Ginger and Sean MacRae had their eyes focused intently on Grace, a four-year-old mare whose name complemented her docile demeanor and elegance in the show ring.
“We really like her temperament,” said Ginger MacRae about the poised horse up for auction during Morrisville State College’s first western sale held April 13 at the Nancy Sears Stowell Arena.
The MacRaes, of Morrisville, ended up the highest bidders and won Grace, who will be a trail riding horse and a companion horse to another they have at home.
A donation to the equine program last year, Grace was trained entirely by students in the college’s Breaking and Training course.
“That’s how we knew she was a good horse,” Sean MacRae said. “Horses that come from the college have a reputation and we know she has been taken care of and trained well.”
The MacRaes were among a crowd of prospective buyers, horse enthusiasts and spectators who filled the arena during the event which featured 31 reining, pleasure and hunter prospects up for auction, including top consignments from the college’s own equine science: western breaking and training program. Twenty-three horses were sold during the auction.
“We had an exceptional group of young horses, many by leading sires and dams,” said Dodie Howard, equine instructional support assistant, who coordinated the college’s western sale.
“The sale was a great success, said Bonnie Miller, director of western studies and equine science department chair. “It will be an annual event and will focus on providing potential buyers with high quality horses with a solid base of training,”
Four of the consignment horses were specifically sent to the college a month before to prep and show in the sale ring for clients.
Linda and Thomas Genovese, of South New Berlin, NY, were looking for a hunter and preparing to bid on two horses owned by the Morrisville College Foundation.
“We like the way this sale is being run,” Thomas Genovese said. “They demonstrated the horses prior to the bidding, the set-up is nice, and everything is well-coordinated.”
Duke and Barbara Dygert, longtime supporters of the college’s western program, served as auctioneer and clerk for the event.
Eighteen students in Howard and Miller’s Western Breaking and Training class had their hands in all aspects of running the sale, from riding and preparing horses for the ring to helping with the business aspects.
“The students did a tremendous job of preparing the horses and the western barn complex for this event,” Miller said.
“This is a great experience for us and something that we will be doing some day when we are working in the industry,” said Megan Freemantle, 21, of Middlefield, Conn. “You get so immersed and everything is hands-on. It really prepares us for when we go out to get a job.” Freemantle is a student in the college’s equine science: western breaking and training bachelor degree program.
“It’s turned me into a better rider and has given me skills to use in the industry,” said Meghan Moriarty, 22, of Adams Center, N.Y., about the college’s breaking and training program. “We get to show and ride different horses and I also learned to work with clients.”
Amanda Hunt, 20, of Laceyville, Pa., an equine science: western breaking and training major, has been involved with many aspects of the college’s equine programs. “There is so much diversity. We also get to be involved with breeding classes, driving and working the standardbred sale,” she said.
“I am extremely proud of all the students who worked so hard to make this event such a success,” Miller said. “Their enthusiasm and dedication to the western equine program is very evident.”
Morrisville State College offers a bachelor of technology degree in equine science and two associate degrees in equine racing management and equine science and management. The diverse equine science curriculum includes specializations in breeding, western, hunt seat, draft/driving, thoroughbred racing, standardbred racing, business, and equine rehabilitation therapy.
An Equine Breeding and Training Center, a 34,000 square-foot breeding and hunter/jumper facility, includes a breeding and foaling barn, hunter/jumper barn, stallion barn, a complete breeding laboratory, collection area, laptop classroom, and three indoor riding arenas. There is also a new state-of-the-art equine rehabilitation center.
The college also has an 80-acre Equine Center complete with paddocks, stables, and the only half-mile harness racing track on a college campus in the nation. Additional stables include a draft horse barn with a covered round pen and runouts.