2014 University of Findlay Two Year Old Futurity and Spring Sale
By Gabrielle Sasse, PleasureHorse.com
Remember dreading finals during college? Or maybe you are now. What if you were able to horse show while taking your finals? At The University of Findlay, located in Findlay, Ohio, the western equestrian studies students were not only preparing for finals on campus, but also preparing for barn finals. Their barn finals include classes like Equitation, Western Pleasure, Western Riding, Trail, Colt Pleasure, Reining… even a Futurity! The University even brings in an outside judge, so while they are being graded the students are also being placed.
The seniors at the Western facility at Findlay are offered the opportunity to participate in a senior project. Western Studies Director Steve Brown purchases a group of pleasure-bred Yearlings every year, which are then in turn offered to the senior class to choose, break out and prepare for the Clark Bradley Two Year Old Western Pleasure Futurity in April.
The students choose their horses in November, watching them all go around the round pen just like you would at a sale or pasture. The students have drawn numbers to decide what order to choose, and then go down the list until every student has a horse of their choosing. The last student to pick has a choice between two horses. The students are allowed to work with the yearlings on the ground, and have a showmanship and longing test the first semester. The horses are kicked back outside until January, when they are brought in for second semester.
Second semester, the students work to saddle and ride their two-year-olds, working from round pens and arenas. They are tested along the way on various maneuvers such as pivots, transitions, stopping, backing, etc. The final test comes at the end of April, where the students compete in a Pleasure Futurity, the final class of the week’s finals.
This year was a tough go, with eight horses in the first split and seven in the second. It is run as a real horse show, with the students all jogging down the center as their name and horse’s name and pedigree is announced. Eleven seniors were calling into the finals, and Judge Vick Clark had a tough class to judge! The following at the final placings:
10th Kaitlin LeBlanc with Prissy Dreams
9th Danielle Frampton with KM Smooth N Easy
8th Bianca Lencioni with KM Best Bit Of Honey
7th David Delli Santi with KM Bos Pretty Girl
6th Rachel Beerbower with KM Hes Simply Best
5th Trisha Mauer with KM Best N Chic
4th Emily Caplinger with KM Big N Best
3rd Ashleigh Stoeckle with Shes Simply Best
2nd Heather Turner with KM Vested Only
1st Emma Bates with KM Its Good To Be Me
We spoke to a few of the seniors about their experiences at Findlay, including winner Emma Bates. “It’s been crazy, with a lot of long hours and hard work, but it has all been worth it in the end,” Emma says of her time at Findlay. “I’m looking forward to going to work with Gary and Kelly Roberts in North Carolina. These years have been a wonderful experience.” I asked her about her friendly sorrel colt as he tried to wipe face-glo off on my sleeve. “I honestly never looked at ‘Crusty’ at first,” she said, laughing. “I was here all summer and saw him when he first came in, and didn’t even have him on my radar. But when they were running them around the round pen in November, my mind changed and he was my first pick. I was the ninth draw and was so happy he was still available for me to choose. Something about him just drew him to me, and I’m so happy I did! I call him “Crusty” because he is usually just a bit crusty…” she laughs again, obviously ecstatic over her win.
Another senior who has a lot to celebrate at the culmination of her four years of Findlay is New Jersey native Heather Turner. Heather tied for second in the Dale Wilkinson Reining final earlier that day, and placed second with her mare “Marley”. “This mare is just bionic,” Heather says, a huge smile still on her face. “These last two days sum all four years into one amazing package. Especially the realistic show setting- I never expected it to feel as real as it did! I actually got nervous jogging down the middle, and I never get nervous.” We asked Heather to tell us more about her adorable bay mare. “Marley is really athletic, and slow legged. She’s not like the other cookie cutter horses out there, and that’s what drew her to me. She’s a full sister to last year’s high selling horse. As well. She was a tough mare to break out, but now she is just a dream. I was the third pick, for the colts and had a wonderful finals.” Heather was awarded Most Improved Senior, High Point Senior and Friday’s High Point with her combined scores in the Reining and Futurity, winning a western work saddle donated by Schneiders and embossed with the UF logo.
“Besides Schneiders, we had donations of finals awards from, Schutz Bros in Indiana, The Barn Tack, UF Staff and UF Admissions,” explains Bonnie Bradley. “We gave out over 135 finals awards, plus Sarah and Darwin Searfoss (employees in maintenance at the Western Farm) gave each student at Finals a metal and silver hoof pick, well over 120 of them”
All of the colts are run through the Spring Sale, which is the day after barn finals finish. Other horses sold include finished show horses, trail horses, lesson horses, Reiners, green broke prospects, and more. Erika Druker, from Massachusetts, had plans on bidding on her roan filly who she made the finals with. “I was the eleventh draw and wanted anything but the roan at first,” Erika chuckles. “But something drew me to her. She’s just so consistent… she’s not as calm as some of the others, but I just fell in love with her.” Erika plans on moving back to Massachusetts and working for SmartPak.
The Sale dawned with a beautiful day and horse trailers crowded Findlay’s parking lot. Horse demonstrations began at 10:00 am, and the horse sale began at 1:00 pm. Of the 54 horses that sold, gross sales were $200,850 with a sale average of $3,719.44 and horses going to 11 different states. High seller of the day was Heather’s lot #25 KM Vested Only who sold for $9,500. Second high seller was lot #23, She’s Simply Best, who sold for $9,300 and placed third in the Futurity.
Sale proceeds of the Futurity colts goes towards purchasing pleasure prospects for the upcoming senior class. Steve Brown thought that “overall, this group was the strongest yet. It keeps getting better each year and I look forward to next year.”
Congratulations to all Seniors and the rest of Findlay students on a job well done during their barn finals. We can’t wait to see you all next year!