This scenefrom a Quarter Horse Show in Billingswill be repeated many times next summer at Horseshoe Hills Guest Ranch, Seeley Lake, when riders and horses from around the state will gather here for two of the shows on the annual circuit. G. Noland file photo
December 30, 1999
Seeley Swan Pathfinder
Seeley Lake, Montana
by Gary Noland
For the Pathfinder
Nationally sanctioned Quarter Horse Shows that have been held in Hamilton for many years are being moved to the Horseshoe Hills Guest Ranch near Seeley Lake next summer.
Representatives of the Western Montana Quarter Horse Association visited the ranch and area in November, according to owner Wayne Heaton, and awarded the shows shortly after that. Members of the association visited lodging facilities and restaurants in the area as well as the ranch on their inspection trip here.
"It's another of several things happening in our area," said Heaton who had put in a request with the association to host the shows.
In past years the Hamilton show at the fairgrounds there have drawn 120 quarter horsessome of the state's bestand that number or more are expected for each of two shows here, one in June and the other in July,
People who come with the horsesriders, family members, trainers, show officialsare roughly double the number of horses, Heaton said, adding that "..it should mean of lot of income to the town."
Exhibitors have already booked up lodging at the nearby Rich Ranch for the show the weekend of June 22-24. Some people are making arrangments to come early and ride in the mountains for a couple of days prior to the show, making a "mini-vacation" out of it, Heaton said.
The picturesque mountain setting plus facilities at Horseshoe Hills Guest Ranch in the Kozy Korner area were deciding factors in awarding the shows, as well as some cost savings offered by Horseshow Hills. The ranch will take over booking of entrants, stalls and shavings, saving the show association time and money.
The shows will offer some 80 classes over three days with judges coming from other statesa different judge for each day of the three-day shows. There will be a full complement of classes from halter through performance, including working cow classes and jumping classes.
Spectator admission to the shows is free and Heaton is expecting a lot of interest from people in the area. It's also open to any riders with quarter horses who might want to take advantage of the proximity of the show and enter some of the classes, Heaton said.
Heaton said he will be putting up a new barn and converting one hay barn to create stalls to handle the horses. By show time he will have some 60 permanent stalls and another 60 or 70 temporary stalls.
Horseshoe Hills is a new guest ranch facility, built within the last five years, on 200 acres with an indoor arena, large outdoor arena, barns, pasture and boarding areas.
The really exciting thing about these shows, Heaton said, is that they could lead to a 10-year booking of the events, with a third show already under consideration. The July show is the weekend of 28-30, 2000.
Heaton and ranch manager and trainer Chris Brown will be looking for people to help with the shows, as well as show sponsors. If you are interested contact them at 677-BARN.