Erica Jacquay, graduate student under Amanda Adams, PhD, MARS EquestrianTM Fellow and associate professor at the University of Kentucky Gluck Equine Research Center, was recently awarded support by MARS EquestrianTM for her research program.
“We are thrilled and very grateful to MARS Equestrian TM for their support of this research, which will help improve the health and well-being of the horse, a goal of both MARS and the Gluck Center,” Adams said.
Jacquay earned her Bachelor of Science in animal and dairy science from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and her Master of Science from Kansas State University in animal science.
Jacquay said she first became involved in equine research while interning at the MARE Center in Middleburg, Virginia. During her time in Kansas, she focused on equine reproduction, studying changes in the mare and foal fecal microbiome from birth through weaning, as well as the effect different weaning methods had on the fecal microbiome.
After completing her master’s degree, she moved to Pennsylvania for a year to breed, foal and train Connemara ponies in dressage. In 2018, she moved to Lexington, Kentucky, to work in the reproduction unit at Spy Coast Farm, where she also coordinated ongoing research projects with UK. Prior to beginning her doctorate at UK, Jacquay also worked at EDS, where she performed serology/PCR testing for equine diseases. She started in Adams’ lab in August 2020.
Jacquay’s research program objectives include conducting a nationwide survey on common reasons for transporting horses and management practices associated with different types of travel, particularly in road transportation of three hours or less. She aims to determine the impact of short-term transportation on stress and immune function in horses. Through this study, she also plans to determine if there are differences in how transportation stress manifests in different classes of horses, including aged horses and horses with PPID, EMS or ID.
“This research is novel and important, given that horse transportation is an integral part of the industry, whether it be for competition, leisure, breeding or veterinary purposes,” Adams said.
Through this work, she hopes to develop non-invasive methods horse owners can implement to measure and monitor stress and health parameters in horses during transportation.
“By being aware of travel stressors and taking steps to minimize their impact, we hope to help owners to help their horses arrive in good condition after short-term transportation,” Adams said.
Holly Wiemers, MA, APR, is communications and managing director of UK Ag Equine Programs.