Penn State Quarter Horses Dominate PQHA Futurity

Posted: December 6, 2012

The 53rd Annual PQHA Futurity and PA Classic Horse show in August provided a banner day for Penn State's horses and valuable hands-on experiences for Animal Science students.
L-R: Alek Tomazin and PSU One Cool Lady, Carolyn McGraw and PSU Lazy Lopin Lion, Courtney Claypool and PSU Obvious Score and Samantha Nissley and PSU Skip Scorin Away

L-R: Alek Tomazin and PSU One Cool Lady, Carolyn McGraw and PSU Lazy Lopin Lion, Courtney Claypool and PSU Obvious Score and Samantha Nissley and PSU Skip Scorin Away

When Penn State Quarter Horses dominated the 53rd Annual PQHA Futurity and PA Classic Horse Show held in August, it represented not just a banner day for the horses, but also an outstanding opportunity for Penn State Animal Science students who gained valuable hands-on experience in preparing and showing the horses.

Brian Egan, horse farm coordinator and equine science instructor, said, “Though many of our students have experience riding, they are not necessarily familiar with younger inexperienced horses. Handling these horses, feeding and grooming them for the show is invaluable to them.” He also noted that the ten students who worked with the show animals and helped with the show made an invaluable contribution to its success.

Samantha Nissley, a senior animal science major from Elizabethtown, agreed, “It was a really neat experience –very interesting and such a great opportunity.” Nissley was employed in the horse barns over the summer so worked very closely with the weanlings, spending at least ½ hour every day after completing her other duties. “They were very shy, and we got them used to being brushed, to the sound of clippers, to picking up their feet and to getting accustomed to a halter,” she said. She showed one of the weanlings at the show, and said she was very happy with the way he responded in the show setting. Nissley, who has an equine minor hopes to become a veterinarian, and appreciated seeing her classroom knowledge put into practice in her work with the horses.

For Howard County, MD, senior Carolyn McGraw, the experience was “invaluable.” She said, “Working with the little ones was so rewarding. We saw them grow up and saw their behavior change over the summer.” McGraw also worked at the barn where the students participated in the care of the 65 Quarter Horses. She added, “I am so proud to be a part of the equine program, and I am happy to get as wide an experience as possible.” She, too, expressed her pleasure at the behavior of the weanlings in the unpredictable setting of the show. “Everyone behaved themselves. You can’t anticipate everything that will happen, but I was proud of all of them.”

While Courtney Claypool, Fairfield County, CT, grew up around horses, she enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with the weanlings. “I had never worked with them to this extent. Basically we taught them manners. Patience was the key thing – they were well-behaved and smart and made progress quickly. They learned they had nothing to be afraid of as we put halters on them and groomed them.

“I want to get as much experience as possible, and it feels good to be a part of the equine program.  I was glad for the opportunity to work at the show and put a face on Penn State as we worked with industry people.”

Egan pointed out that showing the weanlings and yearlings is also a great way to market both the horses and the equine program for undergraduates. “It shows potential students that we have high quality animals they will have the opportunity to work with, so being part of the show promotes both our breeding program and our students to the entire industry.”

With four weanlings and three yearlings at the show, Penn State earned five championships and four reserve championships. Also, PSU Dynamic Krymsun, a horse shown by Randy Mitchell, earned four firsts in Western Riding and two thirds in Junior Western Pleasure. There were also four PSU-bred futurity horses that were individually owned and exhibited, who earned three championships, two reserves and one third place mention.

Penn State Quarter Horses stand four stallions and foals approximately 20 mares per year. The main purpose of the farm is to provide horses for use in Penn State’s undergraduate education, extension programs, and research. Horses raised are sold through an annual student run sale in April as yearlings or two year olds. For more information, contact Brian Egan or visit the Penn State Equine Facilities.

All in all, it was a successful day for the horses, and an outstanding educational experience for students.