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Congratulations to the
Colt Starting School Class of 2023!

Left to Right: Back – Roland Sawatzky (Instructor), Randi Hittel, Cassandra Spang (Auditor),
Donna Horan (Auditor)
, Melissa Glowinski (Instructor)
Front – Emily Freiburger, Victoria Beer


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Sawatzky Equine Colt Starting School 2023
Professional Program Participants

Left to Right: Emily Freiburger, Roland Sawatzky (Instructor), Victoria Beer,
Melissa Glowinski (Instructor), Randi Hittel

Stay tuned for updated Colt Starting School 2024 details . . .

** Please Note **

Once details and dates for the 2024 program are confirmed, we will be updating the website.


Scheduling will be similar to the 2023 program below.

Pricing & discounts below are current for the 2024 program.


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Partnership-Based Learning for
Horses & Humans

Our comprehensive 6-Week program is designed to give you a realistic experience of starting young horses. 


We focus on horse and rider Safety every step of the way while providing a Supportive team to teach you our Systematic program for succeeding with young horses. 


The main threat to our
safety can be summarized
by the following.

We Don't Know
What We Don't Know!

It's one of the main reasons we developed our program.
Colt Starting has inherent risks.
However, we believe the majority of accidents in colt starting can be avoided.

Let us be your Safety-Net while you learn Safe Practices.


Training young horses takes more than just physical skill.

It requires just as much mental and emotional agility.

Our team is passionate about empowering students in ALL aspects of colt starting.

 We believe learning is an individual process for both humans and horses.

Each student receives both group and one on one coaching.

We pay close attention to learning styles and are committed to a customized approach to helping each student. 


The first 6 weeks in a young horses education are critical for the rest of their career.


We believe in setting a horse up with skills for life regardless of their destined sport.


Our systematic approach  causes confident and responsive horses who have solid understanding of what humans want from them.

We introduce you to the system of partnership principles we use in order to help you become more skilled at systematically working with young horses.


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Sawatzky Equine's
Signature Colt Starting School Program

It’s so much more than a clinic!

Every area of horsemanship can be improved by learning the foundational skills of starting young horses.

The unique structure of Sawatzky Equine’s Colt Starting School is created to maximize the progression and safety of training, while building the physical skills, mental preparedness and emotional empowerment required to implement the learned techniques and tools necessary to produce horses that are confident and well-prepared for their future work.


Immerse yourself in a learning environment that offers step-by-step technical guidance, coaching and support from two different perspectives – with each instructor offering a diversity of backgrounds.


Sawatzky Equine Colt Starting School is NOT a cookie cutter experience!



Through a combined, layered approach, our instructors will lead you through the experience, introducing the following:



  • Teaching Theory – including class time and manuals

  • Demonstrations – live and interactive 

  • Practice with Mature Horses – allows for repetition and building of technical skills

  • Teach your Colt – hands-on with our guidance and support


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Build self-confidence & gain comprehensive tools.

Learn independent problem solving & critical thinking skills.

Immerse yourself in an environment created to excel you toward your colt starting goals

What You Need to Participate


Participant requirements


  • Complete an Application including a video submission.

  • Access to a young horse that meets the young horse requirements OR have one provided for an additional fee.

  • Be a confident rider.

  • Be able to commit to all the dates and schedule.


Horse Requirements 


  • Between the ages of 2-4.

  • No previous starting or backing.

  • Halter broke.

Our horsemanship based approach benefits english & western discipline horses.

It is designed for confident Intermediate to Advanced riders with strong physical fitness.


We recommend our program for.....

 Industry Professionals

 Breeders of small or large operations

 Ambitious Amateurs that want to make a career in the industry

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Choose Your Ride

 Enrollment is Limited to 6 Students Per Year!

  Early Bird Discounts up to 20% Off

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September 1 - October 13

Immerse yourself in this program designed for students who are already working in the industry or who want to be. 


$6,995.00 +GST

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September 1 - October 13

Perfect for increasing your foundation of horsemanship and learning how to start your own young horse.


$4295.00 +GST

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September 1 - October 13

Grab your notebook and a pen and get ready to take your learning back to your herd! 

Auditing packages & single dates available.


$624.75 - $40.00

Click on one of the links above
to choose your program


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Once a year we transform our training barn into an education centre for those learning the art of Colt Starting.


Located only 45 minutes Northwest of Edmonton, Alberta. Our barn has welcomed equines from Ontario and Yukon and participants from all over North America for training, clinics and courses.

Meet Our Instructors

 Roland and Melissa share 35 plus years of combined experience.

They have started over 3,000 horses.

Their program is designed for both english & western disciplines.


 Let them help you navigate starting colts with confidence!

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To see more about their personal horsemanship journeys,
please click
on the links below.

Meet Our Instructors

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Roland Sawatzky

"It’s a privilege to share what I’ve learned over the years starting young horses under saddle."

Colt Starting School was developed from Roland’s passion for training horses and his desire to share his 30 years of experience starting young horses.


