Kristine Vernon

Associate Professor
4-H Youth Development Program Team, Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department

Office: 135 Poole Agricultural Building
Phone: 864-656-4028
Fax: 864-656-3131


 Educational Background

PhD Animal Physiology
Clemson University 2008

MS Animal Science
Michigan State University 2000

BS Animal Science
North Carolina State University 1998

 Courses Taught

AVS 2040 - Horse Care Techniques
AVS 4120 - Advanced Equine Management
AVS 4160 - Equine Exercise Physiology
Selected topics courses as needed


My primary roles at Clemson University are to serve as the horse program coordinator, with teaching responsibilities in the Animal and Veterinary Sciences Department mostly with equine-related courses. Additionally, I am the SC 4-H Horse Program Coordinator, working with state-level 4-H Horse Project contests and other events. My research interests are in equine management, nutrition and exercise science, exploring ways to utilize our horses more effectively and safely.

I am currently the lead faculty senator for CAFLS. I also serve on the AVS department's curriculum and assessment committee, the tenure, promotion and reappointment committee, and the departmental faculty advisory committee. I serve on the Production and Management committee for the Equine Science Society. Finally, I am a member of the Southern Regional 4-H Horse Championship and the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup management committees.

 Research Interests

My primary research interests are related to equine management, nutrition and exercise physiology. I have explored the effects of housing and exercise protocols on bone and cartilage metabolism in an effort to manage horses more appropriately for increased wellbeing and peak performance. I have also investigated the effects of dietary supplements that may mitigate inflammation in horses, which may improve skeletal health or decrease the risk of skeletal injuries or developmental orthopedic diseases. My current research project examines the effects of the rider's influence on gait kinematics and behavior in school master horses. This study is aimed at aiding riding instructors in formulating best management practices for utilization of horses in a beginner to advanced lesson program.

 Extension and Outreach

My primary extension role is to serve as the SC 4-H Horse Program Coordinator. In this capacity, I am responsible for developing educational content and opportunities for SC 4-Hers in the horse project. The project offers approximately 10 state-level events or contests on a yearly basis, and participates in multi-state regional and national events. Additionally, I serve as the Clemson University Equine Center\'s Director, ensuring that the university farm facilitates the mission of teaching, research and outreach in the most effective way. The CUEC is home to the CU Equestrian Team, IEA middle and high school riding teams, a therapeutic riding program (CLEAT), is the hub for the Animal and Veterinary Sciences equine-related classes, laboratory activities and experiential learning, and much more.


R. Strunk, K. Vernon, W. Bridges, R. Blob, and P. Skewes. 2018. The effects of rider level of equine biomechanics and behavior. J. Equine Veterinary Science. 2018. 68:68-72.

A. Bradbery, J. Coverdale, K. Vernon, J. Leatherwood, C. Arnold, R. Dabareiner, M. Kahn, A. Millican, and T. Welsh. 2018. Evaluation of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) supplementation on markers of joint inflammation and cartilage metabolism in young horses challenged with lipopolysaccharide. J. Anim. Sci. 2018, Jan. 29. doi:10.1093/jas/skx076.

K. Vernon, S. Cloy, L. Boone, J. Coverdale, T. Jenkins, and J. Sharp. 2017. Dietary supplementation of CLA in horses: establishment of baseline values on bone turnover, synovial prostaglandin E2, and gait kinematics. Journal of Comparative Exercise Physiology. 13(2), 71-78.

J. Anton, K. Vernon, D. Kelley, J. Gibbons, G. Birrenkott, and C. Mortensen. 2013. Exercising the pregnant mare from day 16 to day 80 of gestation. J Equine Vet Sci. 34(3), 415-420.

S. Headley, J. A. Coverdale, T. C. Jenkins, C. M. Klein, J. L. Sharp, and K. L. Vernon. 2012. Dietary supplementation of CLA in horses increases plasma CLA and decreases plasma arachidonic acid, but does not alter body fat. J. Anim. Sci. 90:4876-4882

R. L. Smith, K. L. Vernon, D. E. Kelley, J. R. Gibbons, C. J. Mortensen. 2012. Impact of moderate exercise on ovarian blood flow and early embryonic outcomes in mares. J. Anim. Sci. 90:3770-3777.

DE Kelley, JR Gibbons, R Smith, KL Vernon, SE Pratt-Phillip, CJ Mortensen. 2011. Exercise affects both ovarian follicular dynamics and hormone concentrations in mares. Theriogenology. 76:615-622. 

Vernon, KL, L. Riggs, J Coverdale, AB Bodine, J Gibbons. 2010. The Effects of Forced Exercise on Collagen Type II Fragments (C2C), Lysyl Oxidase Concentrations and Total Protein Concentrations in Sera and Synovial Fluid of Lambs. J Equine Vet Sci. 30(5):266-274.