Horse Show Wins Become Family Affair

Charles and Hilary Carrel, with their winning horses, and the employees of Colts Unlimited. (Photo by Pat Blair)
Charles and Hilary Carrel, with their winning horses, and the employees of Colts Unlimited. (Photo by Pat Blair)

A horse training couple from Sheridan found themselves in the winners circle this month.

Here's Pat Blair with the story.

A Sheridan couple and their son pulled off a trifecta of honors earlier this month at horse shows in Fort Worth, Texas, and Oklahoma City.

Hiliary Carrel, riding her horse, Artful Impression, took world champion honors in open jumping during the American Paint Horse Association World Show in Fort Worth.

Three days later, her husband, Charlie, rode Ike Cadillac Cash to a world championship in open jumping at the American Quarter Horse Association World Show in Oklahoma City. At the same show, their 21-year-old son, Seth, was named reserve champion in amateur jumping on the mare Kodak Moment O-Q-H.

The Carrels train horses to jump at their ranch, Colts Unlimited, on Owl Creek Road, west of Sheridan. Most of their horses are what are called, warmbloods, which are larger horses bred for dressage and jumping. Charlie Carrel said the quarter and paint horses are a niche market. They Carrels own the two quarter horses they competed on. The paint gelding is one the couple has trained.

Charlie Carrel is a native of Birney, Montana. He explains how he became involved in training jumpers.

He said he began training horses in 1992, and named his business Colts Unlimited around 1997. His wife moved to Sheridan in 2000 from Sedalia, Colo., and the couple married in December of that year. He grew up on a ranch in Birney, initially participating in rodeos and riding ranch horses. He said he developed a real passion for the sport, from his father, Jack, who taught him and his sister to take horses over jumps.

His wife said she grew up with quarter horses, and has been involved with horse activities from a young age. As a girl, she participated in quarter horse association youth activities.

One of their biggest customers is Wild Turkey Farms of Oregon.

Charlie Carrel said: “We developed all of their young horses.” In fact, the Carrels are featured on the Wild Turkey Farms web site. The couple currently have 10 of Wild Turkey Farms' warmblood colts in training. As with other horses they've trained, the colts are returned to their owners, when they're ready to compete in shows.

Though warmbloods are unique in this area, he said, Sheridan is the place he and his family want to live. He added, that his company, Colts Unlimited, provides a “primo boarding school” for young horses. And as a bonus, he said, “Hilary and I get to ride some top-level jumpers.”

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