“The students are involved in every aspect of the program from breeding to foaling to training,”
explains Pete Agalos, the Trainer/Instructor for Cal Poly’s Quarter Horse Enterprise Project; the final phase of training for numerous young horses who literally begin their lives at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.
Winter quarter students can take the Colt Starting class, where they learn general techniques for training any horse. Near the end of this class, the college-bred Cal Poly two-year-olds are pulled into the training.
Spring quarter marks the start of the Quarter Horse Enterprise project. In this class, the students take the Cal Poly sale horses, and a few client horses, and get them started under saddle. Some of the training includes riding the young horses out on the hills, working cattle and swinging ropes off of them. This training results in a young, marketable, gentle, well-started horse that is ready to ride off to its new home as a performance horse, a working cow horse or a general riding horse.
“The typical background of a student involved in this program has some basic equine knowledge,” explains Natalie Baker, Cal Poly’s Equine Center Manager. “A few students get started in the beginning riding class, progress to the intermediate class then go all the way through learning to safely and correctly start a horse in the Enterprise project.” Pete adds, “I don’t dictate what the background needs to be. It’s not about the saddle style or what you are wearing. It’s about body control. Great riders can ride any horse well. That’s what I want them to know.”
The whole program from breeding to selling is designed to follow the marketing system in the horse world. “A horse has to have some level of training to be marketable,” says Pete.
“The confidence that this training instills in the students really makes a difference in their lives,” explains Pete. “I don’t do it for them. If you can take a green horse, train it and sell it, you build confidence in yourself.” Pete went on to say, “The part I like is the change this experience makes in the student, not just as a rider but as a person. I am tough. I push them to do the things they don’t feel they can do.”
Come check out the prospects these students have invested a lot of time into at the annual Cal Poly Performance Horse Sale from 10:00 – 4:00 at the Equine Center on May 31, 2015. And yes, true to Cal Poly’s style, the students are involved in every aspect of putting on this Sale. Show your support with your attendance, and who knows, you may even find a new equine friend to bring home. Take a look at some of the “For Sale” horses below. You can also click through the on-line catalog.
Photographs below courtesy of Mel Carter. Photographs above courtesy of Riley Tadei.