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Meet APHA’s Summer 2019 Interns

Each year, APHA helps exceptional students get their foot in the door to the equine community through its internship program. This summer, four new faces joined the APHA team as 2019 interns.


Mary Grace Schmid

The Ortonville, Michigan, native is the 2019 publications intern. Mary Grace recently graduated from Baylor University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a minor in political science. She is no stranger to APHA, as she has been competing within the organization since 2015. During her college career, she showed Sent Certified and A Subtle Impulse, claiming reserve world champion titles in Novice Amateur Horsemanship and Novice Amateur Western Riding in 2017.

“I applied to the APHA internship because I’ve always wanted to learn how APHA works behind the scenes, and the publications internship offers a unique opportunity to write for magazines that are sent out all over the country,” Mary Grace said. “I also chose the APHA internship because I knew I would be working for an organization that I was familiar with and passionate about. I’m most looking forward to working the Youth World Show, as I love working in fast-paced environments.”



Miranda Hoag

APHA’s marketing intern is originally from Illinois City, Illinois. Miranda is on the way to completing a double major at Kansas State University in agricultural communications and journalism as well as animal sciences and industry, specializing in marketing and communications. During her Youth career, Miranda and her solid Paint Imperfection, or “Alex,” were spotted at AjPHA, 4-H and FFA shows.

“It’s your typical ‘little girl’s first love being her horse’ story, except I was in high school,” Miranda said. “We spent so many late nights in the barn practicing and early mornings loading up to go to shows. He helped me grow a lot as a horseman, making my passion for horses even more than it was.

“Working for APHA has always been a dream of mine, and horses have had such an influence on my life; it just seemed like the right step. To be honest, I cried when I received the call that I got the internship.”


Mikalah Marbach

Mikalah, one of two interns in APHA’s Performance Department, is originally from Clarkston, Washington. She currently attends Colorado State University, where she is studying equine science and will graduate in 2020. It was through her university professor that she heard about the APHA internship and decided to apply. Mikala keeps herself busy with horses as the president of the university’s ranch horse team, a member of the equine judging team and the Legends of Ranching program.

Mikalah and her Quarter Horse “Jackie” have been together since the mare was a 2-year-old; though now retired, Jackie carried Mikalah from her backyard pasture to the AQHYA Youth World Show.

“She has taught me so many invaluable lessons and has made me a much better rider,” Mikalah said.


Ashton Dunkel

Recent graduate Ashton Dunkel is keen to start her equine career in the APHA Performance Department. The Archer City, Texas, native recently graduated with a bachelor’s in agricultural leadership and development, with a minor in extensions, from Texas A&M University. In the fall, she will return to TAMU to pursue a graduate degree in animal science, specializing in equine.

Ashton and her family have a mix of show and ranch horses

“The horse that has had the biggest impact on my life was a Quarter Horse mare named Pretty Nifty Jo. She taught me and both of my siblings how to ride at a very young age. She was also my first show horse and helped carry me to the winner’s circle on multiple occasions. Any time I think back on my childhood, some of my fondest memories always included ‘Jo,’ ” she said.

This passion for horses led Ashton to many equine events, which is how she learned about APHA’s internships.

“During my time assisting with the Stock Horse of Texas shows, I realized how much I enjoy working for an equine organization. After realizing this, I could see myself working for an organization like APHA once I finish graduate school. I wanted to gain more experience and see how things work on a day-to-day basis. After researching various internships, I thought APHA would provide me with the best opportunities to further explore this career option,” Ashton said.


Ready to step up your career in the equine industry? Apply for an APHA internship today!  Learn more and apply here. 


[Reprinting all of part of this story is permitted, so long as credit is given to the Paint Horse Journal and a link provide back to apha.com.]

About APHA

The American Paint Horse Association is the world’s second-largest international equine breed association, registering more than a million horses in 59 nations and territories since it was founded. APHA promotes, preserves and provides meaningful experiences with Paint Horses.