my horse university: partnering with extension to enhance scholarship and national visibility

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My Horse University: Partnering with eXtension to Enhance Scholarship and National VisibilityChristine Skelly1, Karen Waite1, Gwyn Heyboer2, and Karen Vignare21MSU Department of Animal Science, 2MSUglobalAbout My Horse UniversityMy Horse University (MHU) develops educational materials in horse management including online self-paced courses, DVDs, and webcasts. MHU was established in 2005 at Michigan State University. Since 2006, it has provided nearly 1,000 courses to learners from high school and college students to adult horse enthusiasts. MHU was created through a partnership between MSU Extension, the MSU Department of Animal Science, and MSUglobal. The internal roots have branched to include the best of MSUs equine researchers and practitioners to national experts through a partnership with eXtension HorseQuest. About eXtension HorseQuesteXtension is an interactive learning environment delivering science-based knowledge from land-grant universities across America. eXtension is unlike any other search engine or information-based website. It is a space where university content providers gather, collaborate, and produce new educational and informational resources on wide-ranging topics. Because it is available to everyone at any time from any Internet connection eXtension helps solve real-life problems in real time.HorseQuest is a resource content team or a Community of Practice (CoP) within eXtension that specializes in information around the Equine Industry. This national team of over 90 experts encompasses state equine extension specialists, teaching and research faculty, county extension educators, equine graduate students, as well as corporate and association staff. The team contains a balance of adult and youth educators whose experience and content delivery methodology extend beyond the traditional classroom walls.

A Mutually Beneficial PartnershipeXtension HorseQuest and My Horse University have created and nurtured an effective partnership since 2006, beginning at a time when both groups were engaged in their fledging efforts at dissemination of equine educational materials to clientele. Both groups had similar goals yet enough differences to encourage collaboration rather than competition. This provided a strong foundation for the partnership and resulted in the following collaborative efforts:monthly webcastsmonthly e-Tips e-newslettersHALTER module for youth leaderssubmission, publication, and presentation of seven joint abstracts and paperspartnership on federal grant submissionsobtainment of Purina Mills sponsorship awards.ConclusioneXtension HorseQuest and My Horse University both evolved along similar timelines with a common mission: To bring science based, peer reviewed, non-biased information about horse management to horse enthusiasts that was easily assessable and relevant. The early decision to partner and compliment each others efforts versus compete with each other's programs has been key to the current success of both programs. The sharing of expertise and curriculum resources enriches both programs. In addition, the ability to collaborate on professional publications, grants, and sponsorships helps ensure the future sustainability of both programs.

Free monthly webcasts are recorded and made available on the MHU web site for viewing after the live event. Almost 3,000 people have registered for 29 live webcasts.

e-Tips electronic monthly newsletter has over 4,000 subscribers.

The Horse Adult Leader Training Resource (HALTER) provides adult leaders working with youth and horses the resources to safely and successfully enhance their programs. success of this partnership has been rewarded by:2009 eXtension Partnership Award (MHU)2009 Shirley Davis Award for Excellence in Synchronous Distance Learning (MHU/eXtension)USDA Youth Farm Safety Education and Certification Grant (MHU/eXtension)Purina Sponsorship1