I realize it has been awhile since I posted anything pertaining to my dissertation experience. I am still awaiting ethical approval, however I believe I am very close to obtaining it. The process is very detail oriented and precise. I have been spending my time reading about epidemiology, survey science and rStudio applications so when the approval is granted I can hit the ground running! I’ve got a survey to pilot and a slide presentation to prepare!
My project is a survey of iron amounts fed to racing Thoroughbreds. I am hoping to get 250 U.S. Thoroughbred Trainer responses. The “dearth” occurrence of Insulin Resistance and Equine Metabolic Syndrome in the racing Thoroughbred will be discussed and the survey will also answer questions that deal with feeding practices in U.S. Thoroughbred racehorse management. I am very excited to get started on the “real” research.
It’s already our Autumn season here in the midwest USA and the trees have changed to vibrant colors. One windy day and all that color will blow away so I aim to ride my Welsh pony throughout the farm today and see the last of the Fall colors.
Our Thanksgiving Holiday is just around the corner (November 22) and I have very much to be thankful for including my association with the University of Edinburgh Community. I am very grateful for their Equine Science program and look forward to serving another year as one of the Program Representatives. Well, that’s all for now…enjoy the farm pics.
As soon as my ethical approval process is complete…I’ll let everyone know! 🙂
Until next time,
Wow! Crazy how mid August is already upon us! Here in the States, this time of year is sometimes referred to as “High Summer”. The season when humidity, bugs and heat all combine, in an overwhelming fashion, to make us look forward to the coming cooler autumn weather. It has been so humid here in the midwest I am actually looking forward to the colder temps of winter!! Todays humidity is an oppressive 74% and the bugs seem to be loving it. Not so much enjoyment, though, for me or my horses.
As far as the Equine Science update goes, I have passed my last module (Research Methods Data Analysis for Equine Science) and now wait for ethical approval on my research project. I am really excited to partner with Professor Brian Nielsen, of Michigan State University, as my Project Supervisor. His Equine Physiology and Nutrition knowledge will be an asset to my research. He also was one of my lecturers during my Equine Nutrition and Equine Physiology courses through Edinburgh. This program of study has enabled me to hook up with researchers and scientist that are far beyond my own level of study. I am grateful and humbled to be able to contribute, even in a small way, to their ongoing research. Once my ethical approval is granted, I’ll begin my dissertation year September 17th! This program of study has been a lot of hard work, but it has also been fun and enjoyable! If Edinburgh continues these postgraduate blogs, I’ll continue to keep you informed!
Racing update: Storm Temple Pilot won last night at Canterbury Park going 5 furlongs (approximately 1 km) on the turf in 56.92 seconds. She broke out of the gate, ahead of the pack, by 4 lengths and maintained her position to win by 2 lengths. We were extremely happy with her effort, but she always has a lot of “try” in her. She is a hard working mare!
Well, I better go get on some horses…the bugs and humidity are waiting. 🙂
Until next time,
Storm Temple Pilot (5 year old mare by Temple City (Sire) out of Launchastorm (broodmare); Launchastorm is by Capetown.)
Happy July! The module has ended, the assessments are in and now is the time to take a little break from studying. Sounds great but the truth is, as I was working with my horses this morning, thoughts kept popping into my head on things I could have done differently on my Project Proposal. This is par for the course for me, as I’m always overthinking my formats/approaches to any compilation. So far, all assessments have turned out well….but this one leads to the final research project! Needless to say, I’ll be checking my course page everyday towards the end of July when scores come out!
One thing I will definitely continue to work on is my R programming skills, throughout the summer, as the more adept I become at knowing the R language the easier my data analysis will be. I’ll also revisit some of the reading list books that were not required but were offered as additional resources.
The Research Methods Data Analysis (Equine Science) module is a fun and inspirational course for those of us who are research/data scientist at heart. The apprehensions disappeared as the course instruction and materials appeared. A great reading list, wonderful instruction and guidance all made for an interesting and confidence boosting 10 weeks.
Here on the farm, we baled our second cutting of hay on June 17th and we’re anticipating a 3rd cutting in a couple of weeks.
“Storm Temple Pilot”, our 5 year old Thoroughbred mare partnership, ran 4th in her debut race after an extended lay off. She ran well for her first race back and, most importantly, she came out of the race eating well and feeling spunky!
Next up will be our Thoroughbred colt, “High Powered”, as he trains for his possible career debut at Churchill Downs. He’s young and we don’t push the young ones…if he’s game we’ll go, but if there are any indicators to stop on him until next year…we will.
And……I can’t forget to include a pic and an update on our Welsh Pony….she is prepping for her 1st event in the fall. 🙂
Until next time…
“It’s great how the Equine Science students all keep in touch and communicate as we go through this program.”
Well it finally began on April 16, my final module in “Research Methods Data Analysis (Equine Science)”. Maybe you’ve noticed I haven’t written a blog in a while. I have this crazy idea that once a course begins I have to keep up! That includes reading material, coursework and the discussion board. Any extra time after my normal work hours, with the horses and farm, go toward completing the course material. So this week is revision week (kind of a catch up week) and I’m going to spend it preparing for my 2 final assessments that are due July 2nd. This includes clarifying my Dissertation Project and refreshing my blog.
