Everyone wants to see the horse that can do "everything", which is understandable. We all have day jobs, there are bills to pay, people to see, and things to do. When it comes to the horse, wouldn't it be nice to just jump on and go? Well, because of this attitude (and it's a fair one), we oftentimes overlook the horse with limited or no training. We don't have the "eye" to see a diamond in the rough, or we've got too much going on.
On Saturday, August 17th beginning at 9:30am, the 2013 Trainer's Challenge of the Unwanted Horse will be held at the Louise Leatherdale Equine Center at the University of Minnesota. It is there, before a panel of judges, that these trainers will demonstrate how they've taken a horse that no one wants - a horse that came to them untrained and inexperienced - and with the right amount of time and investment in training, turned it into a horse who is now a willing companion.
The public is welcome to attend and the fee to watch this year's event is a non-perishable food item, toiletry item, or $5.00 donation.
While everyone is invited, we want to make sure we know our trainers first. So, we ask that they download this application, print it out, fill out the required information, and send it in. The cost of putting their name in the ring (so to speak) was the price of postage plus a $25 donation to the Rescue. But before they committed to spending some 100 (or so) days training a horse, we ran down the expectations of this Challenge so everyone could start on the same page.
- Horses will be assigned to trainers by May 1st and it will be up to the trainer to transport their equine student to their training facility.
- Trainers who submit applications by April 1st will have the option to pick up their horses on April 15th, which is 15 days earlier than trainers who submit applications after April 1st.
- When horses are picked up, they will be weight taped and photographed. Each trainer will be provided a bio of the horse by MHARF explaining what the horse has been eating, who to call in the event the horse becomes injured or ill, and other pertanent information regarding the horse.
- The horse and trainer team will be judged according to their breed standard and not against the other competitors.
- The basic skills a horse should learn include: standing quietly for a farrier and veterinarian, load and unload quietly into a trailer, stand patiently for tack and untacking, trotting in hand, and being able to be ridden on the rail and on the trail. Going above and beyond these skills is encouraged, as they would be looked upon favorably by the judges.
- Judges for the 2013 Challenge will be announced prior to the event.
- All horses will be subject to a drug test on the day of the Challenge.
- All horses are still considered to be in the care of the Rescue and will be checked at least once a month by a MHARF representative to ensure the health and safety of the animal.
- Upon completion of the Challenge, any horses not adopted out will be returned to the Rescue, unless other arrangements are made.
So by now, we had the trainers probably wondering "Why should I enter this Challenge? Why should I invest time into a horse that's going back to MHARF at the end of the Challenge? Why give $25 to MHARF?" Those are very good questions; how's this for motivation?
- We're not going to keep this all quiet and everything - oh, no - not by a long shot. We're going to advertise the Challenge and will let the media know what we're up to and we think they'll be interested. But if they're not...
- We're going to be posting progress on this website. We get a little more than 1,400 hits a day, and this greatly increased in the months prior to the challenge.
- We will also issue each trainer a blog of their own, which we link to from our website. The trainer is able to then update their blog as frequently as they like, post photos, and post additional contact information regarding themselves and the services they offer.
- Last but not least, here's some monetary motivation to consider. Similar to last year we're offering awards that carry a monetary prize. However, this year the purse has increased to $10,000! The Grand Prize for the Challenge is a $4,500 purse, with second place taking home a $2,500 purse - the remaining prize money will be distributed to first to fourth place in each of five classes, along with gift baskets for the Best Groomed, Best Blog, and People's Choice. There are also raffles for the public. And just like all the past years, bragging rights are certainly part of each award
A hearty THANK YOU goes out to David Blattner and his company Blattner Energy for sponsoring the prize money for the Champion at this year's Trainer's Challenge.
THANK YOU also to the Cinch Chix who are sponsoring the Reserve Champion, and were instrumental in bringing Ken McNabbas a guest judge for 2013.
By now, we're hoping that you're as excited over this as we are! And if you're a trainer, be sure to hurry and fill out that application! We're looking forward to hearing from you!
*Please note: The Trainer's Challenge application requires Adobe Acrobat Reader to be installed on your computer. Don't have it installed? Go download it here.