ve been in a rather reflective mood lately. I guess that’s what happens when you’re as old as I am. All of this thinking has taken me back to the days when I was trying to decide what I wanted to do with my life. Boy, I sure am lucky I ended up as a part of the mounted patrol team. Can you imagine how sad I would have been without all of the opportunities to make new friends and try exotic foods? (My life would be incomplete without the donuts I’ve come to love!). My journey as a member of the mounted patrol and mascot for the Equine Science Center would have never been possible without the guidance and wisdom of my friends and mentors. Now it’s my turn to serve as a mentor and provide suggestions for YOUR future career.

The 4thof July is right around the corner. The day brings plenty of entertainment from parades to yummy food to fireworks. While most of the day sounds like a big fun party for everyone (Who can resist all the delicious treats?!), the evening can be not so much fun for your horsey friends. The fireworks are beautiful to look at, if you’re prepared. My friends and I, though, can find them terrifying and we may panic and try to run away from them.

I can feel the temperature and humidity quickly rising. While I may not enjoy the weather, I certainly am looking forward to the Summer Showcase! Make plans to join us for a fun and educational day on Wednesday, July 10th from 10am to 12pm.

This lush spring grass makes me happy. It’s a delightful treat after eating hay all winter. I’ve discovered all this grass can hold some surprises, though. In addition to my next meal, this tall grass may be home to ticks. These small arachnids cling to grass and other bushy plants waiting for someone or something to walk by, so they can hitch a ride and their next meal. These creatures can pose health concerns for horses and humans, alike.

Spring brings sunny weather and green pastures, but you know what else it brings? Mosquitoes and biting flies, of course! These pesky little insects are more than just an annoyance. They can transmit plenty of nasty diseases to your horse. To protect your horse, you’ll want to make sure it’s up to date on its vaccinations. I know, no one ever enjoys a visit to the doctor’s or veterinarian’s office. I’ve been convinced, however, a few sticks with a needle to get my vaccinations is much better than being sick.