Writers: Haley Birkenfeld and Morgan Moreno
The Texas A&M Stock Horse Team was named 2016 National Champions at the American Stock Horse Association (ASHA) Collegiate Show held in Sweetwater, Texas on April 22-23.
Team members are co-captains Morgan Moreno and Haley Birkenfeld, Lane Birkenfeld, Zachary Haydon, Ellen Black, Kylie Reis, Anissa Cervera, Madison Crum, and Lillian Kent. The team is coached by Paige Linne, a masters student in Equine Industry and Management, with help from assistant Kyla Kalinowski, graduate student in Animal Science.
“We are all very excited for the opportunities this win may bring us. I hope that our team is able to continue the strong reputation that A&M has in Stock Horse competition so that the program may continue to grow. Our team members and coaches have worked very hard for this title, and it is awesome to see our improvements be recognized,” said Morgan Moreno.
Each member of the Stock Horse Team competes for an all-around title comprised of four different events: stock horse pleasure, trail, reining, and working cow horse. Students are divided into three divisions based on their previous show and riding experience: Non-Pro, Limited Non-Pro, and Novice.
“I am very proud of the way our team competed at nationals,” Birkenfeld said. “Our riders have put in months of hard work and practice in preparation for this show, and it was very rewarding for that dedication to pay off. “
The Aggies earned many individual honors. The team maintained a strong presence in the Non-Pro division with Haley Birkenfeld claiming the Reserve High-Point Individual title and Zachary Haydon finishing sixth. In the Limited-Non Pro Lane Birkenfeld finished third, followed closely by Morgan Moreno in fifth place. The Aggies were also well represented in the Novice division. Lillian Kent took top honors and was named the Novice Champion High-Point Individual. Anissa Cervera finished fourth, followed by Ellen Black in sixth, and Kylie Reis in ninth. In addition, both Haley and Lane Birkenfeld were given the Student Trainer Award of their division, awarded to the highest placing individuals to own and train their personal horses.
The team was honored to compete against respectable competition with Texas Tech University finishing only three points behind the Aggies to take home the Reserve National Championship Team title. North Central Texas College finished in third place. In total there were 15 teams that competed from colleges and universities across the nation.
“I’m incredibly proud of the work this team has put in as riders this season, it’s a blessing to see them realize their goals with a National Championship. They also put a lot of time in to community involvement and outreach this year, and I think that’s been a rewarding experience. I’m thankful to have the opportunity to work with this team, and I look forward to continuing to grow the Texas A&M Stock Horse Program,” said coach, Paige Linne.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Maggie Tucker at email@example.com or (979) 845-1542.