landmark-corporate-logo.jpgOpen Challenge

I would like to extend our thanks to all of our winners for contributing to this page.  It is appreciated!

Josh Smith

2013 Winner of the Landmark Open Challenge on Leos Mister Lena 

2011 & 2014 Winner of the Landmark Open Challenge on Playin It Lucky

 

  1. What age did you start riding and how did you get into it?

    I started riding when I was 3.  Dad always had horses and it was just natural that we would ride.
  2. How old were you when you first started competing and at what discipline was it?

    I started competing when I was around 9 yrs old.  We started showing, hacking, dressage at this time.  From this we progressed to reining, then campdrafting and finally started Challenging.
  3. Who was/is your favourite horse and what did it teach you?

    My favourite horse is Playin it Lucky.  He has taught me a lot.  The biggest thing is when you reach a certain level it’s difficult to maintain that standard/level.  I continually revist the basic training tools and this has helped immensely.
  4. Who was/is your mentor or inspiration?

    My Dad is my Mentor.  He has been my coach forever.  He has taught me everything he knows.  He has been learning for a lifetime with a wealth of experience.
  5. What is the story behind the horse you won with at the Challenge – breeding, owner, breeder, broken in by, trained by, how old, how old when you first started training it for the Challenge, history, other events its won, future hopes for it.

    We bred him.  He is by Playin to Spin out of a Poco Peppy Doc mare we purchased from the Rockhampton Quarter horse sale.  He was 11yrs old when he won the Challenge.  He was broken in and trained by me.  I was 17yrs old when I started him.  He has won Campdrafts and other Challenges.  I am hoping he will be around for years to come for my children to ride and learn from him.
  6. Do you have a preference for a particular bloodline (eg Freckles Oak, Abbey) for Challenge horses and why?

    I don’t have a particular bloodline.  There is good and bad in every breed or line.  I prefer the Quarter Horse stockhorse cross for Challenge horses.  Quarter horses are the preferred reining horses.  If you could get a quarter horse that chases cows like a stockhorse you would be set in the Challenge world.
  7. Tell us a day in the life of yourself: eg Your daily routine, hrs spent training, how you train, where you train, do you breed your own horses or buy them in, do you have a support team that strap/help you?

    I do shift work in the mines and am away from home for 7 days at a time.  When I am home, its full on riding.  We are in the yards at 5am each day.  We do horse and cattlework.  We have a large arena where we do our training both reining and cattlework.  My family are my support team it’s a family affair, I couldn’t do it without them.
  8. Can you give us an idea of your training routine to prepare a horse for the challenge?  How many hours do you think you would have put into this horse?

    I like to prepare a Challenge horse for at least 12months before starting them.  On average I would estimate I spend 6 – 8 hrs per week on the horse.  Once the horses are trained and set, it’s just a matter of keeping them fit with established basics, they don’t need continual training.
  9. Give us a tip that might help our upandcoming challenge riders!

    Listen to everyone, take what works for you.  Continue to learn, you never stop learning!
  10. Tell us the one thing you can’t live without at a competition!

    My horse and my wife!!  Gee Josh you just won a few lady fans!
  11. How do you spend your spare time? What do you do for fun?

    I like to play golf, I’m not very good at it, but I have a go!  We don’t get much spare time!
  12. Tell us something that not many people know about you!

    My birthday is Christmas day!!
  13. Tell us why you love Horse of the North and what brings you back every year.

    HOTN has a great committee.  They put all of the nominations back into prize money which we appreciate!  It’s a great facility and the Toomba sale the following day is a great way to promote our own breeding.

Nathan Wilson & BC Gigolo winners of the Landmark Open Challenge 2010

  1. What age did you start riding and how did you get into it?

    Dad was into horses and I started riding in nappies.  Started competition riding at 8 or 9 yrs old.
  2. How old were you when you first started competing and at what discipline was it?

    8 or 9 – Pony Club and Campdrafting
  3. Who was/is your favourite horse and what did it teach you?

    Tassa n Smart my stallion and best mate!  He has taught me how good a horse can be.  He is soft and has heaps of natural ability.
  4. Who was/is your mentor or inspiration?

    Chilla Seeney – I spent my formative years with Chilla, he taught me a lot and I travelled to the USA with him.  We were into Cutting.
    Ian Francis – he is unbelievable at all horse sports.
    Kenny May & Mark Buttsworth – they are allround good horsemen.
  5. What is the story behind the horse you won with at the Challenge – breeding, owner, breeder, broken in by, trained by, how old, how old when you first started training it for the Challenge, history, other events its won, future hopes for it.

    BC Gigolo by Playboy Roy out of a Spinfex Mare (Spins Barbie Doll).  Owned by Amanda Zahl.
    I can’t recall who broke him in and started him, but he did an excellent job.
    I believe Huon Smith showed him at the Rocky Rush as a 4yr old.
    He was around 11yrs old when I won the Open on him.
    He won Monto, Capella and a couple more challenges in 2010. 
    I started preparing for the 2010 season at the end of Feb 2010.
  6. Do you have a preference for a particular bloodline (eg Freckles Oak, Abbey) for Challenge horses and why?

    I like Freckles Oaks, Spinfex, Acres Destiny, Lethal Lena’s, Tassa Lena’s, Playboy Roys.  These are the breeds I have had the most success with.  I find them easy to train, they have a lot of natural ability.  They mature early and have a good mind early so can handle the amount of training that is required.
  7. Tell us a day in the life of yourself: eg Your daily routine, hrs spent training, how you train, where you train, do you breed your own horses or buy them in, do you have a support team that strap/help you?

    I have bought and bred Challenge horses.  And have been fortunate enough to ride other peoples horses for a living as a professional trainer.

