horse sculpture

Like the sculpture glistens in the spring sun, alumna Sheena Engelbert Malnar 2008 shines in the memories of those who knew her at the University of Minnesota Crookston. 

Following an accident in 2017 that ended her life, Nicky Overgaard, instructor in the Agriculture and Natural Resources Department, has wanted to do something in Malnar’s memory. Involved with every aspect of the equine science program as a student, Malnar ‘s interests were specific to training horses especially starting colts.  

Last year, while attending the Minnesota Horse Expo, Overgaard came across artist Frank Schwegel and his horse sculptures. Turning used horseshoes into art combined Schwegel’s creativity with his passion for horses and his work leaves a lasting impression on those who see it. 

Overgaard immediately thought, “THIS would be an amazing tribute to Sheena.” Contacting those who knew her with the idea, a group came together to plan a fundraising effort and rally those who knew Malnar. 

“Sheena had a special place in her heart for reining horses, and as the sculpture is made with many sliders [shoes], she would have loved it,” says Overgaard. “She would also appreciate the beauty and intricacy of the sculpture and would most likely love that it’s a beautiful focal point to our equine facility.” 

To say Malnar loved horses is an understatement. She took the training and showing class as often as she could and also helped as a teaching assistant for the class. A member of the equestrian team, she enjoyed practices, riding, and schooling horses, as well as the challenge of riding new horses at competitions. After earning her Bachelor of Science in equine industries management, she began her own horse training and breeding business. 

The 7-footsculpture, which took between 400 and 600 horseshoes, made its way to campus at the end of spring semester. A dedication for the art will take place next fall. It stands in tribute to Malnar outside the University of Minnesota Teaching and Outreach Center (UTOC) located on the north side of campus. 

“Sheenawould have loved the sculpture,” says Overgaard.Her parents were touched deeply and I am amazed by the generosity of the people who chose to give to make the sculpture a reality,” she continues.

“We are blessed to have known Sheena.”

To give in memory of Sheena Engelbert Malnar, visit Any funds raised beyond the cost of the sculpture will be put into a scholarship fund in her name. 

About UMN Crookston

One of five campuses that comprise the University of Minnesota System, the University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 35 bachelor's degree programs and 25 minors on campus as well as 16 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. Visit

About UMN

The University of Minnesota System, with campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris, Rochester, and the Twin Cities, is driven by a singular vision of excellence. We are proud of our land-grant mission of world-class education, groundbreaking research, and community-engaged outreach, and we are unified in our drive to serve Minnesota.

Story Contact: Shawn Smith - - (218) 281-8414