MSU equine science students to host April 7-8 horse sale and riding competition |

MSU equine science students to host April 7-8 horse sale and riding competition

BOZEMAN – Colts that Montana State University equine science students have started and trained will be sold at the 11th annual Top of the West horse sale and collegiate riding competition, set for April 7-8 at Copper Spring Ranch near Bozeman.

The annual sale is hosted by the Equine Boosters of MSU and features horses donated to the Boosters. Students in a colt-riding class started the horses. The class is part of the MSU College of Agriculture’s Equine Science Program, and proceeds from the sale benefit the program.

Over the course of two semesters, equine students feed, care and train the colts while learning and employing the horsemanship theories of Buck Brannaman, Tom Dorrance and Ray Hunt, according to Reata Brannaman, MSU colt-starting instructor and daughter of Buck Brannanman.

“This program is one of the few places in the country where both students and horses learn this style of horsemanship,” she said. “By the time of the sale, it’s really neat to see how far these horses have come, when a lot of the horses we received at the beginning are not even halter-broke. These students have poured their hearts into these horses in starting them well and providing them a good foundation.”

Brannaman added it’s important for buyers to remember these horses are colts, not advanced show horses, and that buyers need to remember they’re buying a young horse, and one with which they need to continue learning.

The event will feature 335 horses, including about 25 horses that are mostly 3-year-old AQHA fillies and geldings that more than a dozen quarter horse breeders donated to the boosters. The remaining horses are consigned horses from various donors. Bloodlines represented include some of the most popular in the quarter horse industry. A catalog of the horses can be found at

Remote buyers can bid by phone, but they must pre-register with Headwaters Livestock by visiting The sale will also be live-streamed through the website.

The colt-starting students have been tracking the progress of colts all year through their class Facebook page, and also created YouTube videos showcasing the colts.

Belt buckles will be awarded to the top collegiate horseman and the donor of the top-selling horse after the competition.

The sale is being held the same weekend as the 2017 MSU Spring Rodeo.

The schedule for the 11th annual Top of the West sale and competition is:

Friday, April 7

9 a.m., Ranch horse competition

Saturday, April 8

9 a.m., Sale preview, indoor arena.

1 p.m., Top of the West sale, indoor arena. Awards presented at start of sale.

For more information, contact Diana Bailey, Equine Boosters of MSU, at (406) 570-4101 or

–MSU News Service

Horse & Rodeo

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