After a difficult year for the colt starting class — which teaches students techniques for training a young horse — the Department of Animal and Range Sciences is preparing to hire a new instructor for next fall. Last week, it was announced that Reata Brannaman, MSU freshman and daughter of famed horse trainer Buck Brannaman, is an applicant for the position.
Last fall an instructor was hired to teach the course, but chose to resign from the position by the end of the semester. Two trainers from Copper Spring Ranch came to teach the class on a volunteer basis for the remainder of the year.
Brannaman said she has been in a teaching situation her whole life, explaining that she started helping her dad train colts when she was seven years old and has helped with her dad’s clinics since she was ten.
“I have experience dealing with outside horses” and have been “fortunate to have had many opportunities come my way,” she said. “I know how a colt should progress,” she added, and wants to teach the class so “students are in a place they are proud of by the end of the year.”
Equine science sophomore Joanna Rodgers-Liston plans to take the class next fall. Having never started — or trained — a horse before, Rodgers-Liston is excited to learn the techniques and maintain a relationship with a horse. “There is something special about … the bond with an animal,” she said.
Rodgers-Liston is “open” to the idea of learning from someone her own age, but has heard that others do not share her opinion.
Brannaman said, in response to concern about her young age, that the equine community has been “up in arms.” However, she contends that “you can learn from anyone, no matter how old,” and is “not concerned with what people think” about her age.
“I’m more concerned about her own schedule,” said Rodgers-Liston, saying that Brannaman may be too busy with her studies to have “time for us and really be able to help.”
The job would not detract from her studies and pursuit of a degree in business marketing, Brannaman said. Sometimes people’s extracurricular activities get in the way, but this won’t bother her because “this is mine,” she said.
Glenn Duff, head of the Department of Animal and Range Sciences, said he has not heard any feedback after naming Brannaman as an applicant, but also said “a qualified person is a qualified person” and the department will hire whomever it deems most qualified.
Animal and Range Sciences faculty will come up with a set of requirements which determine what makes a person qualified to teach this course. After acquiring a pool of applicants, the department will make the final decision over the summer, according to Duff.
As the hiring authority for the position, Duff was unable to disclose the number of applicants due to policy rules. However, he did say that there are other applicants besides Brannaman, noting the search only started about two weeks ago.
Originally scheduled for last Thursday, April 11, tryouts for the students wishing to be in the class were postponed at the last minute and will be rescheduled for next fall. Duff explained that waiting until the fall will give transfer and current students the opportunity to try out.