The Equine Research Center (ERC) is located next to the W.K. Kellogg Arabian Horse Center at Cal Poly University , Pomona , California . The ERC, funded in large part by Oak Tree Racing Association, was dedicated in 1980. It offers both undergraduate and graduate students an opportunity to study horse health and function, reproductive physiology, exercise physiology, animal behavior, parasitology and immunology. Students may also study exercise physiology using a modern high-speed treadmill shared by the two centers. Students perfect their knowledge and technical skills by collecting and processing semen and embryos, growing tissue cultures, assaying hormones and analyzing scientific data. They are also instructed in the use of sophisticated computer programs that assist in the analysis of scientific data. Quality research is emphasized and student researchers are encouraged to present the results of their work at local, national and international scientific forums.
Holly M. Greene, MS
High Altitude Acclimatize in Equids : Our projects at high altitude involved taking horses, burros and mules to 12,500 feet in the White Mountains examine how these equids acclimatize to high altitude. There are several reasons this is of importance: 1) basic science--there are very few studies which have looked at equids at altitude. Knowledge gained from this study provides information basic to not only the horse, but also the biology of animals in general. 2) No one knows whether horses suffer from any form of mountain sickness. Our studies were the first to examine this question and this could be important information to the horse owner. 3) Of other interest to the horse owner is how fast equids acclimates to high altitude--again important, particularly for those in southern California interested in trailering their stock up to Bishop and then heading into the backcountry! 4) These studies also provided us with the opportunity to address the question of which equid performs better at altitude.
Locomotion and Energetics in the Horse : Another major research area focuses on the reasons horses (as well as other animals) chose a particular speed when they move. You know that when a horse trots even though it can trot slower or faster, it tends (when given its choice) of moving at the middle of this range. Suggestions as to why this is so include minimizing energy costs and reducing forces on the tendons, muscles and joints. We have investigated the effects of lomotion on metabolism, muscle function and kinematics.
Other : There are a number of other research projects and area of interest, but central to all of them is the role of educating students in the equine sciences. This past school year there were 25 students (both graduate and undergraduate) participating in these different research projects and we have collaborated with investigators from Essen, Germany, Messina, Italy, UC Boulder, UC Berkeley, SDSU, Northeastern University (Boston), and Harvard.