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McNair Scholar 2013Alyssa M. Holmes

Alyssa M. Holmes is a junior at the University of Minnesota, Crookston, double majoring in equine and animal science with an emphasis in pre-veterinary medicine. Her research interests include equine reproduction, genetics and pedigree and their influence on coat color, conformation, performance, and congenital disease. She plans to pursue a dual Ph.D./DVM degree following her undergraduate studies.

Alyssa M. Holmes photo
I wish to educate the public on equine preventative measures necessary to reduce congenital defects and overpopulation through the promotion of controlled breeding. In addition, I aim to specialize in pedigree and conformation to study factors which influence performance, and uncover genotypic indicators for phenotypic color anomalies. If one is ready to sacrifice everything for their dream, then they are ready.

Research project

Yield and Preference of Annual Grasses Under Horse Grazing

Abstract: Spring planted annual grasses can serve as emergency forage, but have not been evaluated under horse grazing. The objective of the study were to evaluate winter wheat (Triticum aestivum), annual ryegrass (Lolium multiflorum), barley (Hordeum vulgare), spring wheat (Triticum aestivum), and oat (Avena sativa) for preference and yield under horse grazing. Three adult horses grazed replicated plots containing all species for four hours under two different levels of maturity. Winter and spring wheat were the most preferred grasses with visual removal ≥71% (P < 0.001). Oat was least preferred with a visual removal of 9% (P < 0.001). Oat and spring wheat yielded the highest with ≥ 4.8 t ha-1 (p < 0.001). Winter wheat yielded the least at 2.6 t ha-1. Spring wheat appears to be both preferred and high yielding and may represent a viable option for horse owners in need of an emergency pasture forage. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Krishona Martinson Equine Extension Specialist, joined the Department of Animal Science in 2008. Dr. Martinson has grown the horse program, which reaches over 100,000 horse owners annually, and has created an environment of collaboration among faculty at the University and nationally. Her applied research program focuses on improving equine forage utilization. She has secured over $975,000 in grant funding and has published 22 manuscripts, 54 abstracts, and 135 newsletter articles. She was awarded the Equine Science Society's Outstanding Young Professional Award in 2011, was elected extension Horse Chairperson in 2013, and was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure in 2013.