PSC students attend National Equestrian Convention

Horse Show

Jared Miller (right), who serves as the advisor for the Equestrian Club at Potomac State College of West Virginia University, escorted six students to Kansas for the 2013 American Collegiate Horseman Association’s National Convention. The students gathered in the lobby of Peeper Ranch before their tour of the facilities. Those attending the convention for the first time included (kneeling from left): Holly Cook and Julia Miles; (back row) Rebecca Mathews, Stephanie Summits, Amber Payne, and Briana Hannon.

By Lindsey Weese (Potomac State Student) and Debi Swick-Cruse

Potomac State College (PSC) of West Virginia University’s (WVU) Equestrian Club traveled to Kansas for the 2013 American Collegiate Horseman Association’s (ACHA) National Convention; this is the first year Potomac State has attended.

     Each year a different university hosts the ACHA convention which is open to all affiliated schools. This year’s convention was held from February 6th through the 9th at Overland Park and was hosted by Kansas State University. The convention highlighted many different facets of the horse industry. “It’s great that PSC students have the opportunity to be involved with a national organization such as the ACHA,” said Club Advisor Jared Miller, who also serves as an instructor at the College.

Each school that attended was invited to take part in a scrapbook competition. PSC students gave a presentation on their scrap book which included the club’s activities (service, educational, leadership, social, and fundraising) and accomplishments over the past year. They were judged on content and presentation (understanding the club’s activities and accomplishments, creativity, professionalism). Awards were presented to the top five entrees; PSC’s Equestrian Club placed second in the competition.

The six students who accompanied Miller to this year’s convention included: Stephanie Summits, Rebecca Mathews, Holly Cook, Julia Miles, Briana Hannon, and Amber Payne.

Summits is a sophomore majoring in wildlife resources. She is a member of the Equine Club, the Ag and Forestry Club, ACHA, and serves as treasurer of the Outdoor Club. She is also involved in 4-H at the collegiate level and plays flute in the College/Community Concert Band. “One of the highlights of the convention for me was the question and answer session with the different career panelist. I really learned a lot from them,” stated Summits. After completing her studies at Potomac State, Summits plans to attend WVU; future goals include working as a game warden for the Department of Natural Resources. Summits is a graduate of Conemaugh Township High School and the daughter of Scott and Mary Summits of Hollsopple, Pa.

Matthews is a freshman from Stephens City, Va. who is majoring in equine production and management and is a member of the Equine Club and ACHA. She is a graduate of Sherando High School and the daughter of Kevin Mathews.

Miles is a sophomore majoring in equine production and management. She is a member of the Equine Club and serves as vice president of the local ACHA Club. She is a graduate of Waynesboro Area Senior High School and is the daughter of Kim and Jesse Miles.

Hannon is a sophomore from Charles Town, W.Va. who is majoring in pre-veterinary medicine. She is a member of the Equine Club and serves as president of the local ACHA Club. She is a graduate of Washington High School and the daughter of Ed Hannon and Debbie Royalty.

Payne is a sophomore business administration major from Winchester, Va. She is a member of the Equine Club and ACHA. She is the daughter of Carol and Mitch Newlin.

Cook is a sophomore from Perryopolis, Pa. who is majoring in pre-veterinary medicine. She is a member of the Equine Club and ACHA. She is a graduate of Frazier High School and is the daughter of Debra Cook and Jacob Richard.

While attending the convention, the students toured four different facilities: Peeper Ranch, a 50,000 plus, square-feet riding facility (the largest in Kansas City); Heartland Therapeutic Riding Facility, a Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship center that provides equine-assisted therapy for children and adults with physical and cognitive disabilities; and Stonecrest Farm, a thoroughbred breeding and racing farm.

The group also visited Lone Wolf Ranch where they watched demonstrations by Brent Wright and Brad Lund. Wright, who is a National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) $1 million rider, a NRHA Derby Champion and Futurity Reserve Champion, and National Reining Breeders Classis Reserve Champion, performed reining demonstrations.

Lund, a three-time American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Superhorse World Champion and a multiple AQHA World Champion rider and trainer, performed roping demonstrations.

“This trip has allowed our students to make connections with students and professors from other colleges. It has also given them an in-site into other aspects of the equine industry,” stated Miller.