Before applying to compete in the challenge, please read ALL of this information. Submission of your Trainer Application as a potential competitor implies that you have read this information and agree to comply with the guidelines set forth below:
The Heart of the Horse Trainers Challenge is a 120 day training competition seeking trainers separated into three divisions: Professional, Amateur and Youth. Trainer participants must employ humane, natural horsemanship techniques and must desire to become the best trainer/equestrian they can be.
Initial Trainer Meeting and Selection/Pick up of horses:
Participating trainers will attend a mandatory two day meeting on January 14 & 15, 2023 at the State Fairgrounds in Jackson, MS. Competitors will sign their Trainer Agreements and have the opportunity to inspect the challenge horses on Sat., Jan. 14th. Trainers will draw number lots to determine the order of selection privilege. Selections will begin on Sat. afternoon and will conclude Sun. morning if necessary. Specific time schedule of events and meetings during the two days will be provided by email after trainer selections are announced. Trainers will sign a Foster to Train agreement before taking their challenge horse home. Health certificates will be written on any horses chosen by out of state trainers before they depart.
How fostering a horse in training works:
All challenge horses will be current on vaccinations and will have a current Coggins. Most of the horses will also have had their teeth done and feet trimmed. SHP will cover routine vet and farrier expenses while the challenge horse is in training. If a trainer wants their challenge horse to be seen by a specialist, they should discuss it with SHP in advance if they wish to be reimbursed. The trainer/foster will cover daily care/feed expenses (we are trying to negotiate a feed sponsorship to help with those expenses, but those plans are not solidified at this writing). It is encouraged for you to solicit sponsors to cover your feed, grooming supplies, supplements and travel expenses. If you solicit sponsors to cover specific tack or equipment for your challenge horse, those items should go with the horse if it is adopted at the Heart of the Horse Expo adoption event. Each Challenge horse/trainer team will have their own page/link on the Safe Horse Project website and will be promoted on social media to create interest in each horse/trainer team. It will be a great tool to promote sponsors.
What is the cost for clinics:
There will be several clinics offered by recognized clinicians during the 120 day training period. The dates/locations of these clinics will be given in the Trainer Information Packets. Challenge trainers from all divisions are invited and encouraged to attend these clinics (with or without their Challenge horses) at no charge. These clinics are intended to enrich and expand your training knowledge and techniques, and may provide insights to solving any particular problems or “sticking points” you may encounter during your 120 day journey with your equine Challenge partner.
Heart of the Horse Trainers Challenge Finals
Trainers are required to check in at the State Fairgrounds in Jackson, MS on Thursday, May 18, 2023, and be available to meet and interview potential adopters that afternoon to early evening. Health & Ground Manners classes and Horsemanship classes will be judged on Friday, May 19th, with additional interviews of potential adopters possible that afternoon or evening. Freestyle classes will be judged on Saturday, May 20th. All of the challenge horses will be available for adoption to approved bidders in a Safe Horse Auction that will begin after final awards the on May 20th. Trainers must also be available to meet with the adopter either on Saturday evening or on Sunday morning, May 21st. All meetings will conclude before noon on Sunday, which is the deadline for picking up horses.
Other Basic Requirements:
Challenge trainers must be willing to commit to consistent video and photo updates of your horse’s progress during the 120 day training period. Plan to work to market your training horse. Schedule meetings with potential adopters and offer discounted lessons after adoption to the adopters to encourage a lasting partnership. In order to place a bid in the Safe Horse Auction, potential adopters must have already met with the trainer and the horse in a scheduled viewing/try out. Those appointments can be made either at your facility, or scheduled on May 18th or 19th when you come to the finals competition in Jackson. You will be asked for your assessment of potential adopters and will have the authority to disqualify a bidder if you feel they are not an appropriate match for your challenge horse.
We ask that you be very honest and candid about which of the three divisions you qualify for to make the selection process smoother during our screening.
Professional Division requirements:
Amateur Division Requirements:
This division is for adult trainers (19 yrs. or older) who do not accept monetary compensation for training horses for the public and are open to expanding their training techniques through mentor-ship and instruction from professional trainers and/or clinicians.
Youth Division Requirements:
How to apply for participation as a Trainer Competitor:
Applicants for all divisions should fill out this on-line application – The Safe Horse Project Trainer Application
As instructed in the application, there are several video and/or photo requirements to be emailed to the selection committee. All of those items must be received no later than November 15th in order for your application to be considered. Photos and videos are to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
What if you are not selected to compete in the Heart of the Horse Trainers Challenge?
There are a limited number of slots available for participation in the Trainers Challenge. If you are not selected to compete, please inquire about participating in The Safe Horse Project’s new Diamond Project program