One Student’s Dream
By; Remy Kelbel, Associated Press
FORT COLLINS, Co - At Colorado State University, horses have always been a huge part of this student's life and her love for horses started at a young age. Her passions lead her to eventually find her path at CSU. For Mikalah Marbach, a senior at Colorado State University who grew up in the equine environment, the equine science major was a great fit.
“I was born and raised on a ranch in Washington in this little town called Pataha. My great grandfather started the ranch. The ranch belonged to my dad and it was passed down through the generations. In 2008, we moved into town because of the Recession, that’s how I was introduced. My great grandfather was Donly Hereford and started the Donly Hereford Ranch. It’s been in the family a long time. As soon as I was born I was on the horse,” said Marbach.
The Colorado State University equine center provides students like Marbach who already have a background in the industry as a way to increase their skill set and knowledge for future career paths.
“I would like to work for a breed association but also have my own farm. Like American Paint Horse Association or Pinto. If it wasn’t horses I would show cattle. My dad showed the big heifer bulls, this is the first year CSU has some bulls so I got to show them this year.”
Mikalah said her parents grew up in ranching and her mom grew up in the very backwoods rural area of Idaho. With her being a part of a ranching family it would only make sense why she loves the equine world so much. But surprisingly it is not all about horses that makes the environment so welcoming.
“It’s who you’re around because if you don’t have a good barn and a good support foundation you’re not going to enjoy that area. I found a barn where people were very supportive. It is all about building your barn family.”
Her involvement at the CSU equine center shows her passion for the field. She has ridden both English and Western. Her friends growing up did english riding so she followed suit. However, due to an accident with her knee english riding wasn’t an option anymore. Mikalah was lucky enough to still be able to ride and she switched her passion for English to western, specifically a style of riding called reining. Mikalah’s passion for riding horses has only grown due to the ranch horse team and she finally found something she absolutely loves. She shares her advice for people who are interested in the Equine community.
“I would say start small, start with lessons and grow from there and experience everything because I went from english riding to western to rodeo for a while. I tried everything before I decided on something I liked. They have everything from mountain shooting to archery which I would love to do. So get out and experience it.”
Her passion for riding only grew due to her involvement with the CSU Equine Clubs. CSU being one of the top schools to study Equine Science, Mikalah knew she had found a good fit to fuel her passions and get involved in the equine community in Colorado.
“I’m involved in the horse judging team as well as the ranch horse team and it is a very close knit community. My best experience was being on the judging team and we worked really really hard for the arabian team. We thought we did really terrible at Nationals and we ended up just clean sweeping every single category including the overall title.”
CSU was actually the first land grant university to offer a bachelor's degree in Equine Science. Students in the equine science majors have gradually increased throughout the years since this major has been added and continues to become more popular. For Mikalah CSU has been a dream school and she encourages other students to pursue the equine science major.
“I want other people to know that my decision to come to CSU in the Equine Science program was one of the best decisions of my life. The thing I really like about the courses they offer here are very broad. You have everything from breeding, to sales, to colt starting. Really anything you want to do. Your professors care about you and your success. I will really miss CSU when I graduate in 2020”, said Marbach.