A team representing the Natural Horsemanship Degree Program, a partnership of Montana Western and the Montana Center for Horsemanship, have won the Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge, hosted by Road to the Horse and Days of ’47. The three students in this unique equine-focused university degree program, were invited to Salt Lake City this month, to compete against two other teams. Students had to start a 2-year-old colt under saddle in 4 rounds. Each round was 1.5 hours. In the fourth round, students had to showcase their colt-starting in a round pen, then ride the colt in rail work and an obstacle course. Montana Center for Horsemanship and Montana Western students won round 1 and 4 to win the overall competition. The students displayed their exceptional horsemanship, hard work, determination and skill, that was a testament to their program according to the organizers of Road to the Horse.
Teams from the University of Montana Western, Casper College and Utah Valley University each started a colt from the Diamond-McNabb Ranch Horse Remuda in a close competition that came down to the final obstacle course.
“There is no better way to create a legacy, than to invest in the future” according to Morris Equine Group President, Tina Battock. “To watch these talented collegiate teams, navigate their way through this challenge was truly an honor, their talent and conduct were a testament to the colleges they represent.”
Teams competed for $30,000 in scholarships as well as for additional prizes provided by YETI, Platinum Performance, Espana Silk Grooming Products, Show FresH2Oä, Western Legacy, Impact Gel Saddle Pads, Gist Silversmiths, and the Mustang Heritage Foundation.
Notably, the University of Montana Western, comprised of team members Katie Ross, James Ramirez and Jacob Christenson and coached by Eric Hoffmann, the Director of Horsemanship and Head Horsemanship Instructor at the Montana Center for Horsemanship and the University of Montana Western, claimed the top spot, earning $15,000 in scholarship money. The University of Montana Western selected the winning bay colt named Playguns Little Cash, sired by Playgun Will Travel and out of Miss Cut N Cash.
According to Eric Hoffmann, “Winning the Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge means the world to us as a team. It showed us that working together as a team and believing in one another that we can achieve anything when you put your mind to it. The ability to bring this win back to UMW will mean so much to the University, the Natural Horsemanship Program, and the community. It’s not just a win for the team but everyone that has worked so hard for the program over the years.” Hoffmann and the team at MCH say that the future of horsemanship and education lie in the future generations of horsemen and horsewomen. This event brings these aspects to the forefront of the horse industry. Eric adds, “As an industry, we need these educational events to secure the quality of horsemanship not just for the future of our youth but for the future of the horse.” The students who were selected to compete range from sophomore to senior. They are enrolled in the nation’s first and only Bachelor of Science in Natural Horsemanship degree program, an accredited 4-year university program and partnership between the Montana Center for Horsemanship and the University of Montana Western, located in Dillon, Montana.
The mission of the Montana Center for Horsemanship
To help every horse and person make the most of their respective lives
To enable horses to learn effectively and experience “horse happiness” through the process of Natural Horsemanship
To help individuals achieve personal and professional success in the equine fields
The Montana Center for Horsemanship is a not for profit 501(c)(3).
Contact: Janet Rose