CROOKSTON - The college equestrian career of University of Minnesota Crookston student Selena Young will culminate today at a national horse show in New York.
Young, a member of the UMC Hunt Seat Equestrian team, will ride in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association event in Syracuse, N.Y. The UMC senior is one of 16 collegiate riders from across the United States to ride in the competition. About 10,000 college equestrians are members of the IHSA.
"She is such a model of determination, of training, of discipline," said Mary Holz-Clause, UMC chancellor, during a send-off celebration for Young.
Kayla Krueger, UMC equestrian team coach, recruited Young, a lifelong horse lover from Plymouth, Minn.
"We brought her in on a national letter of intent," Krueger said.
Krueger was impressed by Young's work ethic, academic performance and riding skills, she said. Equestrian team members, like all athletes, must be dedicated to putting in many hours of practice after classes.
Young practices riding about two hours every day. An equine science and pre-veterinary major, horses are her favorite animal.
"I've always been a horse-lover," she said.
Young began riding lessons when she was 7 and competing in horse show jumping competitions at age 8. After graduating from high school in Plymouth in 2015, she enrolled at UMC.
Besides the daily riding practice, Young works out at the UMC Wellness Center to strengthen her core. It was there Holz-Clause first met her. The chancellor later was surprised to learn that Young is a member of the equestrian team.
"I didn't know she was the wonderful person in the Wellness Center at 6:30 a.m.," Holz-Clause said. "She is one of the most disciplined and amazing athletes."
Working out and maintaining her cardio by running helps her to be a better equestrian, because they build a strong core and legs, Young said.
"I definitely see it carrying over to my riding," she said.
She looks forward to competing in the national ISHA show again. Young also competed as a UMC freshman, that time in novice jumping and equestrian classes.
At the IHSA show today, Young will draw a number to compete on a horse she's never seen nor ridden.
"It's judged on how you look on the horse, how seamless you are," Young said. The judges will consider her body position, leg position and how she holds the reins, she said.
"I'm really looking forward to it," Young said.
Riding a variety of horses during practice at UMC helped prepare her for riding in the competition, she said. She's ridden about 20 different horses at UMC.
"We get a good glimpse of what you see at the horse show," Young said. She will draw on her years of experience and the coaching from Krueger when she competes, she said.
"You just get on the horse and go out there and adapt and ride," Young said. "You have to be a balanced rider to have a balanced horse.
"I love it. It tests your abilities."
Saturday, Young will graduate from UMC, but that won't be the end of her association with horses. This summer, she hopes to do horse-related research at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul; in the fall, she will begin classes at the veterinary school there.
After graduation from veterinary school, Young hopes to work at an equine rehabilitation hospital similar to the one she interned at last summer in Kentucky.
"It has always been about horses for me," Young said. "I don't want to be just a veterinarian. I want to be an equine vet. I want to be able to work in the horse industry and support those in the horse industry."