Molly Johnson and her colt, Bonnie, provided through AQHA.
As of Tuesday, February 13, 2018
COTTONWOOD Hard work and the desire to enhance her horsemanship skills led Cottonwood’s Molly Johnson to a dream-come-true.
“I first heard about the Young Horse Development Program in an AQHYA magazine,” said Molly Johnson. “My Grandma Eva bought me a lifetime membership to AQHYA which includes a subscription to the magazine. I thought it would be awesome to win a weanling, but thought it would be impossible for someone like me in this rural area to be chosen.”
American Quarter Horse Youth Association members can earn scholarships by raising a weanling from an AQHA Ranching Heritage breeder. The Young Horse Development Program was created in 2011 to give AQHYA members an opportunity to learn the fundamentals of horsemanship with hands on experience in raising and training the donated weanling. Chosen participants must document monthly progress, participate in monthly webinars, complete monthly assignments, track goals, compete in AQHA shows, 4-H or FFA or local horse shows, work with local AQHA Professional Horseman and make a video of themselves and their horse in an in-hand trail pattern. Upon completion some participants will be chosen for scholarships and prizes.
Johnson’s mom urged her to complete the lengthy application process and she began working on her essay of why she would like to win and raise an AQHA Ranch Heritage weanling.
“It took me months to complete the requirements, but I finally got my packet sent in. I never thought I would hear anything from AQHA,” Johnson said.
This season, 117 youth members applied for the program and 49 weanlings were donated to the winners.
“I couldn’t believe it when I got the letter from AQHA that my application was a chosen winner and I won a free weanling donated by the Durbin Creek Ranch in Thermopolis, Wyoming,” Johnson smiled.
The colt, who Johnson named Bonnie, (registered name DCR Cash’n Drift) had only been handled three times before she got her.
The family drove to Durbin Creek Ranch in Huntington to pick up the colt Nov. 25, 2017.
“Bonnie has been very fun handling and training because she is so smart. She trusts me, she follows me around, she comes up to me and lets me catch her; she also leads very well now,” Johnson said. “Some of the things we have worked on together is basic round pen work on leading, yielding to pressure, trailer loading and unloading and being ponied around our ranch by me and my horse, Ruby.”
Johnson said the first couple days she had Bonnie, she took her to some of her friends who have inspired her in my horsemanship. These included Tim MacNamee of MacNamee Colt Company and Randy and Laurie Doman.
“I am thankful to my family who always believes in me and supports my riding and rodeo,” she said. “I am so grateful for Durbin Creek Ranch and the American Quarter Horse Association for this amazing opportunity to raise and train such a well-bred quarter horse filly. I look forward to all the things Bonnie and I will accomplish together over the next several years.”
— Information provided by Molly Johnson of Cottonwood.