The University of Wisconsin-River Falls Western Team is AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) Trophy Reserve National Champions, the highest honor the team has earned in its history at UWRF. The team earned 41 points to secure this top placement at IHSA (Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association) Nationals in Syracuse, N.Y., May 3-6.

Nine schools, including UW-River Falls, advanced to the IHSA National Western Team Competition by finishing Top 3 at one of the three semi-finals held across the country in March (Orlando; Findlay, Ohio; and Logan, Utah). The UWRF Western Team includes Libby Alders (animal science major from Madison Lake, Minn.), Kendyl Bennett (accounting major from Preston, Minn.), Emily Edwards (animal science major from St. Paul), Danielle Paulson (animal science major from Pine Island, Minn.), and Krista Schoenfelder (agricultural business major from Rochester, Minn.).

Individuals earned the following placements in team events:

• Alders - Reserve National Champion (second place) in Team Intermediate Horsemanship

• Bennett - Fifth place in Team Novice Horsemanship

• Edwards - Reserve National Champion (second place) in Team Beginner Horsemanship

• Paulson - Fifth place in Team Open Horsemanship and fifth place in Team Reining

• Schoenfelder - National Champion (first place) in Team Advanced Horsemanship

Individuals also participated in individual events at nationals:

• Samantha Abrahamson (agricultural education major from Minneapolis) - Eighth place in Individual Beginner

• Sydni Loose (animal science major from Cedar Grove) - Honorable Mention in Individual Advanced

• Jackie Thayer (agricultural business major from Ridgeland) - Eighth place in Individual Advanced

One rider from the UWRF Hunt Seat Team qualified for IHSA Nationals in the Intermediate Flat Class event. Madeleine Olson (animal science major from Milwaukee), placed fourth, which was the highest placement by a Hunt Seat rider from our zone/region (Zone 7, Region 3).

"I truly admire and am inspired by each one of these young equestrians every time they get on a horse, whether they win or lose," said Janie Huot, team coach. "When the stars align and everything works, they are rewarded for their hard work, determination, their great love of horses, competition and comradery. When things don't quite work out the way they planned, they learn from it, go back at it and work even harder. These are the keys to the success of this team."

For more information, email Huot at janie.huot@uwrf.edu.