By Cassandra A. Mavis, third year Agribusiness and Applied Economics Major
SPRINGFIELD, Ohio – Most Ohioans are familiar with the network of alumni from The Ohio State University. But, they probably do not know the “four-legged alumni” that graduated from Ohio State Agricultural Technical Institute (ATI).
These four-legged alumni are Standardbred horses trained by Ohio State ATI students in the Equine Marketing class. Students work with their horses for a half semester class. At the end of the course, they sell the horses at the Buckeye Classic Yearling Sale.
The sale took place on Oct. 10 in Springfield, OH at the Champions Center Expo. Over 200 Standardbred yearlings were sold, including the horses from Ohio State ATI. The yearlings sold for an average of $5,100 with 2 selling for $8,000 in the 2023 sale.
“I was pretty happy with the work the students put into marketing their horses” said the professor of the course, Sara Mastellar, Ph.D. She said that this year, all nine of her students attended the Buckeye Classic Yearling Sale.
Many of these horses will end up being racehorses. They will race at county fairs across the state. “The Standardbred industry is well established in Ohio” said Mastellar.
Some horses could even end up racing at Ohio’s premier racing event, the Little Brown Jug. The Little Brown Jug is a harness racing event. It is the oldest race in the Pacing Triple Crown.
Carmen Corcoran, a student in the Equine Marketing class, had the highest selling horse from Ohio State ATI this year. Her horse’s “genetics and calm demeanor also helped in his selling, as it showed the work I put into him” said Carmen. “I am very proud that all my hard work over the last half of the semester paid off.”
The horses are not the only Ohio State alumni that benefit from the Buckeye Classic Yearling Sale. Students benefit greatly from their participation in this event.
Selling horses at the Buckeye Classic Yearling Sale has the potential to make a real impact on students’ careers said Mastellar. “Students make a lot of connections at the sale and sometimes are also then hired to sale prep at other sales.”
Students train the horses in a variety of ways to prepare the horses for the sale. They also develop skills outside of the arena. This gives them an overall understanding of equine sales and industry practices.
“The students work with the horses on their skills and manners so they can be successful when they travel to the sale” said Mastellar. This prepares the horses to handle auction atmospheres and helps them handle a variety of environments they could encounter after being sold. Students also practice leading horses over different surfaces and use different grooming methods on them.
Outside of the arena, students develop promotional materials including ads and videos. Many of the videos are available on the Ohio State ATI Equine Center Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/ATIEquineCenter). Participation in these activities help students be as well-rounded as they can be before entering the workforce.
Overall, Mastellar and the students were satisfied with the outcome of the sale. Whether it is students like Carmen, or a horse that ends up at the Little Brown Jug, the Equine Marketing class and the Buckeye Classic Yearling Sale provide valuable experience to jumpstart all alumni careers, even the four legged ones.