By Emma Coffman and Amanda Denson
The Texas A&M University Horsemen’s Association hosted the 2018 American Collegiate Horsemen’s Association National Convention March 8-11. This convention is held each year and hosted by different universities to bring together students interested in careers with an equine focus. The 3-day program provides exposure to a variety of equine professionals leading to networking opportunities and potential internships or jobs for the convention attendees. This year saw the largest convention attendance to date at 150 from 14 universities across the U.S.
The convention ‘kicked-off” the morning of March 9 at the Hildebrand Equine Complex with two career panel sessions. Speakers included Desiree Heath, Marketing coordinator for the American Paint Horse Association, Amy Uniss-Coleman, General Manager of Great southwest Equestrian Center, Skye Mize, owner of WhoaZone Equine LLC, Bready Foster, owner of Foster Performance Horses, Jay Neisemier, farrier and owner of Neisemier Equine Services, Amanda Driewer, representing NavaRio Ranch Horse Productions, Dr. Bobby Willard, veterinarian and equine chiropractor and Dr. Jim Heird, TAMU Equine Initiative and President, American Quarter Horse Association. The career panels were almost exclusively former students, even former Horsemen’s Association members. The speakers, through a description of their background, education and current positions in the horse industry, provided convention attendees with insight into how their education and interests could evolve into satisfying careers and lifestyles beyond those typically associated with the equine industry. Many speakers stayed through lunch giving students an opportunity for a little one-on-one time with them. In the afternoon, Dr. Willard demonstrated equine chiropractics after which, there was a tour of the newly built, state of the art Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine facilities.
March 10 was the tour day with the first stop being Ride On Center for Kids (R.O.C.K.), Georgetown, TX, where the group had a tour of the barns, education rooms and equine assisted therapy sessions. R.O.C.K., founded by Dr. Nancy Krenek who also oversees the Courtney Cares program at Texas A&M, provides services and conducts research in equine assisted and affiliated therapies for children and adults with a wide variety of needs. Equicare, a state of the art equine rehabilitation center in Lampasas, was the next stop on the tour where there were demonstrations of the use of RLT Vet Soft Tissue Regeneration, Hydrotherapy, cold/hot saltwater spa, Thera-plate and Solarium. The final destination was Rodeo Austin, which allowed out of state attendees a small piece of Texas culture.
On the last day of the convention, March 11, there was a formal banquet at the Hildebrand Complex, with awards and national officer elections for the coming year. Newly elected 2018-2019 American Colligate Horsemen’s Association Officers are President-Amy Kowalski (Clemson University), Vice President- Emma Coffman (Texas A&M University), Secretary- Rachel Parrish (West Virginia University), Treasurer- Carley Snyder (Clemson), Director of Communications- Fallon Ryan (North Dakota State University) and Representative- Misty King (Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College). National advisors are Dr. Pamela Mitcham (Judson College) and Dr. Crystal Smith (West Virginia University).
The American Collegiate Horsemen’s Convention could not have been successful without our sponsors! The Texas A&M University Horsemen’s Association would like to thank each and every sponsor including: Equilume, Texas Quarter Horse Association, Texas Equine Hospital, TAMU Equine Initiative, TAMU Department of Animal Science, COALS Council Grant, Birdsong Farms, Purina/Land O Lakes, Blue Bell Creameries, Emma Coffman Photography, Tractor Supply, KIND snacks, South Texas Tack, and Bryan College Station Convention and Visitors Bureau. Thank you all!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.