Writer: D'Lyn Ford
LAS CRUCES - Jason Turner will teach equine classes and serve as a horse specialist at New Mexico State University.
Turner will devote a majority of his time to teaching and managing the university's horse farm in Mesilla Park, along with conducting applied research for his work as a horse specialist with NMSU's Cooperative Extension Service.
He joined NMSU in late summer after a year as equine specialist at North Dakota State University. From 1997 to 2001, he was an instructor and horse farm manager for Kansas State University. He also worked as an agriscience instructor and judging team coach for Fort Scott Community College in Kansas.
"New Mexico State University has a good reputation for its horse program," Turner said. "I was excited to come here because we have a strong history and lots of opportunity to expand in the future."
This fall, Turner is teaching courses in introductory horse science, applied horsemanship and equine anatomy and physiology. He is looking forward to completion of an Equestrian Educational Center at NMSU, which is expected to be finished late this fall.
An Oklahoma native, Turner grew up on a small farm where his family always had horses. He raised sheep, but not horses, for 4-H and FFA projects.
He earned an associate's degree in preveterinary science from Eastern Oklahoma State College and a bachelor's degree in animal science from Oklahoma State University. His master's and doctoral degrees in animal science are from Kansas State University.
During high school and throughout his collegiate experiences, Turner was heavily involved in judging and 4-H activities. His master's thesis on equine reproduction focused on in vitro fertilization in horses. His doctoral dissertation was on natural alternatives to antibiotics in nursery pig diets, a project that also has application to horses.
"There are lots of bad bugs that are fatal to horses, so that's why I became interested in improving animal health through manipulation of the animals' own immune systems," he said. "From a basic science standpoint, the physiological and anatomical systems of the pig are very similar to the horse, so that is why I was willing to crossover and dabble in swine research."
At Kansas State, he also did research on the effects of weaning stress on foals' immune systems. At NMSU, he plans applied research projects that will be specific to New Mexico. "I look forward to conducting research that can address some of the practical management issues faced by horse owners."
Turner sums up his hobbies in one word: Horses. He is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association, Palomino Horse Breeders of America, American Society of Animal Science, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists, Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society, American Association of Veterinary Immunology, Gamma Sigma Delta and Phi Kappa Phi.
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