Montana State University

Horse sale, Kentucky Derby event to benefit equine programs at MSU, UM Western, MCC

April 17, 2012 -- MSU News Service

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
BOZEMAN - Thirty horses that received their initial training from Montana college students will be sold, and the Kentucky Derby will be aired live during a three-day event to be held May 3 through 5 on the Copper Spring Ranch near Bozeman.

The Top of the West Horse Sale and Derby Day Celebration - free and open to the public -- will start with riding contests to showcase the equine programs and student accomplishments at Montana State University, University of Montana Western and Miles Community College.

The celebration will continue with the 138th Kentucky Derby aired on a big screen, a Kentucky Derby hat contest and the sale of horses that were trained in colt-breaking classes at MSU, UM Western or MCC.

Most of the horses to be sold are registered quarter horses and three to four years old, said Sandy Gagnon, a member of the Equine Boosters of Montana State University. Students who rode the horses in class got the horses used to saddles, bridles and being ridden. The horses learned how to stop, back up, turn, lope and do other basic moves that set the foundation for further training.

The Top of the West sale was originally created to benefit the rapidly expanding equine program at MSU, Gagnon said. It was expanded this year to include UM Western and MCC. Profits from each horse will go to the school where it was trained.

For more information about the Copper Spring Ranch, go to

The schedule for the Top of the West Horse Sale and Derby Day Celebration is:

Thursday, May 3

1 p.m. - Copper Spring Ranch Challenge. Students from MSU, UM Western and MCC compete in the indoor arena to demonstrate how well they started young horses to handle the basic skills required for using horses. Awards will be presented to the top students at each school and the overall outstanding student.

Friday, May 4

1 p.m. - Several dozen vendors open their booths to the public. A clinic on backcountry horsemanship emphasizes rider and horse safety and wilderness protection.

3 to 4:30 p.m. - Veteran saddlemaker Dale Moore clinic gives a clinic on saddle making and fitting.

4:30 to 6 p.m. - Joe Petersen, Three Forks Saddlery, gives a program about his innovative saddle pads.

6:15 to 6:45 p.m. - Luanna Mazuranich gives a demonstration about alpacas and unique alpaca products, which include luxurious saddle pads.

7 to 8:30 p.m. - Blacksmith and certified farrier Josh Stanley gives a demonstration on creating handmade shoes on a forge and completing the process by shoeing a horse with those shoes.

Saturday, May 5

9 a.m. - Vendor booths open to the public.

10 a.m. - Sale horse preview at Copper Spring Ranch outdoor arena. (Horses will be shown on the big screen in the indoor arena).

1 p.m. - Derby Day Hat Contest, sponsored by the Gallatin Cattle Women. Hats can be decorated with flowers, bows and ribbons to express individuality and creativity. The three categories are Young Filly (12 and under); Run for the Roses (Women with a rose-themed hat); and Mint Julep (Women with all other themed hats).

3 p.m. - Hats judged and awards given.

4 p.m. - The Kentucky Derby airs live on the big screen in the arena.

4:30 p.m. - Top of the West Horse Sale.

Evelyn Boswell, (406) 994-5135 or