First of all, I’m so excited to be part of this new venture with Emily! We hope by offering some insight into our backgrounds, you can get to know us a little better and understand why we’re so passionate about what we do.
I’m Cassie Wycoff, and aside from Field & Fodder, I provide livestock, forage (hay/pasture), and equine expertise as an Area Extension Agent and Equine Extension Coordinator for Clemson Cooperative Extension in South Carolina. I moved to Upstate South Carolina about five years ago to accept my current position and love working with Extension. Like Emily, I travel throughout the state speaking and organizing workshops for various topics on animal health, nutrition, and farm and forage management. I also work closely with several local and state livestock and grazing associations and equine councils.
I’m originally from a small town outside of Raleigh, NC, where my family owns a horse and hay farm and boarding facility. Without much choice, my family had me on a horse at a very young age; and, although at first I wasn’t the typical horse-crazy little girl, my natural love for animals eventually took over by the time I reached middle school. Aside from my family’s involvement in the local saddle club, I joined our county 4-H horse club, which jumpstarted my interest in showing and training horses for both english and western events. Also through the 4-H Horse Program, I had the opportunity to compete on the state 4-H and NCQHA horse judging teams, traveling to many national and regional contests, which later continued in my collegiate judging career.
After high school, I attended North Carolina State University, where I completed my bachelor’s degree in Animal Science. The summer after graduation, I began assisting Dr. Siciliano with his research in attempt to gain more experience and as a resume-builder. Luckily with some slight urging from Dr. Bob Mowrey, North Carolina’s Extension Equine Specialist (now retired) and long-time mentor from the 4-H horse program, I decided to make it official and pursue graduate school. I completed my Master’s under the direction of N.C. State Equine Nutritionists, Drs. Paul Siciliano and Shannon Phillips. It was there that Emily and I met and bonded over many long hours at the research farm and a whole lot of sampling and fence building!
My masters research focused on management strategies to reduce the incidence of laminitis and other metabolic disorders in mature pasture-raised horses. We investigated the seasonal and daily fluctuations in the sugar and carbohydrate concentrations of pasture grasses and the implications those fluctuations had on the hindgut health of the grazing horse. What I loved most about my research was the practical application it had for every horse owner. During this time, I realized the huge impact that nutrition has on equine health and performance and how often it’s overlooked. I really enjoy being on the preventative side of equine health management, but I know that today’s horses face many nutritional and management complexities that they weren’t exactly designed for. Together, Emily and I hope we can share our expertise to help limit the risk of many of these nutrition-related diseases and the impact they could have on your horse’s health and performance career.
When not at work or planning our upcoming wedding with my fiancé Christopher, I can usually be found at the barn riding. With my 4-H mount happily enjoying the semi-retired life back home in North Carolina, I’ve been fortunate enough to lease and work with some very talented young horses here in SC. My current lease is a triple registered 5-year-old paint/pinto/quarter mare named Livi (short for “Living The Dream”), and together we show on the APHA circuit in South Carolina and regionally. We even had the opportunity to show at our first Pinto World Show last year, where we brought home a reserve buckle and several top five placings!
Thanks for your interest in Field & Fodder, LLC, and we look forward to working with you. Feel free to contact us to learn more about how we can help your operation enhance its nutrition management program for both your horses and pastures.