Think Local: 2UW Brush Creek Ranch holds private horse shows during pandemic

Members of K-State equestrian team begin their morning practice at 2UW Brush Creek Ranch. (Dominique McGlynn | Collegian Media Group)

Home to the Kansas State equestrian team, 2UW Brush Creek Ranch is a professional equine facility.

The private facility just outside Manhattan provides riding lessons, horse training and boarding under Barbara and Mary Ubel, the mother and daughter who own the ranch.

Cheyenne Town, sophomore in animal sciences and industry, lives on the ranch property and is president of the K-State equestrian team.

The team normally shows at competitions through the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, but Town said this year things are a little different.

“Typically, we would go to another school and spend a weekend, but this year, we’re just going to have mock shows for our girls on the team at the ranch,” Town said.

Along with seven returning members, Town said the riding team has five new members, one of whom is Ashley White, senior in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management.

White said 2UW and the riding team have welcomed her this semester as a novice at horse showing. White’s experience is in showing cattle, but she’s been around horses her whole life, so working at the ranch is nothing new.

“It’s a learning experience,” White said. “I figured this would be the best year to do it since we’re not actually going somewhere. I don’t have to worry about it.”

With many competitions cancelled due to COVID-19, 2UW will host private shows for the riding team this year. K-State students and the broader community are welcome to attend, White said.

“When we have our shows, [students] can come out,” White said.

White said they’re open to anyone and everyone who is interested in joining the riding team.

“You don’t need to know how to show a horse, or ride a horse for that matter,” White said.

Clare Haag, assistant coach for the team, has been at the ranch for five years. She said other than the lack of official competitions this semester, COVID-19 hasn’t changed much about daily life for the team.

“It’s gotten a lot more organized, and since things are starting to calm down, that’s the only real change I’ve noticed,” Haag said. “I’m excited for what this season’s going to bring.”

Though the equestrian team hasn’t been sponsored by K-State Athletics since 2014, Town said she wants the community to know there’s still a team, and it’s still part of K-State.

“The more people, the better,” Haag said. “We love coaching, we love teaching people and I love to see people succeed at showing and doing what they want to do with that.”

For students and community members who might not feel comfortable getting on a horse, both Haag and White said 2UW welcomes anyone interested in touring the ranch or seeing the equestrian team in action.

For more information on the K-State riding team, lessons, events and more, visit the 2UW website.