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CSU teams up with Legends for sixth year

A potent mix of legendary ranches and foundation quarter horse bloodlines were on display at CSU’s Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale on April 29, 2011 in Fort Collins, Colo. Participating in a unique program, 20 ranches, including tradition-rich outfits like the Four Sixes, Haythorn Ranch Company, Cowen Select Horses, Singleton Ranches, Crofoot Ranches and T-Cross Ranches, consigned 35 young horses for CSU Equine Sciences undergraduates to train and fit for the sale. Sent to the campus in the fall of 2010, those unbroken geldings and mares were allocated to students for a popular elective course known as the Horse Training Laboratory or Colt Training Class.

Each student worked with his or her horse over the year, starting with ground training and completing 45 to 60 days of riding in preparation for the final auction. Not only were the undergrads responsible for training and sale prep over the year; they also had the privilege of leading their equine charges around the arena during the animated bidding process of the sale itself. While the final price of each horse went back to its consigning ranch, less a commission for CSU, some horses were donated to the University with all funds from that sale benefiting the Equine Sciences program. Just like the prior five years, the program was a hit for everyone involved.

“Oh man, it’s wonderful,” praised Bobbie Skelton, course instructor for the Colt Starting Class, while she helped students ready their horses the day before the sale. “It’s unbelievable, the quality of the horses. Most of these students have no idea, really, how lucky they are,” she added with a smile. “Maybe in a few years they’ll look back and they’ll realize it, but to be able to ride and deal with the quality of horses they get to work with is, it’s fun. It’s exciting.”

Not only are the horses special; the consigning ranches also bring a level of history and tradition that is unmatched in the country.

“Those are the best ranches out there and to be associated with them is always a privilege,” said CSU President Dr. Anthony Frank, as he answered questions beside the sale ring before the start of Saturday’s auction. “That they think enough of the program to help contribute to it is great for us. And (it’s) a real good mix for the students, too. It helps provide them with the experience of being around those sorts of places.”

The folks representing the ranches had no trouble returning the compliments.

“This is a great sale for us, because this is an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also a good thing for us to support the school and bring good horses down here and try to help all the students get a good learning opportunity out of the deal,” offered Zach Iddings, the horse program manager and trainer for the Montana branch of Cowen Select Horses. Iddings had a unique take on the program and sale, not only bringing horses from the Cowen ranch but also taking part in the class six years ago as a student at CSU. “The sale has grown up,” he said in comparing the current offering with the initial event in 2006. “It has gotten nicer every year, it has gotten better horses every year, the students are doing better work. Everybody has learned the whole way through it.”

“It’s an excellent program,” said Harry Haythorn of Haythorn Ranch Company when he first consigned a horse in 2010. “We’re not here just for the sake of selling horses. It’s the entire process and program. The students learn what it’s like to train horses and to put on a sale and to market horses and then they understand through speaking with the ranches what our philosophy is. And then they can, from there, develop their own philosophy in equine industry and agriculture and in life in general. Anybody can make one good horse,” he added with passion. “But you need to have good horsemen and good horsewomen to continue to make good horses and to understand the philosophy.”

The students involved had positive things to say, as well.

“I’ve been to three schools in my four years I’ve been in college and not once have I experienced a class like this,” said Hannah Geller of New York, a fourth year junior in the Equine Sciences program. Geller answered questions the day before the sale while she took care of a gentle 2-year-old palomino gelding from Wagonhound Land and Livestock in Wyoming. “Not only has it been the most real life class I’ve ever taken, and really makes you realize what it takes to get it done in the real world, but the professors are great, the (teaching assistants) are great and the horses that we get are just the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen.”

Prospective buyers on Saturday seemed to agree with Geller’s assessment, as the 64 horses published in the sale book averaged over $4,000, with a high bid of $14,500 going to a 2002 ranch gelding from Cowen Select Horses. The high bid for a young student-trained horse was $8,500 for a 2008 bay mare from Crofoot Ranches, which featured bloodlines bearing names of Leo, Peppy, Doc and Otoe, among others.

With hundreds in attendance, as well as phone bidders and internet buyers logging in through Superior Productions, the action was brisk on many entries. Seeing so much enthusiasm on sale day, along with the interest generated in its sixth year, it seemed fair to ask those involved if the program and sale exceeded their initial expectations.

