Cal Poly’s Equine Center is something of a horse kindergarten these days.
Within the past couple of months, 10 foals have arrived and two more are on the way as part of the university’s Quarter Horse Enterprise Project, which breeds and raises horses for sale to the public, Equine Center manager Julie Yuhas said.
The first foal was born Feb. 25 and the last two are due May 15.
“It’s really a student-driven enterprise project,” Yuhas said. “They’ve worked really hard with these babies, and we’ve had a really successful foaling season.”
The foals are raised on campus and sold as 2- and 3-year-olds at the annual Cal Poly Performance Horse Sale. This year, 16 3-year-old horses and another eight 2-year-olds will be sold at the auction June 3.
The program has a nearly four-decade history on campus, with Cal Poly students breeding, training and selling the horses since 1978.
“Each horse goes through a minimum of four months of training, including trail and cow work,” according to a Cal Poly statement.
The Equine Center is also about to begin work on a major facility upgrade. In June, work will start on a new foaling barn, stallion barn and covered arena, funded by money from Cal Poly alumni Peter and Mary Beth Oppenheimer, who pledged $20 million to the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences in 2014.
The construction is expected to take six to seven months and should be completed in time for the start of winter quarter next year. Among other benefits, it will allow the center to expand its outside breeding program for stallions Hot Pepper Cat and Tejon Jaguar.