Overseas with the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team
Story and Photo by Alicia Daugherty
In 1998, the American Quarter Horse Association began a grant program for what is now known as the International Horsemanship Camps in order to foster international relations and promote the American Quarter Horse. These camps are dedicated to creating better horsemen by building a solid foundation upon which any type of equine discipline, whether Western or English, can be built.
The international camps, sanctioned by AQHA, are
sponsored by selected countries and conducted by a small number of chosen American universities. These camps unite the Eastern and Western hemispheres by bringing together American universities and host countries to share in both equine knowledge and cultural differences.
Due to their renowned ranch horse program and their past performances abroad, the Texas Tech Ranch Horse Team was again selected to conduct clinics during the summer of 2010. Having delved into the international realm of the equine industry during the summer of 2005, this marked the ranch horse team’s fifth consecutive year to travel overseas and instruct at the camps.
Robin Morris, a member of the first instructor team from Tech, said traveling outside the U.S. for the first time opened doors to the rest of the equine industry and allowed her to see the many differences, yet the many similarities between Europe and the U.S.
“Horses create a similar interest between people of
different backgrounds,” Morris said, “and they help eliminate language barriers.”
Morris, who graduated from Tech with a bachelor’s degree in range management in 2007, is now the New Mexico State University women’s equestrian team assistant coach. She said her experiences abroad helped prepare her for her coaching position at the NCAA level.
“Teaching internationally really helps you relate with people and work on your communication skills, especially because of the language barrier,” Morris said. “You often have to come up with different ways to say the same thing because certain meanings can be lost in translation.”
Levi Williamson, the Tech ranch horse team coach, said he feels the Tech students he selected to instruct were able to individualize the Tech program, specializing their teaching to the camp participants’ interests, all while building a strong horsemanship foundation.
“We as a team try to interact with the participants of the clinic,” Williamson said. “We try to get on a more personal level, so the participants get the most out of the camps.”