Aggies ride at Palooza in the Pines |

Aggies ride at Palooza in the Pines

CURTIS, Neb. — The pair became college graduates in Nebraska on Thursday. Stock horse contestants in Colorado on Saturday, May 14.

And, by Sunday, Jessica Burghardt and Connor Crumbliss had ended their college careers twofold.

First, in academics at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture, and second, as members of the NCTA Ranch Horse Team.

After graduating on May 5 from NCTA in Curtis, Burghardt and Crumbliss joined four teammates for a stock horse show called Palooza in the Pines at Elbert, Colo.

Two days in the saddle, competing Saturday and Sunday, in their final collegiate show before trailering back to Curtis.

Come Monday morning, the South Dakota native Burghardt, who had double majored in veterinary technology and agribusiness management, started her new job just down the road from Curtis, in Farnam, with Stock-aid Veterinary Clinic.

“I enjoyed competing with the Ranch Horse Team and will likely show once in a while with Rem,” Burghardt said. “I’d like to continue with the industry and work toward getting my AQHA judge’s card.”

Crumbliss, an equine industry management graduate, bases at his home near Fairmont, Neb., with his horse, Blues Sweet Sofia, and plans to continue travels through the summer in the non-pro division of the stock horse circuit.


Aggie Ranch Horse Team coach and animal science professor Joanna Hergenreder was pleased to have the two graduates take one last ride as team members.

“We saw improvement from everyone. I am excited to see the progress continue this summer,” Hergenreder said.

This week, the Aggie team learned they may have another chance to compete in Colorado. The Slidin’ Daze Series added a Collegiate Division for a show in late July, Hergenreder said.

Six current or former Ranch Horse members and equine students graduated with the Class of 2022. Several second- or third-year students will return in the fall, along with a large class of freshmen.

NCTA’s equine program enrollment has steadily increased in the past 10 years. Some students arrive on campus with a decade of horse experience in the showring or on the ranch. They board their horses at private facilities or farms in the area.

For others, they may find themselves as beginning riders on a borrowed or school-owned horse, perhaps a non-horse owner who is interested in learning more about the equine industry, or they see the opportunity to take the colt training class or start a young horse at ground level in the college’s indoor arena and under the watchful tutelage of Hergenreder, a seasoned college instructor.

For stock horse contests, the versatility and skill of a horse used for cattle and ranch work is tested in four classes (cow work, reining, pleasure riding and trail class). Riders compete in one of three categories based on skill of horse and rider: Collegiate Non-Pro, Collegiate Limited Non-Pro, and Collegiate Novice.

NCTA results from the May 7- 8 Slidin’ Daze Palooza in the Pines show were:

Collegiate Non-Pro

Cauy Bennett of Elwood, and Katy Sugar Lena, swept the Collegiate Non-Pro events finishing first in all four classes clenching the All-Around title.

Connor Crumbliss and Blues Sweet Sofia finished third overall in Non-Pro. They placed second in pleasure, tied for second in reining, and were third in cow work and trail.

“We look forward to seeing Connor continue his show career this summer,” said Hergenreder.

Limited Non-Pro

Cauy Bennet also competed in the Limited Non Pro division aboard his second horse, East Street Lady. They were second in cow work and sixth in reining.

Collegiate Novice

Emma Hollenback of Ewing, and Rio competed in Collegiate Novice and were fifth in the All-Around with a second in trail, third in cow work, fourth in reining, and 10th in pleasure.

Gwenyth Olberding of Falls City, Neb., and I Make It Look EZ, competed in Collegiate Novice and were eighth in the All-Around with sixth in both cow work and trail, and ninth in both reining and pleasure.

Jessica Burghardt and PR Remake (Rem) were 10th place in the Novice All-Around with fifth in pleasure, seventh in trail, and 10th in cow work.

Emma Yarolimek, Papillion, assisted her teammates as ground crew and photographer.

For details on NCTA equine science or the Ranch Horse Team, see or contact Hergenreder at


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