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Ronan to see first-ever horse training competition

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RONAN- Lee Lytton has trained more than 3,000 horses over the past 40 years. He says he’s learned the trade from a great many people and combined their ideas into a step-by-step, surefire progression culminating in an animal that is respectful, confident and useful.

Even so, training a horse is no small matter. It takes years of practice, knowledge and understanding of the animal and the rider to be able to teach a horse in a way that is beneficial and safe. 

“It’s a step-by-step process which envelopes every aspect of the horse and rider,” Lytton said.

In an effort to do something special on a local level, several Ronan residents began brainstorming ways to share this awe-inspiring process with the public. 

What they decided on was something never before seen in Ronan: a Round Pen Shootout. The competition is designed to showcase the talents of three horse trainers while educating and entertaining the audience. 

On Aug. 10 and 11, Lytton, Charlie Hanson and Ty Heth will put their skills to the test in front of a crowd at the Lake County Fairgrounds. Each trainer will be given a very green colt and two hours on Friday to work with the animal. The next day, they’ll be given an additional two hours before demonstrating what they’ve been able to teach the horse. 

Joel Gleason, owner of Avila’s Pro Shop in Pablo, will supply all equipment for the trainers. Gleason was one of the original supporters and brainstormers of the event, and said his main hope was to get kids and young adults to come to the event. He wants to give the valley’s youth an experience that might inspire an interest in animals and the outdoors. 

“These kids have so many things to keep them on the couch: television, video games, you name it,” Gleason said. “When you die, you’ll sit really still in the same position for a very long time. Why not be outside while you’re here?”

While there is a prize for the best-trained horse, Lytton said the event is about education and entertainment rather than a first-place trophy. 

“A real goal for me is to help people to believe they can do the same thing I can. If they don’t, if they think it’s a magic trick or smoke and mirrors, they can’t go home and apply these same things to their horse,” he said. “This is about passing on my education and the things I’ve learned while putting on a really great show.”

For more in formation, contact Mike Lyons at 253-8850 or Joel Gleason at 883-4637.

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