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Serving: IA
woman on horse with barn in background
EQUINE EDUCATION: A new course offered by ISU Extension is designed to educate and encourage women horse owners.

Horse course geared toward women equine owners

Four-session course covers business risks of raising, handling and marketing healthy horses.

No doubt about it, women are the majority owners and caretakers of horses.

In Iowa, horse ownership is big business, with nearly 55,000 horses, ponies, mules and donkeys on more than 9,000 farms. The state’s total annual sales of equine amounted to $19.7 million, ranking Iowa 11th in the nation, as reported by USDA’s 2017 Census of Agriculture.

Recognizing the value of Iowa’s equine, a group of Iowa State University educators and private industry professionals will hold a four-session course called “Women Managing Horses.” The course begins Nov. 14 and will cover the major business risks of raising, handling and marketing healthy horses, as well as provide opportunities for participants to interact with some of the state’s most qualified equine experts. The course is designed for women of all ages and experience levels.

“The ‘Women Managing Horses’ course is a unique program offering information on business finance, as well as horse care concepts,” says Peggy Auwerda, associate professor in animal science and an ISU Extension equine specialist. “Some of the topics are cost of production, marketing strategies, insurance, nutrition, environmental management and veterinary care.”

The course provides research-based information and decision tools to help women manage their equine business.

“Peggy Auwerda has put together a course that is very relevant to horse owners. I'm proud her new course is inspired by Annie's Project and uses many of the same key principles, such as a focus on risk management, local guest speakers and participant involvement,” says Madeline Schultz, program manager for Women in Ag at ISU.

Participants will receive a workbook, and sessions will be held Nov. 14, Nov. 21, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12. Each session lasts three hours at the ISU Extension and Outreach Wright County office in Clarion. A meal will be shared at 5:30 p.m., and sessions start at 6 p.m.

Cost of the course is $75 and includes all printed materials. Register online by Nov. 12, or contact Sarah Zwiefel, outreach and marketing coordinator for ISU Extension in Wright County. She can be reached at 515-532-3453, or

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