Friday, May 17, 2019

Virginia Tech graduate takes love for horses around the globe - Full Article

May 16 2019
By Robby Korth

CHRISTIANSBURG — Hanna Bartnick loves horses and adventure — and she got to combine the two in her academic career and beyond at Virginia Tech.

She’ll graduate Friday with a degree in animal science, specializing in equine sciences.

To get to graduation, Bartnick took a winding, grinding journey where she worked hard and got her fill of adventure along the way, traveling across continents on horseback. The journey is encapsulated in her capstone class, where she took her passion for endurance riding and wrote a term paper about horse care in the process.

“My whole life revolves around these animals,” said Bartnick, 23, a Roanoke native who graduated from Auburn High School in Riner.

Bartnick’s love for horses started when she was about 5 years old and attending Penn Forest Elementary School in Roanoke County. She would see horses in a nearby field on her way to school and ask her father if she could ride them, she said.

Thinking she’d give up, he said she could get lessons when she turned 8. Bartnick never did, however, and she began taking lessons and clearing stalls and taking care of horses in exchange for riding lessons at that age. By 14, she’d purchased a 6-month-old foal.

Bartnick has a way with troubled horses, her friend and former Tech classmate Casey Lowe said.

Lowe, who worked with Bartnick at Flanagan Stables in Christiansburg, said Bartnick could consistently take in an abused or difficult horse and get them used to people and ready to ride.

“You have to really have a love and trust and respect for the animal,” Lowe said. “Hanna cares deeply about the well-being of her horses...

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