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2010 KEMI Grad Wins Big at the 2019 Thoroughbred Makeover

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by Sarah E. Coleman

Amber (Van Wiebe) Jacobson, a 2010 KEMI grad, rode Silence is Awesome (“Awesome”)to the win in the Ranch Work discipline, sponsored by MidAtlantic Horse Rescue at the $100,000 Thoroughbred Makeover, presented by Thoroughbred Charities of America. In addition to winning the Ranch Work discipline, Amber and Awesome also finished ninth out of 54 in the Competitive Trail division, sponsored by Florida Thoroughbred Retirement and Adoptive Care (FL TRAC).

Amber travelled to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington from her home base in Longview in Alberta, Canada, where she owner Running Fawcett Thoroughbreds Ltd. Amber is a Thoroughbred owner, breeder, colt-starter and boarding facility owner.

Originally from Calgary, Amber was not unfamiliar with the Bluegrass, having taken part in the KEMI breeding season session in 2010. While in Kentucky with KEMI, Amber was placed at Margaux Farm, where she learned a massive amount about Thoroughbreds. “I learned more with KEMI in 6 months than I could [have learned] back home in 15 years,” Amber says. “The [access to the] amount of horses, professionals and experience you get is unmatched anywhere else.”

“I Knew I Had The Horse …”

A passionate horsewoman, Amber didn’t ride until she was 24. “The Makeover was really my push to learn more disciplines and push my comfort zone,” she said. And what made her decide to give the Makeover a try? “I knew I had the horse,” she explains. Awesome, (by Silent Name out of Just Awesome by Siphon) was bred, raised and raced by Amber.

Amber bought Just Awesome at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale when she was in foal to Silence is Awesome.  Awesome, a 4-year-old, 15.1-hh bay mare, had nine starts and one win, and earned $4,100 in her racing career before retiring. “She was claimed, but I bought her back after the racing season was completed. I just knew there was something special about this horse—she truly is a fighter.”

Though Makeover competitors could begin riding their horses on December 1 of 2018, Amber didn’t put Awesome into work until January of 2019. “She was a harder keeper that just needed some additional downtime,” she explains of the delay. “I don’t think we really focused [on a specific discipline] until March, when I sought additional help from Kent Williamson, a working cow horse professional.”

Amber knew she wanted to compete in the Ranch Work as it’s something she’s slowly gotten into while living in ranch country. For a second discipline, she pondered running barrels, but eventually set her sights on Competitive Trail as she felt it complimented Ranch Work the best. “With only nine months of training, I think it was the better choice!” she says.

Once her discipline decisions were made, Amber shifted from discipline-specific preparation to pure foundation preparation, focusing on putting quality basics on Awesome. “Kent [Williamson] taught me what basics I was lacking,” she explains of the shift in focus. “Once I, as well as Awesome, had the foundation down, we started the cow work and really having fun!”

A Versatile Mare

Awesome has shown more versatility than any horse Amber has ever restarted. Before coming to the Makeover, the duo, with just 7 months of training, competed in the Alberta Ranch Horse Versatility Association (ARHVA) competitions as well as at the Cochrane Lions Ranch Rodeo, where they were overall champion in Ranch Rodeo, winning Sorting, Penning and Doctoring as a team. The ARHVA competitions include ranch trail, ranch ride, reining, conformation, cutting and cow work; Amber and Awesome finished second overall and won the Ranch Ride, Ranch Reining and Cow Work.

So, what makes Awesome so broke? She has a very strong horsemanship foundation, Amber explains, which is what makes her so versatile. “She’s extremely cowy and is the most broke horse of all of our family horses,” she says, thanks in part to the training Amber and Awesome received from Kent.

More than anything though, Amber credits the bond created between rider and horse throughout the Makeover process as the reason the mare is so broke—and trusting. “It was unbelievable. It’s something I will cherish forever,” she says.

So what’s up next for the indominable duo? Awesome if for sale, but Amber is quick to point out that she’ll cry if the mare sells, not if she doesn’t! “I plan to continue to train and compete in the Alberta Reach Horse Versatility as well as at ranch rodeos. I also hope to try some barrels and sortings—and one day working cow horse!”

A KEMI Connection

Did KEMI prepare Amber for a competition like the Makeover? “It definitely did!” Amber says. KEMI taught me “the overall care required of a horse–let alone a Thoroughbred! The feeding, grooming, showing and handling I learned [thru KEMI}–it all helped, and still does, with every horse I have. The Makeover was an opportunity of a lifetime. Just like KEMI!”

KEMI Welcomes New Interns for Fall 2019

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The Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) Program is pleased to welcome nineteen new interns for the Fall of 2019 session.

BALES, Bailey – University of Missouri- Columbia
BRANDON, Cristina – Colorado State University
BREMER, Brittney – Virginia Tech
CHRISTENSEN, Tanzynn – Southern Utah University
CHRISTOPHERSON, Kalley – University of Wisconsin-River Falls
DAMP, Angelica – University of Nebraska
FUZZELL, Casady – Oklahoma State University
HRYNDA, Madison – West Virginia University
JENKINS, Sadie – Oklahoma State University
LEVKULIC, Samantha – Cornell University
MARQUEZ, Henrique – Universidade Positivo-BRAZIL
MCNAB, Sydney – Oregon State University
PARRISH, Rachel – West Virginia University
RYDOSZ, Brynna – Louisiana State University
SIFFERT, Emily – University of Findlay
TERRELL, Skylar – Stephen F. Austin State University
VANSLANDER, Shelby – Oregon State University
WADDLE , Kayli – West Texas A&M University
WILLIAMS, Nathan – University of Missouri-Columbia

Welcome interns!

Spring 2019 KEMI Graduates

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Congratulations to our Spring of 2019 Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) graduates!

Brandi Bahr – University of Wisconsin, Platteville – Shawhan Place
Bailey Bales – University of Missouri – Heaven Trees Farm
Cristina Brandon – Colorado State University – Mallory Farm
Alicia Butsch – Washington State University – Lane’s End/Oaktree Division
Lauren Carter – University of Maryland – Darby Dan Farm
Mara Castro – Lexington, Kentucky – Runnymeade Farm
Rebecca Cedar – New Mexico State University – Shawnee Farm
Chloe Crowder – Judson College – Shadwell Farm
Gwen Gates – Illinois State University – Monticule Farm
Camryn Green – Virginia Tech University – Shawnee Farm
Jennifer Hambleton – Washington State University – Lane’s End Farm
Kathryn Heath – Texas A&M University – Silver Springs Farm
Sadie Jenkins – Oklahoma State University – Margaux Farm
Veronica Jones – California State University, Fresno – Brookdale Farm
Ambrielle Kaufmann – Louisiana Tech University – Lane’s End Farm
Jessica Kelly – Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo – Mill Ridge Farm
Briana Lambert – Colorado State University – WinStar Farm
Allyson Lammers – Colorado State University – Ashford Stud
Madison Maneri – University of Connecticut – Darby Dan Farm
Caitlin Maus – University of Missouri – Trackside Farm
Mikaela Moore – University of Wyoming – Indian Creek Farm
Kaitlyn Murphy – Pennsylvania State University – Silver Springs Farm
Annie Perez – Texas A&M University – Denali Stud
Brianna Renner – Oregon State University – Trackside Farm
Diondrea Richardson – Tuskegee University – Pin Oak Stud
Abigail Rigsby – Middle Tennessee State University – Crestwood Farm
Kristina Schroeder – University of Minnesota, Crookston – Denali Stud
Danielle Seitner – Ohio State University – Castleton Lyons Farm
Camille Smith – College of Southern Idaho – Timber Town Stables
Jiselle Sorenson – Southern Utah University – Shadwell Farm
Lauren Teets – University of Nebraska – WinStar Farm
Rebekah Trice – Tarleton State University – Lane’s End/Oak Tree Division

Best of luck to our Spring of 2019 graduates!

Fall 2017 KEMI Graduates

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Congratulations to our Fall of 2017 Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) graduates!

Rebecca Bannan – Michigan State University – Ashford Stud
Kristen Berg – North Carolina State University – Pin Oak Stud
Shannel Cacho – Middle Tennessee State University – Dixiana Farm
Paige Gilster – Iowa State University – Shawnee Farm
Alana Hamann – University of Maryland – Indian Creek Farm
Rachel Miller – Oregon State University – Denali Stud
Katie Ott – University of California, Davis – Trackside Farm
Autumn Petreszyn – University of Maine – Adena Springs
Sarah Prentice – University of Findlay – Lane’s End Farm/Oak Tree Division
Erika Rodriguez Martinez – University of Arizona – Monticule Farm
Jennie Sites – Oregon State University – Crestwood Farm
Kayci Sperry – Kansas State University – Darby Dan Farm
Brianna Wolfe – Delaware Valley University – Silver Springs Stud

Best of luck to our Fall of 2017 graduates!

KEMI Announces New Fall 2017 Interns

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Please join us in welcoming our new class of interns for Fall 2017!

Rebecca Bannan – Michigan State University

Kristen Berg – North Carolina State University

Shannel Cacho – Middle Tennessee State University

Paige Gilster – Iowa State University

Alexis Golub – Virginia Tech University

Alana Hamann – University of Maryland

Rachel Miller – Oregon State University

Katherine Ott – University of California, Davis

Autumn Petresyn – University of Maine

Carli Pisano – Sul Ross State University

Sarah Prentice – University of Findlay

Erika Rodriguez Martinez – University of Arizona

Jennie Sites – Oregon State University

Kayci Sperry – Kansas State University

Brianna Wolfe – Delaware Valley Univesrity

Welcome interns!

Spring 2017 KEMI Graduates

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Congratulations to our Spring of 2017 Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) graduates!

Rebecca Bannan – Michigan State University – Shadwell Farm
Marisa Beanland – University of Vermont – WinStar Farm
Lauren Bedell – Post University – Shawnee Farm
Katheryn Bowser – Auburn University – WinStar Farm
Kaitlin Bruce – University of Tennessee, Martin – Mallory Farm
Lauren Brunn – University of Findlay – Taylor Made Farm
Allison Cropper – Morehead State University – Denali Stud
Morgan Gustin – University of Maine – Trackside Farm
Alisa Gutierrez – Colorado State University – Shawnee Farm
Holly Hersey – University of Maine – Valkyre Stud
Sara Holtz – University of Idaho – Lane’s End Farm/Oak Tree Division
Katie Kingsley – Texas A&M University – Adena Springs
Kaylee Layton – Utah State University – Lane’s End Farm/Oak Tree Division
Catherine Messerly – Virginia Tech University – Margaux Farm
Stevie Mirrop – Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College – Dixiana Farm
Mackayla Nelson – Texas A&M University, Commerce – Castleton Lyons
Katherine Ott – University of California, Davis – Crestwood Farm
Kendra Relyea – California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo – Pin Oak Stud
Hannah Rolle – Oklahoma State University – Monticule Farm
Daniel Schmidt – Southern Illinois University, Carbondale – Mill Ridge Farm
Megan Sullivan – Colorado State University – Indian Creed Farm
Katie Tyndall – North Carolina State University – Timber Town Stables
Jessica Woods – Morehead State University – Shawhan Place

Best of luck to our Spring of 2017 graduates!


Congratulations, Spring 2017 KTFMC Scholarship Winner, Holly Hersey!

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The Kentucky Thoroughbred Farm Managers Club (KTFMC) awards one Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) intern a Management Award each session.  This award recognizes an intern for their hard work, professionalism, and dedication to the industry.  The award includes a cash prize as well as an opportunity to shadow an industry professional of the intern’s choosing for the week following their internship.  Holly Hersey was recently announced as the KTFMC scholarship winner for the Spring of 2017.  Congratulations, Holly!

Fall 2016 KEMI Graduates

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Congratulations to our Fall of 2016 Kentucky Equine Management Internship (KEMI) graduates!

Lauren Bedell – Post University – Monticule Farm

Taylor Breeding – University of Arkansas – Taylor Made Farm

Hannah Brehm – Texas A&M University – Three Chimneys Farm

Lauren Brunn – University of Findlay – WinStar Farm

Jessica Colling – California State University, Fresno – Indian Creek Farm

Sarah Davidson – Washington State University – Three Chimneys Farm

Tracey Fischer – University of Queensland (Australia ) – Trackside Farm

Sarah-Jane Fish – University of Queensland (Australia) – Valkyre Stud

Elizabeth Fitzgerald – Oregon State University – Denali Stud

Ji Hoon Hyun – Jeju University (South Korea) – Silver Springs Stud

Annette Lokkesmoe – University of Wisconsin, River Falls – Margaux Farm

Lauren Maupin – Tarleton State University – Shawnee Farm

Shannon O’Hair – Iowa State University – Indian Creek Farm

Alexandria Phillipson – Washington State University – WinStar Farm

Marcelo Rizo Patron – University of Kentucky – Stone Farm

Jessica Sears – Washington State University – Silver Springs Stud

Katie Snyder – Southern Utah University – Pin Oak Stud

Emily Spengler – University of Georgia – Adena Springs

Caroline Spieker – University of Maryland – Ashford Stud

Allie Tamouzian – California State University, Fresno – Ashford Stud

Isabella Vieira – University of Missouri – Dixiana Farm

Erica Yopp – Berry College – Lane’s End/Oak Tree Division

Best of luck to our Fall 2016 graduates!