MSU students train, sell horses

BOZEMAN -- Montana State University students have been breaking and training horses for more than 30 years, but this is the first year that MSU will sell the horses they trained.

 Some of the horses that have gone through MSU's training and breaking program will be sold this spring, said Sandy Gagnon, associate professor of animal science. Six three-year-old quarter horses and one paint gelding will be auctioned off from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, April 7, during the annual spring rodeo in the MSU Fieldhouse. The profits will support MSU's equine science program.

 The horses were trained by MSU students who enrolled in the breaking class last fall and continued through the training course this spring. Gagnon said instructor Wade Black is an outstanding teacher and graduate student whose father, Martin Black, and grandfather, Roy Hunt, are internationally-known horse clinicians. Wade Black is earning his master's degree by studying horse training and behavior as they relate to equine energy levels.

 Gagnon said the horses have been started well and are ready to go on to more advanced training for cattle work, rodeo events or other specific uses. He added that the horses are well-bred, with pedigrees listed in the sale catalog.

 The idea for the sale came from Bob Hansen of the Montana Horse Co. at White Sulphur Springs, Gagnon said. Hansen donated six quarter horses to MSU's training classes as a catalyst for the sale.

 In addition to breaking and training, students in the program learn sales and marketing techniques. The horse sale will become an annual event to support the equine programs at MSU, Gagnon said. He anticipates the program growing to sell 15 to 20 horses per year.

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