Local owners of wild horses say helping an animal transition to life behind a fence can be difficult. This weekend, owners have an opportunity to learn training techniques to make that transition easier.
The fifth annual Colorado Wild Horse Show is a natural fit for Northwest Colorado. A number of the competing horses spent the first years of their lives running free in the Sandwash Basin.
At 9 a.m. June 24 and 25 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, the public is invited to see wild horses in a competition that includes halter and showmanship classes, as well as Western riding with barrel racing and pole-bending. There is also a class for English riders.
All horses must be Bureau of Land Management branded wild horses to enter the competition.
Event organizer Patricia Mos--bey said she is expecting about 50 riders to attend.
"This is a traditional horse show competition," Mosbey said. "All the competing horses must have been wild horses that have been adopted."
Entries into this year's show will come from Wyoming and Utah.
Back for this year's event will be horse wrangler Steve Mantle, who will conduct a clinic that addresses problem horses and how to overcome difficulties with them.
Mantle will be working with a horse making its first saddle ride, as well as an 11-year-old gelding early in the training stages.
This year's show is dedicated to Roger and Margaret Smith, long- time supporters of the wild horse program.
The Smiths have adopted several wild horses during the 20-plus years they have been involved with the program.
"We have had fabulous luck with every one of them," Roger Smith said. "They're great horses."
Roger spent 36 years with the Bureau of Land Management and became so familiar with the Sandwash mustangs that he had names for several of the wild horses.
The Smiths' granddaughter, Erin Marincic will be riding her horse, Breeze, in the weekend competition.
A special "green horse," category at the horse show will feature mustangs adopted less than one year ago by their owners to show the progress made in the first year of ownership.
A "costumes class," is the last event scheduled for Saturday.
Roger and Margaret Smith have been known to dress as mountain people for the costume category in earlier shows.
Some horses may be available for adoption at the horse show, Mosbey said, and even though the competition will wrap up at about noon Sunday, Mantle is expected to continue his demonstration into the afternoon.
Anyone wishing to enter a problem horse in the clinic should call Mosbey before the weekend at 824-9505.