As evidenced by two national championships during the same week, riders for Middle Tennessee State University’s stock horse team definitely enjoy competing in Texas.
Competing late in the semester at the American Stock Horse Association Collegiate and National Show in Sweetwater, Texas — and for the first time Division 1 — MTSU defeated Texas Tech University to earn the national title.
“This championship means a lot,” coach and horse science faculty member Andrea Rego said. “It was our first time attempting the Division 1 category … and we had to step up our game in the non-pro division (six riders competing instead of four).
“It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to try for Division 1 and I’m so grateful to have had a team that happily jumped on board. Their determination definitely paid off and becoming Division 1 champions was a bucket list item fulfilled for me.”
Earlier in the week, MTSU riders earned the Division 2 Reserve Champion national title at the Hughes Ranch Traders National Intercollegiate Ranch and Stock Horse National Championship late in the spring semester in Amarillo, Texas. MTSU also received a $1,000 marketing package for its ranch horse program.
The AHSA event
Eight MTSU students competed in the AHSA event held in the Nolan County Coliseum in Sweetwater, Texas, capturing eight individual national awards and the coveted national title. Events included cow horse, pleasure, reining and trail.
“It was hard traveling from one national show to the next, but it felt like the hardest part was already over after Amarillo.” said Jordan Dillenbeck, a senior horse science major and team president. “I made sure to take extra care of my horse and make sure she was prepared for another round of competition.”
Freshman horse science major Jordan Martin of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, won the Don Henneke Trainer’s Award for her accomplishments aboard her personally trained mare, Miss Catnic.
A year ago, the Raiders finished fourth overall in Division 2, but earned 10 combined championship and runner-up awards.
Vaughn Coblentz of Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Cory Elks traveled to help work the ASHA national show.
“It was a great experience working the show and to see what the judges were looking for in riders and horses,” said Elks, a junior horse science major from Troy, Tennessee. “I also made invaluable connections and will be working two world shows this summer because of those connections.”
Action in Amarillo
The Hughes Ranch Trailers-sponsored event featured 115 riders from 14 colleges and universities from seven states. MTSU carried six riders to this event, each competing for individual awards plus national champion and Reserve Champion team honors.
Rego said notable individual all-round awards included:
• Taylor Meek, a recent graduate and horse science major from Murfreesboro, winning eighth overall in the Limited Non-Pro All-Around Division.
• JoBeth Scarlett, a junior animal science major from New Market, Tennessee, placed ninth overall in the Limited Non-Pro All-Around Division.
“This trip was amazing for me,” said Meek. “It was great to see how much each rider and horse had improved together, and also the sportsmanship and support within our team and with other teams. The competition was fierce, but MTSU was well-represented on a national level.”
Other team members include:
• Rachel Petree, a senior horse science major from Maynardville, Tennessee.
• Louann Braunwalder, a sophomore fermentation science major from Lascassas, Tennessee.
• Kara Brown, a junior horse science major, from Murfreesboro.
• Savannah Glinstra, a senior horse science major from Columbia, Tennessee.
Rego and the team are thankful for its supporters.
“We couldn’t have done this without the many clinicians, working cattle and Neal Agee’s Hurricane Creek Ranch, and the experiences gained at the Tennessee Stock Horse Association shows,” Rego said.
— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)