“Oh, by leaps and bounds,” responded Skelton with a laugh. “When we started this six years ago, we didn’t have any idea what we were doing. When they came up with the idea, none of us had run a sale. One thing Dr. Hurd did do is he put together a really good group of advisory committee members, and they were people that were in the industry that were very well known that had done (sales). We’ve continued to try to improve the sale and to improve the experience for the students and to improve the experience for everybody. But no,” she continued with another smile. “I had no idea it would become what it’s become.”

“The sale is fantastic,” said Dr. Frank in summary. “The equine program is a really important program to us. We think it matters a lot to the industry and to do a program like that well, with a real level of excellence, isn’t cheap. And this sale, and the generosity of the people that support it, makes all the difference.”

A potent mix of legendary ranches and foundation quarter horse bloodlines were on display at CSU’s Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale on April 29, 2011 in Fort Collins, Colo. Participating in a unique program, 20 ranches, including tradition-rich outfits like the Four Sixes, Haythorn Ranch Company, Cowen Select Horses, Singleton Ranches, Crofoot Ranches and T-Cross Ranches, consigned 35 young horses for CSU Equine Sciences undergraduates to train and fit for the sale. Sent to the campus in the fall of 2010, those unbroken geldings and mares were allocated to students for a popular elective course known as the Horse Training Laboratory or Colt Training Class.

Each student worked with his or her horse over the year, starting with ground training and completing 45 to 60 days of riding in preparation for the final auction. Not only were the undergrads responsible for training and sale prep over the year; they also had the privilege of leading their equine charges around the arena during the animated bidding process of the sale itself. While the final price of each horse went back to its consigning ranch, less a commission for CSU, some horses were donated to the University with all funds from that sale benefiting the Equine Sciences program. Just like the prior five years, the program was a hit for everyone involved.

“Oh man, it’s wonderful,” praised Bobbie Skelton, course instructor for the Colt Starting Class, while she helped students ready their horses the day before the sale. “It’s unbelievable, the quality of the horses. Most of these students have no idea, really, how lucky they are,” she added with a smile. “Maybe in a few years they’ll look back and they’ll realize it, but to be able to ride and deal with the quality of horses they get to work with is, it’s fun. It’s exciting.”

Not only are the horses special; the consigning ranches also bring a level of history and tradition that is unmatched in the country.

“Those are the best ranches out there and to be associated with them is always a privilege,” said CSU President Dr. Anthony Frank, as he answered questions beside the sale ring before the start of Saturday’s auction. “That they think enough of the program to help contribute to it is great for us. And (it’s) a real good mix for the students, too. It helps provide them with the experience of being around those sorts of places.”

The folks representing the ranches had no trouble returning the compliments.

“This is a great sale for us, because this is an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also a good thing for us to support the school and bring good horses down here and try to help all the students get a good learning opportunity out of the deal,” offered Zach Iddings, the horse program manager and trainer for the Montana branch of Cowen Select Horses. Iddings had a unique take on the program and sale, not only bringing horses from the Cowen ranch but also taking part in the class six years ago as a student at CSU. “The sale has grown up,” he said in comparing the current offering with the initial event in 2006. “It has gotten nicer every year, it has gotten better horses every year, the students are doing better work. Everybody has learned the whole way through it.”

“It’s an excellent program,” said Harry Haythorn of Haythorn Ranch Company when he first consigned a horse in 2010. “We’re not here just for the sake of selling horses. It’s the entire process and program. The students learn what it’s like to train horses and to put on a sale and to market horses and then they understand through speaking with the ranches what our philosophy is. And then they can, from there, develop their own philosophy in equine industry and agriculture and in life in general. Anybody can make one good horse,” he added with passion. “But you need to have good horsemen and good horsewomen to continue to make good horses and to understand the philosophy.”

The students involved had positive things to say, as well.

“I’ve been to three schools in my four years I’ve been in college and not once have I experienced a class like this,” said Hannah Geller of New York, a fourth year junior in the Equine Sciences program. Geller answered questions the day before the sale while she took care of a gentle 2-year-old palomino gelding from Wagonhound Land and Livestock in Wyoming. “Not only has it been the most real life class I’ve ever taken, and really makes you realize what it takes to get it done in the real world, but the professors are great, the (teaching assistants) are great and the horses that we get are just the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen.”

