Little Ranching's donation to Equine Centre & student award

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June 16, 2015
Little Ranching has made a big investment in Lakeland College and its students
Herb and Nita Little, owners of Little Ranching, recently donated $35,000 to Lakeland College. Of that total, $25,000 is earmarked for student awards and $10,000 for improvements to the Equine Centre at the Vermilion campus.

Herb and Nita Little’s connection to the college goes back to the 1980s when they started taking care of student horses at their ranch one mile north of Vermilion. For about 15 years they provided a place for students to board their horses. Herb would often truck the horses to the Vermilion campus or other colleges where the students were participating in rodeos.

“At one point we had 18 student horses in the yard. We didn’t do that again,” says Nita with a laugh. 

But the Littles enjoyed interacting with the students. “They often sat in our kitchen and chatted with us and we got to know a lot of them very well. We’ve been to their weddings and received their birth announcements. It’s been wonderful,” she says.

When the college built additional equine facilities in the late 1990s, the Littles no longer needed to board student horses. But they continued to help students. Herb supplied roping cattle for and was a frequent donor to the Rodeo Team. “Over the years they’ve helped the college in a number of ways. This donation is a continuation of their support,” says Ron Hoffman, an instructor in the western ranch and cow horse (WRCH) program and also a close friend of the Littles. 

Some of the money that the Littles donated to the Equine Centre will be used this summer to purchase new arena video equipment and a television so students in the WRCH can review lessons and the rodeo team members can study film from practices and performances. 

The first Herb Little Horsemanship Award will be presented next March to a student in the WRCH program who is also involved in the rodeo club and/or the ranch horse club. The $1,000 award will go to a student who displays good work ethic and leadership skills.

“School and horses are expensive. We just want to help students with some of their costs,” says Nita.

The WRCH program is a one-year certificate program that combines horse training with cattle handling, disease recognition and treatment and beef production. Students are involved in organizing and hosting the annual Working Cowboy Competition and Working Cow Horse Sale.

Photo: From left, Lakeland's Ron Hoffman, stands with Nita and Herb Little outside the Equine Centre on the Vermilion campus. The Little's donation is a continuation of their longstanding support for Lakeland College.

June 16, 2015