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Conditioning Your Horse for the Show Season

Brian Neilsen, Ph.D

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Recorded on:  Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Speaker: Dr. Brian Nielsen | Michigan State University

Summary: Many factors need to be considered when determining how to best condition your horse to meet your goals for the upcoming show season. While physical conditioning plays a major role in how your horse will perform, other factors including how to avoid injuries and how to have your horse mentally prepared must also be considered. All of these items will be addressed in a format that will be applicable to most disciplines.

Presenter Information: Dr. Brian Nielsen studied Animal Science with an equine emphasis at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls and then performed his graduate work at Texas A&M University in the area of equine nutrition and exercise physiology. His M.S. research, which involved feeding a bioavailable source of silicon to young racehorses to prevent injuries, won the nutrition paper competition at the 13th Equine Nutrition and Physiology Symposium. It also earned him recognition by the TAMU Association of Former Students for “Outstanding Master’s Research.” Additionally, he won the nutrition paper competition at the 14th Equine Nutrition and Physiology Symposium with his Ph.D. work dealing with mineral balance in young racehorses entering training. Throughout his academic career, he maintained involvement in the racing industry by breaking and galloping racing Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds - including many stakes winners. Additionally, he has been a licensed trainer since 1997.

After receiving his Ph.D., he began work at Michigan State University in the Department of Animal Science where he currently is employed as an associate professor with a 40% teaching and 60% research position. Working in the area of equine exercise physiology, his research focuses on the growth and development of the equine athlete with an emphasis on the prevention of skeletal injuries to performance horses. His graduate students have won several research awards at national meetings. He teaches several senior-level courses and typically advises over 50 undergraduates. In addition, Dr. Nielsen serves as advisor to the MSU Rodeo Club and served as the charioteer for the MSU Spartan Chariot.

Dr. Nielsen is an active member of the American Society of Animal Science, the American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, and is on the board of directors for the Equine Science Society – an organization that presented him with the “Outstanding Young Equine Professional Award” in 2001. Additionally, he was awarded the Outstanding Teacher Award at the Midwest Section of the American Society of Animal Science and the American Dairy Science Association in 2005. Besides being on the editorial board for the “Journal of Animal Science”, “The Professional Animal Scientist”, and the international journal “Equine and Comparative Exercise Physiology”, he is a Diplomat in the American College of Animal Nutritionists and recently served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Horses.

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