Prospective buyers on Saturday seemed to agree with Geller’s assessment, as the 64 horses published in the sale book averaged over $4,000, with a high bid of $14,500 going to a 2002 ranch gelding from Cowen Select Horses. The high bid for a young student-trained horse was $8,500 for a 2008 bay mare from Crofoot Ranches, which featured bloodlines bearing names of Leo, Peppy, Doc and Otoe, among others.

With hundreds in attendance, as well as phone bidders and internet buyers logging in through Superior Productions, the action was brisk on many entries. Seeing so much enthusiasm on sale day, along with the interest generated in its sixth year, it seemed fair to ask those involved if the program and sale exceeded their initial expectations.

“Oh, by leaps and bounds,” responded Skelton with a laugh. “When we started this six years ago, we didn’t have any idea what we were doing. When they came up with the idea, none of us had run a sale. One thing Dr. Hurd did do is he put together a really good group of advisory committee members, and they were people that were in the industry that were very well known that had done (sales). We’ve continued to try to improve the sale and to improve the experience for the students and to improve the experience for everybody. But no,” she continued with another smile. “I had no idea it would become what it’s become.”

“The sale is fantastic,” said Dr. Frank in summary. “The equine program is a really important program to us. We think it matters a lot to the industry and to do a program like that well, with a real level of excellence, isn’t cheap. And this sale, and the generosity of the people that support it, makes all the difference.”

A potent mix of legendary ranches and foundation quarter horse bloodlines were on display at CSU’s Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale on April 29, 2011 in Fort Collins, Colo. Participating in a unique program, 20 ranches, including tradition-rich outfits like the Four Sixes, Haythorn Ranch Company, Cowen Select Horses, Singleton Ranches, Crofoot Ranches and T-Cross Ranches, consigned 35 young horses for CSU Equine Sciences undergraduates to train and fit for the sale. Sent to the campus in the fall of 2010, those unbroken geldings and mares were allocated to students for a popular elective course known as the Horse Training Laboratory or Colt Training Class.

Each student worked with his or her horse over the year, starting with ground training and completing 45 to 60 days of riding in preparation for the final auction. Not only were the undergrads responsible for training and sale prep over the year; they also had the privilege of leading their equine charges around the arena during the animated bidding process of the sale itself. While the final price of each horse went back to its consigning ranch, less a commission for CSU, some horses were donated to the University with all funds from that sale benefiting the Equine Sciences program. Just like the prior five years, the program was a hit for everyone involved.

“Oh man, it’s wonderful,” praised Bobbie Skelton, course instructor for the Colt Starting Class, while she helped students ready their horses the day before the sale. “It’s unbelievable, the quality of the horses. Most of these students have no idea, really, how lucky they are,” she added with a smile. “Maybe in a few years they’ll look back and they’ll realize it, but to be able to ride and deal with the quality of horses they get to work with is, it’s fun. It’s exciting.”

Not only are the horses special; the consigning ranches also bring a level of history and tradition that is unmatched in the country.

“Those are the best ranches out there and to be associated with them is always a privilege,” said CSU President Dr. Anthony Frank, as he answered questions beside the sale ring before the start of Saturday’s auction. “That they think enough of the program to help contribute to it is great for us. And (it’s) a real good mix for the students, too. It helps provide them with the experience of being around those sorts of places.”

The folks representing the ranches had no trouble returning the compliments.

“This is a great sale for us, because this is an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also a good thing for us to support the school and bring good horses down here and try to help all the students get a good learning opportunity out of the deal,” offered Zach Iddings, the horse program manager and trainer for the Montana branch of Cowen Select Horses. Iddings had a unique take on the program and sale, not only bringing horses from the Cowen ranch but also taking part in the class six years ago as a student at CSU. “The sale has grown up,” he said in comparing the current offering with the initial event in 2006. “It has gotten nicer every year, it has gotten better horses every year, the students are doing better work. Everybody has learned the whole way through it.”

“It’s an excellent program,” said Harry Haythorn of Haythorn Ranch Company when he first consigned a horse in 2010. “We’re not here just for the sake of selling horses. It’s the entire process and program. The students learn what it’s like to train horses and to put on a sale and to market horses and then they understand through speaking with the ranches what our philosophy is. And then they can, from there, develop their own philosophy in equine industry and agriculture and in life in general. Anybody can make one good horse,” he added with passion. “But you need to have good horsemen and good horsewomen to continue to make good horses and to understand the philosophy.”

