On the morning of February 7, 2023, Delaware Valley University welcomed its first foal of the season.
The foal, named Gouda, was born at the early hour of 12:54 AM.
Gouda is the first of many cheese-themed babies expected to be born on campus this season. Per university tradition, upper-level Equine Reproduction students were given the opportunity to vote on the naming theme for foals this season.
This season, all newborn foals will receive a cheese-themed name. This year, however, the university has implemented a new technology installment to get more people in on the foal watching. In partnership with the Pennsylvania Horse Racing Association, PHRA, live stream foal watch cameras have been installed in some of the expectant mares’ stalls to give viewers the opportunity to view the animals in real time as they prepare to give birth. PHRA has worked with and installed live-stream foal watch cameras in the past, but this is the first time the association is working directly with the university.
DelVal was presented with the opportunity earlier this school year in November.
“They (PHRA) approached us in November at the annual PA Standardbred auction (where we sell the majority of our yearlings) about partnering with DelVal for this initiative and we started a conversation,” Cory Kieschnick, chair of the Department of Equine Science and Management at Delaware Valley University says, “They knew of our history of strong breeding programs, and after many conversations and working out the logistics, it became an official partnership.”
In a press release issued by the PHRA it is said that “The streams will feature a live, uninterrupted look at the expectant mares as they prepare for the arrival of their foals. Viewers will also experience day-to-day interactions between the mares and their caregivers and, when the time is right, there is the opportunity to witness the birth of the next generation of racehorses.”
Delaware Valley University has been actively involved with the horse racing industry for decades, breeding Standardbred and Thoroughbred horses for the industry. DelVal will also be offering a virtual tour of the campus’ breeding facility for elementary school students in continued collaboration with PHRA this upcoming April. While this is the first time the PHRA has reached out in collaboration with the school, it is not the first-time industry professionals have worked directly with Delaware Valley University students and staff.
In October of 2022, the Pennsylvania Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association (PTHA) and Parx Racing hosted 25 university students and staff for the first annual DelVal Equine Scholarship Day.
Five randomly selected students out of the group were given $500 of scholarship money. One lucky randomly selected student was given a $2500 check. Students were also given the opportunity to watch races and hear directly from guest speakers on careers and opportunities in the horse racing industry.
“We look forward to a spring event for DelVal Equine students at Pocono Raceway, which features harness racing,” Kieschnick says. The university’s Equine department is excited and hopeful to continue on with the tradition of the foal cams.
“The installation of foal cams is our first official partnership for an initiative of this type, and we look forward to continuing it”, says Kieschnick.
The foal cams are available to be viewed free of charge on the PHRA website until the end of April.