The Equine Reproduction Lab (ERL) at Colorado State University (CSU) held their Grand Re-opening the other day, and it was quite a celebration. As the president of the university said in his remarks, CSU makes the most of adversity, and that is certainly the case for the ERL. Their main building burnt to the ground in July of 2011; no cause of the fire was ever determined. The new building is larger, and the flow of traffic for both animals and people is much smoother. More importantly, the new building enhances the ERL’s three-fold mission: education, research, and clinical service. Since I’ve benefited from two of those three, I was especially pleased to attend the celebration.
My first experience with the ERL was back in 2005 when we took their artificial insemination course. We saw great improvements in the facilities for collection and AI in this new building over the old one. My second experience with the ERL was last summer when I took my Fell Pony stallion Guards Apollo there to be collected. At that time we saw the new building rising from the ashes of the old one. On our tour the other day, we saw the cryo-tanks where Apollo’s semen is stored.
The end of the tour left us in the foaling aisle of one of the barns where a foal had been born that morning. Our tour guide was the veterinarian in charge of teaching the foaling course; I’ll have more on our conversation in a future blog post. I found myself chuckling a little at the idea of people teaching a foaling course; I feel lucky that a bunch of great mares have taught me about foaling!
In addition to the formal presentation and tour of the new facility, I was pleased to have the opportunity to re-connect with Dr. Eileen Hackett, who examined Mya the Wonder Pony last fall. I thanked Dr. Hackett for dealing with my tears that day and for her advice that has made such a difference in Mya’s life and mine.
I also was pleased that we took the time to walk through the stallion barn. The only stallions that caught my eye were in the last two stalls. They had bone and substance that nicely balanced their size, and they had very attractive heads. I was quite proud of myself when I correctly identified them as baroque or Foundation Morgans. You just don’t see that many around; according to the Foundation Morgan website, as few as 13% of the breed are the foundation type. I’ve probably seen twenty Morgans during my equine career, and only three were foundation-type. As someone interested in versatile equines, it was a thrill to see these well-built animals.
By far the highlight of our visit to the ERL was reconnecting with Paula Moffett, with the Stallion Reproductive Services program. Paula was the one I worked with last summer when I had Apollo collected, and at the time she said how much she liked him. I found out the depth of that affection when we spoke at the open house; she shared that she keeps a photograph that I took of her with Apollo right next to her computer in her office where she can easily see it. I took a picture of the picture to confirm it!
Apparently the rebuilding of the ERL is the first step in implementing a new project at CSU: The Equine Institute. I look forward to hearing more and am glad to be associated with the ERL.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2013