Colt Starting Challenge USA

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Taylor County Fairgrounds, Abilene Texas
May 11 & 12, 2018
1700 Highway 36, Abilene Texas     Facility phone number 325-677-4376

- 6 ROUND PENS.....

The Western Heritage Classic Colt Starting Challenge will have 6 Contestants who will start, gentle and ride 6 unbroke horses in just a few hours. These horses have never been saddled, bridled, nor ridden, however they are halter broke. 

Come and watch all 6 Natural Horsemanship Trainers work their horses at the same time. They will have 2 one hour sessions to work with their horse in their round pen with a 10 minute break in between. Each Trainer will explain to the audience, one at a time, what they are doing and why as they work with their horse.

The next day, all 6 Trainers continue their work with their horses in the round pens. Some will choose to leave the round pens and ride their horse in the arena as they prepare their horses for the obstacle course. They will all have two 45 minute sessions to work with their horse, with a 10 minute break in between. 

Then all 6 Trainers will each have 12 minutes to ride their horse thru the obstacle course, one at a time. The Judges decide the Winner and a Buckle is awarded. 

Contestants entered for
The Western Heritage Classic Colt Starting Challenge
​                1. Rhett Fincher
            Cresson, TX

                2. Rowdy France
                         Dike, TX

                3. Keith Messick
                       Snyder, TX

                4.  Josh Still
                     Godley, TX

                5.  Damion Turner 
                     Lake Charles, LA

                6. Darrell Gardner
                     Goliad, TX

Biography and Contact Information of 
Contestants for the Western Heritage Classic

​The Winner
is awarded a 
Champion Trainer Buckle

​Rhett Michael Fincher is a 3* Licensed Parelli Professional and a Senior Horse Development Specialist. He currently resides in Cresson, Texas with his wife, Theresa, 3 horses and 3 dogs. Rhett currently leases a property in Texas with 300 acres, 20 stall barn, and facilities for training.

Rhett has started over one thousand colts, competed in colt start competitions across the country, teaches horsemanship, and helps trainers and owners with challenging horses. He has spent over five years with world-renowned horseman, Pat Parelli and has additionally studied Ray Hunt, Tom Dorrance, Buck Brannaman and Monty Roberts so that Rhett could develop a deeper understanding of horse psychology and how to cause the horse to want to follow direction versus brace against it. 

Rhett’s mission is to help others obtain the relationship they desire with their horse while keeping their horses dignity in tact.

My name is Rowdy France, I am from Sulphur Springs, Tx, and I am the owner of Rowdy France Horsemanship. Riding horses has always been a way of life for me, my parents had me on my first horse at the age of 3. At the age of 17 I traveled 3,000 miles around the state of Texas on horseback during the Sesquicentennial Wagon Train. I grew up with my father training and stating colts, so it just became natural to follow in his footsteps.

I have been starting/training horses professionally for 12 years and I start/train about 60 head of horses a year of varying age. Throughout my career horses have been my passion from training, ranch work, ranch rodeos and packing I have found that each horse has individual needs and must be trained accordingly. I have found working with horses to be both challenging and rewarding, pushing me to make a connection with the horse and gaining the trust that is required.

My goal is to give every horse a confident start and the tools needed to have a good working relationship with its rider. I believe that no matter what you are doing when you are around a horse you are always training them. Therefore, you must always be mindful of your actions to ensure that the horse is receiving the proper training.

My name is Keith Messick. I live in Snyder, TX. I have always enjoyed horses. I begin breaking horses 15 years ago and have tried many methods until I have successfully come up with my own. 

Each horse has a mind of its own and as a trainer you have to figure each horse out. I have begin a new journey of calf roping and training calf horses. 

It is very enjoyable to see the transformation horses can make with proper training.  
My name is Josh Still and I was born and raised in West Tx before I eventually settled in Godley, Tx, where i now live with my wife and children.
 Ive turned my passion into a successful career of starting colts under saddle, teaching the basics of a dicispline, and putting a tune up on horses in need. All with a natural horsemanship method that I've developed through my 10+ years of experience and teachings of buck branaman.

I've competed in previous Colt starting challenges, and plan to compete in a upcoming mustang makeover challenge as well.
Darrell Gardner is a native of New Orleans, Louisiana currently residing in Texas. For most of his life he has surrounded himself with horses, which began 15 years ago. His method of training includes a combination of principles and knowledge to achieve the best outcome not only for himself as a trainer but his clients. 

His methods are based around the principles of love, respect, obedience, and loyalty and emphasizing patience, communication and trust. He has become experienced and proficient in a variety of disciplines to include colt starting, problem solving, and trail horses. The horses he has provided training to for individual clients have been to correct problems such as bucking, rearing, trailer loading, and correction of learned behavior. 

 His drive to continually educate and better himself through his training has led him to a great number of events and horse shows. He has competed 3 years in Extreme Mustang Makeover, finishing as a Top 10 finalist and is scheduled to compete in multiple events for the 2018 Colt Starting Challenge, USA. Overall his main goals are to be able to compete and win the Road To The Horse, being among the best of the world in colt starting and being recognized as one of the world’s greatest horse trainers.