Social distancing doesn’t slow young horse trainer
Social isolation and homeschooling aren’t anything new for 16 year old Carson Martinson. A young man of few words Carson is extremely focused on refining his horsemanship skills through hard work and by attending clinics. Living near Rozet, Wyoming with his parents and a pasture full of horses, he is able to focus on his goals. His parents are Jim and Claudia Martinson, Carson is the youngest of three with a much older brother and sister, and he keeps his parents young. Claudia is Carson’s biggest supporter, promoter, school teacher and partner in the horse business.
A love of horses was instilled at a very young age, through a special relationship with an old gelding, Squig. When a bout of colic took his partner, he knew he wanted to start colts, his parents talked him into the pony business. So at age seven, they helped him start Gunsmoke Ponies. They would buy started ponies and through riding them Carson would figure out what each one excelled at and find them a new home. Before they sold each pony they also would be turned for a few months to make sure of their disposition.
Eventually Carson outgrew the ponies and moved up to full size horses. He even had a dog business but gave that up to focus on his horsetraining passion. On a trip to Texas to the Legacy of Legends he met Brent Graef at his booth. Brent taught Carson how to braid a hat band out of kangaroo hide. He was already working with local rawhide braider Justine Nelson learning how to made rawhide. Nelson insisted that he learn how to make rawhide from fresh hides first, before teaching him how to cut and braid it. She taught him how to tie halters he began to embellish them with braided parachute cord nose buttons. He now makes and sells them, using the money to buy more braiding tools. He has been braiding paracord reins and whips for the practice and has started braiding kangaroo and rawhide into horse gear. In 2019 he won second in the senior youth division at the World Leather Debut at the annual Rocky Mountain Leather Trade Show in Sheridan, Wyoming, with his braided kangaroo bosal. “I like rawhide but more as a hobby,” Carson said.
He has a few broodmares and breeds them to proven performance studs. The colts he will then trains and sell. Currently he is focusing on training his own horses since he would like to show more. “People who are paid to train horses have to show in the Open and I’m not ready for that,” he said
Being homeschooled, basically year-round, his schedule is flexible enough that he can train horses in the morning before the heat of the day in the summer and also able to take advantage of nice weather. This also gives him the freedom to attend clinics, show horses and day help on various ranches. He is also taking several courses through the Gillette College with the plan of having an associate’s degree in welding by the time he graduates high school.
Carson attends colt starting and horsemanship clinics as much as he can, building personal relationships with horsemen Tom Curtin, Bryan Neubert, Joe Wolter, and Buck Brannaman. He often starts colts owned by others at clinics for the experience, with the money going to the clinician. Carson loves riding and showing but has a soft place for working with young colts.
Carson is passionate about training horses and also is planning to show more in Reined Cow horse shows. “I hope to continue starting colts, training reined cow horses and selling horses,” he said.
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