Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension bring the resources of Virginia’s land-grant universities to the people of the Commonwealth and beyond through Virginia Agricultural Experiment Stations. The Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center is one of 11 centers located in Virginia.
The MARE Center has a number of projects, programs, and regular events to connect equine land managers and horse owners with the latest science-based information promoting equine and environmental wellbeing.
Best Management Practices Model Farm
The MARE Center has a model farm demonstration project aimed at providing a showcase for different equine grazing management and facilities design systems. The Best Management Practices (BMP) model farm features two grazing systems: one continuous grazing system where horses are in one paddock year-round, and one rotational grazing system where horses are rotated between four paddocks periodically and have access to both stone and vegetative heavy-use areas. Visitors learn about the effects of these grazing systems on forage quality, productivity, weed management, and the different ways the fencing types may be adapted to fit their situation.
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Spotlight on Stewardship: Equine Land Management Symposium
The health of our horses and the health of our land are inextricably tied, and despite a downward trend in the overall number of farms in the Old Dominion, the number of horse farms is greater now than it was two decades ago. As the costs of feed, land, and infrastructure rise, horse owners need innovative, cost-effective solutions to maximize the well-being of their horses and preserve their land. To address these needs, the MARE Center and the National Sporting Library & Museum partner each year to present the Spotlight on Stewardship: Equine Land Management Symposium.
The symposium—held on-site at both the MARE Center and National Sporting—combines cutting-edge science with hands-on learning experiences and the inimitable rich-ness of Middleburg’s equestrian culture.
Industry-driven Programs and Events
Educational seminars and events at the MARE Center provide the equine community with the latest information and results of cutting-edge research related to the health and well-being of horses. Topics are selected to address common industry questions or problems that are faced by horse owners and professionals.
Program focus often includes pasture management and nutrition, updates on various medical conditions including medical and therapeutic treatments, and breeding management. Business practices, including legal and financial considerations as well as advertising and marketing, and youth education have also been presented.