Equine Research

Dr. Brian D. Nielsen
Equine Exercise Physiologist

Ph.D. Texas A & M University 1996
M.S. Texas A & M University 1992
B.S. University of Wisconsin at River Falls 1990


Contact Information:
1287D Anthony Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1225
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  • Michigan State University, Department of Animal Science, East Lansing
    • Professor - 2008 - present
    • Associate Professor - 2002-2008
    • Assistant Professor - 1996-2002
  • Purdue University, Department of Animal Science, West Lafayette

    • Graduate Faculty - 2005-Present

Membership in Professional Organizations

  • Equine Science Society
    • Serving on Board of Directors 2001- Present
    • Secretary/Treasurer 2007-2008
    • Vice President 2009-Present
  • Editorial Board for Comparative Exercise Physiology
  • American Society of Animal Science

    • Serving on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Animal Science
  • American Registry of Professional Animal Scientists

    • Certified: Area of Specialization—Horses
    • Serving on the Editorial Board for “The Professional Animal Scientist”
  • Diplomat in the American College of Animal Nutritionists
  • Served on the NAS National Research Council’s Committee on Nutrient Requirements of Horses 2007

Membership in Honorary Organizations

  • Sigma Xi
  • Phi Beta Delta

Membership in Other Organizations

  • Great Lakes Quarter Horse Association—Currently serving on Executive Board
  • American Quarter Horse Association

Honors and Awards

  • Midwest ASAS/ADSA Outstanding Young Teacher Award 2005
  • Outstanding Young Professional Award - 17th Equine Nutrition and Physiology Society (2001)
  • Graduate Research Competition Winner in Nutrition - 14th Equine Nutrition & Physiology Symp. (1995)
  • Regents’ Graduate Fellowship Recipient - Texas A&M University (1994)
  • TAMU Association of Former Students Graduate Student Research Award for Master’s Research - Texas A&M University (1993)
  • Graduate Research Competition Winner in Nutrition - 13th Equine Nutrition & Physiology Symp. (1993)
  • Outstanding Senior in the College of Agriculture - University of Wisconsin - River Falls (1990)
  • Chancellor’s Award - Highest non-academic award at UW-River Falls; presented for distinguished service to university (1990)

Teaching and Advising Responsibilities

Dr. Nielsen teaches two senior level courses in the Department of Animal Science. They are ANS 442 (Advanced Horse Management) and ANS 445 (Equine Exercise Physiology). Additionally, he is the undergraduate advisor to over 50 students in our department and has also been the advisor to the MSU Rodeo Club since 1997.

Research Program

With a 60% research appointment, Dr. Nielsen works hard to perform research of use to the equine community. The primary focus of his research tends to be directed towards reducing injuries to performance horses through nutrition, training and management. However, he occasionally does research in other areas of equine nutrition, as well as collaborative studies looking at equine behavior. Please visit the equine research lab to meet Dr. Nielsen’s research assistant and graduate students. Also, please feel free to check out some of our publications to learn more about some of our past projects.

Cow Racing

racingcow What do you get when you combine equine exercise physiology with dairy management? Cow Racing!

The principles of exercise physiology can be used with other animals besides horses. In 2000, Dr. Nielsen set a new world record for the fastest mile ever recorded by a cow being ridden under saddle on a racetrack. After some “serious” training, Taffy completed a mile in 8:55.4 to win the first ever Udder Race. The team of Brian and Taffy then went on to win a half-mile race conducted for the television show “Ripley’s Believe It or Not”. After that race, both Brian and Taffy retired from the sport.