CURTIS, Neb. – Ranchers who use horses in their cattle operations rely on well-trained mounts in their daily duties.
College classes and a competition team at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture teach both horses and riders the practical skills specific to a working ranch environment.
The NCTA Ranch Horse Team recently proved that training and perseverance pays off.
Nine team members from the two-year college in Curtis, Nebraska, opened their spring show season recently at a two-day contest hosted by Laramie County Community College at Cheyenne, Wyoming.
“As a team, we finished fourth overall with many high honors from our members,” said Joanna Hergenreder, NCTA equine coach and animal science professor.
First- and second-year students tested their techniques in reining, western pleasure, trail course of various obstacles and skills, and “cow work” which entails visual command, cattle sorting and keen footwork.
“This was the first collegiate show for all of our freshmen competing in the Collegiate Novice Division so that, itself, was a great learning experience,” Hergenreder said of the March 9 and 10 contest.
Riders may use their own horses or ones from NCTA. In the winter, students practice daily under the tutelage of Hergenreder at the NCTA indoor arena or outside at the college’s farm or pastures.
Hergenreder’s narrative of results from the LCCC Ranch Horse Show:
Courtney Leach, Lewellen, rode Strait Chexy Doc in the Collegiate Non Pro division for first time and took home the reserve champion spot in cow work. The duo placed fifth in reining, six in pleasure and sixth place in the most creative trail course we’ve seen yet. They finished sixth in the all-around.
Carly Wade, Monroe, Maine, rode Docs Hot To Handle in the Collegiate Limited Non-Pro, also for the first time, and earned division reserve champions in cow work. They also finished fourth in both reining and pleasure, fifth in trail and fourth in the all-around.
Sydney Boden, Ord, and Sweet Pea competed in the Collegiate Intermediate division, also for the first time, and won the all-around. The duo won cow work, placed second in trail and pleasure classes, and was third in reining.
Kaitlyn Thesenvitz, Wood River, and Zip N On A Breeze competed in the Collegiate Intermediate and won the pleasure. The duo also placed second in reining, third in trail and cow work, all for a reserve champion title in the all-around.
Collegiate Novice Division
Damian Wellman, Prairie View, Kansas, and Lil Bay finished as the Collegiate Novice reserve champions in cow work. This duo also finished seventh in the pleasure, 14th in trail, 16th in reining, and 10th in the division all-around.
Rebekah Miller, Bashor, Kansas, and NCTA’s own Big Gem Surprise were third in cow work, 13th in pleasure, 14th in reining, 19th in trail, and 15th in the all-around. This duo came together just a few days before the show as Rebekah’s primary mount was injured.
Madisyn Cutler, Elsie, and Legend Nic had a fantastic first show, finishing eighth in trail, 14th in pleasure, 17th in reining, 18th in cow work, and 17th in all-around. Watch out for this duo, they are going to climb fast.
Nicole Ackland, Lincoln, and Strait Impulse finished 10th in reining, 16th in Cow Work, 17th in trail, 18th in pleasure, and 18th all-around. Nicole piloted this 3-year-old like a pro. Watch these two progress as well.
Garison Fisher, Beaver City, and Tilly finished 10th in cow work, 17th in pleasure, 18th in trail, 19th in reining and 19th in all-around. This duo went from a near-career ending injury just a few weeks ago to placing in his classes with this mare.
Hergenreder said Aggie riders also had support with equipment, supplies, photography and more from team members Shea DeNaeyer, Valentine; Huntra Christensen, Lincoln; and Lennae Eisenmenger, Humphrey.
The Aggies will host their annual Punchy in Pink Spring Roundup, an open and collegiate ranch horse show, on April 13-15 at Kiplinger Arena in McCook. Admission is free for spectators, with registration proceeds going to breast cancer awareness and educational programs.