Montana Western Team Places First at Road to the Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge

Top collegiate horsemanship teams competing in the Days of ’47 Rodeo and Road to the Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge held on July 23rd and 24th at the Salt Lake County Equestrian Park & Event Center in South Jordan, Utah exhibited exceptional horsemanship, hard work, determination and skill that was truly a testament to each program.

From left to right: Eric Hoffmann, Jacob Christenson, Katie Ross, and James Ramirez. Photo provided by 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,” states 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 FresH2O™, 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.

Road to the Horse judges Jeff Williams, Ken McNabb and Wade Black scored the teams in different categories that tested the students’ standards of horsemanship while gentling the colt selected by their respective team. In addition to participating in the colt starting challenge, students and spectators enjoyed educational clinics from Wade Black and Ken McNabb.

Jacob Christenson competes at the Road to the Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge held on July 23rd and 24th. Photo provided by Road to the Horse.

“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 enables us to achieve anything when we put our mind to it,” Coach Hoffmann said. “The ability to bring this win back to the University of Montana Western will mean so much to the University, the Natural Horsemanship Program and the community. It’s not just a win for the team, but for everyone who has worked so hard for the program over the years.”

Coach Hoffmann expounded on his overall thoughts of the Days of ’47 and Road to the Horse Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge.

“This event exceeded our expectations and proved to be very professional and educational for all who were involved,” Coach Hoffmann continued. “We will cherish the experiences that we had with the other teams, judges and Road to the Horse crew for the rest of our lives.”

In addition, Coach Hoffmann stressed the importance of an event of this nature for collegiate students, as well as for the horse industry.

“The future of horsemanship and education lies in the future generations of horsemen and horsewomen,” he imparted. “This event brings these aspects to the forefront of the horse industry. 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 Casper College horsemanship team, comprised of Carson Johnson, Ty Christensen and Beau Rees and coached by Sandy Bob Forbes, the Assistant Rodeo Coach at Casper College, placed second. Casper College selected a bay colt with a star named DLL Curiously Catty by DM High Brow Prince and out of Curiosly Trashy and took home $10,000 in scholarship money.

Utah Valley University, comprised of Hayden Boren and Brett Olsen and coached by Whittney Dansie, Assistant Coach of the Utah Valley Rodeo Team, placed third. Utah Valley University selected a bay roan colt named DLL Shutup N Dance by Playgun Will Travel and out of Starlight Dance and earned $5,000 in scholarship money.

The Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge was an exciting prelude to the World Championship of Colt Starting, where the world’s best colt starters will compete for a purse of over $100,000. Road to the Horse 2022 takes place at the Kentucky Horse Park on March 24-27, 2022. Tickets are available at www.RoadtotheHorse.com or by calling 800-514-3849. Follow Road to the Horse on Facebook for the latest information.

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. The purpose of Road to the Horse is to identify the superior colt starter who accumulates the highest score throughout the competition. 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. Purchase tickets and see the event schedule at www.RoadtotheHorse.com.

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.

About Days of ‘47

The Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo presented by Zions Bank, transpires at the $17.5 million, state-of-the-art Days of ’47 Arena at the Utah State Fairpark each July. The venue—an outdoor arena located in the heart of Salt Lake City—features over 10,000 stadium-style seats. The Days of ’47 Rodeo is one of Utah’s longest-standing traditions – celebrating Utah’s heritage since 1847. The rodeo, along with other Days of ’47 events, commemorate the day – July 24, 1847 – when a determined company of Mormon pioneers realized their dreams upon entering the Great Salt Valley. The Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo is a private, non-profit, volunteer, charitable organization. Our mission is to honor Utah’s pioneer heritage and educate Utah’s kids. Please visit daysof47cowboygames.com for more information.

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