There is a new resident at the Truman State Farm — a newborn foal named Theodore.
Theodore was born at the University Farm as part of an agricultural science course in equine reproduction. Every spring, students in the practicum course learn how to breed and care for horses.
Equine instructor Emily Costello says after a gestation period of about 350 days, Theodore’s mother Etta gave birth March 23. Costello says students were at the birth to assist during the process and helped deliver a healthy foal.
Costello says the birthing process is only part of the course. She says students also learn how to artificially inseminate mares through a hands-on experience. Students then monitor the mares’ health and progression during the course.
“The Equine Reproduction Practicum class is a hands-on class for the students to learn the techniques involved in breeding and foaling out horses,” Costello says. “So they learn to palpate and inseminate mares. They learn to ultrasound, collect stallions, process semen and also, hopefully, get to be involved in the process of foaling out in mares.”
Junior Adam Keubler says the hands-on experience of helping birth a horse and monitor the entire gestation process is what helps set Truman’s agriculture science program apart from other schools. Unlike other programs, Keubler says Truman allows students to be a part of every step in the process.
“The day to day changes was, I think, the best part of it because we didn’t have to go somewhere else for a week and come back and see, ‘Oh wow! She made huge progress,’” Keubler says. “We got to see the little details and I think that was a big help to everyone because you could see the progression.”
Theodore’s own progression at Truman could lead to a career as a horse on the University’s equestrian team. For now, anyone who wants to visit Theodore can stop by the University Farm.