MSU grad student wins national reining competition

Cassandra Walker, graduate assistant and assistant equestrian coach at Murray State University, earned the title of national champion in the alumni reining competition at the 2013 Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA) National Championships May 2-5. The competition was held in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg.

Walker topped six other riders from around the country to take first in the Western Alumni Reining class. To compete in the alumni division, riders must have been on an IHSA riding team as an undergraduate. Graduate students, such as Walker, may also compete as alumni if they rode on an undergraduate IHSA riding team.

Western reining consists of a rider completing a specific National Reining Horse Association pattern that tests skills including flying lead changes, rollbacks and a sliding stop.

The IHSA promotes competition for riders of all skill levels who compete individually and as teams at regional, zone and national levels. The association was founded on the principle that any college student should be able to participate in horse shows regardless of his or her financial status or riding level. The emphasis is on learning, sportsmanship and fun. The objective of IHSA competition is to offer the opportunity to riders in their first years of riding as well as to students with show experience.

Sue Robinson, a lecturer in the Hutson School of Agriculture at Murray State, coaches the equestrian team and teaches equine science classes.

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