College students and Thoroughbreds learn from each other at University of Kentucky

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UK's Maine Chance Farm UK's Maine Chance Farm

Among the myriad of consignors at Fasig-Tipton’s February sale this year was the University of Kentucky, which operates a small breeding program at its Agricultural Experiment Station commonly known as Maine Chance Farm. Although the program produces Thoroughbreds and sells them commercially, its primary goals are to give students practical experience handling horses and to generate breeding stock for nutrition, parasitology, and physiology studies.

Seven to nine students, some of them animal science majors, some pre-vet majors, work at the farm from foaling season through sales season each year to get a look at the full production cycle of a typical breeding farm.

“It encompasses the industry as a model from beginning to the end,” said Bryan Cassill, farm manager at Maine Chance told Thoroughbred blog Talk of the Track.

Mares, stallions, and stallion seasons are donated to the farm, which has received tremendous support from the industry in recent years. 

Students who work at Maine Chance take an assigned yearling through the process of sales prep for several weeks, and show them for potential buyers at Fasig-Tipton’s October and February sales. Many students track their horse’s progress after it is sold. Two of the program’s horses are stakes-placed.

“I came to the University not knowing a lot about horses, and Maine Chance has been my way of learning the ins and outs of the business,” said Matt, a senior at UK.

The farm property was originally owned by Elizabeth Arden in the 1960s and includes many of the original buildings, which are still in use.

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  • nu-fan

    Just wondering:  Could all the schools with equine veterinary medicine (as well as some ag schools) take in a lot of those horses that are no longer wanted?  Seems that this would help save quite a few horses as well as give that much more learning experience for these veterinary students.  Then, allow the business majors to take care of adopting out the horses as well as getting contributions and donations for this program.  They would be able to put together promotional campaigns and generate a lot of great public relations and publicity.  (And, so much more interesting and rewarding than studying, yet, another case involving Proctor & Gamble.)

  • nu-fan

    Just wondering:  Could all the schools with equine veterinary medicine (as well as some ag schools) take in a lot of those horses that are no longer wanted?  Seems that this would help save quite a few horses as well as give that much more learning experience for these veterinary students.  Then, allow the business majors to take care of adopting out the horses as well as getting contributions and donations for this program.  They would be able to put together promotional campaigns and generate a lot of great public relations and publicity.  (And, so much more interesting and rewarding than studying, yet, another case involving Proctor & Gamble.)

  • Francis Bush

    Maine Chance had some great horses. If would be nice to include an article about the history of these horses. I remember several fine racers. The outcome of allowing students to participate in this fantastic endeavour. Keep up the business.

  • Francis Bush

    Maine Chance had some great horses. If would be nice to include an article about the history of these horses. I remember several fine racers. The outcome of allowing students to participate in this fantastic endeavour. Keep up the business.

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