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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    “Horse show team cut, 2 let go”

    Heather Raftery, a senior majoring in journalism and anthropology, rides her horse, Sbydwr, at her familys barn just south of Green Valley.
    Heather Raftery, a senior majoring in journalism and anthropology, rides her horse, Sbydwr, at her family’s barn just south of Green Valley.

    Arizona’s first intercollegiate horse show team will no longer be around after this year due to routine budget cuts as part of President Robert Shelton’s goal to reduce departments’ reliance on temporary funds.

    Along with the Equestrian Team, both a research and an instructor position have been cut. The instructor position was just instituted last summer, but when it was created, the animal sciences department didn’t realize it would face a cut this year, said Ron Allen, head of the department.

    “”We will do our part to take our cuts like everyone else,”” Allen said. “”But we still offer several courses that give students a chance to use horses directly in their educational program.””

    Allen declined to comment on the exact amount that is being cut from the budget, but he said that the dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Eugene Sander, recently reminded everyone that budget cuts have happened 14 out of the last 16 years.

    “”It’s a tough time around the university because the faculty, staff and administrators have to make tough decisions,”” Allen said.

    Laura Walker, a horse unit manager and instructor, said the program has been growing the last few years, but that will stop now.

    “”The budget cuts don’t hurt the operating budget of the department, but having the other instructor allowed us to add classes, and now that we’ve lost that position, we won’t be able to continue that growth,”” Walker said.

    The show team began in 2002. Last year, a rider placed as a regional and zone reserve champion. This year, a rider also placed as a regional champion, Walker said.

    Although the show team has been put on hold, Allen said it is fulfilling to build programs to serve students and see their excitement.

    Heather Works, an elementary education sophomore who planned to be part of the show team next year, said she is sad it has been eliminated.

    Works took animal sciences 272 this semester, Introduction to Horsemanship, which teaches students how to care for a horse and safety around horses, she said. The class also teaches the body language and confidence necessary for working with large animals.

    “”We got a real good sense of community in the classroom and everyone was really friendly,”” Works said. “”It was my favorite class – that’s what everyone said.””

    Works said she initially wanted to be part of the Equestrian Team and considered taking animal sciences as a minor. She also hopes she can do something along the lines of teaching riding classes for children.

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