Ranch Horse Team Gets Back in the Saddle

Thomas Wight, Abby Wight, Savannah Wellborn, and advisor Mickie Stowe are passing on the traditions of ENMU’s Ranch Horse Team. The Chase Photo: Rebecca Darrup

The Ranch Horse program is gearing up for a collegiate competition in Lubbock at Texas Tech in the beginning of March.

Doyle and Mickie Stowe first brought the Ranch Horse program to Eastern New Mexico University in 2010. Although the team was small in number at first, it built up to about 30 members at its peak. After putting a pause on the program when Doyle Stowe passed away, Mickie Stowe and this year’s team are on a mission to build up the team again.

Practice is usually on Tuesday afternoons, but there are plenty of hours spent horseback outside of that time. Thomas and Abby Wight, sophomores from Andrews, Texas, and Savannah Wellborn, a junior from Los Lunas, all grew up around horses, taking different routes to end up on the ENMU Ranch Horse team.

A rider must compete in each of four classes with the same horse. Those include stock horse trail, stock horse pleasure, stock horse reining and cow work. All three members agreed that cow work classes are their favorite, and although the other classes may not be quite as much fun, “it is fun to win,” as Thomas Wight said.

Thomas Wight rides a 10-year-old horse who “is pretty cool,” according to him, and he has taught the horse most of what she knows. He’s had some success with her at various shows, winning some belt buckles and other awards. Abby Wight is bringing along a 5-year-old horse, enjoying the challenges of training and the family atmosphere at the shows that allows the horse to build confidence. She has plenty of wins under her belt as well, having won a buckle and a scholarship at the collegiate level in fall 2018. Savannah spent 2019 as Miss Rodeo New Mexico, which she stated was a completely different experience from the events of the ranch horse team. She is looking forward to working with a young horse for the team.

Collegiate shows are sanctioned through the Stock Horse of Texas program, begun in 2005 by Kris Wilson at Texas Tech. Members can compete as individuals or as a team. Both individual and year-end awards are given through the association. There are 18 schools that participate in various competitions throughout the academic year.

The team plans to have tryouts in the upcoming weeks and would be happy to discuss the program. Anyone interested is welcome to contact any team member or Mickie Stowe at 575-562-4721.

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