Texas A&M International Horsemanship took to the international road again in May 2019. Drs. Jessica Leatherwood and Chelsie Huseman, along with three students, traveled to Slovenia and Italy to conduct horsemanship clinics for both youth and adults. Undergraduate students Carly Fronckowiak, a junior Agricultural Systems Management major, Jarrett Haydon, a senior Agricultural Systems Management major, and Katie Wright, a junior Animal Science major, conducted three-day and four-day horsemanship clinics overseas. All three students were Texas A&M Summer Horsemanship School instructors in the summer of 2018 and used their teaching and horsemanship skills developed through the program to teach international participants.
They spent time preparing to work through language barriers and in different cultures before departing, but what they quickly found out overseas was that “no matter where you are, horses speak the same language,” as so eloquently stated by Fronckowiak. Each clinic had numerous participants that were eager to learn more about riding in the western disciplines, especially the ranch classes, which are very popular in the U.S. and gaining traction overseas. Most participants rode stock-type breeds like the American Quarter Horse and Paint Horse, but there were also other breeds like the Haflinger, Arabian, and Warmblood. Breed organizations, such as the Italian Quarter Horse Association, were vital in helping set up the clinic location and participants for the Texas A&M team to teach. Professional horsemen from Vascer Quarter Horses also played an instrumental role in bringing the team to Slovenia.
Thanks to the generous support of the Brazos Extension Horse Committee and Pershall Cattle, the students were able to participate in this impactful experience with little cost to them personally. “Donors like BEHC and Pershall Cattle really understand the value of investing in student experiences. We greatly appreciate them coming alongside Texas A&M and supporting study abroad experiences for students,” says Huseman.”