The students involved had positive things to say, as well.

“I’ve been to three schools in my four years I’ve been in college and not once have I experienced a class like this,” said Hannah Geller of New York, a fourth year junior in the Equine Sciences program. Geller answered questions the day before the sale while she took care of a gentle 2-year-old palomino gelding from Wagonhound Land and Livestock in Wyoming. “Not only has it been the most real life class I’ve ever taken, and really makes you realize what it takes to get it done in the real world, but the professors are great, the (teaching assistants) are great and the horses that we get are just the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen.”

Prospective buyers on Saturday seemed to agree with Geller’s assessment, as the 64 horses published in the sale book averaged over $4,000, with a high bid of $14,500 going to a 2002 ranch gelding from Cowen Select Horses. The high bid for a young student-trained horse was $8,500 for a 2008 bay mare from Crofoot Ranches, which featured bloodlines bearing names of Leo, Peppy, Doc and Otoe, among others.

With hundreds in attendance, as well as phone bidders and internet buyers logging in through Superior Productions, the action was brisk on many entries. Seeing so much enthusiasm on sale day, along with the interest generated in its sixth year, it seemed fair to ask those involved if the program and sale exceeded their initial expectations.

“Oh, by leaps and bounds,” responded Skelton with a laugh. “When we started this six years ago, we didn’t have any idea what we were doing. When they came up with the idea, none of us had run a sale. One thing Dr. Hurd did do is he put together a really good group of advisory committee members, and they were people that were in the industry that were very well known that had done (sales). We’ve continued to try to improve the sale and to improve the experience for the students and to improve the experience for everybody. But no,” she continued with another smile. “I had no idea it would become what it’s become.”

“The sale is fantastic,” said Dr. Frank in summary. “The equine program is a really important program to us. We think it matters a lot to the industry and to do a program like that well, with a real level of excellence, isn’t cheap. And this sale, and the generosity of the people that support it, makes all the difference.”

A potent mix of legendary ranches and foundation quarter horse bloodlines were on display at CSU’s Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale on April 29, 2011 in Fort Collins, Colo. Participating in a unique program, 20 ranches, including tradition-rich outfits like the Four Sixes, Haythorn Ranch Company, Cowen Select Horses, Singleton Ranches, Crofoot Ranches and T-Cross Ranches, consigned 35 young horses for CSU Equine Sciences undergraduates to train and fit for the sale. Sent to the campus in the fall of 2010, those unbroken geldings and mares were allocated to students for a popular elective course known as the Horse Training Laboratory or Colt Training Class.

Each student worked with his or her horse over the year, starting with ground training and completing 45 to 60 days of riding in preparation for the final auction. Not only were the undergrads responsible for training and sale prep over the year; they also had the privilege of leading their equine charges around the arena during the animated bidding process of the sale itself. While the final price of each horse went back to its consigning ranch, less a commission for CSU, some horses were donated to the University with all funds from that sale benefiting the Equine Sciences program. Just like the prior five years, the program was a hit for everyone involved.

“Oh man, it’s wonderful,” praised Bobbie Skelton, course instructor for the Colt Starting Class, while she helped students ready their horses the day before the sale. “It’s unbelievable, the quality of the horses. Most of these students have no idea, really, how lucky they are,” she added with a smile. “Maybe in a few years they’ll look back and they’ll realize it, but to be able to ride and deal with the quality of horses they get to work with is, it’s fun. It’s exciting.”

Not only are the horses special; the consigning ranches also bring a level of history and tradition that is unmatched in the country.

“Those are the best ranches out there and to be associated with them is always a privilege,” said CSU President Dr. Anthony Frank, as he answered questions beside the sale ring before the start of Saturday’s auction. “That they think enough of the program to help contribute to it is great for us. And (it’s) a real good mix for the students, too. It helps provide them with the experience of being around those sorts of places.”

The folks representing the ranches had no trouble returning the compliments.

