Collegiate Teams Shine at the Idaho Horse Expo Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge

Road to the Horse has a passion for inspiring the next generation of horsemen and women and was proud to produce in partnership with the Idaho Horse Expo the 2024 Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge held April 5-7 at the Ford Idaho Horse Park. This event created a valuable learning experience in the art of colt starting for three collegiate teams who were able to compete for their share of the $6,000 cash purse.

The collegiate teams that participated were Treasure Valley Community College, coached by Suzannah Campbell; Treasure Valley Community College, coached by Wade Black); and the University of Montana Western, coached by Eric Hoffmann. Donating their time to the event were judges Chloe Cuddie Hudson, Benjamin Longwell, Noel McQuigg, Tim Phillips and Leo Van Sistine.

“There is no better way to create a legacy, than to invest in the future,” states Road to the Horse Director of Operations, Tammy Sronce. “We were honored to work with the Idaho Horse Expo to create an amazing platform to showcase the region’s top collegiate teams. The horsemanship and sportsmanship displayed by all three teams was inspiring to all.”

Over the course of the event, each team partnered with a filly from Bar 71 Ranch. The competition consisted of three round pen sessions, with the challenge accumulating on the final round which included both rail work and an obstacle course. All collegiate teams displayed superb horsemanship in a close competition that came down to the final round to determine the winner.

The University of Montana Western claimed wins in rounds one, three and four. Treasure Valley took the top score in Round Two. Feather River displayed impressive horsemanship throughout all rounds with a sensitive filly and left fans in awe of their progress during the finals.

The University of Montana Western claimed the championship with an accumulated score of 1299 points riding TOTTIE GUN SMART, followed by Treasure Valley Community College with 1210.5 points riding DAIQUIRI B GUN SMART and Feather River Community College with 1008 points riding GINGER BE SMART. All three fillies were sired by WILLY B GUN SMART (PLAYGUN x COW SMART HIGH BROW).

University of Montana Western Collegiate Coach Eric Hoffmann was proud of his team and grateful for the opportunity for the students to gain valuable, hands-on experience.

“It was such a wonderful event for students to learn from as far as reading the subtle tries that colts offer us all the time and the ability to take those and turn them into positive outcomes,” states coach and head instructors at the Montana Center for Horsemanship Eric Hoffmann. “[The event] brought me inspiration about being an educator for our future leaders in the equine industry and how we can take what we learn from the horse and apply it into our daily lives.”

Road to the Horse would like to extend a special thank you to the Idaho Horse Council, the Idaho Horse Expo, our judges, the colleges and to all the individuals who made this very special event possible. For more information or apply to compete at Road to the Horse, visit

About Road to the Horse
Founded in 2003, Road to the Horse strives to inspire people to reach a higher level of horsemanship and develop unity with a horse based on trust and not fear. We believe that through education and entertainment, we can change people’s ideas and create a better world for the horse. Road to the Horse competitions identify the superior colt starter who accumulates the highest score. Judging focuses on the competitor and the effectiveness of their horsemanship methodology to communicate, educate and build a partnership with their colt based on trust. Fans witness the entire journey, from colt selection to the final obstacle challenge. Event schedule and tickets available at

About Morris Equine Group
Morris Equine Group consists of some of the industry’s most recognized brands, including Western Horseman, Quarter Horse News and Barrel Horse News. The group also includes business-to-business publication Western Lifestyle Retailer and EquiStat, a statistical service offering detailed information and earnings for the performance horse industry. Morris Equine Group is also home to the National Barrel Horse Association, the West Coast Barrel Racing Association and the World Championship of Colt Starting, Road to the Horse.

For more info contact:
Road to the Horse
(D): 940-859-6512

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