A showcase for horse whispering at its best

See colts go from wild to mild at Ag-Grow


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Ron Wall, Cecil Plains, will provide his son and event understudy Dylan Wall with a lifetime of experience as a renowned horse trainer and breaker during the CH Colt Starting Challenge being held over two days at the Ag-Grow Emerald Field Days.

Ron Wall, Cecil Plains, will provide his son and event understudy Dylan Wall with a lifetime of experience as a renowned horse trainer and breaker during the CH Colt Starting Challenge being held over two days at the Ag-Grow Emerald Field Days.

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The popular CH Colt Starting Challenge which demonstrates horse whispering at its best will again be held over two days during the Ag-Grow Emerald Field Days.

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The popular CH Colt Starting Challenge which demonstrates horse whispering at its best will again be held over two days during the Ag-Grow Emerald Field Days.

AgGrow has made a slight change to the Colt Starting Challenge format in 2017 adding understudy’s to the mix, There will be six unridden colts that will be matched with three teams consisting of an understudy and a mentor.

The event will also feature 2014 champion of the Colt Starting Challenge, Scott Keogh, SK Horsemanship, Clifton, who’ll return to impart his professional commentary to the event over both days.

Terry and Nikki Yates from TN Quarter Horses, Springsure will be supplying quality colts for the challenge and running the event again this year. Mr Yates has been judging cutting horses since 1992, and starting horses is his great passion.

The Queensland Country Life caught up with Mr Yates find out what it is about the Challenge that is making it an increasingly popular fixture at Ag-Grow. 

The enthralling event see's the colts transform from wild to mild in the two days the trainers spend with them.

The enthralling event see's the colts transform from wild to mild in the two days the trainers spend with them.

Why do you think holding the CH Colt Starting Challenge is important, and what makes it so popular each year? When people discuss successful horses they usually talk about the history of the the trainer, not the journey of the horse. If a horse isn’t started started right the journey is always tougher. The colts in the event are started professionally, which is why it’s so interesting for spectators, as they get to see the horses enter in a very raw state and then easily see the strides the trainers make with them in the two days.

How does the CH Colt Starting Challenge unfold, what is involved? The idea is for the teams to progressively encourage trust and bond with their colt until it can finally be ridden and perform tasks traditionally reserved for a much longer “break in” period. Each day the understudy and mentor will get one hour in both the morning and afternoon to train their colt.

Are the understudies novice riders? The understudies are young people who’re already in the industry who’d like to better their training and gain some exposure in the industry.

Could you please define the mentors role? The mentor is there to help out and provide guidance if necessary, but only if the understudy asks for assistance with something.

How is the winner of the Challenge decided? After the two days, each pair will showcase what they’ve achieved with their colt for the audience and event judge Cameron Parker. Cameron will judge the competitors on their technique with and presentation of their colt, taking into account how wild the horse was initially compared to were they got it to after the allocated time.

The three understudy and mentor pairs will include:

Team 1 Understudy – Dylan Wall

Dylan Wall who grew up riding, like most station kids, he can't remember learning to ride. Dylan serious horse riding career really only began when he was in high school. That was when he began helping his dad Ron Wall start his colts and yearlings.

Dylan Wall who grew up riding, like most station kids, he can't remember learning to ride. Dylan serious horse riding career really only began when he was in high school. That was when he began helping his dad Ron Wall start his colts and yearlings.

Team 1 Mentor – Ron Wall

Ron Wall grew up in Springsure, where he was involved in pony club. He completed a two year course at the Emerald Agricultural College, after which he headed north. First Ron worked at Mt Hope with Allan Wallace, then to Moray with Robert Durkin and Laurie Heading, where he got involved in campdrafting.

Ron Wall grew up in Springsure, where he was involved in pony club. He completed a two year course at the Emerald Agricultural College, after which he headed north. First Ron worked at Mt Hope with Allan Wallace, then to Moray with Robert Durkin and Laurie Heading, where he got involved in campdrafting.

Team 2 Understudy – Tom Craig 

Tom Craig grew up on Werona a small cattle and lucerne farm in Northern NSW then moved with his family to the outskirts of Toowoomba city for his father Stewart Craig to further his career as an equine dentist.

Tom Craig grew up on Werona a small cattle and lucerne farm in Northern NSW then moved with his family to the outskirts of Toowoomba city for his father Stewart Craig to further his career as an equine dentist.

Team 2 Mentor – Leah Read

Leah Read grew up around horses and cattle on small cattle properties around Mundubbera, as a young girl, she was involved in the local pony club. This led to her looking for more knowledge about horses, which she found with well-known trainers Ken May and Anita Martin.

Leah Read grew up around horses and cattle on small cattle properties around Mundubbera, as a young girl, she was involved in the local pony club. This led to her looking for more knowledge about horses, which she found with well-known trainers Ken May and Anita Martin.

Team 3 Understudy – Breanna Cook

Breanna Cook grew up in the Monto district where her parents run a beef cattle property and small Brangus stud. Breanna enjoys all aspects of rural life and started riding at an early age. Her love for horses and determination to improve her skills was evident from an early age.

Breanna Cook grew up in the Monto district where her parents run a beef cattle property and small Brangus stud. Breanna enjoys all aspects of rural life and started riding at an early age. Her love for horses and determination to improve her skills was evident from an early age.

Team 3 Mentor – Ken May

Ken May has spent his entire career working in the training industry. His passion to teach people and give horses a better life means one Queensland horseman is always keen to do more.

Ken May has spent his entire career working in the training industry. His passion to teach people and give horses a better life means one Queensland horseman is always keen to do more.

For more information regarding the 2017 Ag-Grow Emerald Field Days please visit the event Facebook page or the event website.

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