Youth in Action

A Month of Success

December 16, 2013

With the hopes of becoming a better horseman and earning a scholarship, AQHYA member Miranda Raithel, 13, is raising her first young horse.

Miranda Raithel

Thirteen-year-old Miranda Raithel of Falls City, Nebraska, received her colt, “Carl,” from AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder Open Box Rafter Ranch of Faith, South Dakota. (Miranda Raithel)

By Miranda Raithel

Editor’s Note: Miranda Raithel was one of 17 American Quarter Horse Youth Association members selected to participate in the 2013-14 American Quarter Horse Association Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program. While caring for and training foals bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, these young horsemen and -women chronicle their achievements, with the culmination of the yearlong project being the chance to earn scholarship money and prizes from AQHA corporate partners.

I was very excited to get my Quarter Horse colt home from AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeder Open Box Rafter Ranch of Faith, South Dakota. It was a long trip to my home in Falls City, Nebraska, but “Carl” weathered the trip well. I am very excited to learn more about the horse industry, horse nutrition and horsemanship through the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program, which is what Carl and I will be participating in for the next year.

Once we got home, I let Carol come to know his surroundings for a day or so, then I jumped right into working with him on the ground. I sacked him the first day, and he didn’t mind; he was very gentle and would let me do anything I wanted with him. He didn’t even run and play when I turned him loose. He was so dopey and gentle! I turned him out with my show heifers at night: The heifers and “Carl” come in my cattle show barn during the day and he has his own stall.

After I finish with my cattle, I work with Carl on flexing, longeing both directions and backing up. He is getting the hang of it nicely, and he will change directions “on the fly” when I ask. He is very respectful. I only work with him about 15 minutes at a time and only three times a week. I think a horse needs to like what he is doing, and I don’t want to push him too much while he’s little. Carl was already broke to tie when I got him, or so I think. He just stands tied quietly when he’s tied.

Carl has done many things in a quiet manner since I picked him up. He has traveled to my trainer, Alicia’s, arena and we took a lesson on showmanship. He has traveled to the roping pen and been tied next to a crazy, barking dog, and he has been exposed to just about every loud thing on a ranch, including working facilities, mean cows, dogs, trains, combines, tractors and my boisterous parents!

While caring for and training foals bred by AQHA Ranching Heritage Breeders, young horsemen and -women in the AQHA Ranching Heritage Young Horse Development Program are vying for the chance to earn scholarship money and prizes.

When it comes to nutrition and veterinary attention, Carl has had the best possible care I can give him. He went through a vet check given by my vet, Dr. Beth Herring-Hill: Carl passed with flying colors. Dr. Herring-Hill taught me about basic nutrition and a deworming regimen. This was very helpful, as this is the first young horse I have raised. His nutritional needs are very different from a mature horse. I learned that he needs more feed than I thought. Carl also eats a probiotic supplement that I top-dress on his feed once a day. These “belly piranhas” are bacteria added to his stomach to keep him on feed and his digestive health on track. Dr. Herring-Hill also taught me that I need to deworm my young horse once a month. Additionally, I talked with my farrier, who looked at Carl’s feet and told me that I could wait a while before trimming him, as his feet were excellent! I have been working with Carl on picking up his feet for his future trimming, and Carl is doing awesome.

I have witnessed several changes in Carl’s behavior over the month. He is happy to see me when I walk in the barn, and he greets me with a joyful whinny when I arrive. He has now started to run and play with our fat show heifers, which is awesome to watch. I think that is really great, too, because he makes them exercise by giving them chase. It’s funny, because they lick him and love him; he often comes in from the turn-out lot with swirls from their licking. This makes him have a really bad hair day!

I think the acclimation to our facility, beginning groundwork exercises and learning about horse health made the month of October a success!

Because opportunities abound for horse-interested kids, the new AQHYA blog, Youth in Action, captures those adventures. Learn more about the endless prospects for young horsemen through AQHYA at