Press Release: Annual “Evening of Science & Celebration” to Showcase Equine Research and Award Presentations

New Brunswick, N.J. – The Rutgers Equine Science Center will host its 2021 “Evening of Science & Celebration” on Thursday, November 11 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm. Out of an abundance of caution, the event will be held virtually and is completely free to all participants.

The Evening of Science and Celebration is an opportunity to unite equine professionals, horse owners, farm owners and barn managers, educators and students, 4-H members, and all equine enthusiasts for the purpose of learning about current projects and ongoing research initiatives being conducted at the Equine Science Center. The Center aims to address horse industry issues and challenges through sound-science and research.

This year the Center is also celebrating its 20th Anniversary, and will showcase pictures highlighting important milestones over the years. This timeline will not only cover the 20 years since the Center’s creation, but also highlight the foundational events which led to the Center’s creation.

For our keynote, Dr. Sarah White-Springer from Texas A&M University will join the Center to present “The Mighty Mitochondria: The Importance of Muscle Health for Optimal Equine Performance.” Her talk will focus on research that she has conducted using elite equine athletes to help optimize their performance, and even help predict performance in young horses.

Event Flyer

Dr. White-Springer is an Assistant Professor of Equine Physiology in the Equine Section of the Department of Animal Science. Her main passion is discovering means by which to improve performance and reduce injury in equine athletes. Her primary focus is mitochondrial adaptations to diet and exercise, and skeletal muscle bioenergetics. Dr. White-Springer teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Equine Exercise Physiology and Equine Nutrition. She also advises Animal Science MS and Ph.D. graduate students.

In addition to her academic pursuits, Dr. White-Springer is an avid equestrienne, competing in upper-level dressage with her own mare. The pair has received two National Top Ten awards and over 50 Regional Championships, Reserve Championships, and Top Five awards.

Dr. Karyn Malinowski, Founding Director of the Equine Science Center, will give her yearly update on the state of the Center, and give an overview of the accomplishments that have occurred over the last year.

Skylar Cooper, a member of the New Jersey 4-H Horse Project, will be giving the 4-H presentation titled “Horses, Donkeys, and Zebras – Oh My!” Ms. Cooper will be giving the same presentation at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup taking place from November 5-7, 2021, in Louisville, Kentucky.

Research updates will be provided by recent graduate Dr. Jennifer Weinert-Nelson, and Ph.D. Candidate Ellen Rankins, both from the Rutgers Endocrinology and Animal Biosciences Program. Dr. Weinert-Nelson will present on her multi-year study on pasture research, and Ms. Rankins will present on her current research study looking at the effect of equine assisted activities on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The evening will also include the presentations of the “Spirit of the Horse” award, and the “Gold Medal Horse Farm” award.

Assemblyman Ronald S. Dancer, the Assemblyperson from the New Jersey’s 12th Legislative District, and Deputy Republican Leader in the New Jersey Assembly, is the 2022 recipient of the “Spirit of the Horse” award. This award recognizes persons whose lives have been impacted by their involvement with horses and who continue to give back to horses and the equine industry.

Assemblyman Dancer has served in the New Jersey General Assembly since 2002. He is a former horseman, trainer, driver, and the son of the late Hall of Fame harness horse racing driver Stanley Dancer. Assemblyman Dancer professionally raced and trained harness horses from 1968 through 1998.

Assemblyman Dancer has served on numerous equine related boards and organizations over the years including: Director and Vice President of the New Jersey Standardbred Breeder’s and Owner’s Association, Director of The New Jersey Department of Agriculture Standardbred Sire Stakes Board of Trustees, United States Trotting Association Director representing New Jersey, and as a former New Jersey Horse Racing Commissioner.

He has also worked to ensure the sustainability of the equine industry in New Jersey having sponsored the legislation authorizing the State leasing of Meadowlands and Monmouth Park Racetracks to the private sector, and advocating for the State budget line-item grants that have been made to the Rutgers Equine Science Center.

Assemblyman Dancer is also a veteran of the United States Army, and continues to be an avid supporter of the Equine Science Center’s research into equine assisted activities for veterans with PTSD. “Assemblyman Dancer emulates the type of person this award was meant to recognize,” said Dr. Karyn Malinowski. “The Equine Science Center appreciates all Assemblyman Dancer has done for the New Jersey Horse Industry.”

The 2021 winner of the Gold Medal Horse Farm award is Topline Farm. Located in Alexandria Township, New Jersey, Topline promotes a “emphasis on top quality care for horses, safe horsemanship and riding, and creating a friendly, low-key but professional farm that people want to visit.” The farm, consisting of 10 acres, includes an 8-stall barn, 80 x 180 indoor riding arena and several run-in sheds located among 9 paddocks.

The event requires registration that can be made online at: .

For additional information, please contact the Equine Science Center at 848-932-9419 or Kyle Hartmann at

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The New Jersey Gold Medal Horse Farm Program
The award and this overall program give recognition to outstanding equine farms for their dedication to environmental sustainability and management. It also underscores the efforts of the New Jersey equine industry to maintain the beauty of the Garden State.

The program is a collaborative initiative by the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University (NJAES), the Rutgers Equine Science Center, and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture (NJDA).

Topline Farm joins The Centenary University Equestrian Center (2020), Fair Winds Farm (2019), Mortonhouse Farm (2018), Dorsett Arabians (2017), Hidden Hills Farms (2016), Lord Stirling Stables (2015), Woodhollow Farm (2014), D’Arrigo Racing Stable LLC (2013) and Showplace Farms (2012) as the state’s only Gold Medal Horse Farms. Farm owners interested in applying for next year’s award may access the application at: