Getting a horse broke to ride in only four hours sounds like an impossible task, but trainers at the Colt Starting Challenge event in Colville last weekend proved it can be done. The Colville event was one of several around the county held as qualifiers for the national Colt Starting Challenge that takes place in Las Vegas in December. Winners take home buckles and cash prizes, along with the exposure afforded by the national venue.
The June 10 and 11 event in Colville, hosted by Mountain House Stables, featured trainers Lucia Clemetson of Moses Lake, Evan Bonner of Seattle, Jessica Abatie of Estacada, OR and Kyle Hockett of Bend, OR. Each trainer was assigned a horse from the area that had been handled and perhaps had some groundwork done with them.
However, by using methods that event coordinator Cristy Beatty calls “natural horsemanship” all four trainers were able to gain the trust of their horse so saddling and being ridden was accomplished in only one hour. Introducing the horse to potentially frightening items like a tarp or pulling something behind them, as well as neck reigning was done in the second hour of the Friday night competition.
Getting the horses to do so much in such a short time frame just exemplified how experienced the trainers were at using natural horsemanship methods, said Beatty.
“This just shows how good our trainers are. They make it look easy, but it takes a lot of skill and knowledge to pick up on the subtle cues the horse is giving you and to earn that horse’s trust,” Beatty said.
The event lasted two days and concluded with the horses completing an obstacle course on Saturday. Local judges ranked the trainers and picked three winners: Lucia Clemetson won First Place, Evan Bonner won second and Jessica Abatie won third.
The next Colt Starting Challenge Event will take place in Burlington, WA on June 17-18. For more information, visit www.coltstartingchallengeusa.com.
By Jamie Henneman/Photos by Jamie Henneman