Ann M. Swinker

Ann M. Swinker

  • Extension Horse Specialist
  • Associate Professor of Equine Science

Areas of Expertise

  • Implementing Conservation Practices
  • Environmental Stewardship
  • Equine Care and Management
  • Equine Nutrition
  • Equine Pasture and Manure Management
  • Riding Area Surfaces


  • Ph.D., Agricultural Sciences, West Virginia University, 1990, Animal Science Dissertation: "Relationship of Equine Thyroid Hormone Levels and Clinical Signs of Hypothyroidism"
  • M.Ag., Animal Science, The Pennsylvania State University, 1980
  • B.S., The Pennsylvania State University, 1974

Dr. Ann Swinker, Associate Professor in Equine Sciences, Penn State University and Horse Extension Specialist has been involved in the horse business for over 35 years. Ann began her career manager an Arabian Horse Stables in the south western Pennsylvania. During that time she was involved in breeding, training, marketing, importing and showing a herd of purebred Arabian horses.

In 1990 to 2001, Dr. Swinker served as the Extension Horse Specialist at Colorado State University and a professor of Equine Science. Dr. Swinker has received several awards from the National Association of County Agricultural Agent and American Society of Animal Science. Dr Swinker was named “Horse Person of the Year in 2001 by the Colorado Equine Council. She serves on the Pennsylvania Equine Council board of directors, PA Farm Bureau; and is a member in several other equine related organizations.

Dr. Swinker has served on several graduate research committees. Her research activities have addressed several management and environmental issues such as: stable air quality, small acreage management, and composting and manure management, water quality, in addition to behavior and reproductive issues. She has served on numerous extension, university and professional society committees.

Dr. Swinker has authored several refereed papers, abstracts/proceedings, popular press articles. In addition, she conducts many workshops, presentations and clinics each year. Today she and her husband Dr. Dan Kniffen own and breed Arabian, Trakehner Horses and raise Hereford cattle in Spring Mills, PA.

Teaching Experience

Dr Swinker's position of Extension Horse Specialist at Pennsylvanian State University is a 80 percent Extension/20 percent teaching position. Swinker's undergraduate teaching responsibilities:

  • Equine Riding Instructors Training (ANSC 497) 
  • Equine International French Class (ANSC 499)
  • Guest lecturing in several equine and extension related courses


Membership in Professional Societies

  • American Horse Council
  • Arabian Horse Association
  • United States Dressage Federation
  • National Association of County Agricultural Agents
  • Epsilon Sigma Phi, Colorado President 2000-2001, Pennsylvania President 20012-2013,
  • Sigma Xi -- Scientific Research Society
  • Equine Science Society-- Research Society
  • American Society of Animal Science
  • Pennsylvania Equine Council- Director
  • PA Animal Health and Diagnostic Commission (AHDC) Equine Committee

Awards and Honors

  • 1999 Extension Specialist Award - American Soc. of Aninal Science, Western Section
  • 1999 Distinguished Service Award- National Association of County. Agricultural Agents
  • 2000 Honors Award - American Youth Horse Council
  • 2002 Colorado Horseman of the Year - Colorado Horse Council
  • 2005 National Association of County Ag Agents Search for Excellence in Livestock Production - State Winner
  • 2006 PSU Block and Bridle Club, 89the Little International Honoree
  • PA Veterinary Medical Association and the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medical- Award of Stewardship Friend of Veterinary Medicine in the Commonwealth of PA.
  • 2011 Epsilon Sigma Phi. Distinguished Team Award
  • 2012 Epsilon Sigma Phi. International Service Award
  • 2014 Epsilon Sigma Phi Alpha Omicron Chapter, Distinguished Service Award

Research and Teaching Interests

Dr. Swinker's research activities have addressed several management and environmental issues related to the horse industry, including stable air quality, small acreage management, composting and manure management, water quality, economic impact studies, and behavior and reproductive issues. She has served on numerous extension, University, and professional society committees.


