By Morgan Offutt, CSU Equine Science major, 2020
At Colorado State University, students are considered future professionals and leaders and are afforded opportunities to gain hands-on experience in their chosen industry. This is especially true in the Equine Sciences program, where students work together to organize and produce an annual performance horse sale featuring young horses trained by the students. This year, under the guidance of the Legends of Ranching Program Director Dr. David J. Denniston, 31 horse training students, six sales preparation students, eight student teaching assistants, and numerous student volunteers put together a record-breaking sale.
LOR began 12 years ago, with the first sale in 2006 generating a total $257,900. Each year, the program has grown in scope and breadth, with the 2017 sale grossing $366,800.
Unique in many ways
The LOR Performance Horse Sale is unique in many ways. While the program does have a faculty leader and director, most of the sale and related events are organized and produced by CSU students from start to finish.
This sale is carefully planned and prepared for an entire year. The hard work begins in the fall when horse training students, instructed by John Snyder, begin receiving young, untouched equine prospects. For a span of two semesters, the students work with their young horses to produce a broke, gentle, rideable horse ready for his or her future career as a ranch or performance horse.
At the same time, sales management students instructed by Denniston organize all the behind-the-scenes aspects of the sale. The students build relationships with the program’s consignors and sponsors, handle necessary paperwork and contracts, assist prospective buyers in finding a perfect match, build their advertising and marketing skills, and provide exemplary customer service.
In addition to the horse training and sales management classes, student volunteers have the opportunity to be a part of this one-of-a-kind program. This year, an incredible group of student volunteers signed up to assist in any way they could: answering questions at information tables, directing potential buyers, helping training students put the final touches on their horses before entering the sale ring, setting up tables and chairs, running the silent auction booth, and even sprinting in and out of the sale ring to be sure it was clean and ready for the next horse.
The experience gained by every student involved in the sale is unique to CSU’s LOR program, and only the hardest-working Equine Science students get the opportunity to be involved in such an event. Being involved in this program prepares students for a future career in the equine industry and provides a valuable experience that could never be learned sitting in a classroom.
Not only do students gain unique industry experience, 10 LOR students also received $10,000 in Cinch Scholarships based on an application, an interview with Cinch representatives, and their academic performance. In addition, another $10,000 in prize money and buckles were awarded to students through a Wagonhound Student Competition the Saturday prior to the sale. There was even a prize buckle awarded to the Student Volunteer of the Year. The volunteer program, sponsored by Greeley Stampede, awarded this year’s buckle to Megan Seltzer for the hard work and passion she demonstrated throughout the Legends of Ranching events.
Sponsors and consignors
The LOR Program had a total of 39 sponsors this year, who recognize the hard work and dedication of the students and support the program to help foster their success.
In addition to sponsors, the LOR Program had a total of 17 consignors who provided horses for the sale. The success of each sale is largely due to the quality of performance and ranch horses
cosigned by these ranches. Every horse sold in the 2017 sale was registered with the American Quarter Horse Association, and some are double registered with the American Paint Horse Association as well.
The next sale is already scheduled for April 21, 2018. On April 20, the third annual Futurity and Maturity Horse Show will be held, where horses sold in previous LOR sales compete for prizes. Only horses sold through the LOR program are eligible to compete (another incentive to purchase your next horse at the 2018 LOR Sale). The week prior to the show and sale, the Wagonhound Student Competition provides a preview of the young horses featured in the LOR.
While this year was a record breaker, students at CSU always strive to improve. In 2018, Denniston and the students have hopes of creating a bigger and better sale that surpasses all past events.
To stay up-to-date with information regarding the next Legends of Ranching program, like the “Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale” Facebook page, or visit the websites www.csuequine.com or www.csulegendsofranching.com.