Writer: Darrell J. Pehr, (575) 646-3223, firstname.lastname@example.org
LAS CRUCES - From checking in entries to serving as show ring stewards, students in New Mexico State University's equine program learned what it takes to put on a horse show during the Southwest Quarter Horse Association Labor Day Futurity Circuit Show.
Horse science students and members of the NMSU Horse Judging Team spent the long weekend setting up and helping the run the show at the Southern New Mexico Fairgrounds.
"It was a great opportunity for us to participate," said Jenna Pisel, an NMSU sophomore and member of the judging team. While Pisel had previously competed at horse shows, she had never been involved with managing one, so she found the experience valuable.
"In the equine industry, it's very important to know people, getting those connections," Pisel said.
Connecting students to the industry is one of the goals of the equine program at NMSU, which offers 15 courses about horses. Extension horse specialist Jason Turner said the horse show was just one opportunity students have to become familiar with horse industry careers, which are especially important across southern New Mexico and into West Texas.
"We've got a huge horse community" that includes horse racing, horse breeding operations and recreational horse owners, Turner said.
Later this year, students will tour the Frontera Training Center at Sunland Park Racetrack to learn about management practices in horse racing, and NMSU rodeo coach Jim Dewey Brown will speak to the students about rodeo-related careers.
Turner was pleased with the students' attitude and their willingness to volunteer during the holiday weekend.
"They were positive and are willing to go back and do it again," Turner said. "I was really impressed with the job our students did."
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