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Students gallop to equine clinic

By Hannah Brecht
On April 3, 2014

  • Jena Fabor, equine science emphasis, approaches a mailbox on her newly trained horse. The mailbox is part of an obstacle used in trail classes. Hannah Brecht


Kirkwood Community College students loaded their horses and saddled up for an equine clinic Sunday, March 8, in Parnell.  

Horse trainers Alecia and Matt Heinz, who are members of the National Versatility Ranch Horse Association (NVRHA), conducted the two-day clinic in the arena at Outlaw Ranch. 

The goal of NVRHA is to preserve western culture and to raise awareness of the versatility of a ranch horse. 

Blake Barrett, equine science emphasis, said, "The clinic was good. NVRHA is something I am interested in and this geared me in the direction I want to go."

Miranda Morris, an instructor from the equine science department, said she brought students from her Training II class to the clinic so they could apply skills learned in the classroom. 

"I couldn't be happier," Morris said, "The students are getting a lot out of this. These colts are just starting out and the students are doing well at handling all the different situations."

The clinic taught lessons in several ranch show classes. Participants worked on trail patterns, horsemanship patterns, cattle cutting, roping and other skills. 

Many of the students brought horses that were only two to three years old. Young horses can be skittish and hard to control, particularly in unfamiliar areas. Kirkwood students had to introduce these horses to things they've never seen or done before. Jena Fabor, second year equine student, was one student who faced these challenges. 

Fabor said, "I'm a high-strung person and my horse feeds off that. She's way over excited and has also never seen cattle before. With the new surroundings, I had to work her mind a lot to get her to calm down."

The clinic focused on both people who wanted to learn and horses that needed to learn. The Kirkwood students agreed that although there were challenges, the clinic was a success and the experience was beneficial. 

"I enjoyed the clinic because it was something different," Alex Cleverly said. "I'm from a quiet, minute area and we never had anything like this. My horse and I have learned so much."

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