CAFNR student works with Clydesdale to win national competition

Junior Jillian Klein and Clydesdale Fred won a national title in Clydesdale Western Pleasure Riding.
Jillian Klein, a member of the CAFNR Student Council, won National Champion in Clydesdale Western Pleasure Riding title with her Clydesdale Fred. Courtesy of Twitter via @cafnr

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources is full of students hoping to improve the agricultural community, one of them being junior Jillian Klein. Klein is a member of the CAFNR Student Council, is aspiring to have a career in seed studies and just made a big accomplishment: she won a national title with her Clydesdale horse, Fred.

Klein does not come from the traditional agricultural background.

“What kind of put me in the agricultural world was my experience with draft horses,” Klein said. “I had started out just doing English riding when I was younger and met a friend who had Percheron horses and draft horses, and got into showing with them, which started me wanting to go and be around that community.”

Klein has found the community to be very welcoming as well.

“Once I got into the shows and the fairs, you kind of are with all the cattle people and people showing pigs and it just sort of became a big community,” Klein said. “I just fell in love with the people.”

With a major in Agriculture, Klein plans to have a career in seed sales. Klein aspires to work for a company like Bayer Crop Sciences, which produces seeds for growth or turned into feed for animals.

“I’m wanting to go in, and because I have a passion for new people and I have a passion for the agriculture community. I really just want to build those relationships and also connect the bridge between a non-agriculture background and the agriculture background,” Klein said. “I feel there is a huge disconnection between the agriculture community and people not involved in agriculture.”

Recently, Klein and her Clydesdale Fred won a national title at a Clydesdale competition. The competition was held in Des Moines, Iowa at their fairgrounds.

“Each year there is national kinds of shows-- like overall championships,” Klein said. “You go to all these different shows and you compete and get points. Then when you’re at the national show, there’s higher level points to qualify. It was the national show that is hosted by the National Clydesdale Association and is supposed to be the best of breed out of Clydesdales.”

Prior to the national competition, Klein was an intern with Bayer Crop Sciences. She was in charge of managing the new height inbred lines that would be coming into the agricultural field in future years. Klein was responsible for performing tissue and quality testing on the inbred lines. She led her own crew of 50 migrant works, and they collected lead tissue samples on the corn plants and prepared them to be processed and analyzed at the lab. Despite getting opportunities at the internship, she was not able to train with Fred for the competition.

“I hadn’t ridden or seen Fred since March, because I leased him out to this professional showing team out in Utah,” Klein said. “He left in December of 2018, and last time I saw him was when I flew out to Utah for spring break. I was thinking … ‘was he going to remember how to do this?’”

Nonetheless, Fred remembered what he was supposed to do and ended up taking home the title of National Champion in Clydesdale Western Pleasure Riding.

Teddi Steeves, a close friend of Klein’s, has noticed her work and dedication to agriculture and Fred.

“She definitely makes school her priority, and she has worked very hard at it to get the grades that she does and the cool internship that she got,” Steeves said. “Before college, Fred was her number one priority. Making him and training him for what she wanted him to be was very important to her ... Agriculture in general and Fred are very important parts of her life.”

Edited by Laura Evans |

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