Badass Student Profile

Name: Vanessa Northup
Hometown: Telluride, Colo.
Major: Equine science
Occupation: Student/ Thrift Store Inc./ Avogadro’s
Hobbies: Riding horses, racing dirt bikes, hunting, camping and fishing.

Why did you move to Montana? I moved to Montana to get a better equine science education.

Do your future plans involve this area? Hopefully I can stay in Montana —  in Kalispell — and open up my own boarding and training facility.

What is a day you will never forget?  I was working at a horse ranch on my 17th birthday while a clinic was being held. I was trying to make sure all the horses were groomed, saddled, warmed up and ready to be ridden. My boss said I was going to get a week of private lessons on her Lusitano horse with famous trainer Dominique Barbier. I got to learn everything up to Level 4 dressage and definitely will never forget it!

If you could do anything for a day, what would it be? I want to ride a dressage test on my favorite horse in the Olympics.

While most students are preparing to veg out on the couch after a long day of school, Vanessa Northup goes home to her horse named Titan. Titan is a 10-year-old Missouri Fox Trotter and couldn’t have a more qualified owner. The pair has 10 acres to roam. When asked how long she has been riding, Northup responded, “ever since I could walk.”

Growing up in Telluride, Northup originally learned to ride at her aunt’s breeding facility. Family trail rides and hunting trips with the horses were a common past time. At nine, Northup began work at Telluride Horseback Adventures, a guiding business. For eight years she worked there every summer and most winters. After developing quite a skill for taking care of horses, she was asked to manage a barn involving high quality Lusitano and Arabian horses.  

Attending MSU for equine science is a perfect fit for Northup. Everything she is learning can be directly applied to what she wants to do in the future, board horses. Her curriculum covers everything from horse genetics, disease and anatomy to the business side of horses.

The majority of Northup’s time is spent dealing with horses, however, there is another riding hobby she enjoys: dirt biking. As a member of the MSU MX club she races and competes all over the area. This summer she is looking forward, “to being able to race my dirt bike and hopefully ride and compete with my horse.”