The Rutgers Equine Science Center (ESC) provided information and entertainment to its many guests at the annual Equine Science Update, which was held at the Cook Campus Center on the G.H. Cook Campus. The evening was deemed a success as faculty and staff provided an update of their current and on-going research projects.
The engaging evening of equine science began with an energetic account of the importance of rider safety by Cape May County 4-H member Katie Washart. Katie's presentation, "Hats, Helmets, and Everything In Between," emphasized the need for awareness and proper safety precautions when riding a horse.
The partnership between the ESC and 4-H was further evidenced by the New Jersey 4-H Horse Project Advisory Committee (HPAC) presenting the ESC with a financial gift of support. Helen Ferraro and Estella Almeida, HPAC Program Leaders, issued a challenge to all guests in attendance to also be creative in developing ways to support the ESC.
Guests were then treated to an unexpected surprise when Rutgers University Mounted Patrol officer Emily Ghods and her horse Dodgeball made a guest appearance and captured the full attention of everyone in the conference room. A tearful Karyn Malinowski, PhD, ESC director, acknowledged that, true to the mission of the ESC, the Mounted Patrol officers are also committed to the care, well-being, and performance of horses and the equine industry.
The celebrations continued as the ESC presented its "Spirit of the Horse" award to Linda Toscano, one of the most successful female trainer in harness racing history. The "Spirit of the Horse" award recognizes individuals whose lives have been profoundly changed because of their involvement with horses and who have acknowledged the impact by giving back to the horse industry.
The second award presentation for the evening, the inaugural "Gold Medal Horse Farm 2013" award, was presented to Bix DiMeo and Showplace Farms. A collaborative new initiative between the ESC and the New Jersey Department of Agriculture, the Gold Medal Horse Farm award recognizes outstanding management and calls attention to how the New Jersey equine industry helps to maintain the beauty of the Garden State.