Lol, I never thought I would tap into the horse spirit of Secretariat. VALOR exposed me to this medium as we visited Dr. Bridgett Mcintosh, equine nutrition specialist at Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center (MARE) in Middleburg, VA. The horse farm is 400 acres of open pasture-paddocks and well-maintained. Several noteworthy things were observed:
- MARE was implementing Best Management Practices (BMP) with its fencing, artificial ground composite material to avoid mud around heavily tracked areas (barns), and watering boxes that allowed animals to get water as needed instead of a constantly running well or standing in any streams. This was very practical and allowed me to see the BMPs and make connections to the SL6 (animal fencing, buffers, etc.) initiatives that many VA soil and water districts implement, especially since I serve on the board of the Northern Neck district.
- There were several grass test-plots for equine digestibility studies. For example, the sugar content in some grasses prevents winter-time freezing, but contributes to obesity in the horses, leading to poor health.
- I was a young child when Triple Crown winner Secretariat was dominating. I grew about 45 minutes from Secretariat’s home farm, now Meadow Event Park, home to VA’s State Fair. However, we were able to see a direct bloodline relative of Secretariat. He is 29 years old and still has some “kick,” oh, yeah, he’s worth $1.2 million!
Dr. Mcintosh mentioned that he has a fox for a friend who visits regularly and we were fortunate to see the fox! I don’t exactly remember Secretariat, but he lives on……