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Tips for Expanding County Equine Extension Programming. Kristen M. Wilson Regional Extension Horse Specialist Dr. Amy O. Burk State Extension Horse Specialist Erin D. Petersen State Extension Horse Specialist. Maryland Horse Industry. Goods and services valued at $1 billion

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Tips for expanding county equine extension programming l.jpg

Tips for Expanding County Equine Extension Programming

Kristen M. Wilson

Regional Extension Horse Specialist

Dr. Amy O. Burk

State Extension Horse Specialist

Erin D. Petersen

State Extension Horse Specialist

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Maryland Horse Industry

  • Goods and services valued at $1 billion

  • 10,000 FTE jobs annually

  • 153,000 horses

  • 65,500 Marylanders are involved in the industry (not including spectators)

(American Horse Council, 2005)

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Where does Cooperative Extension fit in?

  • CES represents a distinct approach for meeting the educational needs of horse owners

  • Role of CES is to address local concerns and needs through educational programming

  • Horse Extension Specialists, county faculty and staff provide the organizational link between research-based information and equine clientele

(Kaplan, Liu, Radhakrishna, 2003)

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Steps in Program Planning

  • Identifying issues

  • Determining needs

  • Setting goals and objectives

  • Assessing resources

  • Forming a plan

  • Implementing a plan

  • Evaluating results

(Boone, 1985)

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Needs Assessment

A process for identifying gaps in results and arranging them in priority order for resolution. These gaps are discrepancies between what should be done and what are the current conditions.

(Bolton & Guion, 2002)

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Why a needs assessment?

  • Gather information about attitudes and opinions of clientele

  • Determine how clientele rank issues, opportunities and problems in order of importance and urgency

  • Give clientele a voice

  • Determine clientele's support for initiatives

  • Evaluate current programs and policies

  • End speculation about “what people are thinking” and what people really want”

(Laboratory for Community and Economic Development)

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Needs Assessment Steps

  • Determine the purpose

  • Define the goals and objectives

  • Identify the population to be surveyed

  • Determine the information needed

  • Design the instrument and procedure

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Needs Assessment Steps (con’t)

  • Prepare timeline and budget

  • Conduct pilot test

  • Collect information

  • Analyze data

  • Report findings

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Determine Purpose

  • State exactly why you are interested in conducting the study

  • Example:

    “To identify the potential needs of adult horse owners in Howard County to improve the relevance and, in turn, the effectiveness of Howard County’s Extension Horse Program”

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Goals and Objectives

  • Show what it is you want to find out about whom

  • Be specific!!

  • Examples:

    “To identify what topics and level of education horse owners are willing to be involved in.”

    “To determine where horse owners are currently obtaining educational materials.”

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Target Population

  • Be specific about the audience you want to survey

    • “Horse Owners” vs. “Adult Horse Owners”

  • Compile mailing list from:

    • Breed organizations

    • 4-H or Pony Club groups

    • Sport organizations

    • Horse publications

  • Take random sample of population

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Determine Information Needed

  • Decide if the information you need already exists

  • If so, retrieve information from the source

  • If not, need information will need to be collected

    • Mail survey

    • Web survey

    • Interviews

    • Focus groups

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Instrument Design & Procedure

  • Questionnaire design needs to be user friendly

  • Things to consider:

    • Font size

    • Paper Color

    • Wording of questions

    • Sequence of questions

  • Use of multiple contacts can help increase response rate

(Dillman, 2000)

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Survey Instrument Design

  • Keep it simple

  • Research previous studies that had similar goals and objectives

  • Check against original proposal and goals/objectives

  • Shorter instruments are less expensive to produce, distribute, collect and analyze

(Dillman, 2000)

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Mail vs. Internet Surveys

  • Mail

    • Easier to get contact lists

    • More expensive

    • More labor intensive

    • Limited technological challenges

  • Internet

    • Harder to get representative contact lists

    • Cheaper

    • Less labor intensive

    • More technology challenges

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Supplemental Documents

  • Pre-notice letter

  • Questionnaire mailing

  • Reminder postcard

  • Non-respondent questionnaire mailing

  • IRB Proposal

(Dillman, 2000)

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3 – 5 days

  • Questionnaire Mailing

    • Cover letter

    • Survey instrument

    • Return envelope

Pre-notice letter

1 - 2 weeks

Reminder Postcard

2 - 3 weeks

  • Non-Respondent Mailing

    • Cover letter

    • Survey instrument

    • Return envelope

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  • Expenses can include:

    • Copying

    • Envelopes

    • Paper / Letterhead

    • Postage

      • Pre-letter, Questionnaire Mailing, Reminder Postcard, Non-Respondent Mailing and Business Reply Envelopes

    • Internet survey generator fees

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Pilot Test

  • Small population is identified to participate

  • Participants are sent all mailings

  • Helps to identify problems with survey instrument design before the real study is conducted

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Data Collection

  • Code questionnaires to track responses

  • Send out mailings to sample population following initial timeline

  • Check off and look over questionnaires as they are returned

  • Set collection time to no more than 6 weeks

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Data Analysis

  • Code questions with numerical values

  • Enter data into statistical software

    • Excel, SPSS or SASS

  • Identify averages and/or frequency of responses

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Report Findings

  • Summarize data in a small report

  • Prioritize importance of specific topics / areas of concern

  • Identify action items and set timelines

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Extension Horse Programming:What we already know and ideas for the future

Dr. Amy Burk

Extension Horse Specialist

University of Maryland

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What are our Horse Owners Interests?