“This is a great sale for us, because this is an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also a good thing for us to support the school and bring good horses down here and try to help all the students get a good learning opportunity out of the deal,” offered Zach Iddings, the horse program manager and trainer for the Montana branch of Cowen Select Horses. Iddings had a unique take on the program and sale, not only bringing horses from the Cowen ranch but also taking part in the class six years ago as a student at CSU. “The sale has grown up,” he said in comparing the current offering with the initial event in 2006. “It has gotten nicer every year, it has gotten better horses every year, the students are doing better work. Everybody has learned the whole way through it.”

“It’s an excellent program,” said Harry Haythorn of Haythorn Ranch Company when he first consigned a horse in 2010. “We’re not here just for the sake of selling horses. It’s the entire process and program. The students learn what it’s like to train horses and to put on a sale and to market horses and then they understand through speaking with the ranches what our philosophy is. And then they can, from there, develop their own philosophy in equine industry and agriculture and in life in general. Anybody can make one good horse,” he added with passion. “But you need to have good horsemen and good horsewomen to continue to make good horses and to understand the philosophy.”

The students involved had positive things to say, as well.

“I’ve been to three schools in my four years I’ve been in college and not once have I experienced a class like this,” said Hannah Geller of New York, a fourth year junior in the Equine Sciences program. Geller answered questions the day before the sale while she took care of a gentle 2-year-old palomino gelding from Wagonhound Land and Livestock in Wyoming. “Not only has it been the most real life class I’ve ever taken, and really makes you realize what it takes to get it done in the real world, but the professors are great, the (teaching assistants) are great and the horses that we get are just the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen.”

Prospective buyers on Saturday seemed to agree with Geller’s assessment, as the 64 horses published in the sale book averaged over $4,000, with a high bid of $14,500 going to a 2002 ranch gelding from Cowen Select Horses. The high bid for a young student-trained horse was $8,500 for a 2008 bay mare from Crofoot Ranches, which featured bloodlines bearing names of Leo, Peppy, Doc and Otoe, among others.

With hundreds in attendance, as well as phone bidders and internet buyers logging in through Superior Productions, the action was brisk on many entries. Seeing so much enthusiasm on sale day, along with the interest generated in its sixth year, it seemed fair to ask those involved if the program and sale exceeded their initial expectations.

“Oh, by leaps and bounds,” responded Skelton with a laugh. “When we started this six years ago, we didn’t have any idea what we were doing. When they came up with the idea, none of us had run a sale. One thing Dr. Hurd did do is he put together a really good group of advisory committee members, and they were people that were in the industry that were very well known that had done (sales). We’ve continued to try to improve the sale and to improve the experience for the students and to improve the experience for everybody. But no,” she continued with another smile. “I had no idea it would become what it’s become.”

“The sale is fantastic,” said Dr. Frank in summary. “The equine program is a really important program to us. We think it matters a lot to the industry and to do a program like that well, with a real level of excellence, isn’t cheap. And this sale, and the generosity of the people that support it, makes all the difference.”

A potent mix of legendary ranches and foundation quarter horse bloodlines were on display at CSU’s Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale on April 29, 2011 in Fort Collins, Colo. Participating in a unique program, 20 ranches, including tradition-rich outfits like the Four Sixes, Haythorn Ranch Company, Cowen Select Horses, Singleton Ranches, Crofoot Ranches and T-Cross Ranches, consigned 35 young horses for CSU Equine Sciences undergraduates to train and fit for the sale. Sent to the campus in the fall of 2010, those unbroken geldings and mares were allocated to students for a popular elective course known as the Horse Training Laboratory or Colt Training Class.

Each student worked with his or her horse over the year, starting with ground training and completing 45 to 60 days of riding in preparation for the final auction. Not only were the undergrads responsible for training and sale prep over the year; they also had the privilege of leading their equine charges around the arena during the animated bidding process of the sale itself. While the final price of each horse went back to its consigning ranch, less a commission for CSU, some horses were donated to the University with all funds from that sale benefiting the Equine Sciences program. Just like the prior five years, the program was a hit for everyone involved.

“Oh man, it’s wonderful,” praised Bobbie Skelton, course instructor for the Colt Starting Class, while she helped students ready their horses the day before the sale. “It’s unbelievable, the quality of the horses. Most of these students have no idea, really, how lucky they are,” she added with a smile. “Maybe in a few years they’ll look back and they’ll realize it, but to be able to ride and deal with the quality of horses they get to work with is, it’s fun. It’s exciting.”

