Class Descriptions

Trailer Loading:  This class will allow exhibitor and horse to demonstrate relationship between horse and handler and showcase ease of loading, as an important part of training.  Trailer will be out of view of the main arena.

Rail Class (Rider Exhibitor): In this class the judges will call for specific gaits. Both the horse and rider will be judged on such key points as style, softness, cadence and overall trust with each other.

Trail/Obstacle (Rider Exhibitor): This class will be judged on performing a variety of obstacles. The rider and equine will need the skills and confidence to get thru the trail course.

Freestyle (Rider Exhibitor): The last class will consist of the exhibitor and equine performing their own patterns. We encourage the exhibitors to use music to help showcase this class. This class will offer excitement and once again a true relationship with horse and exhibitor. (4 minute time limit).

Competition rules & details are subject to change at the discretion of the

Event management.


Check out the 2019 Midwest Rescue Horse Trainers Challenge Program Cover!

Thank you to our fabulous rescue horse-loving friend, Jamie Guyot, for designing our 2019 Midwest Rescue Horse Trainers Challenge cover! And look who’s on the cover… Team BabyCakes! You probably all remember the beautiful performance from Brooke Kiefer and BabyCakes at last year’s Trainers Challenge so we thought they would be perfect for this year’s cover! And special thanks to Karen Bayerl for this gorgeous photo. And finally, thanks to Triple Crown Feed for making this year’s event possible! 💜


The Second Annual Midwest Rescue Horse Trainers Challenge will be at the Alliant Energy Center!

The Wisconsin Horse Alliance proudly presents the 2nd Annual Midwest Rescue Horse Trainers Challenge, sponsored by Triple Crown Feed.

The event will feature up to 20 horses and 20 trainers that have been working together on trail riding, in-hand work, and free style horsemanship techniques for approximately 90 days. The 20 horses, their trainers and their sponsoring rescues will receive promotional support and adoption support during the event. In 2018, ten horses were entered into the Challenge and eleven horses wound up finding wonderful homes as a direct result of the Challenge.

Dates to Remember:

Trainer’s applications: Due by May 1, 2019. Apply here

Selection of horses to be entered by rescues: Submitted by June 1, 2019.

Pickup of horses by the trainers from the rescues: July 19-21, 2019.

Sneak Preview Event: September 21, 2019 for pre-approved adopters

Challenge Event: October 19, 2019, Alliant Energy Center

Triple Crown Nutrition, Inc. is sponsoring all of the horses entered into the competition and this will include a nutritional consultation and feeding program for every horse, which includes providing the feed for each horse for the full duration of the Challenge.

There is a committee set up through the Wisconsin Horse Alliance (WHA) for choosing trainers to participate in the Challenge. The trainers go through an application process with references provided. There is also a committee set up through the WHA for pairing trainers with the rescue horses, evaluating the trainer’s abilities with what each horse needs and the type of trainer each horse will need.

Through the Challenge, there are specific members of the WHA who have developed a relationship with and will stay in close contact with the rescues as well as the trainers, and the rescues are also put in contact with the trainers that have their horses.

Rescues will need to submit an application for the horses that they would like to enter into the Challenge along with a video of each of the horses they would like to participate. The WHA will be providing a sample video of what is expected of each horse to be entered into the Challenge.

The WHA has drafted a universal adoption application for potential adopters to fill out who may be interested in adopting any of the horses participating in the Challenge. The adopters will also need to be aware of and sign the contract provided for each rescue and follow the individual rescue’s adoption contracts as well.

Potential adopters will be following the horses along their journey through social media and will be encouraged to attend the Preview Event as well. During last year’s Challenge, the potential adopters contacted and talked to the rescues throughout the Challenge regarding the horses they were interested in. There will be time at the Challenge for all potential adopters to meet the participating rescues, the horses and the trainers. The participating rescues each have a table at the event and each one of their horses in the event has a “silent adoption” sheet, where potential adopters will bid on horses they would like to adopt. The adoption fee starts at $750.00.

Get Involved with The Midwest Rescue Horse Trainers Challenge!

We invite you to be a part of this promising and impactful event for Wisconsin rescue horses! There are a number of ways that you can get involved!

1)  Attend the event! Invite family, friends and horse enthusiasts to this family friendly event!  The event will be held Saturday, September 22 at 10am at the Jefferson County Fair Park in Jefferson, WI. Rally behind 20 rescue horses and professional trainers as they compete for the top cash prizes and recognition.

