CURTIS, Neb. – Ranchers who use horses in their cattle operations rely on well-trained mounts in their daily duties.
College classes and a competition team at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture teach both horses and riders the practical skills specific to a working ranch environment.
The NCTA Ranch Horse Team recently proved that training and perseverance pays off.
Nine team members from the two-year college in Curtis, Neb., opened their spring show season recently at a two-day contest hosted by Laramie County Community College at Cheyenne, Wyo.
“As a team, we finished fourth overall with many high honors from our members,” said Joanna Hergenreder, NCTA equine coach and animal science professor.
First- and second-year students tested their techniques in reining, western pleasure, trail course of various obstacles and skills, and “cow work” which entails visual command, cattle sorting and keen footwork.
The LCCC event “was the first collegiate show for all of our freshmen competing in the Collegiate Novice Division so that, itself, was a great learning experience,” Hergenreder said.
Riders may use their own horses or ones from NCTA. In the winter, students practice daily under the tutelage of Hergenreder at the NCTA indoor arena or outside at the college’s farm or pastures.