Elwood native rides for ranching career
Cauy Bennett had a busy two days in early March, showing two horses at a Collegiate Ranch Horse contest in Colorado.
The livestock industry management major at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis rides with the NCTA Ranch Horse Team.
Six Aggies competed, hauling seven horses in the college horse trailer from Curtis to Fort Collins, Colo.
“Two of those seven were my mares I have with me at college,” said Bennett, who with his parents Shannon and Kelly Bennett, ranch near Elwood, Neb.
At the Colorado State University show, the Aggie sophomore hit a familiar stride aboard Katy Sugar Lena, his 18-year-old gray mare.
They competed in the Collegiate Non-Professional division, finishing third in the all-around. He had praise for Lena as they placed second in Working Cow, Reining, and Pleasure classes and third in Trail.
Bennett’s younger mare, Easy Street Lady (aka Jewels), is much newer to the four ranch horse events. The pair won third place in All-Around of Collegiate Limited Non-Pro.
While at NCTA, he is training 9-year-old Jewels in preparation for Lena’s retirement. Jewels is coming along well, too. Daily workouts and team practices are rigorous for students and equine athletes, alike.
Bennett is familiar with ranching, horses and cattle, spending much of his childhood and teen years at his grandparents’ ranch. Now, he earns a paycheck at campus.
“I’m a part of the Farm Crew, responsible for feeding livestock, checking cows during calving, and whatever work needs to be done on the college farm and ranch.”
Next fall, he plans to return to NCTA for a third year of studies, adding equine training classes and a welding certificate to an associate of science degree.
“I want the livestock industry management degree to help me get a ranch manager position,” he said.
The Ranch Horse Team credentials will be an asset for any career, proving discipline, time management, leadership, and teamwork to valuable knowledge.
He rides several days a week, mostly with teammates in the college’s indoor arena and under the tutelage of Joanna Hergenreder, their coach and equine professor.
Students board their horses in privately owned facilities off campus, carefully managing time for chores early mornings before class and each evening. On the road to shows, they haul along their hay and feed.
Ranchers rely on teamwork and versatility of their horses, demanding a range of skills and sound temperament. Versatility Ranch Horse shows are testament of skilled riders and top-quality horses.
Aggie students respect the hard work and equality of team members. Hergenreder ensures each individual engages in decision-making and team leadership. They credit sponsors, alumni and family members for support.
Bennett’s grandmother, Irene, and mother, Kelly, often travel to the shows. They keep Aggies supplied with snacks and drinks and lend a helping hand.
“Family members help us a lot, and we help each other, plus our fearless leader Jo helps us tremendously,” Bennet said. Aggie results are posted at https://go.unl.edu/h9te.
The team’s next show is March 18-19 in Cheyenne, Wyo., with Laramie County Community College as host.
NCTA’s Punchy in Pink Spring Roundup is April 8-10 at the Red Willow County Fairgrounds in McCook.
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