Selected publications

  • Swinker, A.M., J.R. McCurley, E.R. Jordan, D.M. Kniffen and R.A. Dailey. 1991. Effects of reproductive parameters on equine serum thyroid hormone levels. Amer. Soc. Anim. Sci. 59 (Suppl. 1).
  • Swinker, A.M., J.R. McCurley, E.R. Jordan, D.M. Kniffen and R.A. Dailey. 1991. Effects of dietary excesses on equine serum thyroid hormone levels. Proc. Eq. Nutr. Phys. Soc. 255.
  • Yemm, R.S., D.L. Kohrt, D.M. Kniffen, A.M. Swinker, B.R. Gillmore and K.L. Hossner. 1992. DNA fingerprinting of sheep and horses for paternity testing using the microsatellite probe (GTG)5. Proc. West. Sec. Amer. Soc. Anim. Sci. 43:99-102.
  • Allen, N.T., K.D. Butler and A.M. Swinker. 1993. The effects of mediolateral balance on equine hoofs. J. Anim. Sci. (70 (Suppl. 0) :254 (Abstr.).
  • Swinker, A.M., E.L. Squires, E.L. Munford, J.E. Knowles and D.M. Kniffen. 1993. Effect of body weight and body condition score on follicular development and ovulation in mares treated with GnRH analogue. J. Eq. Vet. Sci. 13(9):519.
  • Swinker, A.M. and J. Heird. 1994. Trends, opportunities and issues in the horse industry. Encyclopedia of Agricultural Science. Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
  • Swinker, A.M. and D.E. Johnson. 1995. Equine industry manure disposal practices, variation and magnitude. ARPAS. September 11(3):434.
  • Swinker, A.M., E.L. Squires and E.L. Munford. 1995. Correlation of thyroid hormone levels to ovulation in anestrous mares treated with varying doses of GnRH analogue. ENPS Proceedings.
  • Grandin, T., M.J. Deesing, J.J. Struthers and A.M. Swinker. 1995. Cattle with hair whorl patterns above the eyes are more behaviorally agitated during restraint. Amer. Soc. Anim. Sci. (Abstr.), p. 127.
  • Tanner, M.K., A.M. Swinker, J. Traub-Dargatz, L. Stiffler, P. McCue, D.K. Vanderwall, D.E. Johnson and L.M. Vap. 1998. Respiratory and Environmental effects of recycled phone book paper versus sawdust as bedding for horses. J. Eq. Vet. Sci., 18(7):471.
  • Ford, K.N., A.M. Swinker, J.L. Traub-Dargatz and J.M. Cheney. 1998. The prevalence of cryptosporidium and giardia in the trail horse population utilizing public lands. J. Eq. Vet. Sci., 18(1):38.
  • Tanner, M.K., A.M. Swinker, M.L. Beard, G.N. Cosma, J.L. Traub-Dargatz and A.B. Martinez. 1998. Effect of phone book versus sawdust and straw bedding on the presence of airborne gram-negative bacteria, fungi and endotoxin in horse stalls. J. Eq. Vet Sci. 18(7):457.
  • Swinker, A.M., M.K. Tanner, D.E. Johnson and L. Benner. 1998. Composting characteristics of three bedding materials. J. Eq. Vet. Sci. 18(7):462.
  • Swinker, A.M., K.N. Forde, J.L. Traub-Dargatz and J. Hyatt. 1999 Prevalence of Commercial and Private Trail Horse Recreational Use on Public Lands in Colorado. Proc. Eq. Nutr. Physiol. Soc.
  • Swinker A. M., M. L. Swinker, and J. L. Kollar, 2001, Equestrian riding arena surfaces and the use of dust suppressants, Proc. Eq. Nutr. Physiol. Soc.
  • Crawford K., A. Swinker, A. Seidl, and W.D. Lamm, 2001, Colorado's Equine Industry Hay Utilization Practices, Proc. Eq. Nutr. Physiol. Soc.
  • A. Swinker, P. Tozer and M. Shields. June,30,2003. Pennsylvania Horse Power, Equine Economic Impact Study. Penn State, College of Agricultural Sciences. Vol. 1, No 1.: 1-20.
  • A. Swinker, P. Tozer, E. Landis, M. Shields. June 2003. Pennsylvania Equine Industry Inventory, Economic and Demographic Characteristics. PSU Extension.
  • Kollar J. L, A.M. Swinker, M.L. Swinker, April 2005, A survey of respiratory disorders in equestrian instructors, ARPAS, vol 21, No.2.
  • Vanderman, K., Swinker, A., Gill. B, Radjalrosjma. R., Kniffen, D., Staniar, W., McKernan H., and Miller, R. 2009. Survey on th Implementation of National Equine Identification in the United State, J. Eq. Vet. Sci. 29:819-822.
  • A. M. Swinker, Werner, J., Jedrzejewski, E., Miller, R. and McKernan, H., Animal disease traceability plan evaluated through 4-H horse program, J. of NACAA, 5 (1), June 1, 2012.

