WWU Students Train Young, Half-wild Horses

Seven William Woods
University students had the unique opportunity to work with young, half-wild
horses during a two-week intersession in January.

Rachel Horner, a junior
at WWU, worked with Sparky, a 7-month-old Quarter horse, during the training
“I was interested in
the class because I breed and train my own horses. And I wanted some more tools
for training my foals,” she said. “I would take the class again because I
learned so much about handling from it.”
In addition to Horner, students
in the class were Danielle Beaver, Elissa Grossman, Anna Burman, Ashley Barnes,
Hannah Podgorski and Kathleen McDaniel. They were each assigned a young horse
to train.
Six of the fillies were
leased from A and M farms in Sturgeon, Mo. Sarah Track, clinical instructor of
saddle seat at WWU, provided her personal horse for the seventh filly. The ages
of the fillies ranged from three coming yearlings, two coming 2 year olds, one
coming 3 year old and one 3 year old.
Over the period of two
weeks, students taught the fillies how to halter, lead, pick up their hooves,
how to work on a lunge line and worked on desensitizing. By the end, all
fillies wore bits and surcingles or saddles. The three year-old fillies were
ridden at a walk, trot and canter, while the others were taught how to long
To work the fillies,
students used Rowland Riding Arena. The arena, normally used for dressage and
hunter/jumper classes during the semester, was converted into a training
facility for young stock. Mike Wessel, barn manager at WWU, rented temporary
stalls and a round pen to accommodate the class.
Bonnie Carr, director of
academic advising at WWU, taught the class. Carr was pleased with the outcome
of the class and the progression of the students, both human and equine.
“I saw all the students progress in their ability
to work with and understand young horses and their behaviors and responses,”
said Carr. “One of the students commented that this class will affect the way
she deals with her own horses now.”
Due to the success of the class, Carr wants to hold another class for
students to train young horses.
“We are tentatively planning to offer the class again in the evening
during the short summer term in May.”

Photo IDs:
Hannah Podgorski
Ashley Barnes
Anna Burman