Not only are the horses special; the consigning ranches also bring a level of history and tradition that is unmatched in the country.

“Those are the best ranches out there and to be associated with them is always a privilege,” said CSU President Dr. Anthony Frank, as he answered questions beside the sale ring before the start of Saturday’s auction. “That they think enough of the program to help contribute to it is great for us. And (it’s) a real good mix for the students, too. It helps provide them with the experience of being around those sorts of places.”

The folks representing the ranches had no trouble returning the compliments.

“This is a great sale for us, because this is an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also a good thing for us to support the school and bring good horses down here and try to help all the students get a good learning opportunity out of the deal,” offered Zach Iddings, the horse program manager and trainer for the Montana branch of Cowen Select Horses. Iddings had a unique take on the program and sale, not only bringing horses from the Cowen ranch but also taking part in the class six years ago as a student at CSU. “The sale has grown up,” he said in comparing the current offering with the initial event in 2006. “It has gotten nicer every year, it has gotten better horses every year, the students are doing better work. Everybody has learned the whole way through it.”

“It’s an excellent program,” said Harry Haythorn of Haythorn Ranch Company when he first consigned a horse in 2010. “We’re not here just for the sake of selling horses. It’s the entire process and program. The students learn what it’s like to train horses and to put on a sale and to market horses and then they understand through speaking with the ranches what our philosophy is. And then they can, from there, develop their own philosophy in equine industry and agriculture and in life in general. Anybody can make one good horse,” he added with passion. “But you need to have good horsemen and good horsewomen to continue to make good horses and to understand the philosophy.”

The students involved had positive things to say, as well.

“I’ve been to three schools in my four years I’ve been in college and not once have I experienced a class like this,” said Hannah Geller of New York, a fourth year junior in the Equine Sciences program. Geller answered questions the day before the sale while she took care of a gentle 2-year-old palomino gelding from Wagonhound Land and Livestock in Wyoming. “Not only has it been the most real life class I’ve ever taken, and really makes you realize what it takes to get it done in the real world, but the professors are great, the (teaching assistants) are great and the horses that we get are just the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen.”

Prospective buyers on Saturday seemed to agree with Geller’s assessment, as the 64 horses published in the sale book averaged over $4,000, with a high bid of $14,500 going to a 2002 ranch gelding from Cowen Select Horses. The high bid for a young student-trained horse was $8,500 for a 2008 bay mare from Crofoot Ranches, which featured bloodlines bearing names of Leo, Peppy, Doc and Otoe, among others.

With hundreds in attendance, as well as phone bidders and internet buyers logging in through Superior Productions, the action was brisk on many entries. Seeing so much enthusiasm on sale day, along with the interest generated in its sixth year, it seemed fair to ask those involved if the program and sale exceeded their initial expectations.

“Oh, by leaps and bounds,” responded Skelton with a laugh. “When we started this six years ago, we didn’t have any idea what we were doing. When they came up with the idea, none of us had run a sale. One thing Dr. Hurd did do is he put together a really good group of advisory committee members, and they were people that were in the industry that were very well known that had done (sales). We’ve continued to try to improve the sale and to improve the experience for the students and to improve the experience for everybody. But no,” she continued with another smile. “I had no idea it would become what it’s become.”

“The sale is fantastic,” said Dr. Frank in summary. “The equine program is a really important program to us. We think it matters a lot to the industry and to do a program like that well, with a real level of excellence, isn’t cheap. And this sale, and the generosity of the people that support it, makes all the difference.”

A potent mix of legendary ranches and foundation quarter horse bloodlines were on display at CSU’s Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale on April 29, 2011 in Fort Collins, Colo. Participating in a unique program, 20 ranches, including tradition-rich outfits like the Four Sixes, Haythorn Ranch Company, Cowen Select Horses, Singleton Ranches, Crofoot Ranches and T-Cross Ranches, consigned 35 young horses for CSU Equine Sciences undergraduates to train and fit for the sale. Sent to the campus in the fall of 2010, those unbroken geldings and mares were allocated to students for a popular elective course known as the Horse Training Laboratory or Colt Training Class.

