By Leah Hohmeier ’10
William Woods University prides itself in changing with the times, and as the equestrian industry changes, so do student experiences at William Woods.
Recently, in the equestrian world, Andalusians have enjoyed a surge in popularity as they become more available in the United States. The WWU program mirrors this trend in the acquisition of several horses with Andalusian blood, including Prazier OBF (Frazier), who was donated in 2006 as a greenbroke gelding by Dottie and John Elfers of Wisconsin. Frazier is a hispano arabes (half Andalusian and half Arabian).
After recently winning seven national championships and reserves at the 2008 International Andalusian and Lusitano Horse Association (IALHA) National Championships, Frazier showed his versatility by embracing his Arabian side and showing at many Class A Arabian shows. Now qualified, he and senior student Tara Rattray of Othello, Wash., are headed to Arabian National Sport Horse Finals in Kentucky.
“Frazier has absolutely made me a better rider. He requires a lot of attention to every slight movement of both his and the riders body. I would love working with many more Andalusians and especially half-Arab/Andalusians” said Rattray.
She is adding these accomplishments to her resume as she prepares to graduate from WWU with her bachelor’s degree in equestrian science this December.
Gary Mullen, USEF Andalusian judge and chair of the William Woods University equestrian science division, has a long and colorful history with the Andalusian breed. Shortly after being named the 2005 IAHLA Professional Horseman of the Year, Mullen joined the WWU faculty.
He brought with him the vision of introducing the Andalusian breed to the higher learning institution, with hopes that WWU students would develop an appreciation for the breed, and consider the training and business opportunities within the Andalusian community.
The university now has three horses of Andalusian blood, and “students are definitely enjoying the ‘Andalusian experience,’” said Mullen.
WWU junior Lauren Donahoo of North Richland Hills, Texas, is currently serving an internship at a prominent dressage facility in Texas. She just earned her USDF (United States Dressage Federation) bronze medal while riding an Andalusian, Electrizar. Both youth and adult riders might be interested in following along with her adventures, which she chronicles on her blog, www.TexanEquestrian.Blogspot.com.
Both the instructors and students have benefited from the addition of Andalusians into the WWU program. After the arrival of Frazier, western instructor Jennie Petterson had the opportunity to ride and show him.
“Frazier proved to be a willing and capable horse who just needed some direction. He’s a wonderful horse to show, and his bold presence commands the judge’s attention,” Petterson said.
Alumni who have worked with Frazier were equally complimentary. Katie Brunelle Hudson, a 2008 WWU graduate, projected Frazier and showed him at IALHA Nationals, winning National Championships in Half-Andalusian English Pleasure Amateur and Half-Andalusian Western Pleasure Amateur, and Reserve National Championships in Amateur Half Andalusian Geldings (halter) and Half Andalusian English Show Hack.
Said Hudson, “One of my favorite things about riding [Frazier] was finding his extended trot. I found this new ‘gear’ of trot that no one knew he had, and he would move out beautifully. I would describe him as a little stubborn, but very intelligent, and once he understood what his job was, he was more than willing to do it. I would work with Andalusians again, as they seem to be a challenging breed, but very rewarding to work with.”
William Woods now has two other donated Andalusians, one pure Andalusian filly and a pinto Azteca (Andalusian/Quarter Horse), which are being ‘projected’ by individual students. Mullen has high hopes for their future, and looks forward to the addition of more Andalusian horses into the WWU program.
William Woods, as a 501C3 organization, does not purchase horses for its program, instead relying on tax-deductible donations of horses over three years that are broke.
“The donation of quality tack and equipment is also tax-deductable,” said Mullen, “and there is currently a genuine need for a new heavy duty truck that can pull the recently donated, beautiful four-horse trailer to some of these national championships!”
William Woods University, in 1972, was the first school in the country to offer a bachelor’s degree in equestrian science. A degree in equestrian administration was added in 1992. The university has a reputation for providing one of the finest equestrian studies programs in the country—filling a national, regional, and local demand for graduates holding a four-year equestrian science degree. The equestrian studies program is the mos