Meet those who like to compete with horses or simply learn more about the industry
There are many different agricultural clubs to get involved with on campus, but the North Dakota State Horsemen’s Association allows those of all backgrounds, as long as you like horses. The club is one way to become more knowledgeable about your hobby or professional future.
The student organization is for anyone interested in horses or the industry, not just someone in the equine science field. It does not matter if you have ridden a horse your whole life or never been near a horse, the organization is open to both beginners and experts.
There are two areas that are open for those interested: the organization and the equestrian teams. Some members are a part of both while others only participate in one or the other. It is up to students to decide which they are more interested in.
“We’re really open to anybody, regardless of experience level.”Sheridan Heid , President of Horsemen’s Association
The teams compete with the Intercollegiate Horseman’s Association through visiting different universities in the Midwest. Those that are a part of the organization are welcome to join the teams on their travels. Members learn through speakers and events about the industry and competitions available.
There are two different types of equestrian teams: the Western and the Hunt Seat. The Western Equestrian team focuses on Western Horsemanship and reining. The Hunt Seat team has jumping classes and equitation, which is judged on how the rider works with the horse.
The president of the Horseman’s Association, Sheridan Heid, is also a captain of the Western Equestrian team. Heid grew up riding, but had never showed. She was considered a beginner when she showed to the team tryouts her freshman year. Since making the team, she has been able to meet different people and improve her riding skills. “Honestly, (the club is) probably my favorite college experience so far,” Heid said.
The team aspect is split up into levels. Heid explained that one of the levels is “beginner walk-trotters,” which this year most of the people a part of that level had zero experience with a horse. “The first time they’re ever on a horse is at tryouts basically,” Heid explained.
The vice president of the organization, Fallon Ryan, is a captain of the Hunt Seat Equestrian team. Fallon learned about the equestrian teams through the student involvement expo. She automatically wanted to try out and has been a part of the organization and teams ever since.
The organization has a wide variety of majors, from Heid, who is a biological science major, to Ryan, an animal science major. They explained how there are many science-related majors, but they also have members from all sorts of fields such as engineering, nursing, architecture, etc. Horsemen’s Association allows anyone who is simply interested in horses to participate. “The whole spectrum is on the team,” Heid said.
The two executive members of the organizations explained how teams are not gender specific, but instead co-ed. Everyone competes at the same level, and instead of having different competitions for different genders, everyone is equal.
“We’re one of the few sports in the country really that judges women and men on the same basis,” Ryan said.
After the season, the organization and the teams travel across the country for nationals. This year’s national convention is happening in March, where they will travel to Charlestown, South Carolina. At the convention students are able to explore the equine industry as well as have the option to run for office to be a part of the industry on a national scale. “It is a good way to network and meet other people and peers in the equine industry,” Ryan explained.
Through these conventions, Ryan was able to be elected to the national board for the organization. She has networked with people all across the county, which helped get her foot in the door into the industry.
This year, the regional competition will be hosted at the NDSU Equine Center Feb. 23-24.
The Horsemen’s Association meets 6 p.m. every other Thursday in Hultz Hall conference room. The next meeting is Feb. 7. Visit MyNDSU.com to contact and gain more information about the organization.