HONORA—The Honora Bay Riding Stable hosted the first annual Colts for Autism event, bringing together four trainers to start four young horses, while raising funds for autism awareness.
“The clinic went fantastic,” said Honora Bay Riding Stable owner and Colts for Autism organizer Kyla Jansen. “Our two younger trainers were able start horses for the first time and the audience was able to see different training techniques and how to handle different horses. We were also able to raise $375 for autism awareness—not as much as I would have liked, but it was a good start for our first year.”
Ms. Jansen and fellow trainer Dennis Walker of Saint Charles mentored young trainers Krystyn Morin of Saint Charles and Jenna Fessl of Thessalon throughout the weekend.
Mr. Walker has been riding horses since the age of 12 and in 2008 starting his own training business fulltime with his partner Krystal. For the past six year he has work alongside the OSPCA, assisting them with horses.
Ms. Jansen received her first horse as a gift at age 12, Angel, who she still has today 28 years later.
She is a gold level coach and trainer, world renown for riding, starting horses, teaching lessons, guiding trail rides and organizing overnight camping with the horses. Ms. Jansen’s goal is to help horses find the balance between what humans want from them and their nature as a horse.
“At the young age of five, I began taking riding lessons and it was something I would look forward to every week,” said Ms. Morin. “Since then I’ve absolutely in love with anything involving horses. Owning my own horse has been a dream of mine all my life. My parents reminded me of the huge amount of responsibility it takes but that never changed fervent want for my very own horse. On October 11, 2011, my dream finally came true and Legacy came into my life.”
Twenty-four-year-old Ms. Fessl said that she has been riding since the age of six, a passion which started with her sister wanting a horse.
“She didn’t stick with it, but I did,” said Ms. Fessl. “I got my own pony when I was 12 and trained it myself—that’s where my passion for training started. I would like to make training my career. I feel badly for horses that people give up on—I would like to be able to help those horses and give them a good life.”
All four trainers drew a horse from a hat, each with the goal to work with and start the horse they selected by the end of the weekend.
Mr. Walker and Ms. Jansen shared their training techniques throughout the weekend while working with their horses and helped mentor the younger trainers as they worked with their horses.
“It was pretty interesting,” said Ms. Fessl of the clinic. “It really fueled my passion for training and I learned a lot. I know of a couple horses back home that are stuck and I am looking forward to returning to try some of the new techniques I learned.”
Ms. Jansen shared that both young trainers did very well throughout the weekend.
“Krystyn was able to ride her horse, walking and trotting it, while Jenna was also able to get the saddle on and get on for a quick ride. They both did really well.”
“They were four very different horses which was interesting for us as trainers and for the audience,” added Ms. Jansen. “Dennis’s horse was aggressive, but he is a great trainer and was able to ride it bareback and the horse will go home a more handled horse. My horse was just so timid, but I was able to gain his trust and ride him on Sunday in the rainstorm which was a massive step.”
Ms. Jansen said she was pleased with how the overall weekend went and wanted to give a big thank you to “all those who donated to the event—it was very much appreciated.”