The last weekend in June was outreach time at Fair Winds Farm, in Cream Ridge, N.J., for nearly 400 visitors. Fair Winds’ owner, Mark Mullen, teamed up with Dr. Patty Hogan’s Hogan Equine Clinic, located on the grounds of the farm, to open their doors to the public and hold a workshop for future equine health professionals.
On Saturday (June 24), high school students spent the morning with Dr. Hogan at her clinic to learn how to prepare for a career in equine medicine, either as a veterinarian or a technician.
“I’m often asked by young people how to prepare for a career caring for horses,” said Hogan. “It’s not all just good grades in math and science; the best vets I know have one thing in common — they know horses — they handle them well, they know their quirks, and are just all-around great observers of horse behavior. That is something no school can teach you — it’s all experience.”
The afternoon brought a demonstration of equine massage by Suzanne D’Ambrose and a chance to try out what they learned on trotter Independent Act.
Mark Mullen gave a close look at careers in breeding farm management.
“The farm manager has to be good at many things,” said Mullen. “Horse husbandry and first aid, foaling mares, nutrition, maintenance, there is so much to attend to in order to have healthy animals.”
There was no tuition for the workshop; students were asked to bring a donation of pet food. Feral cats at Gaitway Farm training center and the Monmouth County SPCA Pet Food Bank were the beneficiaries of about 600 pounds of donated food.
On Sunday (June 25), the fourth annual Fair Winds open house brought a crowd of more than 300 people to tour the clinic, see mares and foals up close, watch farrier Tom Mulryne at work, and see a demonstration of Standardbreds in new careers by the Standardbred Pleasure Horse Organization.
Trainer Stacey Chiodo brought retired racehorse Mighty Young Joe and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation’s mare Sweet Karen showed how the trottingbred ponies teach young people about their training and care.
The $1.3 million winner, Falls For You, and her gregarious three month old son by Trixton participated in the demonstrations to educate the crowd on the “crop” that Fair Winds produces.
A team of grey Percherons pulled a wagon full of 17 different groups of visitors around the farm, with narration provided by a USTA staff member. There were also booths from the Standardbred Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, Rutgers University, FFA, 4H and the Harness Horse Youth Foundation.
by Ellen Harvey, Harness Racing Communications