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UT Extension Equine Specialist Visits West Tennessee


By Nancy Brannon, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor Dr. Jennie Ivey is the new University of Tennessee Extension Equine Specialist. Her particular interests are equine nutrition and pasture management. She was in west Tennessee April 6-7, 2016 for visits with local hay growers and horse folks in the western region. She was guest at Warner Speakman’s farm on Warren Road in Somerville on Wednesday and guest at Masterson Farms in Somerville on Thursday. Her travels took her to Dyer County on the evening of April 7th. She was accompanied by her colleague Tiffany Howard, who will be assisting Dr. Ivey in building and re-energizing the equine program in Tennessee. Howard is stationed in Spring Hill, TN and Ivey is stationed in the Brehm Animal Science Building on the UT campus in Knoxville, TN.

At Masterson Farms, guests were treated to a tour of the farm, the breeding barn, and the show barn, getting to see some of the gorgeous show horses the Mastersons have in training and the new foals just born this month. Ivey was particularly interested in talking with property manager David Mitchell, who might be called the “head hay honcho,” about his alfalfa hay. Masterson Farms has 52 acres in alfalfa and Mitchell said they get five cuttings per year. The other main hay Masterson grows is orchard grass. Ivey was interested in the baleing process, moisture content of the hay when baled, how it stored, and how it retains its nutritional content. Warner Speakman also talked about hay growing for horses with Ivey and showed her his newly designed hay feeder.

Ivey’s current Extension project is the Tennessee Horse Master program, which will use a combination of classroom teaching and hands-on experience to educate horse owners and enthusiasts on a wide variety of equine-related topics. She’s compiling course materials to be bound in a notebook provided to each participant, soliciting sponsors and speakers, and plans to offer the first sessions this fall. Broad categories of information include: Horse Ownership and General Equine Knowledge, Equine Nutrition and Feeding, Pasture Management, Equine Environmental Impact, Manure Management, Economics of Horse Ownership, and Equine Health and Preventative Care. A variable category is “Hot Topics and Equine Training.”

The course will provide science-based objective information that can be used to develop or expand folks’ existing knowledge base. Tennessee is home to an estimated over 110,000 equines, each of which requires proper care, management, shelter, and nutrition. The program will help participants improve their equine management practices.

One important thing that all horse owners can do right away is to take part in the Tennessee Equine Censes. The current census was taken in 2004, so updated figures are essential to gather information on equine population, economic impact, and management practices. Accurate census information is important for securing future programming, funding, and educational resources for horses and other equids.  Register online at and take the survey. It will only take a minute.

This web site also has a wealth of other information. Click on the link to find out more about the Tennessee Master Horse Program. Or browse educational resources on a dozen topics. On the home page the Calendar of Current Events keeps you up to date with clinics, 4-H activities, and all kinds of horse-related events. You can even ask your extension agent a question. Their facebook page supplements the website with current updates on what’s happening.

Do you miss Dr. Frederick Harper’s Horse Express? For over four decades he provided the horse industry, over 100 million people, with factual unbiased, useful information. Now there’s a new publication to take its place: Tennessee Horseman, a source of science-based information for horse owners. The second issue, Spring 2016, is now available, as well as the inaugural Winter 2016 issue. Print copies are available, or read them online at the website.
There’s a lot going on at the UT Institute of Agriculture (UTIA). Find more about Dr. Ivey and how to contact her at:

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