On signing day, this Minnesotan made it to college on horseback


In case you college sports fans missed it on signing day, Allison Nordvall is going to New Mexico State.

On an equestrian scholarship.

Football and basketball stars may get the glory when it's time for high school athletes to announce their college choices. But those on horseback also get recruited. They just ride a little lower on the radar.

Nordvall lives in Rockford, Minnesota, and tells the local newspaper, the Press & News, she's been riding, roping, and reining since she was seven years old.

Now the skills she's developed will pay her tuition in Las Cruces, New Mexico, which is not far from El Paso, Texas.

Wait a minute – reining?

It's a riding competition. Here's a written explanation, telling us "...competitors execute a pre-determined pattern that demonstrates the athleticism, agility and responsiveness of the horse."

Or watch Allison demonstrate it in this video from last May:

So, yes, competitive equestrianism at the college level is definitely a thing. The Press & News says 23 colleges compete during a season that extends through the entire school year. Nordvall says the New Mexico State team was recently ranked 10th in the nation.

Hauling horses around the country for events is not very practical, though. So the road team uses horses provided by the home team. Nordvall tells the newspaper getting to know your horse in a hurry is one of the challenges: “At away events we have five minutes of warm up to do one test run and figure out what the horse is good at. Then you need to figure out a game plan to fix where he is just ok.”

Nordvall says she plans to study agriculture and New Mexico State is known for its ag program (their sports teams are called the Aggies).

While she's riding her way to college with her skills atop a horse, there's another part of Nordvall's athletic career that will come to a close when she arrives in Las Cruces. She's also been playing for her high school hockey team.

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