Ralstons parlay their equestrian passion into a family business
Post Independent staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO
SILT, Colorado – For Meg and Aaron Ralston, working with horses has been a lifelong pastime that has evolved into a career.
Both accomplished riders with numerous prizes to their credit, they live on 20 acres on Silt Mesa, with their sons, Parker, 5, and Colter, 4, and a string of horses.
As the next logical step in their career path, they have embarked on a campaign to train up local cowboys, cowgirls and horses in the discipline known as ranch sorting.
“We have tried to keep it attractive to all levels of riders and horses,” said Meg, who acts as spokesperson for the enterprise. “Our competition days have consisted of three classes – a trot only, a ‘pick one-draw one’ (you get to pick one partner and we pick one partner at random for you), and a youth class. We have had a great turnout at our events and see new faces at each one.”
Aaron, 35, grew up on a ranch in Collbran in eastern Mesa County.
He competed in rodeos for a good part of his youth, and as a young man moved to Oklahoma to work for horse trainer Doug Milholland, a hall-of-famer with the National Reining Horse Association.
Meg, 32, hails originally from Minnesota. Her family moved to the Roaring Fork Valley when she was 9, and she grew up on a 600-acre ranch in the Missouri Heights area near Carbondale.
Meg said she started showing horses at the age of 10, and competed in various equestrian events, from all-around performance to jumping, reining and “working cowhorse.”
The two young riders met in Oklahoma, Meg said, and moved back to Colorado in late 2001 so Aaron could start up a business training horses and riders. They married in 2004 and lived in Grand Junction and Carbondale before buying their place on Silt Mesa six years ago.
Along the way, Aaron became the 2004 Reserve World Champion in the senior reining category of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) competitions.
He also was on the gold-medal team at the 2006 World Equestrian Games, as well as an individual bronze medalist.
And he is in the third season of hosting his own television show, “The Ride with Aaron Ralston,” on the RFD-TV network.
Meg, in the same period, won the 2003 AQHA Amateur World Championship in Western riding aboard her horse Unprincipled, also known as Hershal. Hershal, she said, is now Colter’s horse.
She also was picked 2004 AQHA Reserve World Champion and 2005 AQHA World Champion in amateur reining.
“Then came the kids,” she said, “and I slowed down showing for a few years. I have been making my way back to more showing over the last year or so, mostly in the working cow-horse.”
The idea of hosting ranch sorting events, Meg said, was first broached by local Western riding enthusiasts.
“In his hosting over the past couple years, Aaron became familiar with the Ranch Sorting Association, RSNC, and the sport of ranch sorting,” she explained. “We have gotten some requests and interest by locals about sorting and wanted to give hosting a sorting a shot.”
She said there are plans in the works for some kind of Western riding event next summer, although the details are still in the works.
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