I’ll admit that statistics is not a comfort zone for me, and after reading the material in the first week, I especially will not believe too many statistics, with unsupported data, that politicians and others spout out (especially in %’s) without revealing any foundational data or where the original numbers came from. I highly recommend everyone read the book “The tiger that isn’t: seeing through a world of numbers” by Michael Blastland and A.W. Dilnot. You’ll never look at data, especially when it’s being used to further an agenda, in a trustworthy way again. Numbers don’t lie, but the way people put them together can! Surprisingly, I am enjoying this course, and looking forward to part two!
Here in the Midwest U.S.A. we are in late Spring where temps are rising to around 80 degrees F. Last week we had a dry spell with unusually high temps in the 90’s*F so we were able to cut and bale our first hay cutting of the 2018 season, we’ll actually get 4 or 5 cuttings throughout the summer season. One of the other MSc Equine Science students lives near Calgary, Canada and told me they only get one summer cutting of hay! No wonder hay for horses is a premium product up North. It’s great how the Equine Science students all keep in touch and communicate as we go through this program.
One final thought, while horse racing season is in full swing which means early mornings and some late nights, today was a little different, we all took time this morning to watch the beautiful wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Quite Amazing! Congratulations to all!
Until next time….
The setting sun on our farm in the Midwest USA.
Bringing in the hay!
“During my studies at Edinburgh I have always had good staff support”.
I am eagerly preparing for my last module which will help me proceed with my research project.I am taking the free course, “Research Methods and Statistics” to help me prepare for the “real” class “Research Methods in Equine Science”. I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every subject/topic that Edinburgh has presented to me in each module. This makes it difficult to choose what area of equine research to focus on for my dissertation. I have so many ideas and questions, swirling around in my mind, that I would love to be able to investigate them all.
In reflecting on my past courses, I wouldn’t have predicted that, Equine Reproduction ended up being my favorite module. I was hesitant to take that course as my areas of interest were always geared toward equine physiology and orthopedics. I thought I wouldn’t do well in the class due to not having a huge equine breeding background. However I found the topic fascinating and ended up learning so much more than I anticipated…I hated to see the module come to an end! I’m glad I took the opportunity to investigate a topic that was somewhat out of my comfort zone.
At the other end of the spectrum….I was very interested in taking Equine Nutrition and was not disappointed in the course. All instructors were very informative and approachable, especially when help was needed setting up caloric calculations, nutrient requirement equations and equine dietary analysis. During my studies at Edinburgh I have always had good staff support. All questions have been answered promptly.
I ended up taking five modules in a row (having begun my studies in January 2015) and this resulted in me not having to take Equine Orthopedics. I was a little disappointed but was thrilled to be able to take the orthopedics class as an auditor. The research papers, books and lectures were very interesting and useful…I highly recommend taking advantage of this service Edinburgh offers for that “one” module you don’t have to fully participate in with assessments. I also highly recommend especially for “equestrians and drivers” to take the Equitation Science module. I took Equine Behavior and Welfare as a precursor to Equitation Science. The research available and the tutors were extremely enlightening. These two modules complimented one another, giving me good training strategies. A wonderful website on the topic is at http://www.equitationscience.com .
Well I better go ride some horses and of course clean some stalls! Today is the first day of Spring which for me signals that the Kentucky Derby is a little over 6 weeks away. Warmer weather and more time in the saddle is on the way! Enjoy your day!
Continue reading “Research Methods in Equine Science…my last module before the dissertation year.”
“Meeting up with others around the world and discussing the plight of horses in today’s modern world was, and continues to be, a humbling experience.”
January is the beginning of my 3rd research year at the University of Edinburgh. This entire adventure into academia has been, and continues to be, eye opening and thought provoking as evidence based research confirms ideal practices in Equine Management.
My first module was on Equine Welfare and Behavior (2015). Meeting up with others around the world and discussing the plight of horses in today’s modern world was, and continues to be, a humbling experience. Delving into the natural and ethological behaviors of equids left me amazed that this creature actually survives the constraints we, as humans, sometimes put on them. I highly recommend this coursework, or similar studies, to any and all horse enthusiasts.
My first evaluated assessment was to compose a summary of current Equine Headshaking Syndrome research. I have since shared this research with others that have horses experiencing similar symptoms,(with a veterinary diagnosis of Equine Headshaking Syndrome), with positive feedback. Putting the data and statistics together to arrive at factual evidence based conclusions is a true passion of mine, especially when the outcomes may help owners make knowledge based management decisions for their horses! Doing well on my first assessment inspired me to continue on. Four modules later and I am now approaching my statistical research methods module. After finishing this final class, I’ll be in my dissertation year. I am already formulating my topic and looking forward to what conclusions the data might suggest. One thing is a given…this program has boosted my confidence and desire to always be a life long learner. I am also thankful for all the hard work the staff does to encourage each student’s success.