Meet the Inaugural AQHA Young Horse Development Program Scholarship Winners

The AQHA Ranching Council awards inaugural winners and announces 2012 foal recipients.

Jim Hunt, left, and Joni Hunt,right, present Holly Kiess, Kaycee Szymanski, Alan Hinds, Shianne Hoatson and Paige Portenier with their 2012 project foals at the Hunts’ Open Box Rafter Ranch Production Sale. Photo by Lezlie Moore.

Eleven AQHYA members vied for scholarships and prizes in the inaugural year of AQHA’s Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program. The program required participants to complete a project book, exhibit their project yearling in either showmanship or halter at an AQHA show, write a 500-word essay about their show experience and complete an evaluation session with an AQHA Professional Horseman.

The 2011 Young Horse Development Program winner was Sivana Brewer of Stafford, Missouri. The 14-year-old’s project was Frenches Zilona Flit, a 2011 sorrel filly bred by Jim and Joni Hunt’s  Open Box Rafter Ranch in Faith, South Dakota. The filly is by French Flit and out of the Fast Commander mare Henny Penny Hancock. For her win, Sivana was awarded a $2,000 scholarship plus a Montana Silversmiths belt buckle.

The runner-up in the 2011 Young Horse Development Program was 16-year-old Jaryd Quintero of Dallesport, Washington. Jaryd’s project was PC Cisco Frost Bars, a 2011 chestnut gelding by PC Cisco Frost and out of Kina Sugar by Sonny Sugar. PC Cisco Frost Bars was also bred by Open Box Rafter Ranch. Jaryd was awarded a $1,500 scholarship and a pair of  Justin boots.

In third place was Tee Newton Aune, a 16-year-old from Glasgow, Montana. Tee’s project was Tough Leo Peppy, a son of Tough San and out of Sakem Lue Lue by Stans Sandoc. Bred by the Hunts’ Open Box Rafter Ranch, Tough Leo San is a 2011 bay gelding. For his win, Tee was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

Carmon Weldi of Plain City, Ohio, captured fourth place for her work with Four Pistols Hancock. The 2001 bay roan mare, bred by Haythorn Land and Cattle Co. of Arthur, Nebraska, is by Babes Handy Pistol and out of the Figure Four Fritz mare Four Drift. Carmon, 16, received a $500 scholarship and a $100 Wrangler gift certificate.

“Designed to showcase the stock bred and raised by AQHA Ranching Heritage members, the Young Horse Development Program also offers youth the opportunity to further their education of horse training, care and health,” says Jim Bret Campbell, AQHA senior director of marketing and publications.

For the program, accepted AQHYA members purchase a nominated weanling from an AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder. From the weanling to yearling years, the AQHYA members work with and train their foals, then exhibit the foals at an AQHA show. Ultimately, the participants have the chance to win back their investment in their foals through scholarships. Youth applicants must be AQHYA members. Applications to receive a foal for the 2012 selection were due August 24.