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UMD Welcomes First Thoroughbred Colt In 30 Years

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WJZ) — It’s not your typical college experience, but students at College Park aren’t complaining.

Alex DeMetrick reports not when there hasn’t been a bundle of joy like this in 30 years.

He’s only a couple of weeks old, but this little foal nicknamed “Rebel” is something new to the University of Maryland.

A college that started out teaching agriculture, it continues to grow, leaving only a little four acre farm on campus.

Rebel’s birth here recreates a bit of the school’s past.

“I say recreate because we did have a breeding program here in the ’80s, but it kind of just disappeared over time. So we brought it back after 30 years of no foals on campus,” said Dr. Amy Burk, University of Maryland professor.

Students taking the equine reproduction class say Rebel acts more like a puppy, including the occasional nip.

“He’s very playful. He’s curious. He likes to get into everything. He’s not scared of too much,” said Melinda Gilmer.

The young colt is the offspring of a thoroughbred mare named Cassie and derby racehorse Friesan Fire. He didn’t do that well in the 2009 Preakness, but still won plenty of other races and money.

Friesan Fire’s owners at Country Life Farm donated the stud services that produced Rebel, and a unique learning experience.

“I definitely am glad they started it in my year and I got to participate in it. That’s definitely one thing I’m going to take away from college,” said Kristen Brady.

“When you really immerse the students into taking care of them everyday and treating their wounds and working with behavior, I think it’s been a lot of fun. For them and me,” said Burk.

Growing up in the middle of a busy campus is not typical for a thoroughbred, but it might not hurt.

“Having students walk by five feet from the paddock all day long, he certainly shouldn’t be distracted by crowds when he makes it to a race like the Preakness and has 100,000 people looking at him,” said George Adams, Country Life Farm.

At this age, the Preakness is a very long shot away. But then, so is a colt on campus.

The young colt will soon have a new playmate. A second mare is due to have a foal on campus next week.

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