Each student worked with his or her horse over the year, starting with ground training and completing 45 to 60 days of riding in preparation for the final auction. Not only were the undergrads responsible for training and sale prep over the year; they also had the privilege of leading their equine charges around the arena during the animated bidding process of the sale itself. While the final price of each horse went back to its consigning ranch, less a commission for CSU, some horses were donated to the University with all funds from that sale benefiting the Equine Sciences program. Just like the prior five years, the program was a hit for everyone involved.

“Oh man, it’s wonderful,” praised Bobbie Skelton, course instructor for the Colt Starting Class, while she helped students ready their horses the day before the sale. “It’s unbelievable, the quality of the horses. Most of these students have no idea, really, how lucky they are,” she added with a smile. “Maybe in a few years they’ll look back and they’ll realize it, but to be able to ride and deal with the quality of horses they get to work with is, it’s fun. It’s exciting.”

Not only are the horses special; the consigning ranches also bring a level of history and tradition that is unmatched in the country.

“Those are the best ranches out there and to be associated with them is always a privilege,” said CSU President Dr. Anthony Frank, as he answered questions beside the sale ring before the start of Saturday’s auction. “That they think enough of the program to help contribute to it is great for us. And (it’s) a real good mix for the students, too. It helps provide them with the experience of being around those sorts of places.”

The folks representing the ranches had no trouble returning the compliments.

“This is a great sale for us, because this is an excellent marketing tool, but it’s also a good thing for us to support the school and bring good horses down here and try to help all the students get a good learning opportunity out of the deal,” offered Zach Iddings, the horse program manager and trainer for the Montana branch of Cowen Select Horses. Iddings had a unique take on the program and sale, not only bringing horses from the Cowen ranch but also taking part in the class six years ago as a student at CSU. “The sale has grown up,” he said in comparing the current offering with the initial event in 2006. “It has gotten nicer every year, it has gotten better horses every year, the students are doing better work. Everybody has learned the whole way through it.”

“It’s an excellent program,” said Harry Haythorn of Haythorn Ranch Company when he first consigned a horse in 2010. “We’re not here just for the sake of selling horses. It’s the entire process and program. The students learn what it’s like to train horses and to put on a sale and to market horses and then they understand through speaking with the ranches what our philosophy is. And then they can, from there, develop their own philosophy in equine industry and agriculture and in life in general. Anybody can make one good horse,” he added with passion. “But you need to have good horsemen and good horsewomen to continue to make good horses and to understand the philosophy.”

The students involved had positive things to say, as well.

“I’ve been to three schools in my four years I’ve been in college and not once have I experienced a class like this,” said Hannah Geller of New York, a fourth year junior in the Equine Sciences program. Geller answered questions the day before the sale while she took care of a gentle 2-year-old palomino gelding from Wagonhound Land and Livestock in Wyoming. “Not only has it been the most real life class I’ve ever taken, and really makes you realize what it takes to get it done in the real world, but the professors are great, the (teaching assistants) are great and the horses that we get are just the most amazing things that I’ve ever seen.”

Prospective buyers on Saturday seemed to agree with Geller’s assessment, as the 64 horses published in the sale book averaged over $4,000, with a high bid of $14,500 going to a 2002 ranch gelding from Cowen Select Horses. The high bid for a young student-trained horse was $8,500 for a 2008 bay mare from Crofoot Ranches, which featured bloodlines bearing names of Leo, Peppy, Doc and Otoe, among others.

With hundreds in attendance, as well as phone bidders and internet buyers logging in through Superior Productions, the action was brisk on many entries. Seeing so much enthusiasm on sale day, along with the interest generated in its sixth year, it seemed fair to ask those involved if the program and sale exceeded their initial expectations.

“Oh, by leaps and bounds,” responded Skelton with a laugh. “When we started this six years ago, we didn’t have any idea what we were doing. When they came up with the idea, none of us had run a sale. One thing Dr. Hurd did do is he put together a really good group of advisory committee members, and they were people that were in the industry that were very well known that had done (sales). We’ve continued to try to improve the sale and to improve the experience for the students and to improve the experience for everybody. But no,” she continued with another smile. “I had no idea it would become what it’s become.”

“The sale is fantastic,” said Dr. Frank in summary. “The equine program is a really important program to us. We think it matters a lot to the industry and to do a program like that well, with a real level of excellence, isn’t cheap. And this sale, and the generosity of the people that support it, makes all the difference.”


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