Kirk Christiansen works an untrained colt as part of the competition.
McKoy, Kirk, Mistie, Riata, Korby, Monty and Byron Christiansen with the giant prize check.
Kirk Christiansen is an Emery County horse trainer.
Local horse trainer is number one
The Utah Horse Council holds an Horse Expo every year in March at the Salt Lake County Equestrian Center. The highlight of the Expo is the Utah Horse Trainers Challenge. The Horse Council accepts applications from anyone in the nation every year in December. They select approximately 20 competitors to come to Ogden in January. The competitors complete an interview process and compete in a Western Riding/Trail Pattern class. The field is narrowed to eight competitors who then have an opportunity to work an untrained colt in a round pen for 20 minutes while they explain their process and philosophies to the crowd via microphone.
The field is once again narrowed to four competitors and the competitors are given a two year old colt to train for 60 days. At the end of the 60 days, the competitors bring the colt to the Horse Expo. At the Expo they have the opportunity to showcase the work they have done on their colt in the short amount of time. All trainers have 30 minutes to demonstrate their process and the achievements of the colt in four categories -- Ranch Riding, Trail, Cow Work, and a Freestyle competition.
The competitors conduct "mini clinics" in each of these areas in front of the Expo crowd. They also field questions from the audience and perform a final timed challenge. The colts are then auctioned off.
Kirk Christiansen from Emery had the opportunity to compete with three other great horse trainers from Utah and Wyoming. Kirk took home the title this year to add to his other accomplishments in the horse world.
Christiansen is the son of Ken and Earlene Christiansen of Emery. Kirk is the second of six kids. They were taught to trust in God, work hard and set goals. They were raised on a cow-calf operation that summered in the Manti LaSal National Forest.
Although they farmed, it was very evident that Kirk's love was the horses that helped them to manage the cow herd, while some of his siblings preferred the farming. From an early age, Kirk rode the horses that nobody else wanted to ride.
He soon discovered that he could accomplish much with a "problem" horse. He began starting colts for others as young as 14 years old.
Twenty-two years later, and now 36, Kirk is raising his five kids much the same way as he was raised, and in the same beautiful place. Kirk and his wife Mistie own and operate K&M Training and Ranch just one block south of where he grew up in Emery.
They feel blessed to teach their children valuable life lessons from horseback behind a herd of cows. Although Kirk has had many accomplishments of his own on horseback, his greatest happiness comes as he coaches his children to succeed in and out the arena. They are all on their way to becoming amazing horsemen.
Kirk works daily on improving his ability to listen and communicate with the horse. He is grateful that he can make a living doing what he loves and building on his God-given talent of horsemanship. He knows that true horsemanship is a journey and loves every step of the trail.
Kirk is happy to be a full time trainer and has been involved in many competitions throughout the years. He has competed in Extreme Trail Challenges, Colt starting, reined cow horse, roping, versatility ranch horse, Extreme mustang makeovers.
He has won the 2011 Supreme Mustang Makeover Idols Champion, 2011 impact of Horse Reserve Champion, 2012 Utah Horse Trainers Challenge third place; 2012 Supreme legends- fifth place; 2012 Impact Reserve, 2013 Utah Horse Trainers Challenge second place; 2012 Extreme Trail Challenge Champion, 2013 Hutchings Invitation Trail Champion and junior horse champion.
Kirk is also the Emery High wrestling coach and travels with the wrestlers to many tournaments during the season and the off season to help them develop their wrestling skills.
Kirk is a skilled horse trainer and also a real people person. He draws horses as well as people to him with his kind and loving personality and manner.