UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Ag Progress Days is a great place for horse lovers of all ages. During the three-day event, Aug. 14-16, visitors can attend breed demonstrations, clinics and much more.
"People really enjoy the variety of activities and horses we offer at the Equine Experience," said Brian Egan, instructor in equine science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences. "From miniature horses to draft horses, the horse arena is always a popular destination at Ag Progress Days, and we're looking forward to another successful year."
Education is a pivotal part of the schedule, Egan noted, and this year is no exception. Several clinics on horsemanship skills and handling and training of young horses will take place at the Equine Arena, located at the top of Main Street at the Ag Progress Days site.
In addition, Penn State Equine Science faculty and staff and members of the Pennsylvania Equine Council will be available in the Equine Exhibits Building throughout the three days to answer questions and provide information on equine-related topics.
New this year, horse owners can join Penn State Extension's equine team at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. daily to learn about fecal egg counts. These tests are important to monitor a horse's parasite load and can help owners plan an appropriate deworming schedule, Egan said. Visitors can bring a sample of their horse's manure to be tested at no charge. Samples must be fresh (less than 12 hours old) and kept cold (refrigerate at home; bring in a cooler to test).
Draft horse hitch demonstrations by Spring Mount Percherons of Tyrone will take place daily, as will miniature horse performances by the Capital Area Therapeutic Riding Association Youth Ambassadors. Visitors can meet members of the State Police Mounted Patrol and watch the Centre County 4-H Drill Team perform.
There will be breed demonstrations of Arabian horses as well as working equitation clinics with Andalusian horses. Carriage racing demonstrations by Grey Horse Stable, of Gettysburg, will return to Ag Progress Days this year, along with Rick Shafer and R & S Paso Finos, of Somerset.
The Percheron hitch and miniature horses will take center stage during the "Salute to America Evening Extravaganza," slated for Wednesday beginning at 6 p.m. Joining them in the arena that night will be the Keystone Dressage and Combined Training Drill Team. Also included in the extravaganza is the inaugural Miniature Horse Jumping Derby.
The annual Penn State Equine Science Horse Quiz Bowl, in which 4-H teams can test their equine knowledge against peers, will take place Thursday.
Sponsored by Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, Ag Progress Days is held at the Russell E. Larson Agricultural Research Center at Rock Springs, 9 miles southwest of State College on Route 45. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 14; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 15; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Aug. 16. Admission and parking are free.
For more information, visit the Ag Progress Days website. Twitter users can find and share information about the event by using the hashtag #agprogressdays, and the event also can be found on Facebook (@AgProgressDays).