MSU boasts one of the oldest continuous Arabian horse breeding programs in the United States.
The primary mission of the HTRC is to educate the next generation of Michigan horse persons and solve industry problems through applied scientific research. It has always been the philosophy at MSU to maintain the highest quality livestock on our farms for those purposes. If students learn on average livestock then mediocrity soon becomes the acceptable norm.
The MSU Arabian breeding program began in the 1940’s with the W. K. Kellogg donation of the Arabian stallion Amidore. The importation of the Egyptian stallion *Ghalii in the ‘60’s and the purchase of the Crabbett mare *Silfretta (the 1956 champion yearling filly of England) set the standard for the breeding program which continues to this day.
The MSU Horse Teaching and Research Center (HTRC) is located 4 miles south of Michigan State University campus on Collins Road just off US127 and is open to the public from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm daily. The horse facility has a long history of breeding high quality purebred horses and has been a part of Michigan State University since its founding in 1855. Since then, the farm has been the home to world caliber Belgians, Percherons and Quarter Horses. MSU has been breeding purebred Arabians since the 1940’s and continues to use them in the teaching and research programs conducted at the Horse Teaching and Research Center.
It is the site of the majority of the horse classes taught at Michigan State University, both in the Animal Science Equine Program and the Horse Management Program. The annual student sale is also conducted at the HTRC. The farm is also the site of many of the Adult Extension and Youth Extension programs at Michigan State University, as well as several ongoing projects of the Equine Research Lab.The farm is managed by Paula Hitzler, who received a Bachelor's degree in Animal Science from Michigan State University. Currently, the farm is home to the purebred Arabian breeding program, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 1995.
The facility is located on 100 acres, and consists of a show/training barn, a reproduction barn, 2 quarantine barns, a breeding shed, an indoor arena/classroom complex, and a storage shed. The show/training barn has 25 stalls and was completed in October 1995 as part of the Agricultural Initiative Program. This barn houses show and sales horses, and horses being utilized in other classes. The indoor arena/classroom complex is connected to the show/training barn by a covered walkway and is the site of all the training and horsemanship classes offered in the Equine Programs. The reproduction barn has a total of 24 stalls, with 18 in the long aisle, and 6 in the short aisle. The stalls in the short aisle are from the original horse barn built on campus in 1855 and were moved from Farm Lane to Collins Road when the farm moved south of campus. The long aisle is occupied by mares and foals during the breeding season, and the short aisle is occupied by the farm's breeding stallions. There are also 2- 4 stall barns on the facility that are used to quarantine new horses, or to house overflow from the main barns.
The HTRC is managed by Paula Hitzler and employs up to 12 students at any given time. It is also the site of the annual student run horse auctions. These auctions are incorporated into the Animal Science and Horse Management programs and give students the opportunity to experience all aspects of marketing, from horse preparation to sales ring design and advertising.
The Arabian broodmare band at Michigan State University consists of approximately 35 mares of primarily Polish and Crabbet breeding. The mission is the breeding program is to produce Arabians combining type, conformation, and athleticism with the
trainability required for use in a program with extensive student involvement. The reproductive program is managed by Paula Hitzler with the assistance of a student intern who has indicated a special interest in management of broodmares.
Visit www.msuarabians.com to learn more about the wonderful and historic history of education and Arabian horses at Michigan State!