Collegiate Teams Shine at the Idaho Horse Expo Colt Starting Challenge

Idaho – Road to the Horse has a passion for inspiring the next generation and was proud to produce the Idaho Horse Expo Collegiate Colt Starting Challenge held April 7-9 at the Ford Idaho Horse Park. Road to the Horse partnered with the Idaho Horse Expo to create a valuable learning experience for three collegiate teams who were able to compete for their share of the $6,000 cash purse. 

The teams consisted of Feather River College, led by Coach Susannah Campbell; Treasure Valley Community College, led by Coach Wade Black; and the University of Montana Western, led by Coach Eric Hoffmann. Donating their time to the event were judges Hal Bongiovi, Evan Bonner, Lee Brawley, Dana Lovell and Butch Mowdy. 

“There is no better way to create a legacy than to invest in the future,” states Road to the Horse Director of Operations Tammy Sronce. “We were honored to work with the Idaho Horse Expo to create an amazing platform to showcase the region’s top collegiate teams. The horsemanship and sportsmanship displayed by all three teams was inspiring to all.”

Over the course of the event, students were able to gentle fillies, provided by Bar 71 Ranch, in three round pen sessions, with the challenge accumulating on the final round, which consisted of both rail work and an obstacle course. All collegiate teams displayed superb horsemanship in a close competition that came down to the final round. 

Feather River College claimed wins in both Round One and Round Two, while the University of Montana Western claimed wins in both Round Three and Round Four. Treasure Valley Community College displayed impressive horsemanship throughout all rounds with a sensitive filly and left fans in awe of their progress during the finals. 

The University of Montana Western claimed the championship with 1,183.5 points riding Kolibri Gun Smart, followed by Feather River College (1,117.5 points riding Bess Be Gun Smart) and Treasure Valley Community College (936.5 points riding Berettas Playgun).

University of Montana Western Collegiate Coach Eric Hoffmann was proud of his team and grateful for the opportunity for the team to gain valuable experience.

“It was such a wonderful event for students to learn from as far as reading the subtle tries that colts offer us all the time and the ability to take those and turn them into positive outcomes,” Hoffmann says. “[The event] brought me inspiration about being an educator for our future leaders in the equine industry and how we can take what we learn from the horse and apply it to our daily lives.”Special thank you to the Idaho Horse Council, the Idaho Horse Expo, our judges and to all the individuals who made this very special event possible.

Collegiate teams:

  • University of Montana Western, Dillon, MT (Coach Eric Hoffmann)
  • Feather River Community College, Quincy, CA (Coach Suzannah Campbell)
  • Treasure Valley Community College, Ontario, OR (Coach Wade Black)


  • Hal Bongiovi
  • Dana Lovell
  • Butch Mowdy
  • Evan Bonner
  • Lee Brawley


  • Bar 71 Ranch (Fillies)


The teams worked with their colts in three round pen sessions which were all 60 minutes long. The finals consisted of a 40 minute timeframe that included 20 minutes in the saddling pen and 20 minutes to complete a shortened list of rail work and obstacle components.

Watch extended videos of the colt starting challenge on the FRC Productions Sale Facebook page here. 

Round One Results (Round Pen):

  • 207 points – Feather River 
  • 195.5 points – UMW
  • 161.5 – Treasure Valley 

Round Two Results (Round Pen):

  • 242.5 points – Feather River 
  • 232 points – UMW
  • 149 – Treasure Valley 

Round Three Results (Round Pen):

  • 262 points – UMW
  • 256.5 points – Feather River
  • 219 points – Treasure Valley

Round Four Results (Obstacles/Rail Work):

  • 494 points – UMW
  • 411.5 points – Feather River
  • 407 points – Treasure Valley


  • 1183.5 points – UMW
  • 1117.5 points – Feather River
  • 936.5 points – Treasure Valley

Learn more about the Idaho Horse EXPO here.

University of Montana Western
Feather River Community College
Treasure Valley Community College