Nestled in the Sierra Mountains off Highway 70 in Quincy, CA, is a small community college with an impressive horse program. At Feather River College students can earn an associate degree or certificate in Equine Studies with a focus in horse training, ranch, rodeo, or pack skills. New to our small college, is the Bachelor of Science degree in Equine and Ranch Management, this program opens the door for even more opportunities for those interested in agricultural studies through our unique, hands-on curriculum. The atmosphere is perfect for the dedicated student who wants to learn and improve their skills for a future in the beef cattle and horse world. The students can learn all aspects of the horse industry from basic riding skills, packing with mules, starting young horses under saddle, horse show techniques, and livestock production. The opportunities at Feather River College are limitless. Part of the horse training focus includes preparing a horse for sale during the annual production horse sale that is held on the Feather River College campus.
It was absolutely beautiful weather, as spring time in the Sierra’s was experienced by all for the 19th Annual Production Horse Sale, which was held on Friday May 19th and Saturday May 20st. The sale included a Ranch Versatility preview and student competition. The Ranch Versatility Competition was made up of several classes including Ranch Reining, Ranch Cow Work, Ranch Conformation, Ranch Trail and Ranch Riding. Volunteer judges for this competition are all Feather River College Equine Studies Alumni including; Nick Dowers, past Snaffle Bit Futurity Champion and the 2016 Road to the Horse champion, he also provided commentary for each horse and rider combination that entered the sale arena; Alumni Anna Poldervaart, our newest associate faculty member, as of Fall 2016, and who also gives lessons, trains and competes in many riding disciplines including versatility trail horses and showing APHA pleasure horses in the all-around events; Alumni Dalton Bowles, who starts colts, cowboys and currently works at Thompson Valley Ranch in Quincy.
It was quite a competition to watch, FRC Red Twistnhustler ridden by Ashley Miller from Susanville, CA walked away the Ranch Reining Champion, Ranch Trail Champion, Ranch Riding Reserve Champion, and Ranch Cow Work Reserve Champion, making her the All-Around Versatility Champion and winner of the Double Diamond Halter Top Ranch Hand award. FRC Some Kinda Tulip ridden by Kai Brown from Arroyo Grande, CA was the All-Around Versatility Reserve Champion, Ranch Riding Champion, and Ranch Reining Reserve Champion. FRC Playguns N Roses ridden by Tyler Johnson from Le Grange, CA was the Ranch Cow Work Champion and FRC Hi Ho Cherrio ridden by Kaity Montre from Big Valley Oak, CA was the Ranch Trail Reserve Champion. FRC Shot of Elegance ridden by Makaela Cooper from Palo Alto, CA was the Ranch Conformation Champion and FRC Gamblin Gin Rumor ridden by Amy McDougal form Reno, NV was the Ranch Conformation Reserve Champion.
The superb auctioneer skills of Eric Duarte with the assistance of ringmen Mark Holt and Victor Madrigal led to Saturday being an excellent day to “buy a horse that has been to college”. The average horse sold for $8,542, which was significantly higher than 2016’s average of $6,827. The high selling horse was FRC Red Twistnhustler who sold for $31,000 to the Sparks’ of Saratoga, CA. In all, 19 horses sold in this year’s sale and travelled as far as the state of Oregon.
The horses sold during the Feather River College Production Horse Sale are American Quarter Horses that have been utilized in the equine courses since they were born. The breeding program at Feather River College is focused on raising Ranch Versatility Performance Horses. The pride and joy of the breeding program is a gray stallion named Shooting From Memory who was donated by John Harrah in 2009. “Shooter” is a stallion with royal bloodlines, an own son of Playgun out of NCHA Futurity winner Some Kinda Memories. He has proven himself time and again, producing athletic, good minded colts every year. Ill Be Maxwell Smart “Maxwell” is sired by the well-known Ill Be Smart, full brother to Smart Little Lena, and his Dam, Maxicali Rose, has earnings of over $9,000.
The students who enroll in the Horse Sale Project understand that preparing a horse for sale takes a lot of hard work and dedication. Students are responsible for the daily care of their assigned horse, such as stall cleaning, blanketing, grooming, as well as the regular riding, training and conditioning of the horse. Students are specially selected for the Horse Sale Project based on an application they submit as well as prior riding experiences. Special training opportunities arise when notable horse clinicians such as Nick Dowers, Richard Winters and Bubba Kelly take a special interest in the success of these student and horse combinations. “We see these students as the future of the horse industry” said Program Founder and Department Chair Russell Reid. The student trainers receive a percentage of the horse sale earnings in the form of a scholarship. The proceeds from the sale benefit the Feather River College Foundation.