We regret to announce that MHARF will NOT be holding the annual Trainer’s Challenge in 2021. Upon review of the horses eligible for the program, we have decided that the majority are too young to benefit from a competitive training venue. We also have many older horses who have been started in the past and are therefore not eligible for the Trainer’s Challenge. We feel it would be in the best interest of these horses to send them into refresher training while keeping them eligible for immediate adoption. As many of you know, due to Covid-19 we were unable to hold the 2020 Trainer’s Challenge as the usual audience event and fundraiser. Because we don’t know yet what this year holds, we have made the difficult decision to suspend the event in 2021. Thank you!
What is the Trainer’s Challenge?
The Trainer’s Challenge is an annual training competition put on by the Minnesota Hooved Animal Rescue Foundation in which trainers take a horse from the MHARF program who has not been previously started under saddle. After putting in approximately 150 days of training together, the horse and trainer teams compete for cash prizes, trophies and ribbons in 5 classes at the event (Halter/Condition, Pleasure, Trail/Obstacle, Freestyle, and Vet/Farrier). The horses are then made available for adoption by silent auction to bidders who have been pre-approved to adopt..
We originally started the Trainer’s Challenge in 2008 as a way to provide more exposure for our adoptable horses, as well as to maximize the amount of funding we had available for training. It has always been our experience that a well-trained horse is much less likely to become an “unwanted” horse. We feel that giving a horse the basic training it needs to be a “good citizen” on the ground as well as under saddle is the best way to ensure successful adoptive placement for that horse. By holding a training competition, we are able to stretch funds much farther than if we paid trainers on a monthly basis. Not only are we getting a great deal on training, but we have an adoption rate of 95% for horses that have competed in the Challenge!
Aside from the benefit to the horses, the Challenge also offers a platform for area trainers to show their skills and recruit clients. We have welcomed trainers from all over Minnesota, as well as from Wisconsin, Iowa, and South Dakota. Our trainers have come from many different backgrounds with specialties in many different disciplines. This wide variety of trainers coming from many different locations provides the public with many choices when looking for a trainer for their own horses (which will then, in turn, help keep those horses from possibly turning up as an “unwanted horse” needing rescue in the future).
The Challenge also serves as a great educational opportunity for the public on equine welfare. The event draws spectators from all over Minnesota, as well as from neighboring states. People watching the Challenge learn about the backgrounds of the horses and see that rescued horses can go on to have very bright futures!
Click Here for results and photo galleries from past Trainer’s Challenges (2008-2020).
View the Trainer’s Challenge promotional video, filmed in 2015
Adopting a Trainer’s Challenge Horse
The horses competing in the Trainer’s Challenge are available for adoption. However, they aren’t available until the day of the event itself. Throughout the day, we hold a silent auction for pre-approved bidders/adopters. Potential bidders/adopters must have an approved application on file in order to receive a bidding number. For more information on pre-qualifying to bid in the silent auction and adopting a Trainer’s Challenge horse, please see our Adopting a Trainer’s Challenge Horse page. If you have more questions about this process, please feel free to Contact Us. We are always more than happy to answer questions!
We hope to see you at the Trainer’s Challenge!
Please don’t forget to pre-qualify so you can adopt!