CROOKSTON — The simplicity of Crookston makes it not your stereotypical college town.
“We’re kind of a hidden gem among all of our corn fields and beet fields,” said Head Coach Kayla Hanson.
The University of Minnesota-Crookston campus looks like it’s been in summer break mode since the middle of March, the equine facility no exception.
“It was a tough couple of months most definitely,” said Hanson.
This isn’t just an extended break for the nearly 2,000 UMC students, but for the 45 horses that make up the school’s equestrian team as well.
“Our horses are definitely enjoying the vacation,” said Hanson.
This group of roughly 35 riders rode into their spring competition season with momentum. Their hunt seat team swept their region the last two seasons. All eyes were then fixed on another title in Texas until the sports world stopped.
“It was difficult, March and April are big months for us. So essentially we were looking at when Covid hit it was just about at the start of our spring break and we were coming off our high. We were supposed to travel down to West Texas A&M down in Canyon, Texas for our hunt seat competition down there. That was a hard hit just because we were taking our full hunt seat team, we had numerous individual qualifiers that had qualified earlier in March, quite a few seniors that were a part of that as well that had worked really hard to get to that spot,” said Hanson.
Right now the facility on campus sits empty, except for a few horses that stay on campus year round.
“I think our horses are quite happy. It takes a lot to be a school horse and be in a university program and be worked with and ridden by a multiple of riders. No one has been riding horses, the only individuals that have been utilizing the horses would be our equine faculty and staff.” said Hanson.
But for now the horses will enjoy the quiet setting at their home in Crookston. The equestrian season is split up into two seasons, Hanson is hopeful they can return in time for the fall competition.