Join us in Yankton, SD for 2024!
The Dakota Showdown Finale will be August 24-25 in Yankton, SD! Trainer Applications open March 15, so get ready!
ABOUT THE SHOWDOWN / South Dakota's Premier Horse Trainer Challenge
The Dakota Showdown Horse Trainer Challenge is a competition in which volunteer foster homes and professional trainers work with a Gentle Spirit Horses Rescue horse for a minimum of 100 days.
The purpose of the Dakota Showdown Horse Trainer Challenge is:
- To show the public that rescued horses and other equines can be useful, trainable and enjoyable equine partners.
- To provide training and adoption opportunities for rescued horses.
- To provide a fun, competitive venue for Professional and Amateur trainers to display their horsemanship skills.
2023 Dakota Showdown Horse Trainer Challenge Champions
2023 GRAND CHAMPION
Kaylee Peel with TahniKaylee Peel and Tahni, a 9-year-old Quarter Horse type gelding, competed in the Showcase Division, which was a very hard division! Grand and Reserve Grand Champions were determined by the high point scores for the weekend and Tahni was the clear winner, earning 313 points in basic skills, trail obstacles and their freestyle performance at the 2023 Dakota Showdown Finale.
2023 RESERVE GRAND CHAMPION
Michelle Gilles with Toluca
Also competing in the Showcase Division was Michelle Gilles and Toluca, a 14-year-old OTTB. Toluca initially started with a different trainer but was transferred to Michelle approximately 5 weeks before the event. Seeing them earn 311.25 points and earning Reserve Grand Champion was a huge highlight of the weekend!
Challenge Division Champions
First: Alex Wilson with RueAlex Wilson with 11-yr-old Quarter Horse mare took first place in the Challenge division, with an impressive improvement score of 266.75. The horses were given a starting score for basic skills and their final score was the difference to show each individual horse's improvement.
Second: Erynn Parrish with Daisy
Erynn Parrish and 14-year-old Quarter Horse mare Daisy took second place in the Challenge Division with an improvement score of 226.
Third: Jadyn Mossengren with Harper
Jadyn Mossengren and 14-yr-old Quarter Horse mare Harper took third place in the Challenge Division with an improvement score of 221.5.
2023 Showcase Division Champions
First: Michelle Gilles with Toluca
Michelle Gilles and with 14-year-old OTTB mare Toluca took first place in the Showcase Division with an improvement score of 244.25
Second: Kaylee Peel with TahniKaylee Peel and Tahni, a 9-year-old Quarter Horse type gelding, too second in the Showcase Division with an improvement score of 240.
Third: Kailey Deknikker with Terra
Kailey Deknikker with 9-year-old Mustang mare Terra took third in the Showcase Division with an improvement score of 189.
2023 Pony Division Champions
First: Valerie Hicks with Comet
Valerie Hicks with 15-yr-old Hackney Pony gelding Comet placed first in the Pony Division with an improvement score of 247.
Second: Brenda Buus with BelleBrenda Buus with Belle placed first in the Pony Division with an improvement score of 232
Third: Anna Alfonso with Tinkerbell
Anna Alfonso with Tinkerbelle placed first in the Pony Division with an improvement score of 192.75