Equine Learning Center


The 2023 Pennsylvania Farm Show is in the books, both successful and relatively uneventful.  Old veteran, Pete, was his steady and unflappable presence in the “chute” and Chic did nearly as well – she had to get rid of her broodmare mentality on the first day.  As usual, they served alternating one hour shifts from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. except for the last day when we closed at 5 p.m.  Our volunteer list included old timers, new volunteers and youth members and was full except for one shift.  Monday attendance at the Farm Show was a little light but the balance of the week was steady.  The first weekend and last Friday and Saturday were very busy.

 The three standard questions: “What is their name?, How old are they? and Is it a boy or girl?” were asked many, many times.  People also ask, “How do you get them to stand so still? or How do you get them so soft?”  The “hands-on” skull, foot and leg bones generated many comments.

 We continue to give special consideration to those in wheelchairs or those unable to mount the chute steps.  Our horses, especially Pete, accommodate those folks flawlessly.  One lady was crying as Pete put his head against her chest while she hugged him.

 One parent attempted to sit their infant on Pete and another teenager was going to climb on Chic.  Again, I was asked “How do you tell if they are boys or girls?”  by a young man who told me he was 13 and after I asked him how he determined if he was a boy or a girl, he got the message!  A lady quizzed me about draft horses.  Someone told her draft horses were “cold-blooded”.  She thought horses were mammals and should have warm blood.  (Amazing how much knowledge we have which we never even think about).  After I explained that the term pertained to disposition and not blood temperature, she left happy with her enlightenment.

 I thank all those members who volunteer and contribute their time and effort to make the Equine Learning Center such a success at the PA Farm Show and other venues.  We estimate a total of 50,000 to 60,000 people go through our booth at the Farm Show annually.

 Skip Seifert



The Program

The Equine Learning Center (ELC) is the Pennsylvania Equine Council’s (PEC’s) educational program targeted at new and prospective horse owners. It provides handouts of science-based information about the care and costs associated with horse ownership. It also provides valuable facts concerning the unwanted horse problem so potential buyers understand the ramifications of purchasing an equine. The Equine Learning Center debuted at the 2007 Pennsylvania Farm Show. Since then, subsequent Farm Shows, the York Fair, Penn State University’s Ag Progress Days and a horse celebration by the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh have hosted our program. In 2015, the Bloomsburg Fair has agreed to host our ELC.

The Stars

The stars of the Equine Learning Center are the live horses. These patient partners-in-teaching stand quietly while hundreds of eager little and not-so-little hands stroke and pat them. The ELC is built so that children young and old can safely touch our equine friend. To make this possible we have built a deck attached to a 3-rail fence. On the deck there is a large step along the fence on which the children stand to pet the horse. This system safely keeps the children from getting stepped on and also prevents them from slipping beneath or behind the horse.

The Display

The display at the ELC touches on basic care, including teeth and hooves. It also has an assortment of equine related accessories and equipment. There is a quiz book that tests the equestrian’s knowledge.

A real equine skull is the Station’s second-biggest attraction. This skeleton teaches about equine teeth, brain location, shape of the horse’s mouth and how the use of a bit has developed over time to accommodate the natural large gap between the incisors and the molars.

Agriculture is the largest industry in Pennsylvania and the fastest growing segment of that industry is involved with equines. The PEC strives to help the equine community in our Commonwealth grow and thrive. The ELC, by reaching new and prospective horse owners, allows the PEC to distribute information addressing responsible ownership, costs, basic care and shelter as well as liability issues, nutrient management and accountability in land use and stewardship.



The PEC would also like to thank this year’s sponsors for helping the ELC grow!

Learn more about sponsorship

Assembling the Equine Learning Center