By Victoria Pilger
LOVELAND, CO – The Texas A&M Stock Horse team was named the 2014 National Champion Collegiate Stock Horse Team at the American Stock Horse Association (ASHA) Intercollegiate Show in Loveland, CO.
On April 11 and 12 the Aggies dominated the competition earning the highest scores in every overall division as a team and all three overall individual championships. Texas A&M defeated second place Texas Tech by 39 points followed by Tarleton State, North Central Texas College, and New Mexico State University, respectively.
The Stock Horse Team consists of six members who ride individual horses and compete in four separate events: stock horse pleasure, trail, reining, and working cow horse. Students are divided into three separate divisions based on their previous show experience and years of riding: non-pro, limited non-pro and novice.
This year’s team consists of Haley Birkenfeld, freshman from Nazareth; Ryan Birkenfeld, senior from Nazareth; Anna Haines, senior from San Antonio; Derby Jones, junior from College Station; Kyla Kalinowski, sophomore from Schertz; and Kimberly Pritchett, senior from Joshua. Alternates who have also been practicing with the team throughout the semester and have attended previous competitions were Sarah Savage, freshman from Boerne; Helen Hardy, senior from Georgetown; and Michelle Wilkinson, graduate student from Montgomery.
The team is coached by Dr. Dennis Sigler, professor and Extension horse specialist, and Raul Valdez, graduate assistant in animal science.
In individual competition, Birkenfeld earned overall high point champion non-pro division rider followed by Haines in reserve; Pritchett won overall high point champion limited non-pro rider, followed by Jones in third place; Kalinowski earned overall high point champion novice division rider followed by Birkenfeld in third place.
“The successes realized by this year’s team is a direct result of extremely hard-working and dedicated students, well-trained horses for the students to learn on, and previous outstanding educational efforts on the part of several faculty and graduate students in Animal Science,” said Sigler.
The 2014 Stock Horse team has been undefeated throughout this season. The team also won the National Champion title two of the last three years, while earning Reserve National Champion titles in 2011 and 2013. The 2013-2014 team’s travel to the National Show was made possible through generous sponsorships by the Schiller Ranch in College Station and the Gemelli Group in Malibu, Cali.
Victoria Pilger is a junior Animal Science major with a minor in Agricultural Communications and Journalism from Bryan, Texas.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.