Horse lovers will be in “equine heaven” the next two weeks at California State University, Fresno beginning with the Quarter Horse Unit Open House this weekend and the Women’s Equestrian teams NCAA tournament next weekend.
This weekend’s open house will showcase the university’s equine academic program, students and horses — including a short seminar on saddling and training young horses —while next weekend’s NCAA tournament competition will be the first of its kind at Fresno State and will bring equestrians from throughout the nation.
The Quarter Horse Unit Open House, sponsored by he Animal Science and Agricultural Education Department, will be on Saturday, March 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 .m. at the unit on Barstow Avenue between Cedar and Chestnut (west of O’Neill Park).
All the unit’s horses will be on display including breeding stallions, new foals and 2- and 3-year-olds that Fresno State students are training, said Anne Rodiek, horse unit director for the animal science department, which is part of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Technology.
“People can see horses that we have available for sale to the public,” Rodiek said. “Proceeds raised go back into supporting our equine academic program.”
A special demonstration, Starting the Young Horse Under Saddle, will be held at 1 p.m. by Rob Ballew, the horse unit’s technician.
The horse unit is the setting for a number of Animal Science classes and internships, covering such areas as horse production, advanced horse management, stable management, equine nutrition and colt training.
The classes cover breeding and selection, nutritional investigations, sanitation and disease control, general horse handling techniques, breaking horses to halter and saddle, internship work experience and other related activities such as research projects, field days, judging contests and horse shows.
“As a learning facility, the Quarter Horse Unit is unparalleled,” said Rodiek. “Many students graduate to full-time employment in the horse industry. ”
The Quarter Horse Unit operates as a functional breeding and training enterprise.
“We currently stand six stallions which breed to Fresno State’s mares and outside mares,” Rodiek said. These stallions can be viewed on the college’s Breeding Services (link available at www.fresnostatenews.com).
The following weekend, March 10, the university will for the first time be the site of an NCAA Division 1 Equestrian tournament. Competitors will include teams from Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M, Brigham Young University, Ohio State University and the University of Nevada – Reno.
“The significance of each of these schools, all having either individual or team National Championship titles, choosing to come out to California for this competition indicates the continuing growth and potential for the sport of Equestrian within the NCAA,” said Megan McGee, coach of the Bulldogs equestrian team.
The tournament will be held at the Student Horse Center on Woodrow Ave. between 9 a.m. and approximately 4 p.m. The center is about an 1/8 mile from the Quarter Horse Unit.
On March 11, the Fresno State will host an Intercollegiate Horse Show featuring clubs and teams from throughout California.
For information about the open house, call 278-4017. For the NCAA tournament, call 278-8385.
For information about enrolling in these agricultural programs, contact University Outreach Services counselor Rick Chacon at 278-2048.