‘Moose’ is top seller at initial CLA Select Horse Sale

The top-selling horse at the Centennial Select Horse Sale was consigned by a 22-year-old Colorado State University vet student.

Registered Quarter Horse gelding Woodys Dusty Stripe, owned by Jaylynn Tortorelli of Trinidad, Colo., commanded a hefty $15,000 at the Sept. 10, 2022 sale, standing out among 52 equines presented by 30 separate consignors.

This was the first year for Centennial Livestock Auction’s Select Sale, which was held off-premises at The Ranch Events Complex in Loveland, Colo. Tortorelli was impressed by the auction’s initial effort and the quality of its consigned equines. Horses were also given the option to perform the previous day in a competition on cattle, over obstacles, and in an open arena.

“They did a great job of getting everybody there, and on advertising. They put a lot of fun things together: trail course, cow work and muley roping,” she noted.

Atop her new horse Moose, Meggan Hill-McQueeny, from Cheyenne, Wyo., works with a young colt. Hill-McQueeny, purchased Moose at the Centennial Select Horse Sale on Sept. 10, 2022, where he was the top-seller, bringing $15,000. Courtesy photo

Tortorelli’s impressive 2012 dun, known as “Moose,” drew the top bid from a delighted Cheyenne, Wyo., woman, thanks in part to the gelding’s stellar performance in muley roping. The event in which young beef cattle (without horns) are competitively roped mirrors how working ranchers actually doctor their cattle. Moose placed fourth in the class and was then voted “Top Horse” by fellow entrants.

“That helped his price… quite a bit!” Tortorelli said.

Drawing as much or more attention than did his muley roping victory, Moose’s sale catalog description glowingly described his lengthy list of talents:

“”Moose” has worked on ranches in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico for most of his life. He’s seen and done it all on the ranch such as doctoring alone, dragging calves to the fire, sorting, working colts, etc. He’ll always watch a cow, is stout so he doesn’t get pushed around by large-framed cattle and can pull like a freight train.”

Tortorelli’s narrative went on to add that Moose stands well for the farrier, is trustworthy with little kids on and around him, and has been lightly started in the box for both breakaway and team roping on the heading side. She declared he’d be the most reliable and trustworthy horse in anyone’s string.


Tortorelli had owned her stout gelding for a couple years before the sale, having acquired him from her uncle, Joel Smith, who’d bought Moose as a 3-year-old. Smith, “a phenomenal horseman,” trained the horse and used him regularly in every aspect of ranch work.

Crediting Smith with most of Moose’s training, she said she had planned to take him further into team roping; but her plans changed when she instead opted for vet school.

Jaylynn Tortorelli and her gray gelding Moon pursue their quarry at a 2022 ranch rodeo in New Raymer, Colo. Courtesy photo

While an undergrad, Tortorelli decided to do something in animal science, ultimately choosing the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine Program through which she’ll become a large animal vet.

Her career choice makes perfect sense since her entire family — parents, uncle, aunt, grandparents — are all involved in various branches of agriculture. Her father, Jarrod Tortorelli, owns and works a small hay farm east of Trinidad. Her grandparents Geral and Jamie Smith run a Charolais-based cow/calf operation in the same locale.

“I was fortunate to grow up on a ranch and around agriculture,” she said. “My entire family is in the industry and my mom, Jannalea Tortorelli, works for the Spanish Peaks-Purgatorie River Conservation District.”

With a warm chuckle, Tortorelli recalled her first pony, “Rainbow,” a mid-sized mare with a lovely blaze face. (Ponies will do that: make their grown-up, former child riders chuckle!) Rainbow was one lucky little lady, having been pulled from one of those mind-numbing, “round and round and round we go,” pony ride businesses.

Jaylynn Tortorelli, on her reliable and well-seasoned 20-year-old gelding Ernie, heads for Bryson Carroll in a 2019 Canadian, Texas rodeo. Photo by Katie Carroll

Tortorelli started roping and rodeoing at age 11. In Little Britches rodeo, she competed in barrels, goat tying, pole bending and trail course. She also roped in breakaway, team and dally ribbon.

In 2021, she became a member of the Kansas Professional Rodeo Association in which she participated for just one year until CSU classes in Fort Collins precluded those activities.

Tortorelli owns two other Quarter Horses. She’s had bay gelding “Ernie” since he was 5. Now 20, he is mostly retired to her grandparents’ ranch. But he’s another been there-done that type; gathering, branding, and competing in all-around events. It’s Ernie that she always prefers to ride at the ranch.

Grey gelding “Moon,” age 11, has accompanied Tortorelli to CSU where they participate in occasional Jackpots. But Ernie is obviously her No. 1 boy, as she calls him by name but refers to Moon as simply “the grey horse.”

When she gets the title DVM behind her name, Tortorelli plans to practice veterinary medicine in the Trinidad area, which she said is in need of more large animal vets. Plus, she intends to buy and run a working cattle ranch. In fact, one of her reasons for choosing vet school is to excel at veterinary care of her own animals.

And Tortorelli’s favorable result with Moose at the 2022 CLA Select Sale indicates her future career and avocation with all things equine should be equally successful.


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