Wild horse show attracts visiting riders

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Kallie Leonard, an 11-year-old from Boise, Idaho, says her riding companion, Bev's Doolittle, a 10-year-old geldon pinto, is better than any domestic horse.

"You can do anything with (wild horses)," she said.

They are easy to work with and are well-rounded. Domestics, on the other hand, have only specific tasks they perform well.

And her mom, Tonya, likes them because they are less expensive and show just as well.

"I think if you pick the right horse for the right job, they're just as comparable," she said.

That's why the family loaded up their trailer and headed south for the Colorado Wild Horse Show held at the Moffat County Fairgrounds on Saturday.

The show attracted more than 30 contestants from five states -- Colorado, Idaho, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. The event has been held at the Moffat County Fairgrounds for four years, and this is its second year as part of the tri-state circuit. Competitors have traveled to Utah, and they head to Wyoming next.

Riders competed in showmanship, trail, game and costume classes, among others. They were divided into adult, novice and youth divisions.

Heather Christensen of Riverton, Wyo., served as the arena judge, Bonnie Coryell was the trail judge, and Donna Carter announced for the show.

Many events carried point values that count toward the Tri-State Show Circuit high point awards for contestants in the youth and adult divisions. Those riders will go on to ride in Rock Springs, Wyo., next month, competing in the saddle series.

All five of the Craig contestants placed in events, and Stayton Mosbey of Craig won reserve champion in showmanship.

Stayton's grandmother, Patti Mosbey, a volunteer with the Bureau of Land Management and another rider in the show, said the contest goes hand in hand with the BLM Silent Horse Adoption, also held Saturday.

"If we don't show the usability of these horses, who's going to adopt them?" Mosbey said.

Ten mustangs were up for sale, but only one sold in the adoption. Last year, all but one sold. Mosbey attributes this to changes in this year's program and buyers waiting for the Sandwash Basin round-up in September. That adoption will be held the first weekend in October.

The horses that did not sell Saturday will be returned to Cañon City and then transported east for an adoption in 90 days.

Mosbey said that after someone adopts one wild horse, they are likely to adopt another.

"A lot of people have a preconceived notion of what a mustang is," she said. "We have horses out here today that could compete in any open show and do well."

Mosbey has adopted wild horses herself, and says they hold a personal meaning for her.

"For me, the perk is knowing I own a part of history, the history of America," Mosbey said.

The High Plains Mustang Club organized "An Evening of Horses" on Friday to attract community members to a night of horse-related entertainment. Mosbey said the event was well-attended.

A free dinner was held at the picnic area for riders and their guests Saturday night, and many door prizes were given away.

"Overall, I think it's a very successful weekend," she said.

But what she enjoys most is the camaraderie of the wild horse shows she attends.

"When you show up at a wild horse event, (the competitors are) not snooty. They look out for each other," Mosbey said. "At the wild horse shows, we're just like one big family."

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