NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE)
A group of 15 students from Sweden are packing their bags to head back home. They've spent ten days in Nacogdoches exploring forest and hospitality management in East Texas.
The Stephen F. Austin Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture shared a bit of Texas culture with the Swedish students from Alvdalens Educational Center in Alvdalens, Sweden.
"It specializes in forestry, tourism, culinary arts. And they contacted us three years ago to see if we would partner in a student exchange.” said Dr. Hans Williams, Associate Dean of Arthur Temple College of Forestry & Agriculture.
The Swedish students Texas visit wouldn't be complete without a chance to ride a cow horse.The SFA Stock Horse Team just wanted their visitors to go away with something other than the stereotypical impression of a Texan.
"We actually are not Texans in big cowboy hats and spurs but that we do so much more than that. Because for me my girls and my team we want to promote and support our western heritage and share it with everyone that we meet,” said Michelle Coker the SFA Equine Center Supervisor.
But the cultural exchange among the Swedish students and the SFA students goes both way. As one of the Swedish students Yiva Thorsdottir Planman explained that back home riding horses for pleasure is normal.
“Oh yeah, they do. I think it's a big sport like, especially for girls," said Planman.
One of the Swedish teachers explained that draft horses are still in use in the timber industry in Sweden.
“We have plenty of people who own their own horses. And there are also people who work with horses in the forest logging,” explained Matthew Tunn.
The Swedes also have equestrian competitions, but more so English European style rather than our Western style.
So, the reigning and working cow horse demonstrations were something new as Dr. Stacie Appelton, Assistant Professor of Agriculture at SFA explained the differences to the Swedish students as such.
“We are wanting to control every movement of that animal without the cues being visible to anyone that is watching and especially the judges,”said Appelton.
But now with the Swedish students ten day visit exploring East Texas, the SFA hospitality students will get their turn to explore Sweden when they travel there this summer.
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