UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Ashley Larson, of Mondovi, rides Gunnersspecialwoman, the top selling
colt in the 2017 sale. Photo by Hailey Smith, UWRF media intern.
The 41st Annual UW-River Falls (UWRF) Colt Sale on May 6 was one for the record books. The 146 registered bidders from 13 states and Canada, England and Mexico was typical, but several sales records were broken: sales of the two-year-old horses averaged $5,344; sales of the UWRF lesson horses averaged $8,023; and, total sales topped $291,000.
Gunnersspecialwoman, a 2-year-old palomino filly sired by Gunners Special Nite, sold for $20,000. The next highest sale was $15,000 for the two-year-old sorrel filly, Tinker Be Ruf, sired by Tinker With Guns. The excellent genetics likely played a role in the record sales.
"Many of this year's horses were sired by some of the most elite stallions in the reining horse industry," said Nathan O'Connor, faculty associate and director of the UWRF Colts-in-Training Program. "In addition to Gunners Special Nite and Tinker With Guns, other sires included Einstein's Revolution, Whiskey N Diamonds, Wimpy's Little Step and A Sparkling Vintage."
The annual Colt Sale is the culmination of the semester-long course, Principles of Training Horses. In the course, taught by O'Connor, UWRF students turn barely-halter broken and never saddled or ridden colts into ones that are well trained under saddle.
Amber Yager, a double major in animal science and dairy science from Highland, trained Tinker Be Ruf and worked under O'Connor as a teaching assistant for one section of the course. Yager said she enjoyed watching the students overcome something they were struggling with and grow with their colts.
"Some of the baby colts came in hardly halter broke and really made their students work for it that first couple of weeks. This class is a lot of work for three credits but these credits are without a doubt worth every hour," she said.
Yager graduated earlier this month and will soon be joining Purina Animal Nutrition as a livestock production specialist.
"I will miss UWRF and the Campus Farm as this elite equine facility is responsible for so many incredible learning opportunities and memories that I hold near and dear to my heart," she said.
Each year two students are selected to serve as sales managers and are given responsibility for all marketing and advertising for the sale. The 2017 sales managers were Cara Schmidt and Kayla Oelhafen. Both are animal science majors, Schmidt is from Chaska, Minn., and Oelhafen from Allenton. Oelhafen said that preparing for the sale is time consuming and very stressful at times, but she loved doing it.
"The job has taught me so much about the horse industry that I would not have learned otherwise," she said.
"I'm so proud of our students and how much they accomplished this semester," O'Connor said, summing up his thoughts about this record-breaking year. "They put their hearts and minds into preparing the horses for this year's sale and it definitely paid off on sale day. This was definitely the best set of horses that we have ever presented at auction."
For more information about the sale and the horses that were sold, visit https://www.uwrfcoltsale.com. Next year's sale is set for Saturday, May 5.