UMN Crookston Equine Program and Team Reach $35k Goal

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Story by Michelle Christopherson, Director of Outreach and Engagement

$20 thousand gift secures construction of new lean-to, enhances equine program at UMN Crookston


CROOKSTON, Minn. – UMN Crookston Equine Program and the Equestrian Team reached its $35,000 fundraising goal last month. Dollars raised will benefit students and construct a new lean-to that will be built in May. Roy Johnson, a University of Minnesota graduate (BS in 1972, MS in 1984) and a former faculty member who works in Equine and Full Farm in Cargill Animal Nutrition, says the Minnesota horse industry relies on the education and student experiences gained at UMN Crookston. “I personally believe some long term investing in UMC is appropriate, which is why I am personally supporting the equine programs. The lean-to as an example, will contribute to the success of the program for the students and animals but long term for the industry through educational priorities and student experiences,” he said.


In late October, the University of Minnesota Crookston Equestrian teams kicked off fundraising for team travel, equipment and a new lean-to. “I am thrilled that our goal of thirty-five thousand dollars was reached,” said Athletic Director Stephanie Helgeson. “While our student athletes raised and met their goal of $15,000 it is the support from our alumni, corporate partners, friends and families that ensures our teams have the ability to keep building a tradition of excellence while establishing a legacy within the equine program,” she said.



“Each lean-to will expand our horse capabilities by 3-4 horses, by hosting more broodmares to foal out for the MN Bred program and/or take in an additional three to four Off the Track Thoroughbreds for re-training,” said Nicky Overgaard, UMN Crookston Equine Instructor. “The lean-to will be utilized year round by the program. We will host 5 – 10  mares to foal out and have the capability of increasing the number of foals each spring to at least 10 foals,” she said. 

“The impact and investment of Mr. Johnson’s investment and generous gift will be used to construct a lean-to, it will benefit students and our animals,” said Morgan Pyles, PhD, Equine Assistant Professor. “Students will continue to engage and participate in experiential learning, like foaling out mares, bringing in Off the Track Thoroughbreds for boarding, breeding and re-training. These activities expose students to a whole new facet of the equine industry and better  prepare them  for the next phase of their career.” Both the students and the industry will benefit from these improvements to our equine program,” she said. 

This investment will expand the campus horse capabilities for years to come, faculty say. The lean-to will be utilized year round by the program. If you wish to make a contribution, one that makes a difference for students by investing in the equine programs, support them both in and outside of the classroom by clicking here or contact Michelle Christopherson, mchristo@umn.edu or 218.281.8369.