Equine students in international winner’s circle
OLDS, ALBERTA, June 7, 2007 – Olds College is buzzing with excitement, as students from the Equine Science program celebrate multiple wins from their first international competition.

 

A team from the English Horsemanship major competed at the second annual Intercollegiate World Equestrian Cup in Pennsylvania from May 30-June 1st. The Olds College team of students in the two-year diploma program were competing against students in four year degree programs from the Netherlands, Germany, the United States, Italy and England. The results were as unexpected as they were spectacular: first year student Bree Johnston won first in the jumping competition and third in written theory, first year Tess Novacek won first in dressage and fourth in written, and second year student Jennifer Smart won first in the written exam and received the overall aggregate award for top scoring individual in the competition. Alternate for the team was second year student Kelly McAdam.

“What a way to end my two years at Olds College! I had a couple of coaches ask what it would take for me to join their university team. I am already doing exactly what I wanted to do, but it was really exciting to get that attention,” said Jennifer Smart, who is working as a trainer for a breeder in Wetaskiwin and who has also been chosen to deliver the Valedictorian Address at the Olds College graduation ceremony on June 16.

“It was quite an honour to be there. We went for the experience, but ended up with such a great team that we placed in every aspect of the competition. Our big benefit is that in our program we ride all sorts of horses, so we can ride consistently on any horse we are given. It has been really amazing at Olds College, because I have been able to focus on something I really enjoy and all of these incredible opportunities have opened up for me.”

The Olds College Equine Science diploma offers three majors: Equine Business Management, Equine Production and Breeding Management, and Equine Horsemanship – which involves both English and Western disciplines. Instructor and Coach, Cathy Chalack, says the course is unique in that it combines comprehensive riding experience with strong science theory.

“That balance is really effective in giving our students a broad base of education,” said Chalack, who has been an instructor at the college for five years. “For our students to accomplish this skill level in two years is really phenomenal. This was an invitational competition and I think we surprised everyone, because we don’t focus on competition and yet our students excelled. We focus on riding and science, which is the base from which everything else grows. This had an incredibly positive outcome and definitely opened doors for our students. I am so proud of them.”

Along with the job offers and invitations from universities, came requests from foreign competitors to spend some time honing their skills at Olds College. Those requests will become easier to accommodate once the new Canadian Equine Centre of InnovationTM is developed on campus in the next two years.