Ranch Horse Questions to be Addressed at Ranch Management Symposium

The 15th Annual Holt Cat® Symposium on Excellence in Ranch Management will bring together ranch owners, managers, and veterinarians from the most successful ranching operations to discuss the symposium topic, Horse Program Success on Working Ranches: Strategic and Operational Decision Making.

Hosted by the King Ranch® Institute for Ranch Management (KRIRM), the symposium will be held in Kingsville, Texas, Oct. 18-19. A variety of topics on managing horses on a working ranch will be presented by ranch owners and managers, ranch management consultants, practicing veterinarians, and professionals in the ranching industry. These speakers will offer their expertise on how they strategically use and manage horses to support cattle operations.

“The ranch horse is a mainstay of ranching operations. While at the same time, they can be expensive to manage, a challenge to keep sound, and a source of inherent safety risk,” explains KRIRM Director Clay Mathis, Ph.D. “This symposium has been designed to address the most pressing issues regarding ranch horses for today’s ranch managers. From managing brood mares to purchasing replacement saddle horses, you will learn from the most experienced managers and industry experts on nutrition, reproduction, health, ranch economics, employee safety, and legal risks.”

The event will begin with a keynote address by John Welch of Welch Cattle Company in Wolfforth, Texas. Welch, who is among the most respected ranchers in our industry, will describe the characteristics of a successful ranch horse program. Bob Kilmer of Matador Cattle Company will offer a perspective on big decisions about ranch horse safety, which will lead into a presentation by agriculture attorney James Decker about the legal risks of horseback guests, dayworkers, and children. After a break in the industry trade show, a manger panel featuring representatives from Parker Ranch in Hawaii, Singleton Ranches in New Mexico, and Sooner Cattle Company in Oklahoma will delve into horse strategies and policies on the respective ranches.

The second day of symposium will focus on nutrition, health, reproduction, and economics. Equine nutritionist Dennis Sigler, Ph.D. will present guidelines for keeping a string in working condition, and Glen Blodgett, DVM of 6666 Ranch will discuss preventive health care guidelines for mares and saddle horses. Ranch Management Consultant and Economist Stan Bevers will explain the financial implication of raising versus purchasing replacement saddle horses. King Ranch, Inc., equine veterinarian and private practitioner Ben Espy will discuss mare reproduction and the application of reproductive technology in ranch horse management.

A King Ranch Demonstration and Equine Tour will conclude the symposium on the afternoon of Friday, Oct. 19. Attendees will travel to King Ranch (transportation provided by KRIRM) to participate in two sessions. During the first session, attendees will learn about the rich history behind the King Ranch horse program, where it stands today, and its outlook for the future. The second session will include a demonstration on lameness diagnosis and treatment by ambulatory equine veterinarians Ben Espy and Kurt Heite.

Registration is $150, which includes admission to the industry trade show during symposium and a steak dinner on Oct. 18 during which the Texas Farm Credit Certificate in Advanced Ranch Management awards are presented. A special address will be made by American Quarter Horse Association President Jim Heird, Ph.D.

For more information about symposium, to download the agenda, and to register, visit krirm.tamuk.edu/symposium or call (361) 593- 5401. Space for this event is limited.