2)  Donate an item for our silent auction!  Items do not have to be horse-related.  Gift cards/certificate, sports tickets, theater passes, new jewelry, sports memorabilia, etc. are welcome!  if you have an item and would like to donate a good or service  please email us at All donations are tax-deductible!

3)   Sponsor the event! Check out our sponsorship opportunities, ranging from $250 up to $1000! This is a great way to actively promote your business to a large audience, while making a larger impact financially in supporting this event!

4)  Sponsor a horse! Donate as little, or as much as you can to sponsor one of the participating rescue horses. Each of these horses are coming from one of the seven participating Wisconsin horse rescues, and your monetary donation helps them on their journey to a healthier, happier, and deserving life. Please visit to make a donation in any amount, or email us at to get more information about donating.

5)  Adopt a rescue horse! All 20 of these participating horses will have had 90 days of solid, well-rounded, and critical training that will set them up for success in their new homes. You will be able to see them complete with their professional trainers, and will be able to follow their journey leading up to the event.

6)  Participate as a trainer! If you think you have what it takes to train one of these rescue horses, please fill out our online application on This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build your resume as a trainer, as well as have the unique opportunity to work with a rescue horse. Each trainer’s application will be reviewed by our Trainer Selection Committee, and invitations to participate will be sent out. You must be at least 16 years or older to participate, and each trainer will have 90 days to work with his/her horse. Pickup of rescue horses will take place the weekend of June 22. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to build, refine, or practice your skills as a trainer, as you join the journey of these special rescue horses from rescue to the show arena!

Thank you Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation for the beautiful photo!

new cover midwest

Rescues Lineup Announced!


We are thrilled to announce an exciting lineup of participating rescues in this year’s Trainers Challenge! Meet the rescues: Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab, Inc., Midwest Horse Welfare Foundation, Inc., Amazing Grace Equine Sanctuary,  and Holyland Donkey Haven Inc. We hope that this event will shed light on the incredible talent and potential of rescue horses and that people will support these rescues (through adoptions or donations) who play such a critical role in their journey to a new life!

What are Rescue Organizations Saying about the Trainers Challenge?

Ponies-11“There is such a stigma linked to rescue horses. Far too many people run from the term “rescue horse”, yet at the same time far too many people like to claim they have “rescued” a horse. The terms, themselves, are relatively interchangeable. But, what we have found as we’ve began our fourth annual trainer’s challenge here at Pony Tales, is that the Trainer’s Challenge takes the “rescue” out of “rescue horse”. When a rescue takes in a horse, the horse is rescued. In other words, they are out of whatever bad situation they were in. We spend weeks, months, sometimes years, getting any particular “rescue horse” rehabilitated and moving on from whatever horrors they may have experienced.

To be fully ready for adoption though, we want to know everything about this horse. What does this horse like best? What “career” will this horse thrive in the most? What home is going to fit them the best? That is where the Trainer’s Challenge comes in. The wonderful trainers who step up and take on the unknowns for zero guaranteed compensation, do it for many reasons. Most just want to help a horse. Some want to help get their name out there. Others just do it for fun. Regardless of their reasons, they take in these horses and they discover every last little bit about them. We already know the basics: what kind of feed they like/do best on, where they sit in the pecking order, who is best with mares or geldings or ponies or alone, etc. But, the last puzzle piece we need to know is what kind of future are these horses going to be the happiest with. The only way to do this, is to work with them extensively. Most rescue organizations do not have the time or manpower or the funds to pay someone to find this out.

The trainers who compete fill in this last puzzle piece and officially take the “rescue” out of “rescue horse”. The horses are no longer rescue horses at this point. These horses are now just horses. We can tell you everything about them that matters. The trainer knows what makes them happy under saddle and what upsets/bores them. A “Trainers Challenge” levels the playing field for “rescue horses”. They may not have the perfect pedigree or the “sunshine and roses” background, but they do have a will to live and a perseverance that is indescribable.

This statewide trainer’s challenge is the best thing that could happen to the horses, the rescues, and the homes out there looking for their perfect match. We could not be any more excited about being involved in this endeavor and we look forward to what the selected trainers will accomplish with our amazing horses.” -Cindy Prince, Executive Director of Pony Tales Refuge & Rehab, Inc.