Mizzou born and bred
Online auction offers horses raised by faculty and students
Jennifer Havens, a sophomore in animal sciences, leads Hippo, a Palomino mare, out of the MU Horse Farm stable before feeding time begins and daylight ends.
On an autumn afternoon, dust rises up around the hooves of sauntering horses and captures the fading light. A small group of students catch, halter and groom the horses. The students — some volunteers, some working for class credit in barn management and horse marketing — know the horses well.
Jennifer Havens, a sophomore in animal sciences, comes out two days a week for the class and volunteers another day each week. Havens has been working with the animals since January. She talks to them affectionately as she catches them and slips a harness over their heads. This is her first experience with horses.
“They (the horses) are very, very friendly,” says Marci Jennings, equine instructor. “The students have taken a lot of time to gentle these horses down and make them easy to go out and catch.”
Volunteers Jonathan Koch, Tracey Fogerty and instructor Marci Jennings release Ally, Gator, Hippo and Squeak from the MU Horse Farm stable to an adjacent gated pasture. All horses except Squeak are for sale in an online auction.
The Mizzou horse program has held auctions in the past, but this is the first time for an online offering. Jennings hopes to attract a broader base of bidders and to make the process fair for everyone. In the past, a silent auction made it impossible for bidders to know where they stood.
The farm costs between $40,000 and $45,000 a year to operate. Money raised from the sale goes directly back into the farm to help pay for feed and vaccinations, and to buy supplies for teaching labs that allow students to work hands-on with the horses.
From noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 11 at the MU Horse Farm, 4400 E. New Haven Rd., there will be a public inspection of the horses.
“The students who have been working with them (the horses) will be there to take them out and show them off. It’s a really good thing for the students to be able to interface with the public,” Jennings says.
Update Nov. 14, 2007: The auction has ended. Seven of the nine horses were sold, earning $8,450 for the Mizzou equine program. One horse, Godiva, sold for $2,550.