Pat M. Comerford

  • Extension Horse Specialist
  • Instructor of Animal Science
  • Undergraduate Adviser, Horses
Pat M. Comerford


  1. PAS, Specialization: Horses, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists
  2. M.S., Animal Science, Clemson University (Thesis topic: Equine Nutrition Supplemental Amino Acids and the Use of Chromic Oxide in Equine Rations)
  3. B.S., Animal Science with Minor in Environmental Science, Clemson University, (High Honors)


  • Primary focus is youth equine extension (4-H) programs.
  • Primary interests include safety education, horsemanship skills and applied production and mangement practices. Also work with adult equine extension programs and with undergraduate program in equine studies.


Extension Activities:

Youth Extension Programs - State 4-H Horse Program

  • Direct and provide leadership for Pennsylvania 4-H horse program involving over 7,600 youth and approximately 800 adult leaders
  • Develop, coordinate and conduct educational programs, horse shows, judging contests, clinics and seminars including state 4-H horse show with 1,500 entries, regional production shows with over 1,000 entries, state 4-H Horse Forum, and 4-H Horse Judges School
  • Develop state 4-H horse curriculum and reference materials for youth, leaders, and county staff
  • Initiate and develop state 4-H horse safety education, horsemanship skills, and horse show judges training programs
  • Direct and coordinate activities of state 4-H horse program advisory and development committees
  • Provide technical expertise for youth and adult 4-H leaders and volunteers on equine use, management practices, 4-H program policies and 4-H rules
  • Write and develop bi-monthly newsletter and information packets for county staff and volunteers for use throughout the state
  • Superintendent of Team Demonstration (communication) Contest at Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup
  • Serve on Pennsylvania 4-H Animal Science Curriculum Committee to develop and implement curriculum and educational programs for large animal youth programs

Adult Extension Horse Program

  • Serve as state extension horse specialist and direct and assist with state extension horse programs for adults
  • Develop, direct and assist with educational programs including Winning Ways horsemanship clinics and Ag Progress Days Equine Educational Program
  • Initiated and developed reproductive management seminars in cooperation with veterinarians and pharmaceutical company representatives
  • Provide technical expertise for adult clientele throughout the state on equine use, production and management practices
  • Prepare and present educational programs on equine use and management throughout the state
  • Collaborate with equine industry groups and breed organizations


Undergraduate Education Activities

  • Taught undergraduate courses in introductory and advanced equine production and management; currently assist with production, merchandising, and equine industry issues and careers courses
  • Advise and assist students in academic and career planning and job placement
  • Supervise students in independent study projects
  • Supervise student presentations at national youth horse leader symposium and departmental undergraduate seminars
  • Assist with development of curriculum and course proposals
  • Recruit prospective students and promote university's equine programs
  • Develop promotional displays and materials for undergraduate programs
  • Serve on departmental horse users, awards, and social committees
  • Assist with planning and coordination of university horse sale with student participation


Current Activities:

Youth Extension Responsibilities

Major Youth Extension Programs

  • PA 4-H Safety Program PA 4-H Horsemanship Skills Advancement Levels Program PA 4-H Judges Education Program PA 4-H Ethics Training Program

Major Youth Extension Events

  • PA 4-H Horse Forum
  • PA 4-H Horse Judges School
  • PA 4-H Regional Driving Clinics
  • PA 4-H Regional Production Project Clinics
  • PA 4-H Regional Reining Clinics
  • PA 4-H Horsemanship Skills Level Training Clinics
  • PA 4-H Regional Production Shows
  • PA State 4-H Horse Judging Contest
  • PA State 4-H Hippology Contest
  • PA State 4-H Horse Bowl Contest
  • PA 4-H Equine Skillathon PA State 4-H Competitive Trail Ride
  • PA State 4-H Horse Show
  • Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup AYHC National Youth Horse Leaders Symposium

Adult Extension Responsibilities

Major Adult Extension Events

  • Winning Ways Clinic
  •  Ag Progress Days Equine Educational Program
  •  PA 4-H Horse Forum
  • PA 4-H Horse Judges School


Professional Service:

