Pat M. Comerford

Pat M. Comerford

  • Extension Horse Specialist
  • Instructor of Animal Science
  • Undergraduate Adviser, Horses


  • PAS, Specialization: Horses, American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists
  • M.S., Animal Science, Clemson University (Thesis topic: Equine Nutrition Supplemental Amino Acids and the Use of Chromic Oxide in Equine Rations)
  • 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