Since last August, three dozen students in the Colorado State University Equine Sciences Program have been training young quarter horses – guiding the horses from the earliest stages of human contact to performing calmly under saddle. This learning experience will culminate April 30 at the CSU Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale.
The annual sale will offer about 60 quarter horses, more than half of them trained by CSU students.
“This has been the biggest learning experience of my horse career, this horse right here,” Brandon Naysnerski, a longtime rider and equine-sciences major from Longmont, recently said as he stood in an airy CSU barn and patted the neck of a 2-year-old bay mare named Sixes Trix. “It’s been everything I wanted and more.”
Naysnerski and 35 other equine students are now completing training work with the young horses that will be offered in the Legends of Ranching sale. About two dozen additional equine undergraduates have contributed to the event through related coursework in equine sales management and equine event management.
The Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale is more than a basic sale: It encompasses unique partnerships between the CSU Equine Sciences Program and reputable horse ranches across the country – all of which benefit student learning.
This year, the Legends program involves 19 horse ranches, including some of the largest and best-known Western horse operations. Consignors provided yearling and 2-year-old quarter horses to the Equine Sciences Program last fall, allowing students to gain valuable horsemanship and other skills throughout the 2010-2011 academic year.
The Equine Sciences Program sells the young horses, along with others consigned, in the Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale in the spring. Auction proceeds underwrite sale costs, contribute to student scholarships and go back to consignors.
“The Legends program is significant because it supports experience-based learning for students in one of the nation’s best equine programs. It provides our students with the insights and skills they need to succeed in the agricultural industry,” Craig Beyrouty, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, said. “Our students, our industry partners and our Equine Sciences Program all benefit.”
The Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale has helped the CSU Equine Sciences Program earn its reputation as one of the best in the country. Begun in 1986, the Equine Sciences Program was the first in the United States to offer a four-year equine-science degree. Nearly 400 undergraduates from 39 states are enrolled, according to records.