Natural horsemanship, livestock judging and a dog agility demonstration were among the ways the bond between humans and animals was celebrated during the first annual Animal Science Day.

Some 250 alumni, faculty, staff, students and community members attended the Nov. 21 event at the Pauline Whitaker Animal Science. It was a new event for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture and Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural Food and Life Sciences Department of Animal Science.

“Animal Science Day was about tying back to the stakeholders of this department and showcasing our students and clubs for current students, potential students and for alumni," said Mike Looper, Animal Science department head. “We wanted our stakeholders to see what we're doing and to have a good time. Kudos to Dr. Nancy Jack of the Animal Science faculty, and the heads of the different student clubs for coordinating activities.”  

The event was one of two the department holds that are meant to increase networking opportunities between students and alumni. The other event is the scholarship luncheon held in April that also includes an evening event for networking. 

Animal Science Day featured exhibits by the student organizations associated with the department. Guests were encouraged to make the rounds by using the Animal Science Passport they received at the entrance. At each stop, they took part in an activity or answered a trivia question and received a stamp in their passport.

Guests were also treated to a live demonstration of Natural Horsemanship techniques by the Equine Behavior and Training class. The Northwest Arkansas Agility Group’s dog agility demonstration kept the audience awed by the dogs’ abilities.

The Pre-Vet Club upped the cute factor with its pet costume contest. About ten animals, including one miniature horse, were entered and a Chihuahua took home the top prize.

The biggest competition was the Old Timers Judging Contest, with 50 entries of all ages. The group judged horses, market lambs, ewes, breeding gilts and heifers. The judges were giving five minutes to make their selections. Bryan Kutz, extension youth-livestock instructor for the Division of Agriculture, gave the official finishing order and explained the judging rationale.

 After all the points were tallied, the top five finishers were announced: first, Mike Schultz; second, Tabitha Kedigh; third, Mike Looper; fourth, Lindsay Bowman and fifth, Casey Orr.

“The Old Timers judging was a fun thing -- I hadn’t judged in several years,” Looper said with a laugh. “I did have help from my daughter, who is in 4-H and FFA right now, and her friends. The result was a committee consensus.”

Student organizations that had a hand in the event were: the Block and Bridle club; Pre-Vet club; Meats Quiz Bowl; Livestock Judging team; Horse Judging team; Animal Science REPS, Horse and Livestock Merchandising class and Animal Science Graduate Student Association.

For more information on animal science, visit www.uaex.edu or contact your county extension agent.

The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.