By Corinthia Webster
The weekend before Thanksgiving the University of Findlay’s Ranch Horse Team held its Buckle Show at the UF Western barns. The show helped raise money so the team can travel and show their skills at outside shows over the coming months.
The show was open to the community and outside entries. It lasted for two days and also offered many classes to help fine tune skills for participants.
On Saturday before the show started, the Ranch horse team offered a 3-hour clinic. This is open to the competitors and gives them a chance to sharpen their skills before the competition.
After the clinic on Saturday, the team offered cattle classes. The classes ranged in levels from beginner to advanced skills. Two of the classes that the Ranch Horse team offered, were boxing and step-up boxing.
In the boxing event, the horse and rider work together to make sure the cow stays at one end of the arena. On the other hand, in the step-up boxing event, horse and rider take a cow from one end of the arena and down the fence and work to box it and keep it at the opposite end from where they started. This is all done with a timer that ranges from 30 seconds to a minute. Along with these two events offered on Saturday, Findlay’s Ranch Horse Team also offered classes for cutting and working cow horse.
On Sunday, the team held its non-cow classes. These were classes such as pattern and rail classes. Additionally, it offered ranchman ship and ranch trail classes. Along with the classes, the Show had reining paid warmups. This allowed competitors to expose young horses or even seasoned show horses to the atmosphere of showing.
Unlike some of the IHSA teams where students are given a horse to ride for their class mere minutes before that class, the members of the Ranch horse team normally stick with their horse for the year.
Abigail Martens, a Junior and dual major in Animal Science Industry and Western Equestrian Studies, is in her second year on the team.
“The officers and the coaches decided that you will get one horse the whole season,” Martens said. She also pointed out that they do have an option to change their assigned horse, but normally members stay with the horse that they are assigned.
With sticking with the horse, they are assigned, the members get to work and improve their skills.
“I got a more challenging horse,” Martens said. “I got a senior reiner. She’s not challenging herself, but it’s me having to learn how to connect with that horse more.”
Sophomore and The Ranch Horse Team’s Tressure, Hailey Zalak
“As a team we have been trying to help our members to become more well-rounded riders,” Zalak said. “Helping our new members with cattle work, roping as well as allowing our returning members to sharpen up their skills in the ranch horse aspect.’’
Additionally, Zalak and her horse Reyzor (better known as Rey) have been working to switch from showing with two hands steering Rey to only one.
This, year the team was able to take on more members, because many members own their own horse, which left more horses available to be assigned. One of those horses owned by a member is Upendi Bay or better known as Bay Bay. Bay Bay is owned by Junior and Ranch Horse Secretary Leslie Dixon. Bay Bay is a 12-year-old Bureau of Land Management Mustang, who was born in Oregon in the wild and was rounded up in 2010.
“This year we were able to attend the Quarter Horse Congress as a volunteer rider,” Dixon said. “This show is strictly for quarter horses but Bay Bay is the first mustang to ever be allowed to come.”
If you are interested in joining the Ranch Horse Team, they will offer tryouts in the Fall of 2022. The tryout is open to any UF student, even if they are not an equestrian major.