MISSISSIPPI STATE, Miss. (WCBI) – A horse is a horse, of course, of course so says the theme song from a once-popular tv show, Mr. Ed.
At Mississippi State’s South Farm, there’s a course on a horse, and it’s raising the revenue for the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences.
This marketing and sales prep course has only been around for two years, and the economic affect can already be seen.
It gives students hands on experience for future business aspirations and gets horses prepared for their life in the working world.
Since August, students at MSU’s Horse Research Unit, students have had a little more responsibility than a typical college course.
“The students, they have a two-year-old horse and a yearling, both that they’re assigned to that will go to sale at the end of the semester. What they do is learn about the proper nutrition and feeding and marketing in order to get the horse to the point of sale,” said Associate Professor, Dr. Clay Cavinder.
Cavinder started this course in 2015.
Before, the Department of Animal and Dairy Sciences sold their horses without any field training.
Now, the value of each horse increases.
“As they train these horses, they are much further along, so the people that purchased them the horses have had a great start, a great foundation,” said facility supervisor, Ashley Shiffler.
“The horse is a unique animal in terms of livestock species because the added value comes from training, so this class gives our horses a more marketable stance in that they’re more valuable because they had more training,” said Cavinder.
The course isn’t just for animal and dairy majors.
Anyone from marketing majors to the occasional WCBI Reporter can ride.
The course is very hands-on.
“The things you learn how to do here is all of the groundwork prep in order to get the horse prepared to saddle, so the horses behind us, they started never having a saddle on them. So we did all of the groundwork: teach them how to lunge, walk, job, lope on the lunge line, stop, learn ground manners, we get them saddled,” said Cavinder.
and students develop relationships with their horses.
“Elwood, he’s very friendly. I love him to death. It’s going to be very hard to let him go. He’s made very much so improvements,” said student, Bailee Boling.
Since the course has been offered…
“The dollar value of our average has gone up dramitically,” said Cavinder.
…and the department has been able to expand.
“We have courses now that deal with evaluation in terms of our show horse industry, how confirmation dictates performance in our horses,” said Cavinder.
“We’ve been able to get some really great breeding, some great broodmares donated, and that’s also going to help the value of the horses when we go to sell them,” said Shiffler.
Thanks to this course, these two-year old horses will be ready for auction in November.