Operationalizing the Horse Farm Improvement Program for New York State

The Horse Farm Improvement Program (HFIP) aims to improve equine welfare and farm sustainability in New York State. This internship project builds upon the work of a former intern and aims to create a functioning evaluation program and educational resource for NYS equine operations. The HFIP encompasses nine evaluation areas, including horse health, biosecurity, manure management, nutrient management, pasture management, human safety, business management, facilities, and environmental sustainability. The project's next stage involves enrolling equine farms in New York State to serve as pilot farms for the continued development of the evaluation program. This will involve conducting pilot evaluations and integrating feedback from barn owners to refine and improve the program. Additionally, the project aims to educate county-based extension personnel at CCE Livingston County and the surrounding area to effectively utilize the evaluation program in assisting equine farm owners in the region.

The program will serve as a valuable resource for equine farms in Livingston County, providing guidance and recommendations for improving horse health, farm management practices, and overall equine welfare. The intern's efforts will contribute to the long-term sustainability and success of the local equine industry, benefiting both horses and the individuals involved in the industry in Livingston County and the surrounding region.

Roles and responsibilities 

The intern will play a significant role in the development of the Horse Farm Improvement Program. Responsibilities will include contacting and coordinating with barn owners and managers, conducting interviews and farm assessments, and integrating findings to create recommendations for barn owners. Depending on the intern's interests, they may also contribute to the development of resource- or animal-based measures within the program.

The selected intern will gain experience in conducting scientific literature reviews, summarizing findings, and presenting ideas in written and oral formats. This internship offers a unique opportunity to contribute to a lasting extension project that will benefit horses and the horse industry for years to come.

Qualifications and previous coursework

This opportunity is available to non-graduating students in Cornell University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

  • Previous experience working with horses or in the horse industry is desired
  • Completion of ANSC 2650 (Equine Biology and Management) is preferred
  • The selected intern will be required to drive on behalf of the summer project and will need to have reliable transportation

Learning outcomes 

By the end of the internship, the student should be able to:

  • Describe the makeup of the New York State equine industry
  • Conduct a thorough scientific literature search and integrate findings into a comprehensive literature review
  • Engage effectively with equine industry members, including barn owners, managers, trainers, and extension personnel
  • Perform equine farm assessments
  • Recommend appropriate resource- or animal-based measures for on-farm welfare assessments
  • Integrate evaluation findings and scientific literature into actionable recommendations for horse barn owners and managers
  • Present findings in written and oral formats