Applied Animal Behavior Students Visit Community Partners

April 11, 2022

What a great start to a new year, a new semester, and a new cohort of the Applied Animal Behavior (AAB) Emphasis – Companion Animal Focus! This semester is the first time three AAB classes are being run in-tandem and the third cohort to successfully complete the ACBS Vet Sci AAB Emphasis – Companion Animal.

Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse & Burro Program
We hit the ground running in January with our first field trip to the Bureau of Land Management out in Florence, AZ to observe feral horse behavior. This community partner also showcased their Wild Horse Inmate Training Program (WHIP) to students.  WHIP demonstrated how horses and people of our community can mutually benefit from innovative programs. 

Here are some of the reflections our students took away from this first field trip:
“[Now] I would want to look more into the welfare of feral horses in the wild compared to that of horses in captivity.”

“I was honestly really impressed with the way things were run there after seeing the holding facilities and realizing how much care they give to the horses.”

“I found everything very educational and interesting to see from a behaviorist standpoint. After having read and discussed and learned about the horses’ behavior in the wild and in captivity, I went to this place with a whole new set of eyes.”

“I think [WHIP] should have a place in more prisons as it teaches the prisoners valuable life skills and gives the animals a second chance.”

“I was deeply moved by the wonderful work they do at the wild horse and burrow rescue and plan to donate to them in the future to help them continue their amazing work.”

4Ropin Ranch
Our second field trip found our students at a new community partner, 4Ropin Ranch.  At this nationally recognized training facility, students learned about horse training and the importance of safety.  They were even able to observe and try the facility’s therapeutic treatments!

One student commented, “We went to 4 Ropin Ranch and learned about horse safety basics and got to take a peek at the therapeutic facilities they have, which basically made me drool”.

Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary
Our third field trip was located in the beautiful hills of Amado at Equine Voices Rescue and Sanctuary. This field trip is another new community partner that helped round out the students’ knowledge of horse behavior with a rescue/sanctuary perspective. Here students were able to learn about what happens to individual horses that are victims of cruelty, neglect, and abandonment. They observed the many different behaviors and history these animals had and how the facility cares for them and maintains their welfare. Some of the student observations of this facility were as follows:

“[My thought on horses] changed dramatically after today though, seeing the horses and how they interacted with people and how each horse had a unique personality really helped me to understand them better.”

“Tuesday’s trip to Equine Voices was a really lovely experience. I loved hearing about and witnessing all the horses’ and burros’ personalities! But it does make me sad to think and learn about all their different backstories for why and how they ended up at the rescue.”

“This week we started off with a field trip to Equine Voices, I really enjoyed this trip because it showed a different side of the horse world. It introduced rescuing and showed the aftermath of horses that were abused, neglected and not properly cared for. Prior trips were more training based and now we got to see a sanctuary/rescue perspective.”

Our students will continue with their field trips all semester long learning from other community partners, including Pima Animal Care Center, HOPE Shelter, Valley Humane Society, Hermitage Shelter, Hope of Deliverance Rescue, and HoovesNHorns Animal Sanctuary.

By utilizing many of our partners in the community we are hoping to demonstrate to students that there are a multitude of opportunities available to them once they enter the work force. These field trips might even give them the opportunity to find their niche or develop ideas to participate with these local Arizona communities while pursuing their academic goals!