    I start early in the morning we are in the yards by daylight, feedup and begin the day; we catch 6 – 8 horses at a time, tie them up and then start riding them.  I have a strapper who works with me, they feedup, saddle the horses and we generally ride together until they are all worked.  This usually takes all day.  We can ride as many as 12 plus horses a day, which equates to generally around 7 – 8 hrs in the saddle each day.  Of course this varies day to day.
  8. Can you give us an idea of your training routine to prepare a horse for the challenge?  How many hours do you think you would have put into this horse?

    It takes many hours of working, training and riding your horse to get them anywhere near ready to ride at a challenge.  I couldn’t estimate how many hours as every horse is different and I really don’t want know how many hours it takes!!

    They need solid foundations to build on to be a challenge horse. 
    Some of the attributes I look for that make it easier for a horse to be a challenge prospect are; breeding, conformation, temperament and trainability. 
    I like to start my horses with building on their foundations by continuing their education through drywork.  Then I will start them on a mechanical cow.  Once they're showing interest I start them on Cattle.  I like to take them slow and steady.  I have found that mustering is the best training tool I have for my challenge horses.
  9. Give us a tip that might help our upandcoming challenge riders!

    Keep riding your horse and never give up!   Make sure you keep going to clinics, you can never stop learning.
  10. Tell us the one thing you can’t live without at a competition!

    My friends, I enjoy the social aspect of the sport!!
  11. How do you spend your spare time? What do you do for fun?

    I don’t have a lot of spare time.  This year in the offseason I went Bull catching at Clermont! I like to water ski and fish!  Of course I do enjoy the odd alcoholic beverage and dance!!
  12. Tell us something that not many people know about you!

    Nathan thought he would leave this question vacant; he was hoping Sally would  answer for him!! Nathan is a real thrill seeker!
  13. Tell us why you love Horse of the North and what brings you back every year.

    I just love coming to HOTN as I have the best time.  It has the best atmosphere and people and I have a great time every year.

John Arnold & Genuine Roy winners of the Landmark Open Challenge 2009

  1. What age did you start riding and how did you get into it?

    5 years old. The head stockman that worked for my father for many years always took me for a ride when they came home from mustering.
  2. How old were you when you first started competing and at what discipline?

    18 years old – campdrafting
  3. Who was/is your favourite horse and what did it teach you?

    Oak Rush - This horse taught me the value of heart and desire, trainability and a good mind in a horse as well as how to ride a super athletic horse.
  4. Who was/is your mentor or inspiration?

    Ian Francis and my late father in-law, Jack Jones. Jack had some of the best competition horses in the west at the time and he let me work them occasionally and feel what a good horse should go like. In the last 20 years Ian is the man I admire and turn to for advice.
  5. What is the story behind the horse you won with at the Challenge – breeding, owner, breeder, broken in by, trained by, how old, how old when you first started training it for the Challenge, history, other events its won, future hopes for it.

    "Genuine Roy" bed by master farrier Bill Neville NSW by playboy Roy out of an Easter Chex mare that was Australia's champion working cow horse twice. I purchased him as a weaner for A.A.C.C, broke him in and trained him. He has won 12 challenges and 12 drafts. He won H.O.T.N open in 2009.
  6. Do you have a preference for a particular bloodline (eg Freckles Oak, Abbey) for Challenge horses and why?

    Don't have a preference; I look for a thorough pedigree with structural correctness. Then the horse has to have heart and desire and trainability. I try to avoid "heavy" or "dull faced" horses and like sensitive responsive horses. I don't breed but look for a horse I like and buy it.
  7. Tell us a day in the life of yourself: eg Your daily routine, hrs spent training, how you train, where you train, do you breed your own horses or buy them in, do you have a support team that strap/help you?

    Normal day is 4-6 hours in the saddle with my horsemanship groups and the rest in the classroom doing theory. I train my horses by using them as demonstration horses for the students. If say we are doing horse breaking, I break one in the same time and use it as an example of what the students have to do next.
  8. Can you give us an idea of your training routine to prepare a horse for the challenge?  How many hours do you think you would have put into this horse?

    Once I have a 2 year old broken in I work on having solid basics ingrained into them such as vertical and lateral flexion, slow basic stops, circles, backing up and slow correct roll backs.  I work cattle one on one in an arena and try and get as many steady miles on them taking cattle away or tailing out. After spelling I work on spins and lead changes try and set the horse for a start in a campdraft at the start of their 4 year old. Futurity drafts are ideal. I try to make their first few starts a good experience for them by picking slow cattle and not putting any pressure on them by trying to knock up a big score.

    It takes approximately 2.5 years to set a horse for an under 5 challenge so you can set a programme to suit each individual horse. A horse may have had many hours under saddle by their first start.
  9. Give us a tip that might help our up and coming challenge riders!

    Watch a quality horse person and use that person as a mentor. Watch the people who are winning and work out what they are doing that makes them successful. Most people in the challenge are approachable and will help young people if you ask them.
  10. Tell us the one thing you can’t live without at a competition!

    XXXX Gold!!  
  11. How do you spend your spare time? What do you do for fun?

    What's spare time? I custom make a few saddles but most weekends I'm still messing with horses.
  12. Tell us something that not many people know about you!

    John says he has no secrets his life is an open book, therefore he couldn’t offer an answer to this question ….. I wonder if our announcer extraordinaire will be able to help John out!
  13. Tell us why you love Horse of the North and what brings you back every year.

    Charters  Towers is an iconic QLD town and very much a cattle town.  The area is home to many good cattle and horsemen.  The competition is always tough and there are horses and riders that will win anywhere in  Australia.  Just to final there makes you feel good.  Also the H.O.T.N under 5 events is the Allan Glenwright memorial,  Allan was always a man that I admired and he would always offer advice when I was a young bloke if I asked him.