CSU Students Hold Successful Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale
May 7, 2012
Colorado State University students from the Colt Starting and Equine Sales Management classes have been teaming up to put on the annual Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale for six years and the 2012 edition was an outstanding success. The Legends of Ranching Sale has become a signature hands-on event in the highly acclaimed Equine Sciences program at CSU.
Twenty-two of the top ranches in the country were invited to take part in the event. Participation is by invitation only and each ranch consigned a two or three year old horse to be student trained. The students had the opportunity to train horses from the Haythorn Ranch and Burnett Ranches (6666), both recipients of the prestigious American Quarter Horse Association “Best Remuda Award.”
Consigning ranches for 2012 included Abraham Equine, Atwood Quarter Horses, Bar Rock-N-Bean, Bartlett Ranch, Cowan Select Horses, Crowfoot Ranches, Diamond McNabb Ranch Horses, Hanging H Ranch, KeSa Quarter Horses, Mantz Creek Horses, Pete Becker Ranch, Purina Mills, Saunders Ranch, Silver Spur Ranches, Singleton Ranches, T-Cross Ranches, Wagonhound Land and Livestock, Wood Ranch and Wyo Quarter Horse Ranch.
KeSa Quarter Horse Ranch, which is located 10 miles east of Fort Collins, Colo., has been with the program for six years and continues the student experience by accepting interns to work at their ranch. KeSa ranch manager Kerri Wilson is a graduate of the CSU program and says “We really support the students in getting the hands-on experience of the real world horse industry. There are not many opportunities to get that kind of experience prior to graduating. We get a lot of interns that come from this program.”
An outstanding addition to the invited list of ranches this year is the Silver Spur Ranches, which has headquarters in Encampment, Wyo. The Silver Spur is one of the largest cattle operations in the country. Rich in ranching heritage, the Silver Spur Ranch has operations in Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico, including the historic Bell Ranch in New Mexico. “We have been coming to the sale to buy since the beginning,” said Silver Spur Operations Manager Thad York, “but this is the first year we have been a part of it and given a horse to be student trained. We are honored to be invited. This is a premier program for these kids.”
Also new this year is the Bar Rock-N-Bean ranch from Eaton, Colo. The ranch has strong ties to CSU as owner Todd Bean played football at CSU from 1987 to 1991. The sire for their program is Quail Hunter, a gray son of Paddys Irish Whiskey. Todd and his wife Kristen consigned two well bred horses to be trained by students – Beans Paddy Lena, a 210 Sorrel Mare, and Saphia Pepto Bean, a 2009 Red Roan Mare.
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The Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale is student run, which makes it popular with both students and prospective employers. The “sale” is the final exam for classes that started back in August. All of the business and administrative aspects of putting on a successful horse sale are done by the students. This part is extremely important, because real buyers, with real money, expect a professional quality sale. And that is just what they get from the Sales Management students.
Students from the Sales Management class take the photographs and write the copy for the sale catalog. The students research the pedigrees and interact with the buyers and consignors. They do the public relations and advertising for the sale. The Sales Management students negotiate with and hire all the contract personnel like auctioneers. On actual sales day, they are everywhere, getting horses to the right place at the right time, doing paperwork with buyers, setting up the sales ring and all the curtains, and being in the two barns helping perspective buyers. When it is all over, they have acquired real-world, hands-on knowledge of a very important aspect of the equine industry. An industry that annually contributes $1.6 billion dollars to the Colorado economy and $102 billion each year to the U.S. Economy.
The Sales Management class is only one of two distinct parts to CSU’s Legends of Ranching Sale. The other part of the sale is the Colt Starting Class. The horses consigned to the students may have world class bloodlines, but they are untrained two and three year old colts. In some cases, ‘untrained’ is an understatement. Some ranches, like KeSa Quarter Horses, halter train all of their horses when they are young. Others, which come from really large working ranches, will have had minimal human interaction. What they all have in common is that they are young and have never been ridden.
During the seven month class, the students must take their equine projects from square one to a calm and disciplined horse that is being ridden every day. Safety of the students and the horses is paramount. With that in mind, prospective students are evaluated before being accepted into the Colt Starting class.
“The students call it a ‘try out,’ but it’s really more of an evaluation of the student’s level of comfort and ability to handle an unbroken two year old.” said instructor Bobbie Walton, “There is no telling what a young horse is going to do, and to be fair to the student and to the horse, a certain level of prior experience is required. We want the students to be safe and comfortable enough in the environment to be able to excel.”
All of the students at this year’s Colt Starting class loved the course, and could not say enough good things about the horses that they worked with, and how much they learned over the seven months. A common theme ran through the comments of all the students that I talked to. Their words were different, but Caroline Young of Florida, pretty well summed up their thoughts. “If you want a world class equine degree, there is no other school than CSU. I love the program and I learned a lot about myself in the process. Being assertive and being able to step up and be a bigger person was a big part of the program for me. I definitely developed as an individual and grew up quite a bit.”
The high selling young horse was Sparkling Rendition, a 2009 Black Mare consigned by Wagonhound Land and Livestock of Douglas, Wyo., and trained by CSU student, Kortney Bahem. Sparkling Rendition is by Wimpys Little Step and out of Shiney Miss Hickory, and brought $18,500.
The Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale was a success and everyone will talk about the sale prices and the money made. All that is very important as a portion of the monies goes to the Equine Science program, but the real winners in all of this are the students who received real world experience in their chosen profession.
Jerry Black, head of the CSU Equine Sciences Program, said, “Student education is the foundation of this event, and we are grateful that our consignors support a program that provides educational excellence while also offering high-quality horses for buyers.”