The Rocky Mountain Expo Colt Starting Challenge will have 7 Contestants who will start, gentle and ride 7 unbroke horses in just a few hours. These horses have never been saddled, bridled, nor ridden, however they are halter broke.
On Friday, come and watch all 7 Natural Horsemanship Trainers work their horses at the same time. They will have 2 hours to work with their horse in their round pen, with a 10 minute break in between. The trainers will explain to the audience, one at a time, what they are doing and why as they work with their horse.
On Saturday, all 7 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 the third day, on Sunday, all 8 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 Rocky Mountain Horse Expo Colt Starting Challenge
1. Tiffany Stauffer (Colorado)
2. Ethan Saffer (Kansas)
3. Rudy Lara (New Mexico)
4. Steve Boyles (California)
5. Bailey Thers (Colorado)
6. Jack Merrill (Idaho)
7. Sarah Brown (Wyoming)
Biography and Contact Information of Contestants
for Rocky Mountain Horse Expo 2019
Pay $150 Contestant Entry Fee
for Rocky Mountain Horse Expo
The Winner will be
awarded a Champion Trainer
Tiffany Stauffer cannot remember a time where she was not riding, working, or training horses. She began riding independently before she was two, was training her own horses by eight, & went to on to win three World's titles by 13. Tiffany began offering to ride other owner's horses & help both horse & rider learn to speak the same language. Her reputation around Wisconsin, Minnesota, & elsewhere grew to the point where people were waiting to send their colts, ponies, or horses to "this Wisconsin high school kid" who had a "way" with horses.
Tiffany has ridden & trained with world famous trainers along the way, always quietly determined to expand her knowledge, fine tune her skills, & in turn, use that knowledge with some very damaged horses, polishing their "diamond in the rough" side other people would've otherwise disregarded.
Her philosophy is to use the knowledge she has to earn the trust and build a connection with the horse, all while teaching and training to help the horse learn to feel relaxed enough to be themselves. Like the wise words of Buck Brannaman, “If I had a horse buck with me now, I’m a little disappointed I couldn’t keep the horse out of trouble. Whereas it used to be a source of pride and now it’s sort of a source of shame if I let the horse get that lost.”
My name is Ethan Saffer. I'm 20 years old working full time as a horse trainer at Rocking R Ranch in Lawrence Kansas.
I grew up working colts and handling cattle in the cutting pen with my Dad, Pat Saffer. He taught me everything I know about starting and training colts. At eight years old I earned my first paycheck after starting a 4 year old quarter horse gelding.
Through out my life training horse has been by biggest priority. After I turned 18 I moved to Nebraska to ride pens but still picked up training horses on the side. This is when I started to learn how to train the horse and rider to bond and work together. My main focus is using natural horsemanship, which consists of using the same pressure and release methods as if I was the lead horse in the herd. You can find my training page on Facebook at Easy E colt starting and training.
Steve Boyles has been around horses his whole life, helping his father as a young boy train, show and sell horses in South Carolina. Even as a child, Steve had an amazing ability to handle and gentle the "difficult horses". Steve's passion for horses continued throughout his adult life, and he has trained with top Natural Horsemanship clinicians around the world to develop his own unique style.
Steve focuses on working with the horse to establish a mutual willing partnership and respect. He believes in establishing a very solid foundation on the ground and at liberty, to have a willing and able partner under saddle. Steve also has a passion for wild horses and the American Mustang and has spent many, many hours studying and learning from this amazing breed. He has trained countless wild horses to become amazing riding horses and companions. Steve Boyles Horsemanship specializes in colt starting, problem solving (from biting/kicking to trailer loading), refinement techniques (natural headset/collection), trail training and liberty work. He offers his services for horses in training and as a mobile trainer and clinician.
Steve's amazing horsemanship techniques were even featured on RFDTV's Equestrian Nation to help bring an un-trainable colt to a nice trail horse. Steve Boyles resides in Sunland, CA with his two children, "..all very passionate about horses! "
Rudy Lara is a horse trainer born and raised in New Mexico. He has been involved with horses his entire life. He started training horses for the public in 2009. In 2010 he obtained 12 endorsements from Dennis Reis making him eligible to become an instructor. He currently lives and trains horses full time in Taos, NM.
Some of Rudy’s recent accomplishments are placing top 3 and earning people’s choice award in the 2016, 2017 and 2018 Santa Fe’s Horse Shelter Trainer Challenge. In 2016 Rudy Lara was invited to São Paulo Brazil for the 2016 Global Equus Expo as a guest clinician. Also that year he was a finalist at the annual Buck Brannaman Vaquero Roping Event. The following year in 2017 has was hand picked by Buck Brannaman for the annual Houlihan Colt Starting clinic, hosted at Buck Brannaman’s ranch in Wyoming, two years in a row.
Rudy specializes in colt starting, doma vaquera, ranch roping, and working with problem horses. He strongly believes in natural horsemanship and giving his colts a strong foundation without intimidation. Horses are an important part of Rudy’s life and it’s his mission to help riders and their horses become better partners throughout their Equine journey.
Jack Merrill is the owner of Bar 2 Bar Performance Horses and JM Farrier Service of Parma, ID. Specializing in reined cow horse futurity prospects, Jack also trains rope, ranch and a variety of cow horses. Starting colts holds a special place in his program. Watching youngsters learn skills and gain life experience makes all of the long hours and hard work worth it.
Along with training horses, Jack is an accomplished farrier who travels the Northwest to clients. The basis of both the training and farrier services are focused on producing safe, correct, and sound mounts that are competitive and have real life experience out on the ranch.
Wet saddle blankets and consistency are what make a good horse great. Jack has a light handed, soften spoken approach to his training, and works well with horses that are skittish or scared. Following the methods of common sense horsemanship, Jack Merrill produces mounts that will not let you down.
I’m Sarah Brown, 20 years old. I am currently residing in Southern Wyoming training horses full time and cowboying on the side. I grew up in North Texas starting colts, roping, and for the past few years riding ranch broncs. A close person in my life taught me in grade school how to apply natural horsemanship with colts from his many years experience as a trainer and rancher.
I fell in love with molding a mind of a horse and setting them up with a correct foundation to excel at a job. Each horse is different and I use different methods accordingly to make it easiest on both trainer and horse.
With such a strong passion for this line of work, I will be a trainer as long as my body will allow it. I start colts, train performance horses and fix problem horses through natural horsemanship methods. I enjoy making and selling personal horses as well as taking in outside horses that return willing, soft and athletic for happy, returning clients.
Growing up in the lush, green, rolling hills of Virginia, Bailey got her equine start at a very young age by fox hunting with the historical and world-renowned Deep Run Hunt Club. She would eventually graduate to Three Day Eventing with top finishes at prestigious events such as The Fork Horse Trials, Waredaca Horse Trials, and Virginia Horse Trials. After high school, Bailey was a working student and full-time groom for multiple four-star event riders in Ocala and Aiken.
About six years ago she moved to beautiful Durango, Colorado where she began her work starting and re-training horses at equine rescues and breeding facilities. Bailey’s training philosophy revolves around a centered and balanced seat with the horse engaging in a positive, trusting experience with its rider. Bailey graduated from Colorado State University with her degree in Equine Science and since then has been growing her training business, Mindful Equine Training in the Four Corners area. In her free time she enjoys competing in Dressage as well as hiking and camping with her daschund and corgi.