Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

Trainers, colts to showcase skills at G Bar G arena near Sandy

COURTESY PHOTO - The Colt Starting Challenge USA horse training tour be held at the G Bar G Covered Arena in Sandy, 22060 S.E. 442nd Ave., from 6-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13.

The Colt Starting Challenge USA horse training tour will come galloping into Sandy this weekend.

The event will be held at the G Bar G Covered Arena in Sandy, 22060 S.E. 442nd Ave., from 6-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 12-13.

Tickets are $15 per night and audience members are asked to bring their own chairs.

Two of the five horse trainers come from nearby communities. Jessica Abatie is from Estacada and Jonath Robles is from Boring. The other trainers are Kyle Hockett of Bend, Evan Bonner of Seattle, Wash., and Lucia Clemetson of Moses Lake, Wash.

The competitions offer a different platform than most in the field, organizers said.

“Education is the best part of it,” said Hockett, the reigning National Champion. “It’s not only for me personally to get to teach during these competitions, but there have been specific things that other trainers do that I learn from. It may have been some other aspect with that horse that I’ve never seen, but I can still learn from it.”

Organizers also said the challenges allow trainers the chance to showcase their talents during only a few hours as part of the two-day competition.

The results can be exciting, for horse, trainer and audience members.

“For me, it’s an opportunity to express to the audience my beliefs and techniques of horsemanship, whether it be to one person or 1,000 in Las Vegas,” said Steven Stevens of Weatherford, Texas, the No. 3 man at the National Finals last December. “I believe training horses is an art.”

Trainers have less than three and a half hours of real time with their colts to show how far the animal progresses in the competition. When their time is finished, the trainer will ride their young horse through an obstacle course. Only the top seven competitors from the professional stops - mixed with the Colt College champion - will qualify for this year’s national finals, set for Dec. 5-7.

The typical colt-starting takes several weeks, so the competition allows for trainers to put their skills to work and see how they line up in the expediency of the competition.

“The amount of doors that opened by winning the title last year was really amazing as far as the national recognition,” Hockett said. “The contacts we made were above and beyond what I thought they would be.”

The key is being successful at as many stops as possible, organizers said.

“You have to build your relationships very quickly with these horses,” Stevens said. “I look at things very differently in the competitions. To me, it was always helping the horse get through the competition. Winning was never a priority for me, even though I’m a very competitive person. My goal is to be fair to the horse and do the right thing for the horse while competing in such an extreme circumstance.”

For more information, visit ColtStartingChallengeUSA.com.

Read more: Trainers, colts to showcase skills at G Bar G arena near Sandy