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Student thrilled with opportunity to train weanling quarter horse

Foundation provides horse, a network of experts to aid youth

Staff writer

When Charlie Peters received his buckskin filly through American Quarter Horse Foundation, he embraced the responsibility of training the weanling.

“I’ll be the first person to ever ride this horse,” he said. “I have to be prepared for that, as well as talk to people who have done it before and get knowledge from them on what not to do.”

A participant in AQHA’s young horse development program, which promotes the quarter horse industry, the high school sophomore has from November to August to train his horse.

Thanks to the program, Charlie is gaining access to a network of people with industry experience.

“This program helps kids who don’t have the resources, who didn’t grow up on a horse-centered operation,” he said. “I get a chance to get a well-bred horse and get help from professionals who have been training and breaking horses for a long time.”

The program also supplies horses to participants. In Charlie’s case, his weanling came from an AQHA member in New Mexico.

There is a cash prize, but Charlie is most looking forward to the result of owning a top-tier horse.

“Getting to keep such a well-bred horse is a privilege,” he said. “There’s a high chance I’ll very good horse out of the deal. Since it’s a mare, it could also start my own breeding program.”

The program opens future possibilities for Charlie to become a breeder or trainer. There’s also a new level of accountability.

“There’s a different mentality that comes with breeding a horse this young,” he said. “I’ve only been around horses that have been 10 years and older. Getting my hands on a horse that isn’t even a year old, it comes with a lot of responsibility to end up with a horse that trusts people.”

Despite any early uncertainty Charlie felt, there was a sense of accomplishment being one of 40 participants selected for the nationwide program.

“It’s a cool feeling that we have the right stuff to raise one correctly,” he said.

It was evident to Charlie he had a good horse when people started mentioning how well she was doing.

Even if he can’t ride the horse or get her out of the barn every day, Charlie said it’s important to practice their showmanship on the weekends.

“You almost have to tip-toe around to see what the horse responds to, and what they do or don’t like,” he said.

Once she is ready, Charlie plans to show his horse in showmanship competitions through 4-H, as well as Buckskin Association.

Last modified Feb. 6, 2020

 

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