Natural Horsemanship Colt Starting Challenge Review

Natural Horsemanship Colt Starting Challenge Review
Karen Pickering

5 Young Horses Started in Just Two Days

I had the pleasure of visiting Plendl’s facility to watch a colt starting challenge put on by Russell Beatty and his wife Cristy. Based in Maui, Hawaii, these two travel 30+ weekends per year putting on these challenges and clinics all over the U.S.

It was interesting to see how 5 unbroke horses from 2-1/2 to 3 years of age were being ridden after two hours, some even at a lope. The second day had these horses navigating an obstacle course. Talk about trust!

Trainer, Evan Bonner of Seattle works with unbroke mare, Violet


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What’s amazing to me is the way these horses all responded to their trainers. They were all responsive but not all moved forward so quickly. Temperament, timing and patience all factor in to the starting of these young horses. It was interesting to see how expressive all these horses were and just how these trainers’ communicated to their mounts. It was truly a pleasure to watch. Inspires me to try these methods.


Here’s a list of the 5 horses and their trainers:
Pen #1: Violet (QH Mare) owned by Megan Roberts, trained by Evan Bonner
Pen #2: Peaches (QH Mare) owned by Theresa Zuver, trained by Jonath Robles
Pen #3: Frosty (Grade Mare) Owned by Butler Hill Equestrian Center, trained by: Jessica Abatie
Pen #4: Q (Appaloosa Mare) Owned by Jerry Richardson, trained by: Lucia Clemetson
Pen #5: Serendipity (Arab Cross Mare) Owned by Cindy Honcoop, trained by: Russell Beatty

For pictures of this event visit:

Congratulations to Theresa Zuver and her beautiful homebred filly along with her amazing trainer Jonath Robles for the first place buckle. All the trainers did an awesome job, congratulations.

Plan to attend Russell Beatty’s Natural Horsemanship Clinic in Snohomish, WA starting today, June 20 & 21 in Snohomish, WA. For details email Scott Lee at

For more information on Russell & Cristy Beatty’s Colt Starting Challenge USA visit or visit their Facebook page Email or phone: (808) 269-3408

Photos by Karen Pickering

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Karen Pickering

Owner/Publisher Karen’s lifelong love of horses began at a very early age when she wore out a couple of rocking horses before convincing her parents to get her the real thing. That ill-tempered bay gelding, Brandy, was a challenge for the young horsewoman, but it drove her ambition to become a horse trainer. After attending Canyonview Equestrian College’s Horsemanship Program, Karen realized she needed work that was a little more lucrative than training, so she took a job with Customs Brokerage to pay the bills. There, she discovered an affinity for computers and a talent for creating informative, entertaining newsletters. The Northwest Horse Source began as such a letter in December 1995, with a distribution of 1000 copies for its 12 black and white pages. Since then, it has grown into beautiful, all-gloss magazine with the largest coverage of any free equine publication in the Northwest – a distribution of over 16,000 copies and over 600 locations monthly. Not bad for the results of one woman’s dream to work with horses!

Today, Karen remains involved with every aspect of the magazine and treasures the community of thousands who share a common passion. Somewhere in the wee hours of the early mornings and late evenings, she still finds time to care for April, her gorgeous and sweet-tempered Quarter Horse.

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