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Robert Carsel is among the trainers competing in the Colt Starting Challenge USA event.

Robert Carsel is among the trainers competing in the Colt Starting Challenge USA event.
Colt Starting USA Challenge new event at stock show
F.Ganje - January 18, 2018

RAPID CITY, SD - A new event that will test the skills of horse trainers in a unique three-day competition that will take center stage at the Kjerstad Event Center, Friday, Jan. 26- Sunday, Jan. 28.

A Colt Starting USA Challenge is a competition to gentle and ride a horse. The horses have never been saddled, bridled, nor ever ridden. On the first day the trainers have two one hour sessions to work with their horse in their round pen, with a half hour break in between. All the trainers are working their horses at the same time. They take a turn to explain to the audience, while they are training, what they are doing and why.

In the second day of competition, trainers have two 45 minute sessions to work with their horse, with a half hour break in between. On the second session they have the choice to leave the round pen and ride in the arena to prepare their horse for the obstacle course.

Next the round pens are removed from the arena, and each rider has 12 minutes to ride their horse thru an obstacle course in the arena. In the obstacle course, they ride over a tarp, weave thru vertical poles, walk thru zig zag poles, rope a barrel, and drag a pole. Judges decide the Winner.

The challenge will consist of six trainers and six unbroke horses. Trainers will compete to gentle and ride the horse using Natural Horsemanship methods. Competitors will have a two-hour time frame from 7 p.m.- 9 p.m. per night to utilize their skills and talents to gentle the unbroke, never been ridden before horses.

On the first day, trainers will begin in a round pen. All the trainers will be working their horses at the same time. Day two will consist of round pen work with the option to expand into the main arena during two 45-minute sessions. The third day will remove all round pens and each rider has 12 minutes to ride their horse through an obstacle course in the arena showcasing the trusts and the accomplishments of the trainer and horse.

Contestants will draw a horse prior to the event and will bring their tools, such as a saddle, pad, halter, ropes and any props they may need to work with the horse. The Colt Starting Challenge USA does have rules and regulations that will protect the well-being of the animal.

The six trainers selected for the event include Robert Carsel, Iowa, Micah Brehm, Henderson, IA, Nate Horner, Dawson, ND., Claude Roebuck, South Dakota, Chance Vomacka, South Dakota, and Thomas Smittle, South Dakota.

Horner, who along with wife Lindsey own Horner Equine Veterinary & Farrier Services near Dawson, ND,  attended Oklahoma State Horseshoeing School in 2007 and recently became a certified farrier by the American Farriers Association.

Smittle, a Yaqui native, began to gentle and saddle-train Mustangs at The Saddle Horse Training Program at Stewart Conservation Camp in 2009, under the tutelage of Hank Curry.  “The horses are always teaching me something new,” he notes, adding, “There is a parallel between the plight of the modern-day Mustang and Native peoples; being rounded up, forced into holding facilities, away from family.”

Carsel’s philosophy is one of building relationships between the person and the horse. “I’ve always enjoyed starting young horses to develop a good solid foundation that can be used throughout the rest of their lives in most disciplines.” 

For Brehm, he says it’s a lot like ‘do unto others.’  “I work with horses the way I would like to be worked with if I was that horse.”  He adds, “What I love the most is having the opportunity to make every horse a winner, regardless of its background.

Tickets for the event are $10 per night, or $20 for the weekend. The 60th Annual Black Hills Stock Show® will celebrate the history and the heritage of agriculture, from Friday, Jan. 26 through Sunday, Feb. 4. For a complete schedule of events go to http://www.blackhillsstockshow.com.



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