(post based on press release)
(St. Paul, MN)— The University of Minnesota will welcome horse lovers into its new state-of-the-art $14 million facility on Monday, October 15 at the grand opening celebration for the Louise and Doug Leatherdale Equine Center on the St. Paul campus.
The public is invited to the free event and official ribbon cutting at 2 p.m.; a procession will be led by the Ames Farm six-horse Percheron hitch. From 2:30 to 4:30 p.m., there will be demonstrations of the new high-tech systems in the 60,000 square foot facility.
“The comprehensive Equine Center has been designated as a Program of Excellence at the College of Veterinary Medicine,” said University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks. “But more than that, it meets a growing need of our state: Minnesota ranks among the top 10 states in horse population and the equine industry contributes almost $1 billion annually to the state economy, sparked by the passion and support of horse lovers like us.”
The facility will be named in honor of Louise and Doug Leatherdale of Medina, Minnesota who made a generous lead gift to the University of Minnesota. Tad and Cindy Piper of Long Lake made the lead gift for the Piper Performance Clinic, a performance medicine and reproductive clinic in the facility.
The Center’s new technology includes computerized gait analysis and high speed cameras to test for lameness, an aqua treadmill used in rehabilitation, a state-of-the-art reproduction wing and a high speed treadmill that allows a horse’s every breath and heartbeat to be monitored while galloping up to 30 mph.
The University Mounted Police unit will also be housed in the facility, which offers a conference center and indoor and outdoor arenas for demonstrations, meetings and programs by community horse organizations.