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Alfred University to host two student-run horse shows
4/23/10

ALFRED, NY — Alfred University’s Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center will be the venue for a pair of open horse shows Saturday and Sunday, May 1 and 2. Both shows are being run by students in AU’s Horse Show Management class.

A Western show will be held Saturday and an English (hunt seat) show will be held Sunday. The shows are open, so that all riders are welcome to compete; entrants will be classified according to age and riding experience.

Natalie Grow, a junior from Hyde Park, NY, is in the University’s Horse Show Management class and is serving as manager of the upcoming English show. Jessica Kulik, a senior from Winslow, ME, is also in the class and is manager for the Western show. Both are members of the AU varsity Western equestrian team.

Grow and Kulik are among 10 students enrolled in the Horse Show Management class who are charged with organizing and staging the two shows at Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center. Students are responsible for all aspects of organizing and hosting the shows, which include soliciting sponsorships; developing printed programs and promotional posters; securing ribbons and prizes; designing and setting up the show courses; securing and assigning judges; assigning stalls for riders who request them; and cleaning and setting up the barn.

The students were provided a budget, with which they worked to buy advertising and secure prizes. Some of the prizes were donated outright, while students were able to acquire others at reduced prices. Show sponsors — some of them businesses that cater to the equestrian field — also helped offset the cost of staging the shows.

The success of the shows will largely determine the students’ final grade in their Horse Show Management class.

“This is our final exam,” said Grow, a biology/pre-veterinary major with a dual minor on chemistry and equine sciences. She and her classmates have been working on organizing the shows throughout the spring semester. “These shows will be fully student-run and we want to run them as if a professional crew put them on.”

Nancy Kohler, director of the AU equestrian program, and Leigh Fischer, head coach of the varsity English team, are instructors in the Horse Show Management class. Grow said both served as “mentors” for the students, helping advise them on the requirements of setting up and managing a competitive show. This is the second student-run show the Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center has hosted; the Horse Show Management class from the fall semester staged the first.

Grow and Kulik have each been assisted by four classmates in the Horse Show Management class. Erin Toone, a junior from Williamsville, NY, Hallie Draegert, a freshman from Dayton, NY, Christina Nelson, a junior from Henrietta, NY, and Courtney Kutzscher, a sophomore from Sharon Springs, NY, are working with Grow to organize the English show. Jennifer Spann, a junior from Belgrade, ME, Kaela Speicher, a senior from Harmony, PA, Alexandria Beall, a sophomore from Delhi, NY, and Catherine von Hagn, a junior from Bath, NY, are working with Kulik on the Western show.

Students were required to volunteer at hosted by the Bromeley-Daggett Equestrian Center this semester. AU hosted two Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) Western shows Feb. 6 and an Interscholastic Equestrian Association (IEA) English and Western show March 27 and 28. Student responsibilities included staffing the equestrian center office, announcing show events, and assisting the barn manager.

“This not only helped us in planning for our (year-end) shows, but also game us the hands-on experience of working with (Kohler and Fischer) to help run the equestrian center shows,” Grow said.

Grow and Kulik said the semester-long project has had its challenges, particularly given the short turnaround required from when the class began in January.

“The most challenging part of organizing the show has been coordinating everyone and everything to fit within our timeframe,” Grow commented. “Everything had to be done within a semester’s time period, whereas most horse shows are organized over a matter of months. Making sure judges, prizes, sponsors, and advertising was done properly the first time has been crucial to the planning of this show.”

Kulik, a business administration major with minors in accounting and equine studies, agreed. “The most difficult part with the time constraints was getting everyone organized and making sure we marketed the event well enough to attract enough people, despite the short notice.”

Despite the challenge provided by a fast-paced schedule, both students said the project has been rewarding.

“Hands down, getting the corporate sponsors has been the most fun, for all of us,” Kulik said. “We've gotten Cowboy Magic, Triple Crown Grain, Oster Clippers, Biddle Embroidery, and several others to donate money and highly sought after prizes. I know myself and the Western Team are excited about being supported by these sponsors as it will surely draw a larger crowd.”

“Having the opportunity to take charge, work with my group, collaborate with my classmates, and use all the available resources to put together this show and see such a responds has been the best part of the project,” Grow added. “I have received multiple emails and calls from people looking to come to our show requesting information and reserving stalls. I can only hope for good weather the weekend of our show, and I am very excited to see everything work out and to have a successful day.”

The number of entrants who will compete in the shows next week is not yet known, as entries will be accepted up until the day of each show. Grow said it’s possible there could be as many as 100 riders for each of the shows. There will be 33 classes (events) in the Western show and 36 in the English show. The majority of the riders competing will be from Western New York, although some will be coming from other parts of the state as well as parts of Pennsylvania.

Both shows will start at 9 a.m. and will run all day; the public will be admitted free of charge. Weather permitting, the English show May 2 will be held in the outdoor show arena at the equestrian center, which is located off Lake Road in the Town of Alfred. If the weather is inclement, the English show will be held in the indoor arena. The Western show May 1 will be held indoors, regardless of weather.