Even with the rise of social media sales groups and marketplaces, Craigslist remains popular because of its reputation as a place to find deals. It’s where Emily Boldt’s father searches for tractors and finds an endless stream of horses for sale that he forwards to Emily and her mom, Crista.
“He’s always sending us listings for ponies and draft crosses, and we kept telling him to stop,” Boldt said, laughing.
But after finding Wild Sided, a 2018 sorrel gelding, his status as horse shopper has been elevated. In June, Boldt and Wild Sided marked a 442 to win the AQHA Level 1 Amateur Boxing Championship held during the Versatility Ranch Horse World Show June 20 – 24, 2023, at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
“He was riding around great the last few weeks and was really relaxed,” she said. “Before that show, we had not been able to put together a good clean reining run. He was always late on a lead change or overspun.”
Boldt had a late draw and didn’t have a chance to watch many other riders, but the few she saw laid down impressive runs. After her go, multiple people commented it was the best run they had seen all day. She was optimistic but also knew the competition was tough.
When she was called back as part of the Top 15, she thought she would earn recognition as a finalist. The announcers got to the Top 10, and she remembers thinking it would be cool to leave with a ribbon and maybe a little money. With five left in the pen, the rider beside her said the Top 3 got trophies, so she hoped to hear her name for at least third place.
Then she was the last competitor in the ring.
“It was pretty surreal,” she said. “He was pretty consistent for me the whole week. He’s the coolest mover I’ve ever seen; he is super smooth, floats around the pen, and looks stylish in his circles and on a cow.”
She also placed third in Versatility Ranch Horse Reining and tied for 9th in the Versatility Ranch Horse Box/Drive class later in the week.
Trail to Guthrie
Boldt’s family bought Wild Sided, “Will,” a then 2-year-old colt, based on a Craigslist ad and an address just a few towns over from their Western New York hometown. The photo caught their attention, so they called to inquire. The horse was not gelded and only had two or three rides.
“The guy who had him for sale wanted to use him for trail riding, but he was too strong,” Boldt explained. “We saw he was by Blind Sided, so we contacted the breeder for details.”
Blind Sided (Petpoboonsmal x Lil Miss Shiney Chex x Shining Spark) stands at Aaron Ranch in Commerce, Texas. The 2010 red roan stallion has $224,614 in lifetime earnings according to EquiStat and has produced offspring who have won $411,187 according to EquiStat. Wild Sided is out of Chicks Misty Morning (Bets Smart Lena), who found success in the roping pen.
“They [Aaron Ranch] told us the seller was supposed to have bought a different horse but that colt had gotten sick, so they sent Will instead,” Boldt said. “He was definitely not destined for trail riding.”
Wild Sided was listed for just $2,000—quite a bit less than Blind Sided’s stud fee of $3,500— so the family decided the colt was at least worth a look. A local trainer accompanied them on the visit and agreed with the family’s hunch that the horse was well-built and displayed potential.
When they brought him home and turned him out with a Shetland pony he began driving and turning the pony on the fence. The Boldts first sent the colt to Ohio-based reining trainer Jesse Gentile and then to reined cow horse trainer Becky Lipka in Pennsylvania.
“Jesse really took his time with him and put a great foundation on him,” she said. “Becky also gave him a great start on cattle.”
In Sept. 2022, Boldt moved from Western New York to Texas for a management consulting position and Will relocated with her. She began riding with EquiStat $688,874 Rider Ben Baldus, who has helped the pair advance their skills.
“Now that he’s been down in Texas with Ben, he is getting a feel for the stops,” she said. “It was hard to practice sliding stops in New York because of the weather, and we didn’t have good footing. Now that he is getting the opportunity to practice, he’s a huge stopper.”
Boldt thanks her parents for supporting her horse goals from 4-H to Pinto and Paint Horse All-Around Shows, and now versatility and reined cow horse events.
“Sometimes your bets pay off, and you find a diamond in the rough,” Boldt said.