Youth Competition

Download the Youth Application here in PDF or appalachianyouthtrainerpackage

FAQ for Youth

Put Your Skill and Knowledge on the line and compete in the Youth (AGES 10-17) Division!

The “Why”

Apply by May 1st.

The Appalachian Trainer Face Off is a relatively new concept that a handful of rescues have found massive success hosting in Western States like Oklahoma and New Mexico.

We respect and care about the next generation of trainers and want to instill  deep concerns for ethical training and for rescue horses.

This is where our Youth trainers come in!

The Youth portion of the Appalachian Trainer Face Off is a Win-Win for both rescue horses and trainers alike!

Facts, Questions and Answers:

Applications are being accepted now through May 1st.  There is no submission fee for this year. Trainers will be selected based on the merit of their entire submission package.

Heart of Phoenix will spend from January until May 1st working on securing donations and sponsors for this  event. As they are secured, we will we update this website and the social media pages, as well.

You will submit a biography, a link to your website/social media pages (if applicable), photos of your facility, a training video and written application. Make certain to have the Mentor portions and Parental portions filled out.

Upon selection to participate, You will attend a day event on May 15th to pick up Your rescue horse.

Youth Trainers will draw numbers and select their horse based on the numbers drawn. Trainers and Parents / Guardians will sign agreements with HOP that covers liability and care terms. Trainers will leave with a print out of the competition scoring and events.

Each horse will receive a point assessment on this day by our team. All horses will be sound and have limited to no previous training. They will come Up to date on vet, farrier and dental care. If a horse has received limited training, it will be noted and during the competition, the points system will allow for this to make all “grading” equal.

Youth will be able to either take a miniature horse through ground training to driving or a young horse under age 3 up to the point of being able to start undersaddle (youth will not start horses undersaddle).

You will have the horse for approximately 100 days. During this time, you will be responsible, at most, for hay and grain costs (which is tax deductible should the trainer wish a deduction ). Heart of Phoenix will cover farrier costs, as well as any needed vet costs.  Should a horse turn up lame, HOP will provide a back up horse and based on when this occurs, as weighted / point system will be used to keep the contest fair. Horses will have to stay in excellent condition and at a body scale weight of 5-6 throughout the time they are in training.

Trainers will submit videos of at least 5 minutes long, several photos and a write up of several paragraphs on the dates listed here(2x monthly, required, but more is entirely acceptable) either on their personal social media pages, Youtube or directly to Heart of Phoenix. Heart of Phoenix will share each write up and video on all of our social media and online outlets with links to the trainer’s website, email and social media pages. This is where you “market” your skill and your partner for the next 100 days. Heart of Phoenix will sponsor the best of these submissions to gain interest nationwide in the event. A user name and password for our blogs will be assigned to allow maximum exposure, should a trainer wish to go above and beyond in his/her recording of this process.

USE this time well. It holds the potential of tremendous exposure. We have seen blogs reach 30k unique readers, youtube videos achieve 600,000 views and Facebook posts reach half a million people, as well. The exposure stands to be valuable, the bragging rights could be tremendous fun, but the effect you will have on a horse’s life that had no hope before you stepped in will be Priceless.

Chances are high that this will prove a fabulous opportunity for your TALENT to receive an unprecedented platform! Our hope is your work as a trainer will gain fans and followers during this process, while we find homes for horses in need and show others these horses have tremendous potential!

While trainers will offer their training services in exchange for the opportunity and exposure offered by the event, as well as for the potential of winning placement prizes (which will be announced as sponsors let us know their donation offerings), the perk is that during this 100 day event, trainers and the rescue will be providing exposure to these horses. During the time they are marketed, people across the USA will be able to submit an application to take part in an evening AUCTION where the horses that take part will receive silent bids both online and in person to adopt the horses on a HOP contract. Any amount above our traditional adoption fee of $500.00 will go to the trainer in full! This means all the video, information and exposure you provide will be an added benefit to YOU in the end.

Prize Packages will be awarded to any trainer who has a horse that receives an “auction” bid over $500.00, as well as 1-4th place.

Additionally, we will award an “online” fan favorite prize based on your submitted content.


On August 25th, Trainers will arrive at Winfield Riding Arena in West Virginia to begin the jurying process.

3 judges (from different disciplines and areas) will consider the following during each section of the competition:

Respect and Trust between horse and horseman/woman, Confidence and sensitivity of the trainer, technique and use of force.

Points will be assigned  based on:        

Unable to complete task, Able to complete, Able to complete well or Able to excel

Events will include:

Moving the horse 

Ability to get forward motion

Control of walk, trot, and lope

Difficulty of Horse

Desensitizing / Ground work of the horse

Ability of trainer to settle the horse

Tarps, flag and/or ropes, ground poles

Horses’s acceptance of the saddle & pad


Ability to load into and back off of a trailer

Ability to stand tied

Following the end of the 1st days event, the highest scoring 5 competitors will continue on to Day 2 of the competition. 

Scoring from Day 1 will combine with Day 2 Scoring

DAY TWO  beginning at 9am


While navigating the course:

Ability to control spookiness

Walk and trot in hand around arena both directions while against the rail

Ability to get forward motion

Stop their horse

Get the horse to back up 3 steps

Pick up all 4 feet

Weave through all poles

Walk through zig zag poles

Cross tarp

Cross ground poles

NOTE: During these two days, the Heart of Phoenix Open Fun Show will be taking place in the second arena at this show grounds. Trainers will be free to offer private lessons and so forth during the competition and afterward, if they would like.


Download the Youth Application now