Local trainer Shamus Haws, known for numerous achievements in Utah’s home-based horse events and challenges, as well as the foundation bred AQHA ranch and performance quarter horses bred at the Haws’ family’s Running U Livestock, Shamus has been selected as one of the Wild Card participants for the famed Road to the Horse (RTTH) event, 2015.
Shamus shared some of his views on this incredible experience,
“Road to the Horse has changed the way the world looks at Colt Starting and it had always been my dream to be a part of it from the beginning. When I heard about the Road to the Horse Wild Card opportunity I knew that this was my chance to make my dream a reality.”
He explained how lengthy and involved the extensive application process was,
“…requiring everything from several in-depth videos of my training process, to many reference letters, including those from nationally recognized Horsemen.”
Haws received a call directly from Ms. Tootie Bland (the mastermind and producer of Road to the Horse) about a month after sending in his application. He had been selected, along with only six other accomplished trainers from across the nation, to take part in this prestigious event.
Shamus recalls Ms. Bland asking if he was ready for this? It’s such a huge, life-altering experience. It takes a pretty insightful horseman to comprehend how much something like this will forever change life as we know it.
Following that fortuitous call, Shamus and wife Jolyn headed out to Lexington, Kentucky (just a quick 30-hour drive) where he was introduced to the world and picked out his Wild Card partner. His special horse, registered as ‘Courageous Turn’ (now called ‘Journey’), will spend a year being trained and ridden solely by Shamus, after which the pair will return to compete in the Wild Card competition, March 2015.
So how did Shamus know which horse to pick? He tells us,
“I had studied all of the horses online extensively before going to [Kentucky]. I had made a list of my favorites in order from 1 to 21. The draw order and horses were chosen by pulling a card from a deck of playing cards. By the time my turn came around my first 4 horses on my list had been chosen. As I walked into the arena to walk around and assess the horses, a bay gelding caught my attention…”
When that horse lifted his nose up toward Shamus, above all of the others out in that arena, Haws felt he was “telling me that he was the one that I should choose.” It turns out he was he was number nineteen on Shamus’ original list. After making his selection, several people told Shamus that they’d been shouting out, encouraging him to pick that very horse, but he didn’t hear any of them. He was (as is his habit) listening to the horse.
The gelding’s registered name spoke to the Haws, as they feel this event is definitely leading to a courageous turn in their lives. When Shamus talked to the trainers at the 6666 ranch they said both of the horse’s parents were exceptional and that his siblings have all gone on to be outstanding performance horses as well.
Because this opportunity will be such an eventful journey for Haws, his family, and his horse, they decided to call him ‘Journey’.
The winning horse from the Wild Card competition is put into one of the four round pens to compete for the actual Road to the Horse World Championship.
Haws says that he started his first colt at the young age of 11. As you’ll see on his website, he has been “ranching, riding & training horses ever since.” Based in Erda, Utah (roughly 30 miles west of Salt Lake City), Shamus offers clinics that are open to riders of all disciplines.
The RTTH has featured famous Cowboy Hall of Fame horseman Craig Cameron, Downunder Horsemanship’s Clinton Anderson and the internationally respected Pat Parelli. Shamus Haws counts experts Bryan Neubert and Joe Wolter among his greatest influences, as well as the teachings of Ray Hunt and the Dorrence Brothers.
Shamus tells us, “I am very excited to get this once in a lifetime opportunity to work with this horse and to get to compete with and to be considered amongst the best in the world. I hope that people will follow me and Journey on our Road to the Horse journey via my Shamus Haws Horsemanship Facebook page and at the clinics and other appearances that I will be at with him throughout the year.”
To learn more about the Road to the Horse Wild Card competition, click here to access their official website.