The Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team is made up of members who love riding horses and practice hard to claim victories against other competing schools.
Chris Wilson, who at the time was a graduate student at Tech, started the Ranch Horse Team 10 years ago.
The main focus of the team was to be able to showcase Tech’s horses and its students’ mastership in riding them.
The members meet from 2 to 6 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for the class at the Tech Equestrian Center.
Chance O’Neal, the Ranch Horse Team coach, said students work on various aspects of their horsemanship to get them ready for competition.
“We work on their reigning, we work on their trail, we work on their pleasure and we work on their cow work, because those are the four events that we have to compete in,” he said. “Each student has to compete in all four events on their same horse, and so not only do the students need to be diverse, but the horses have to be diverse as well.”
The team travels during the year to Stock Horse of Texas where they compete in those four categories.
Wilson, in creating the first Tech Ranch Horse Ream and traveling to Stock Horse of Texas, began getting attention from other colleges who decided to create their own ranch horse teams as well.
Since the first Tech Ranch Horse Team, several other colleges, including some from out of state, have joined in the competitions and have created a collegiate division.
Because of Wilson, Tech was the originator of the collegiate ranch horse team division.
Over the past 10 years, there have been seven national championship shows, and Tech has won five of them.
The Ranch Horse Team has shown its skills and continues to do so with the 2015-2016 team.
“This team just recently traveled to Abilene, Texas, and competed in the Stock Horse of Texas World Show and won the world in collegiate championship,” O’Neal said. “This 2015 team has won a collegiate national championship and a world championship in the same year.”
The team competes in eight shows every academic year, four in the fall and four in the spring.
In these competitions, the judges look for how well the students can perform the maneuvers in the four categories without penalty.
Cassie Coltrain, a junior animal science major from Mead, Colorado, and a third-year member of the Ranch Horse Team, said she enjoys coming to practice and perfecting her skills.
“Fun is definitely had at every practice,” she said. “Probably our main goal is to just have fun and learn as much as you can. It helps so much having such great coaches like Justin and Mr. O’Neal, because they really help us mold our horses to be better show horses.”
Coltrain has won all-around for the novice division in a shot show, and she recently won fourth place in the all-around in the limited non-pro division at the world show in Abilene.
She said the team is great to join if a student is interested in riding horses and having fun with peers.
“It’s a great team because you can get better and better every year if you keep coming back, and it’s just a goal you can never stop working at,” she said.
Kameron Buchanan, a junior animal science major from Turkey, Texas, and a member of the Ranch Horse Team, said riding while he is at college helps remind him of home.
“All these people are definitely like family to me, and we are out here every day with each other, so yes it is definitely a lot like home,” he said. “I think just being around all my friends and getting to meet a lot of new people and exposed to the horse showing is my favorite part.”
Buchanan said students who love riding and meeting new people should not be afraid to come out and join the team.
The team has tryouts every year around October, and O’Neal said anyone is welcome to try out.