Over the years, Roland refined the process of starting colts by accumulating knowledge from a variety of places. Initially, he focused on what worked for him but he also realized that there is more than one way to get the job done safely.


His intention in developing an educational colt starting school program was to share the framework of what works while helping people adapt and modify given their personal strengths and challenges. 


Through trial, error, dedication and commitment, he has developed a foundational program that takes a lot of the guess work out and reduces the risk of working with young horses.


Roland's goal is to make colt starting a rewarding, safe investment for your future ~ whether it be as a way to increase your personal horsemanship or as a career path into the colt starting industry.

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Melissa Glowinski

"We are teaching something that’s clear from start to finish, so you can be more informed in making training decisions going forward."

Training young horses has always been a passion of Melissa’s. She started in pony club and began by buying auction ponies for training and resale.

Eventually she graduated to training professionally – albeit the more “traditional route” of getting bucked off a lot and enduring a lot of failure before success!


She was fortunate to have generous mentors and she did her best to take the knowledge they shared to create a predictable road map to get a horse from ground zero to broke and reliable. She admits that putting it together by herself landed her in a lot of valuable learning experiences, but also in some real trouble at times.


After joining Sawatzky Equine in 2017, Melissa quickly adopted Roland’s successful framework and welcomed the safety that it brought to the process of starting young horses. She says it added more refinement in being predictable and systematic.

In 2020, she partnered with Roland to co-teach and further develop the Colt Starting School curriculum. She’s trained over 1,200 horses and is known for her determination and winning attitude.

 Roland and Melissa share 35 plus years of combined experience.

They have started over 3,000 horses.

Their program is designed for both english & western disciplines.


 Let them help you navigate starting colts with confidence!

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To see more about their personal horsemanship journeys,
please click
on the links below.

Check out what our Past Graduates are saying about the Program . . .

"It was very thorough and complete as possible. Every step was done with the safety and comfort levels in mind for both humans and horses.

Shantelle Vaillancourt,

2019 Alumni

Our partnership developed. It went from nothing to something. Now I have options on how to improve partnerships with other horses. "

Jessica Friedrichsen,

2019, 2020 Alumni

"I've realized my skills weren't wrong, I just didn't know what to do with them. Now I've got better skills and I'm a better horseperson."

Victoria Beer,

2020, 2021 Alumni

"I feel like the mental game is very important. I wouldn’t be the horse person I am if I didn’t sort lot of fear out during the program."

Ali Cote,

2021 Alumni

"Everything is a step-by-step process, and if you cover those steps, the next step will be easier."

Brenda Wightman,

2020 Alumni

"Systematic & progressive.

I was very safe under the tutelage of Roland & Melissa. It was a first class experience!"

Laura Hoge,

2021 Alumni

"It's amazing how pressure and release at the right time can increase your training tenfold."

Sarah Schumann,

2020 Alumni

"I got a lot of awareness, not just with the horses but with myself too – both emotionally and professionally."

Brooke Taphorn,

2021 Alumni

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Not Sure Which Program is a Fit?
If you have questions, please reach out to us by clicking the link below.
We're committed to helping you discover if our program is a fit for your goals. 


Are You Coming For The Ride?

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there on-site accommodation?

Camping at Sawatzky Equine

Free Camping for self-contained campers with no power hook-up.

Rate of $10.00 per night applies if power plug-in and/or services* are needed. (Limited plug-ins available)

*Services include Shower/Kitchenette/Large Fridge/Laundry


On -Site Accommodation 

We have a limited amount of on-site accommodation.

Hostel style rooms with access to kitchenette/shower/laundry/fridge-freezer.

Available full time for 6 Week Intensive:  $900.00 + gst

Per Night Use: $35.00 + gst

*Students participating in the Intensive Program get first option to utilize on-site accommodation.

Are there overnight stabling options if I haul-in?

There is no extra cost for stabling overnight or hauling in for Standard program participants. Please bring your own hay and concentrates.

What if I don't have a horse that fits the requirements

If you cannot buy or borrow a young horse we can provide a young horse at an additional charge. Additional charge for a young horse to use* for the duration of the program is $1250.00 + gst. This includes board at Sawatzky Equine for the duration of the program.

Payment Due: August 1, 2024.

*Horse will be owned by Sawatzky Equine or be a Joint Venture Lease generated by Sawatzky Equine.

Can I board my horse(s) for the duration of the program?

Discount Price for 6 week on site boarding for participant horses that are in the program is $525.00 + gst / per horse.

*This gives you access to working with your colt on site 7 days a week (unless the facility is booked for clinics or shows)

We have outdoor pens with shelters and auto water. 

We feed grass hay and a daily mineral mixture.

Access to indoor arena with a  barn attached as well as an outdoor arena.

Payment Due : On Arrival September 1,  2024.

Missed Dates

If you miss a class we cannot accommodate rescheduling. We have a full training schedule for the months of September and October. The weekly calls are not available to be rescheduled.

Refund & Cancellation Policy

If you cancel your registration into the program by July 22, 2024 we will refund your money minus a $200.00 administration fee.

If you cancel your registration into the program after July 22, 2024 we will not provide a refund.

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