Two long time instructors in the University of Findlay’s Western Equestrian Program will now serve in director roles, according to Darin Fields, Ph.D., vice president for academic affairs. Meri (Sheffler) Marsh ’02, M ’16, is interim director of Equestrian Studies and Equine Management, while Art O’Brien ‘79 is director of the Western Equestrian Program.
Joining the western program as an instructor in 2007, Marsh holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Western Equestrian Studies, a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Arts in Rhetoric and Writing, all from the University of Findlay. In addition to her responsibilities at the University, Marsh is a reining horse trainer and competes in National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) shows across the country. She is a multiple American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Congress champion and has been a finalist at NRHA major events. She has also coached youth and amateur riders to wins and achievements in NRHA and AQHA events. Prior to this appointment, Marsh served as interim director of the University’s Western Equestrian Program.
O’Brien has more than 30 years’ experience in the equine industry as a trainer, rider and coach. His focus has been primarily on showing performance horses and coaching clients in addition to NRHA and National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) competitions. An AQHA Professional Horseman and an international clinician, he has won World Champion titles in both AQHA and Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) in trail, western riding, western pleasure and reining and his students have won World Champion titles in 12 different events. O’Brien holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Western Equestrian Studies and has dedicated much of his career to the program’s continued growth and success. He also holds judges cards with AQHA and NSBA.
The University of Findlay has one of the top Equestrian Studies Programs in the nation and has set the standard for excellence in Western Equestrian Studies for more than 30 years. The Western Farm and Dr. C. Richard Beckett Animal Science Facility are located on 153 acres, south of the UF main campus at 14700 State Route 68. For more information on the program, contact the University of Findlay Admissions Office at email@example.com or 419-434-4732.