Kayla Krueger, daughter of Kevin and Kim Krueger of Walker, has received a $10,000 loan from the P.E.O. Educational Loan Fund.
She will graduate next year from the University of Minnesota-Crookston (UMC) with a major in equine science. This involves stable management, training, breeding, instructing riders and showing horses competitively. While it seems an unusual pursuit, nearly 200 students are in the equine science program in Crookston.
Kayla has ridden since third grade and has a dream of someday owning a stable and offering training for horses and riders. The Crookston campus provides a massive barn, arena and herd of 50 horses for student training in health and diseases, training and showing, hunting, jumping, western and English styles of riding and working with thoroughbreds, Morgans and quarter horses. The college owns all of the horses and tack. At the start of studies, students are in charge of a stall horse and must trim and care for it and clean the stall daily.
There is also the opportunity to be on the Crookston Equestrian team, sanctioned by the NCAA. Students try out for these teams, just like any athletic team tryouts. Teams of 16 compete in a region against 15 different schools. The school where the competition takes place provides the horses. Riders draw a horse and have only a few minutes to get to know it. Being able to adapt quickly is extremely necessary. Judges look for posture on the horse, control of the horse, patterns and maneuvers. It really is the luck of the draw!
Kayla feels these experiences have made her a much better horsewoman and have provided confidence. UMC is No. 1 in the region and will be competing in Findlay, Ohio, this year, with seven riders in Kayla’s category, advanced horsemanship. Last year UMC was also No. 1, and Kayla competed in novice class in Pomona, Calif. There are eight regions in the nation. Lexington, Kent., has nationals this year, and hopefully the UMC team will qualify.
Kayla's passion for horses drives her toward her educational goal. This summer she will intern at a stable in Texas, gaining more practical and varied experiences. Where would she like to set up her own stable? That remains to be seen, perhaps in a milder climate for year-long outside riding, but she’s flexible.
The local P.E.O. Chapter is happy to help Kayla financially to relieve some of the pressure in paying for school so she can focus on academics. She has a job at the school’s information desk and her parents are very supportive. But with state schools costing about $20,000 a year, and both of her brothers also in college, outside funding is a must. Congratulations to Kayla in the pursuit of her dreams.
P.E.O. is a women’s international philanthropic educational organization that promotes educational opportunities for women through various funds. One is the Educational Loan Fund (ELF) that loans up to $10,000 to qualifying applicants at a three percent interest rate. The appealing benefit of this loan is that the interest does not accrue until the recipient has completed her course of study.
The loan process begins at a local level, with an interview with the applicant, by being the sponsor and providing guidance and resources. When studies are completed, the recipient is notified that repayment is to begin. Again, the P.E.O. trustees are always there to provide information and answer questions. A loan recipient is able to realize her educational dreams and have the personal satisfaction of knowing that by repaying the loan she has assisted future ELF applicants to receive funds to complete their educations.
The Walker P.E.O. Chapter may recommend more that one applicant at a time. Parental income is not considered on an ELF loan application. The local chapter keeps in touch with the applicant and encourages her education. The P.E.O. Sisterhood also owns and operates Cottey College, Nevada, Mo. Contact Kay Bangerter, president of the Walker P.E.O. Chapter, or Sue Eikenberry, ELF chairman, for additional information.