Jim and Joni Hunt of the Open Box Rafter Ranch in Faith, South Dakota, donate six foals annually to the Young Horse Development Program. Here they present program foals at their 2013 sale. • Photo by Darrel Dodds

Youth Trainers Recognized Through AQHA Heritage Program

Four American Quarter Horse Youth Association (AQHYA) members who trained yearlings through the Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program recently earned scholarships.

The program allows youth to train a yearling bred by an American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Ranching Heritage Breeder. Participants are able to keep the yearlings, which were donated to the program as weanlings by their breeders.

The first-place prize – a $2,000 scholarship and Montana Silversmiths belt buckle – went to Arielle Wortham, of Wimberley, Texas. She trained a horse named Jiffy Wild Card, a 2016 filly by Wild Card Dun It out of Colonel C Boomerang (by Colonel Clout). The filly was bred and donated by Mr. and Mrs. Louis Waters, of Utopia, Texas.

Emily Schimnich, of Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, took second place for her work with Miss Lillian Frost, a 2016 palomino filly by PC Cisco Frost out of Suzanna Joak (by Sonny Peppy San). The filly was donated by her breeder, Jim and Joni Hunt of the Open Box Rafter Ranch in Faith, South Dakota. Schimnich won a $1,000 scholarship and Justin boots.

Third place went to Samantha Pratt, of Monroe, Oregon. She trained RWS Scarlets Cutter (Legendary Cutter x Comanches Playgirl x Smart Lil Commance), a filly bred and donated by Raymond and Georgia Sutton of the Raymond Sutton Ranch in Gettysburg, South Dakota. Pratt earned a $1,000 scholarship and $100 in Wrangler products.

Jacqueline Potwora, of Eugene, Oregon, won fourth place with another Sutton horse, RWS Cuttin Class (Young Pobre x Gingers Fancy Peppy x Mr Holliday Peppy). She won $500 and $100 from Wrangler.

Participants were required to document their monthly progress, participate in monthly webinars and complete monthly management assignments. They also tracked goals, such as competing at local horse shows or AQHA, 4-H and FFA events. They also mentored with local AQHA Professional Horsemen and submitted videos of themselves taking their yearlings through an in-hand trail pattern.

“The Young Horse Development Program was created to help youth gain hands-on experience in raising and training horses,” AQHA Executive Vice President Craig Huffhines said in a statement. “The program gives youth a mentor to learn from and showcase their hard work and dedication to their project. This will, in turn, give participants a skill set that will set them apart when applying for scholarships, college and jobs.”

Participants are selected through an application process. The deadline to apply for the 2018-2019 Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development program is August 2018. For details, visit www.aqha.com/yhd.