Mentoring future horsemen and women: Nebraska man is one of 24 Team Wrangler/AQHA members
A Nebraska man has been chosen as one of 24 members of Team Wrangler, a joint effort between Wrangler and the American Quarter Horse Association.
Micah Hansen, Gretna, Neb., was chosen as one of the two dozen AQHA Professional Horsemen who will serve on Team Wrangler in 2023.
Hansen, who owns and operates Hansen Show Horses with his wife Christi, and children, Colten and Laiken, trains and shows all-around horses in a variety of classes: trail, horsemanship, pleasure, showmanship, western riding, and English classes. He’s shown all over the country, with a 2022 National Snaffle Bit Futurity title to his name (and some reserve finishes) and the Congress Level 1 Senior Western Riding championship. He has coached Congress, National Snaffle Bit Association and AQHA world champions.
Hansen has trained professionally for sixteen years and enjoys mentoring at clinics. “I love helping and teaching,” he said. “I love helping anybody who wants to learn more, and give them what I can.”
By teaching, he’s able to pay back those who mentored him. “I had help when I was growing up, between 4-H leaders and people who were knowledgeable about horses. I’d get help from anybody I could. If anyone was willing to teach me about a horse, I was willing to learn it.”
Team Wrangler is designed to promote educational outreach for the horse industry, says Karen McCuistion, interim chief show officer for the AQHA and senior director of Member Programs.
“Team Wrangler is a joint effort between Wrangler and the AQHA to provide clinics around the globe,” she said. The team helps fulfill one of the AQHA’s mission statements, providing education to members.
“Team Wrangler is an effective way for the AQHA to do that,” McCuistion said. “Our top professionals take their time to conduct clinics throughout the U.S. and globally.”
The professionals come from a diverse horse background, she said. “We run the gamut, with show professionals from different disciplines.” This year, one of the Team Wrangler members is a horseman who is “less involved in showing and really involved in clinics and education about breaking colts.”
Each team member is required to instruct at a minimum of one clinic. It can be a private clinic, or one that associations or organizations request. With professional horsemen giving their time, it is very helpful to the organizations, “all the way from grassroots, like 4-H and open shows, and more,” she said. Wrangler and the AQHA help team members with travel costs.
Members are chosen in one of three ways. Six positions come from professional horsemen who have been awarded the most valuable professional (MVP) by their AQHA affiliate and were voted on by the AQHA Professional Horsemen’s Council. Six are selected from the top point earners in the categories of halter, pattern, timed events, over fences, rail and cattle, during the AQHA World Championship Show qualifying period from August 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022. The final dozen is selected by AQHA members; all AQHA Professional Horsemen have the opportunity to appear on the Team Wrangler ballot.
Other 2023 Team Wrangler members include Cory Bourque, Abbeville, La.; Bradley Boyd, Princeton, Ky.; Jennifer Burton, Grayslake, Ill.; Terry Cross, Weatherford, Texas; Katie Dove, Midland, Texas; Shelley Fitzgerald, Yukon, Okla.; James Flores, Midwest City, Okla.; Matt Gouthro, Staunton, Va.; Jessica Johnson, Pickerington, Ohio; Whitney Lagace, Higganum, Conn.; Clay Logan, Grandbury, Texas; Todd Marler, El Paso, Texas; Tom McBeath, Union, Miss.; Keith Miller, Reidsville, N.C.; Peter Oen, Maysville, Okla.; Kevin Oliver, Canyon, Texas; Tom Robertson, Saline, Mich.; Beckey Schooler, Adrian, Mich.; Melissa Sexton, Okanogan, Wash.; Teresa Sullivan, Lake Tapps, Wash.; Michelle Tidwell, Madisonville, Texas; Dan Trein, Seville, Ohio; and Sandra Vaughn, Hernando, Fla.