Students gain valuable experience in foal births

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Shultz holds both mom and filly while Burguard mucks out the stall.

Lauren Shultz holds both mom and filly while Dylan Burguard mucks out the stall.

By Hannah Brenner
Lansing Township News Staff Reporter

At the Michigan State University Horse Teaching and Research Center in Lansing Township, animal science students are an integral part of operations. They handle the foaling process on their own, adding important experience to their resumes.

Bittner, Burguard, and Shultz watch as the filly nurses.

Bittner, Burguard, and Shultz watch as the filly nurses.

The knowledge of what to do when a foal is being born is passed down. There are always students present, some older. The older students teach the younger ones so they feel comfortable taking on the responsibility when it comes their time.

“Ours was a girl who had done it before, and she knew what she was doing so we learned it from her. Then she graduated and passed it down,” said Dylan Burguard.

This responsibility and experience helps the students get an edge when filling out applications for graduate school, internships, and jobs.

“It’s key to growth and development professionally. That only opens doors down the line,” said Michigan State University academic advisor Stratton Lee III. “It adds to their confidence.”

Paige Bittner and Dylan Burguard's shoes are muddy from the time they spend in the barn.

Paige Bittner and Dylan Burguard’s shoes are muddy from the time they spend in the barn.

“My plans are to work in repro (reproductive) so this is what I want to do,” said Lauren Shultz. “I’m currently applying for internships, this helps my application look better to them. They really love seeing this experience on my resume because a lot of people my age don’t have this experience.

Horses are usually born in the middle of the night, but the girls got to go home early this time. This filly (female) was born before 10 p.m. — when the watch usually starts!

“We’re never this lucky,” said Shultz.

A short video of mother-foal bonding

Third year foaling participants Lauren Shultz (top), Paige Bittner (black), and Dylan Burguard (orange) wait for the newborn foal to nurse. This happens within the first few hours of birth.

Third year foaling participants Lauren Shultz (top), Paige Bittner (black), and Dylan Burguard (orange) wait for the newborn foal to nurse. This happens within the first few hours of birth.

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