Before the football game kicked off against Maryland on Saturday, Penn State fans and horse-lovers alike filed into the stables located just outside Beaver Stadium for the annual Penn State Horse Barns Open House.
Two equine clubs, the Penn State Equine Research Team and the Collegiate Horseman’s Association at Penn State teamed up to provide barn tours, activities and free food for visitors during the event, which took place from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m.
Guests were also able to pet the horses, learn about the barn’s history and enter a contest to choose a new name for “CJ,” a recently born foal who could be found grazing the pasture adjacent to the barn.
Out of the 70 horses that are kept at Penn State barns altogether, 14 were chosen to be shown on Saturday, according to PSERT President Krystle Swartz.
“It’s a good opportunity to open up the barn,” Swartz (senior-animal science) said.
She also said since the barn is a bio-secure facility and normally closed to the public, there aren’t many chances to give outsiders a glimpse into their work.
Currently, PSERT is running a physiology project on the horses — and as a result, some could be seen wearing heart rate monitors.
Swartz said the organization plans on gathering data from the horses using a fitness test and comparing the results against equines across several other barns. This will allow members to gain a better understanding of the horses’ average heart rates and their overall wellness.
Guests were also able to learn about CHAPS, PSERT and the barn through fact sheets hanging up throughout the stables, as well as a diagram that mimicked the intestinal tract of a horse.
Visitors of all ages were in attendance participating in the setups and activities. While younger attendees may have preferred just to pet the horses, adults were able to talk to students and learn more about the equine science programs at Penn State.
Member of CHAPS Cheyenne Myers said that it’s “not always horse people” who attend the Open House. The event often draws in visiting fans who are curious about what is taking place outside Beaver Stadium.
“It brings in a lot of families,” Myers (junior-agricultural sciences) said.
According to the animal fact sheets at the event, Penn State has two barns on campus with 35 stalls in total. Members of PSERT and CHAPS spend a lot of time at these locations, with Myers describing the Old Horse Barn as a “second home.”
The next big fundraiser this year for both groups is the Annual Penn State Quarter Horse Sale, which occurs the weekend before finals in the spring.