Brooke Leininger is Wilson’s new equitation and equine studies professor. If a student has had any equine classes, they may already know a little bit about her. Here is a chance to become better acquainted with our new, enthusiastic equine instructor.
Leininger earned a Bachelor’s degree in Equine Science from Colorado State University and a Master’s degree in Strategic Leadership from University of Mary. Previously living in Northern Minnesota, she taught Equine Science for eight years at University of Minnesota Kirkston, where she was also the head coach of their NCAA Division II Women’s Equestrian team.
Originally from California, Leininger began riding around the age of six, first taking lessons in English riding at the Fremont Hills Country Club in her area. As her passion for riding grew, her family moved to Northern California where they built a barn, arena, and cross country course. In high school, as she realized that her horse was not a great hunter, she decided to try western riding instead and made the switch. All throughout high school, Leininger rode on the rodeo team and learned roping, reining, barrel racing, and other western games. When she attended the University of Wyoming, she joined their rodeo team. It was during this time of riding western that Leininger first started her horse-training business.
Leininger realized how much she missed jumping while just riding western for that time. Upon discovering a horse that she believed was a great fit for her, she went on to compete in hunter and jumper competitions for years. When Leininger had begun working at the University of Minnesota her horse tragically died causing her to lose interest for a time. Continuing to work at the University, she bought a horse from the school to train for dressage, which has been her focus the last eight to nine years. She has trained and ridden horses up through the levels, and earned her bronze and silver United States Dressage Federation (USDF) medals doing so. Leininger’s current horse, who now resides on campus, is a young Dutch warmblood gelding she also intends to train up the dressage levels.
Leininger was originally attracted to Wilson for the opportunity to become a tenured professor, which she was unable to do at her previous school. She also loved how friendly the Wilson community was when she first visited, especially Ann O’Shallie, Director of the Equine Studies department. Leininger states, “I was very comfortable, it was just the right fit.”
She loves that Wilson’s program offers more real world experience and is a good match for her practical teaching. She described how she does not want to just teach material but have students understand concepts. Leininger said her favorite part of teaching is “when a student has an ‘Ah ha!’ moment” in learning, and it makes it all worth it.
Be sure to say hello to Professor Brooke Leininger in the barns or classrooms!