University of Kentucky unveils new Aged Horse Care and Education Facility

The new center was created to help lead breakthroughs in senior horse care and train the next generation of scientists

The Linda Mars Aged Horse Care and Education Facility, located on the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s C. Oran Little Research Farm in Versailles, Kentucky, is now officially open.

The Linda Mars Aged Horse Care and Education Facility will help lead breakthroughs in care for older horses. Photo by Matt Barton, UK Agricultural Communications

The new center was created to help lead breakthroughs in care for older horses, a demographic making up approximately one-third of the worldwide horse population. Additionally, the space will help train the next generation of scientists and serve as an important resource for the university’s equine undergraduate students.    

According to an Aug. 25 news release from the University of Kentucky, support from philanthropist and avid horsewoman Linda Mars made the facility possible. 

“By supporting the enhancement of our scientific knowledge, I hope more horses around the world will be able to grow old gracefully, remain healthy, active and enjoy a high quality of life in their older years,” Mars said. 

State-of-the-art space

Gluck Equine Research Center associate professor Amanda Adams established the University of Kentucky’s Aged Horse Research Program. Adams, who specializes in caring for senior horses, is also an adjunct faculty member at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. She established and supports a herd of aged horses with conditions ranging from pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction (more commonly known as Cushing’s disease) and obesity to equine metabolic syndrome and insulin dysregulation. 

“We are thrilled that the facility is now open and that we can put it to good use. We need this space to support our efforts and in training the next generation of scientists,” Adams said. “The best part of the ceremony was Linda Mars leading the first senior horse into the new facility. I am incredibly thankful for her dedication and love of senior horses.” 

The new facility features state-of-the-art laboratory space to support Adams’ onsite research program, allowing previously unfeasible studies. The facility will also house teaching and workshop space for 40 graduate and undergraduate students and serve as home to the MARS EQUESTRIAN™ Scholar program. The space will host small public workshops focusing initially on topics such as the care of aging horses, nutrition, management and endocrine diseases. 

‘Exciting addition’

“For the past 20 years Mars Horsecare, via the WALTHAM™ Equine Studies Group, has been proudly helping to lead the way with numerous global research collaborations to support the well-being, performance and longevity of senior horses and ponies,” said Pat Harris, head of the WALTHAM™ Equine Studies Group. “The new the Linda Mars Aged Horse Care and Education Facility is an extremely exciting addition to our resources to help us expand and share knowledge to support our mission to make the world a better place for horses.” 

The mission of the Gluck Center is scientific discovery, education and dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of the health and well-being of horses. Gluck Center faculty conduct equine research in seven targeted areas: genetics and genomics, immunology, infectious diseases, musculoskeletal science, parasitology, pharmacology, therapeutics and toxicology and reproductive health. The Gluck Equine Research Center, a UK Ag Equine Program, is part of the Department of Veterinary Science in the Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment at the University of Kentucky.  


Note: This press release is an edited version of a release written for the University of Kentucky Martin-Gatton College of Agriculture, Food and Environment by Holly Wiemers.

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