Two newcomers to Cazenovia College are making news in equine reproduction circles and creating excitement for students at the College’s Equine Education Center.
Dr. William McGuire, a visiting instructor and horse breeding and animal physiology expert who joined the faculty last fall, is helping the College to expand its Thoroughbred breeding program. Rascal Cat is a stallion who’s come to Cazenovia to stand to help McGuire do that. Together, they are offering a new live cover Thoroughbred breeding program as part of the College’s Equine Business Management offering. Cazenovia’s is now only one of a handful of such college-based live cover breeding teaching program, in addition to the teaching of artificial insemination, in the United States. The stallion will add to the experiences of the students who are pursuing the additional Equine Reproductive Management Certificate.
The combination of Dr. McGuire’s teaching experience and breeding expertise, and the stallion’s impeccable pedigree and people friendly personality, provides an excellent backdrop for college students to learn about live cover breeding, he says. That process pairs stallion and mare physically in a natural situation to breed, as opposed to using either artificial insemination or embryo transfer processes. The Jockey Club, the Thoroughbred registry, does not allow artificial insemination and all Thoroughbreds must be produced through live cover breeding.
Dr. McGuire and Rascal Cat first teamed in 2018-2019 when McGuire initiated a live cover Thoroughbred breeding program at Arkansas State University. Over two to three years there, the Kentucky-born stallion, who is 17, bred 28 mares.
Rascal Cat’s low-key temperament makes him the perfect stallion to interact with college students who may just be learning the intricacies of handling stallions, according to the instructor.
“While he definitely is a stallion, his demeanor lessens the risk to students that are just learning to handle stallions in the live cover breeding process. While some stallions can be difficult to handle and can present dangerous working situations, this horse is people friendly. On a stallion scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being very aggressive, he’s a 3. Rascal Cat likes people; he loves being petted and handled.”
Rascal Cat comes from an impressive line of Thoroughbreds.
Says Dr. McGuire, “He’s bred royally; he’s got an incredible pedigree. His sire, “Pulpit,” was for years the leading sire in the world. His half-brother by Pulpit (Tapit) then took over as leading sire for many years, so on his dad’s side he’s very well bred. His mom (Razzi Cat) is a daughter of Storm Cat, a generation of “Storm” horses including Rocking Trick and Randy Cat that contains 35 stakes winners. As a racehorse, Rascal Cat won 11 races and placed in 20 others out of 68 starts, earning $203,124. What’s most impressive about him is that he sold for $1.3 million at The Keeneland September Sale, a large, high-dollar yearling auction. Rascal Cat’s six crops include 33 foals that comprise 19 starters and seven winners.”
The stallion began his standing career in Canada, where his owner lives, then stopped in Oklahoma to breed for a season before heading to Arkansas. Cazenovia College has one other stallion, a Holsteiner named Royal Appearance, who is used for training in artificial insemination processes and is bred to Warmblood and sporthorse mares.
Since the College’s only Thoroughbred mares are used for equitation classes, the school is seeking some select mare donations for this breeding program. The resulting foals will be used for weanling and yearling management classes at the school and eventually will be prepped for a sale. The stallion is being offered at stand for a $1,000 fee.
Dr. McGuire says the College is hoping area horse owners will be interested in breeding their mares with Rascal Cat. The stallion offers “a nice conformation and he has sired winners from a limited number of offspring. I feel that he brings excellent bloodlines for a very affordable fee for owners.”
He says the program “would appreciate all the support we can get from local mare owners, because what we’re doing is training the next generation of horse breeders. This is one way of helping to get young professionals interested in and excited about going into the business of breeding.”
Gaining breeding experience is an important part of an equine education, according to Dr. McGuire. “It’s important because the kids are here to get a career. The financial driver of the industry is breeding and sales. It’s where the vast bulk of money is generated and where the majority of the jobs are. What we’re trying to do is set kids up with an education to make them more employable when they graduate.”
Students are reacting to Rascal Cat’s presence with enthusiasm and high interest, McGuire adds, and they’re looking forward to having the Center’s first mare arrive right after spring break.
Dr. McGuire joined the College in the fall of 2021. He earned his bachelor’s degree in animal sciences and a master’s degree in reproductive physiology from Kansas State University. He also has a doctorate in physiology from Colorado State University.
Before joining the College, he was director of and instructor in the equine program at Arkansas State University, area program director and agent for the Cooperative Extension Service at New Mexico State University, and department head and instructor for the equine program at Cloud County Community College in Kansas. He taught animal science, human physiology and anatomy classes, and coached the livestock and horse judging team. He has also been assistant general manager at Sequel Stallions, a prairieland beef team representative for Moorman’s Manufacturing Company, a beef team representative at the Roman L. Hruska U.S. Meat Animal Research Center, and an animal breeding consultant for the Agricultural and Food Systems Institute.