Horse Trainers Take On Challenge to Tame Wild Horses Within Hours

Pittsylvania Co., VA - Experts say taming a wild horse is something that takes months to do.

Saturday, however, a group of skilled horse trainers got together at the Olde Dominion Agricultural Complex in Chatham, and did it in just three hours.

It was all for a chance to be named the winner of the 2013 Colt Starting Challenge.

"The old way of getting on and bucking, bucking, bucking, that's gone. Now we use their natural instincts," said David Tuggle, President of South Eastern Farriers & Horseowners Association.

Natural horsemanship is a way of transforming a wild horse to one that's obedient. It's something that usually takes horse owners six months to a year to do.

"These trainers, their skill level is so high, that when these horses leave here, they're own their way to being an excellent horse," Tuggle said.

Many of the participants say they have years of experience under their belt.

"Every day, I do it for a living," said Contestant Bobby Knight.

"These couples here, each are cream of the crop," said Tuggle.

"Our methods are about teaching the horse that without fear and intimidation that our way is the easy way. If you kind of set them up to where they can make the choices, and the right choices are easy and the wrong choices are difficult, they'll pretty much always choose the right way," said Contestant Brock Griffith.

"We don't rush them. It's not a lot of hard handling," Knight said.

"They're going to be nervous about the crowd, and it's just going to be our job to guide them and be a good leader," said Contestant Leisha Griffith.

At the end, an obstacle course determines the winner of the challenge.

"We want to see how the horse responds to them and how willing they are to accept new challenges," said Minter, Challenge Judge,

All the contestants at the challenge are from within a three hour radius of Chatham.

The organizers say they want to let horse owners know that they don't have to go far to find top experts in natural horsemanship.