Meri (Sheffler) Marsh, Director of Equestrian Studies and Equine Management
B.S., Western Equestrian Studies, 2002
B.A., English, 2002
M.A., Rhetoric and Writing, 2016
As interim director of equestrian studies and equine management, Meri's responsibilities include supervision of all degree programs within the two majors, oversight of events, shows and summer programs and management of the program's operating budget in conjunction with the College of Sciences dean.
After graduating from the University of Findlay in 2002, Meri spent time in the industry working for horse trainers and private owners. She returned to join the western equestrian studies faculty in 2007. In addition to her duties with the University, Meri is also a reining horse trainer and competes in National Reining Horse Association (NRHA) shows all over the country. She is a multiple Congress champion and has been a finalist at NRHA major events. Along with her show career, Meri has coached multiple youth and non-pro customers to wins and achievements in NRHA and American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) events.
Art O'Brien, Director, Western Equestrian Program
B.S., Western Equestrian Studies, 1979
M.A., Education, 2020
Art O'Brien has more than 40 years' experience in the equine industry as a trainer, exhibitor, riding instructor, coach and judge. His focus has been primarily on showing performance horses and coaching clients at AQHA events, along with NRHA and National Snaffle Bit Association (NSBA) competitions.
An AQHA Professional Horseman and an international clinician, he has won World Champion titles in both AQHA and Appaloosa Horse Club (ApHC) in trail, western riding, western pleasure and reining, and his students have won World Champion titles in 12 different events. He also holds judges' cards with AQHA and NSBA.
O'Brien graduated from the University of Findlay and has dedicated much of his career to the Western Equestrian Studies program's continued growth and success. Currently, along with holding the position of Director of the Western Riding Program, O'Brien is a teaching faculty member and the head coach of the University of Findlay Ranch Horse Team.
Jerry Coleman, Instructor
Mark Smith, Instructor
Mark Smith has been a professional horse trainer for 30 years. His primary focus has been in showing horses in the Paint Horse industry. Mark earned an Associate Degree in Equine Studies and Business Administration from the University of Findlay. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from The University of Maine.
Mark moved here from Pennsylvania where he owned and operated his own training facility with his wife. Some on Mark's accomplishments include multiple World and Reserve World Champions, Top Ten in the Nation in 11 different events, over 50 "Superiors" in six events, coached many youth and amateurs to State Championships and Top Ten in the National Titles.
Mark also holds judges' cards in APHA, IBHA, PtHA, NSBA and PBHA, has served as President and Vice President of the Pennsylvania Horse Club and Vice President of the Shenandoah Paint Horse Club, APHA National Director, and Co-coach of the IEA Reserve National Champions of both high school and junior high teams.
In addition to teaching, Mark keeps busy training and showing horses for his customers, and enjoys helping them achieve their goals. Mark has given many clinics at the local and state level. He looks forward to teaching others and showing horses with his daughters.
Spencer Zimmerman, Instructor