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Laura Dahl, Director
P.O. Box 430, Goodwell, Oklahoma 73939
Phone: 580-349-1354 * Fax: 580-349-1350
Email: lola@opsu.edu

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**For Immediate Release**
It’s All About Horses
-released by OPSU Campus Communications 09-01-06
by Laura Dahl

Goodwell, Okla. — Channing Hawks, Oklahoma Panhandle State University Equine Science Instructor not only teaches, she also advises the Equine Science Club, and serves as the OPSU Equestrian Team coach. This 2003 OPSU graduate is doing what she loves.

As an instructor, she teaches the introduction courses in Horsemanship, Equine Science and Equine Training and Care. She also instructs Advanced Equine Training. While she devotes some time to teaching in the classroom, much of it is spent at the recently renovated Equine Science Center at the OPSU Farm. There, she instructs students in everything from basic horse care to training horses for a variety of uses. Each student in the training classes feeds, grooms, and “educates” two or three project horses per semester, working with animals to accustom them to routine handling such as hoof cleaning and being led with a halter. The horses used as projects include some of OPSU’s own stock, donated horses, and some customer horses provided by producers operating area farms and ranches. Students are graded continually by demonstrating what they have taught their project horses. Several Equine Science students also compete for the Equestrian Team.

The Equestrian Team competes as a club sport in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). With over 300 teams and over 6,000 riders, it is the largest intercollegiate equestrian association in the world. The 12 members of OPSU’s team are currently all women, but men may also compete. Students may compete in Western style riding and traditional English riding. Prior to competition, students complete a questionnaire to ascertain how much experience they have had riding and whether or not they have competed in horse shows. Each is then ranked in one of six competitive classes ranging from beginner to veteran competitor.

At each show, participants only provide their own fancy Western or English riding clothes. The host school provides horses and tack. The competitors are allowed to watch all of the horses warm up and pay close attention to each one’s strengths and weaknesses. Horses and their riders are matched up by drawing names from a bucket. According to Hawks, “Competition is all about the contestant’s ability to handle whatever horse is drawn and students are judged only on horsemanship.”

Thanks to Channing Hawks and her commitment to horses and teaching, OPSU equine students have the opportunity to not only learn the formal aspects of horse care and training, they also get plenty of important hands-on experience and have the chance to compete against students across the country in the show ring. For more information about OPSU’s Equine Science program, email Hawks at chawks@opsu.edu or telephone her at 580-349-1517.

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Developed by: Michal Stachowski
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P.O. Box 430 Goodwell, OK 73939, tel: 580-349-2611
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