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Website answers equine questions
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- No question is too hard for the equine experts available online at www.HorseQuest.info, a new interactive Web site maintained by southern region Extension specialists.
Gale Chrestman, 4-H livestock specialist with Mississippi State University's Extension Service, said equine personnel in 13 land-grant universities submitted frequently asked questions on a wide range of horse topics. Research-based answers went through a peer-review process before being added to the Web site.
"If a question is submitted that we haven't anticipated, it will be forwarded to the specialists in the region who know the most about that topic. Answers will be sent directly to the individual within about three days," Chrestman said.
Some of the frequently asked questions in Mississippi deal with acreage needed for horses, expense issues, fescue concerns, age considerations, health and vaccination programs, facility needs and feed. Unlike some sites for similar information, HorseQuest.info provides unbiased information and is free of company sponsors.
"University faculty and Extension staff know -- or know where to find -- scientific, research-based information," Chrestman said. "It's not unusual for a new horse owner to have very little experience with horses and be unsure of some of the most basic issues. The site also can help county Extension agents and knowledgeable horse owners who want the most current information available."
HorseQuest.info also contains answers to questions in the subject areas of breeding, parasites, training, marketing and horsemanship. Its database is designed to expand as visitors submit questions.
The University of Kentucky has responsibility for maintaining the Web site, which has been under development for 18 months. There is no charge for the information, but Web site visitors will be asked to submit the name of their home state and to login with their e-mail address.
"One of the goals is to link horse enthusiasts directly with university equine experts through the Web site," Chrestman said.
In addition to MSU and Kentucky, other universities involved in the project include Arkansas, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana State, North Carolina State, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Virginia.
For more information, visit the Web site at http://www.HorseQuest.info.