  • American Youth Horse Council: Past President, Vice President and Secretary; safety manual co-author; developed membership brochure and AYHC promotional displays; Horse Industry Handbook advertising co-chair, chapter co-author and chapter reviewer; executive and membership committee
  • Pennsylvania Equine Council: State Director; initiated and coordinate student participation in PEC activities for independent study credit; trail committee; assist with coordination of PEC Workday and Trails Symposium
  • Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) Equine Health Committee: Interact with PDA and industry professionals on equine health and production and management practices
  • Pennsylvania 4-H Horse Program Development Committee: Coordinate committee functions and subcommittees including curriculum, publications and project materials, 4-H projects and events, safety program, horse show rules, drugs and medications, and horsemanship skills
  • Pennsylvania 4-H Horse Program Advisory Committee: Coordinate committee functions and subcommittees including curriculum, publications and project materials, 4-H projects and events, safety program, and horse show rules
  • Pennsylvania Special Olympics: Coordinate trail events for riders with disabilities at statewide event
  • Penn State West Nile Virus (WNV) Coordinating Committee: Cooperate with college extension faculty and staff to provide information on WNV to clientele throughout Pennsylvania
  • American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) 4-H Task Force Identify and consider opportunities for collaborative youth horse curriculum and programs for youth in 4-H and American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA)


Membership in Professional Societies:

  • American Youth Horse Council
  • American Horse Council
  • Pennsylvania Equine Council
  • Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society
  • American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists
  • American Quarter Horse Association
  • Pennsylvania Quarter Horse Association
  • USA Equestrian Alpha Zeta Honorary Agricultural Fraternity
  • Gamma Sigma Delta Agricultural Society


Professional Experience

1987-1991 Self-employed Boarding Stable Manager Warrior's Mark, Pennsylvania

  • Managed horse boarding facility with 6-8 horses
  • Provided daily care, maintenance, and supervision of horses and facility
  • Provided nutritional supervision of horses and consultation with owners
  • Coordinated health care with veterinarian and clients
  • Provided daily "lay up" care of sick and injured horses
  • Conducted educational programs on equine nutrition and management for local horse groups

1984 - 1987 Veterinary Teaching Technician University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine Athens, Georgia

  • Supervised and instructed senior veterinary and veterinary technician students in anesthesia procedures and techniques
  • Revised and edited tests and teaching materials
  • Maintained medication, supply and equipment inventories
  • Coordinated hospital anesthesia schedules with surgeons and students
  • Anesthetized and monitored veterinary patients

1979 - 1984 Instructor of Animal Science Northeast Missouri State University Kirksville, Missouri

  • Taught undergraduate courses in introductory equine studies, horse production and management, ration formulation, introductory animal science, livestock judging, and senior agricultural seminar
  • Advised and assisted students in academic and career planning and job placement
  • Developed curriculum and course proposals for equine studies program
  • Coordinated equine studies program
  • Worked with local producers to incorporate student’s projects into horse farm operations
  • Prepared plans for development of university farm and equine facilities
  • Served as faculty advisor to Horse and Rodeo Club and Collegiate 4-H Club
  • Coordinated workshops and short courses
  • Coordinated regional FFA livestock contests

1978-1979 Assistant County Supervisor Farmers Home Administration Macon, Missouri

  • Assisted farmers in enterprise planning for farm operating and real estate loans
  • Evaluated loan applications
  • Developed cash flow statements and balance sheet information
  • Conducted on-farm consultations with farmers to discuss operating plans and budgets

1976-1978 Graduate Research Assistant Department of Animal Science Clemson University Clemson, South Carolina

  • Assistant instructor of livestock judging
  • Prepared slides, tapes, and other teaching materials for undergraduate animal science courses
  • Conducted equine nutrition research in amino acid metabolism with digestion trials of ponies
  • Performed proximate analysis and other chemical analyses for research project
  • Started young horses working cattle
  • Rode horses to work cattle for artificial insemination projects




  • Partner in Safety Award from Certified Horsemanship Association for AYHC publication, Start with Safety: Horse Safety Guidelines (co-author with Tim Potter)
  • Equine Educator of the Year Award from American Association for Horsemanship Safety, for leadership and innovative endeavors in superior horse safety educational materials
  • Northeast Extension Directors Award of Excellence Honorable Mention for West Nile Virus outreach program (member of College of Agricultural Sciences West Nile Virus Coordinating Committee)
  • Ayer-Hammett Award from American Medical Equestrian Association, for outstanding leadership in equestrian safety education