West Virginia University’s Collegiate Horsemen’s Association hosted the 2023 American Collegiate Horsemen’s Association National Convention at the Davis College’s J.W. Ruby Research, Education and Outreach Center and various locations around Morgantown.
Around 65 equine students and faculty from across the country attended the event from April 12-15.
Two Mountaineers were elected to the ACHA national officer team. Brooklyn Laws is now the ACHA vice president and Rachel Widmaier is the ACHA treasurer. Senior Rebecca Thompson finished her 2022-2023 term as national treasurer. Teaching Professor Crystal Smith accepted a senior adviser role in the ACHA.
Out of seven schools, WVU won the Philanthropy Challenge this year, raising $1,150 for the National Snaffle Bit Association Foundation’s Heroes on Horses. The foundation grows the show horse community through various equine programs and events. The Foundation also promotes Equestrians with Disabilities and classes for riders who are disabled veterans or active duty “wounded warriors.”
WVU also the Scrapbook Contest as well as two superlatives, Most School Spirit and Best Dancer.
The conference was a time to learn with panel discussions focused on equine veterinary medicine, animal health, equine-assisted therapy, sales and marketing, farm management and equine insurance and extension.
Julie Broadway, executive director of the American Horse Council, and Elizabeth Lynch, Miss West Virginia, spoke about advocating for the horse industry and the nation’s broader agricultural needs.
A tour of a local facility, On Eagles Wings Therapeutic Horsemanship Center owned by Adjunct Professor Carol Petitto, allowed the attendees to learn about equine assisted therapy. Demonstrations of veterinary acupuncture and chiropractic medicine were done by Dr. Dara Brown from Allegheny Equine PLLC and Mandy Collier, equine sports massage therapist from Optimum Equine LLC.
Smith and Sandy Lilly from Mercer Springs Farm, breeders and trainers of world champion Saddlebreds, presented about the American Saddlebred breed while riders from Seldom Seen Farm demonstrated Saddleseat Equitation.
The ACHA event will be hosted at Murray State University in 2024, as each year the ACHA collaborates with a local chapter to host the national convention.
CONTACT: Leah Smith
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
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