Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale caps a year of education

Note to Reporters: From April 18 to April 23, CSU equine students will be very actively working with horses in final preparations for the Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale. Students will attend horse-training classes, an opportune time for photographs and interviews, on Monday, Wednesday and Friday during the following times: 8-10 a.m.; 1-3 p.m.; and 3-5 p.m. The equine students will demonstrate their training skills during a CSU competition from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, April 23. The training classes and competition all take place at the B.W. Pickett Equine Center, 735 S. Overland Trail, Fort Collins.

Since last August, three dozen students in the Colorado State University Equine Sciences Program have been training young quarter horses – guiding the horses from the earliest stages of human contact to performing calmly under saddle.

Months of learning, for both the young horses and their apprentice trainers, will culminate April 30 at the CSU Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale at the B.W. Pickett Equine Center. The annual sale will offer about 60 quarter horses, more than half of them trained by CSU students.

“This has been the biggest learning experience of my horse career, this horse right here,” Brandon Naysnerski, a longtime rider and equine-sciences major from Longmont, recently said as he stood in an airy CSU barn and patted the neck of a 2-year-old bay mare named Sixes Trix. “It’s been everything I wanted and more.”

Naysnerski and 35 other equine students are now completing training work with the young horses that will be offered in the Legends of Ranching sale. About two dozen additional equine undergraduates have contributed to the event through related coursework in equine sales management and equine event management.

The Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale is more than a basic sale: It encompasses unique partnerships between the CSU Equine Sciences Program and reputable horse ranches across the country – all of which benefit student learning.

This year, the Legends program involves 19 horse ranches, including some of the largest and best-known Western horse operations. Consignors provided yearling and 2-year-old quarter horses to the Equine Sciences Program last fall, allowing students to gain valuable horsemanship and other skills throughout the 2010-2011 academic year.

The Equine Sciences Program sells the young horses, along with others consigned, in the Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale in the spring. Auction proceeds underwrite sale costs, contribute to student scholarships and go back to consignors.

“The Legends program is significant because it supports experience-based learning for students in one of the nation’s best equine programs. It provides our students with the insights and skills they need to succeed in the agricultural industry,” Craig Beyrouty, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences, said. “Our students, our industry partners and our Equine Sciences Program all benefit.”

The Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale has helped the CSU Equine Sciences Program earn its reputation as one of the best in the country. Begun in 1986, the Equine Sciences Program was the first in the United States to offer a four-year equine-science degree. Nearly 400 undergraduates from 39 states are enrolled, according to records.

Clare Schmale, a junior who has trained a 2-year-old blue roan mare nicknamed “Cara,” said the Legends of Ranching program has cemented her career desire to manage her own horse barn, and to train horses and young riders.

“I look back on the point when I got Cara, and I’m shocked at how much I’ve learned, as well as how much she’s learned,” Schmale, from Littleton, said.

The Legends of Ranching Performance Horse Sale will be held 1 p.m. Saturday, April 30 at Colorado State University’s B.W. Pickett Equine Center, 735 S. Overland Trail, Fort Collins, Colo. For more information, (970) 491-8373 or www.csuequine.com.