  • Majority of horses used for recreation & showing

  • Subject matter of interest to owners, ranking among top 5 in several surveys:

    • Training

    • Health and general care

    • Nutrition

    • Pasture Management

    • Facilities

(Wilson, 2005; Martinson et al., 2006)

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Subject Matter Most Asked of MD Extension Faculty


  • Pasture/Farm Management 2.94

  • Feeds & Feeding 2.45

  • Basic Care 2.39

  • Herd Health Management 2.20

  • Business Management 1.94

  • Training/Handling 1.88

  • Reproduction 1.61

Rank: 1 (never) to 5 (always)

(MCE Equine Survey, 2007)

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Information Sources and Channels Used by Horse Owners

  • Sources:

    • Trainers/Riding instructors

    • Veterinarians

    • Farriers

    • Other horse owners

  • Channels:

    • Horse related magazines

    • Internet

    • One-on-one consultations

Are Trainers &


in your target


(NAHMS, 1998; Israel and Wilson, 2006; Martinson et al., 2006)

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Things to Keep In Mind About Horse People Before You Plan…

  • Feed 7-9am; 4-6pm

  • Evening lessons

  • Horses ridden/shown on weekends

    • Show season usually April to November

      • Some show year long

      • Some travel to Florida in winter

  • Good time for some types of programs

    • Dec., Jan., Feb., March

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  • Format works well for most subjects

  • Timing:

    • Evenings - Tues, Wed, Thurs, 6:30pm to 8:30pm

    • Saturdays, 9am to 4pm

  • Hands-on demonstrations popular

  • Online methods gaining in popularity

  • Speakers

    • MCE, veterinarians, university and local experts

  • Sponsorships

    • MHIB, Mid-Atlantic Farm Credit, Feed Dealers

  • Keep fees < $35/pp

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Field Days/Pasture Walks

  • Demonstrations

    • Body condition score

    • Weed control

    • Equipment use

  • Observation of practices

    • Lime application

    • Weed ID

    • Rotational grazing

  • Presentations

Pasture walk in Montgomery Co.

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Internet/Online Methods

  • Publish resources

  • Chat Rooms

  • Online seminars

  • Online classes

  • eXtension

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  • Educational programs offer varied topics in shorter increments than used for adults

  • Teaching Tools:

    • Contests

    • Field Trips

    • Games

    • Hands-on clinics and workshops

    • Judging

    • Lectures/Guest speakers

    • Presentations by other children

    • Tours

    • Videos

Horse wearing a “nappy”

for equine nutrition research

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What Talks Could MCE Give?

  • Ask MCE faculty to give same/similar talk to those given before:

    • See handout in packet

  • Some presentation PPT’s available:


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Equine Information Resources

Erin D. Petersen, MS, PAS

Extension Horse Specialist

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In Your Packet…

  • Maryland Area Veterinarians

  • Maryland Area Farriers

  • Feed Companies in Maryland

  • Maryland Horse Shows/Events

    • What are the different riding events anyhow?

  • Resources from outside MCE

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Trail Riding…pretty self-explanatory.

Maryland Horse Council – Trail Riding Clubs

Different Riding Events…briefly explained!

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Gaited horses are popular breeds for trail riding, but they also have recognized shows

Chesapeake Plantation Walking Horse Club

Plantation Walking Horses of Maryland

Walking Horses

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Western Events… also have recognized shows

  • National Barrel Horse Association

  • Maryland Quarter Horse Association

  • 4-H

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Hunter/Jumper also have recognized shows

  • Chronicle of the Horse

  • Maryland Horse Show Association

  • Maryland Saddle Association

  • Southern Maryland Horse Show Association

  • 4-H

  • Pony Club

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Dressage also have recognized shows

  • Chronicle of the Horse

  • Potomac Valley Dressage Association

  • 4-H

  • Pony Club

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Eventing also have recognized shows

  • Chronicle of the Horse

  • US Eventing Association – Area II

  • Pony Club

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Polo also have recognized shows

  • Maryland Polo Club – plays at Ladew Polo Fields

  • 4-H

  • Pony Club (Polocrosse)

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Websites, Publications also have recognized shows

  • Horse Outreach Workgroup

    • Group within Maryland Department of Agriculture

    • Composed of:

      • Soil Conservation Personnel

      • Maryland Cooperative Extension Faculty (Amy Burk, Erin Petersen, Les Vough)

      • USDA/NRCS Personnel


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Websites, Publications also have recognized shows

  • Good Factsheets:

    • University of California-Davis


    • University of Kentucky


    • Penn State University (facilties, manure)


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Websites, Publications also have recognized shows

  • Good Factsheets:

    • Rutgers University


    • Virginia Tech


    • Texas A&M University


    • Ohio State University


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Reaching Your Audience also have recognized shows

  • Horse people are tough nuts to crack!

    • Typical horse owner?

  • Use of existing programs

    • Personal finance and budgeting

    • Farm budgeting

    • Nutrient Management

    • Pesticide Certification

    • Pasture topics are always a hit

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Reaching Your Audience also have recognized shows

  • Have an event that might interest horse owners?

    • LET US KNOW!!! (Email Erin with details)

    • Equiery – “Cooperative Extension Happenings”

      • Deadline is 10th of every month for the following month (i.e., March 10th for April events)

    • Equine Studies Website – News and Events on the opening page

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Reaching Your Audience also have recognized shows

  • Keep websites up-to-date

  • Create a Newsletter/add horse owners to existing Newsletter

  • University of Maryland Equine Newsletter!

    • If you have events for the 2nd quarter in 2008, let us know soon!

    • Feel free to submit articles or suggestions for future topics

  • Fact Sheets

    • Include horse information when possible

    • Let us know of topic areas you’d like to see

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QUESTIONS? also have recognized shows