  • Gerber, M. I., Swinker, A.M., Staniar W. B., Werner, J., Jedrzejewski and A. L.Macrina. Health factors associated with microchip insertion in horses, J. Eq. Vet. Sci. 32:3,177-182, 2012.

  • Rebecca C.B., Greene, B.A., Koch,K., Martinson, K.L., Siciliano,P., Williams, C.A., Trottier, N., Burk, A., Swinker ,A.M., Production and environmental implications of equine grazing. J. Eq. Vet. Sci., 2013.

  • Swinker, A., Worobey, S., McKernan, H., Kniffen, D., Foulk, D, Schneider , F., and Brubaker, M., Profile of Pennsylvania equine industry's environmental impact and best management practices. J. of NACAA, 6 (1), 2013.

  • Greene,E.A., C. Giguere, R.C. Bott, K.L. Martinson, and A. Swinker. Vermont Horses vs. Twisted Tomatoes: A Case Study. J. of NACAA, 6 (1), June 1, 2013.

  • Westendorf M. L., C. Williams, A. O. Burk, N. Trottier, K. Martinson, P. D. Siciliano, A. M. Swinker, E. A. Elizabeth A. Greene and R. Bott. Environmental impacts of equine operations: a U.S. Department of Agriculture multistate project, J. Eq. Vet. Sci. 32:6, 324-326, 2013.

  • Swinker, A.,  D. Foulk, H. McKernan, S. Truax, Implementing Conservation Practices on Equine and Small Farms Using Environmental Stewardship Programs, National Conference on Grazing Lands, Dec. 13-16, 2015 Grapevine, TX.

    Foulk, D., A. Swinker, H. McKernan, H. Stofanak, L. Witmer, D. Zang, M. Nielsen and E. Jedrzejewski, Reducing Parasite Resistance on Equine Operations Using a Comprehensive Whole Farm Approach, National Conference on Grazing Lands, Dec. 13-16, 2015 Grapevine, TX.

    Swinker, A.,  D. Foulk, H. McKernan , Environmentally Friendly Farm Program Recognizes Pennsylvania Farms that Adopt Sound Management Practices Protecting Water Quality and the Environment, Waste to Worth, Seattle WA, March 31 - April 3, 2015. 

    Swinker, A., A. Burk, R. Bott, C. Williams, and E. Greene, An NE-1441 Project: Proposed Methodologies for Administering a Multi-State Environmental Best Management Practices Survey of Equine Properties Waste to Worth, Seattle WA, March 31 - April 3, 2015.

     Swinker, A.,
      E. Greene, A. Burk, R. Bott, B. McIntosh, M. Westendorf, C. Williams, Existing Equine Pasture Best Management Survey Findings from NE-1441 States, Waste to Worth, Seattle WA, March 31 - April 3, 2015.

  • Bott, R., Greene, E., Trottier, N., Willliams, C., Westendorf, M., Swinker N., Mastellar, S., Martinson, K., Environmental implications of nitrogen output on horse operations: A review, Journal of Equine Veterinary Science 08/2015; DOI:10.1016/j.jevs.2015.