Gloria Keys, Winner of Charles Wilhelm’s “Ultimate Super Horse Challenge”

“And the winner, with a total score of 789 points is, Gloria Keys on the 8-year-old mare Gypsy!”

In the horse world where the typical scenario is one horse/one discipline, respected horseman Charles Wilhelm is taking another route.

“I’ve always believed that every horse should be multi-talented, much like a versatile ranch horse,” said the California trainer and clinician. “Each and every horse should be able to quietly do a variety of tasks and exercises with confidence and success. Having a Super Horse is a great goal to shoot for, and even if you don’t accomplish that final ‘Super Horse’ level, the training process will help fill in any ‘holes’ in training the horse might have. For instance, I’ve seen top-level dressage horses who shy at a cavaletti pole on the ground, and world class jumping horses who were out of control on an easy trail ride. These may be great horses at the one thing they do, but in my book they aren’t Super Horses. A Super Horse can appear in a parade one day, work cows the next, compete in an equitation class the following day–and more. The Super Horse can do all that with lightness, cadence, carriage, fluidity and responsiveness.

“After a number of successful Super Horse Clinics at my ranch over the past few years, the popularity of these events inspired me to create a super horse competition. I wanted the challenge to be a platform for horses and people to achieve a higher level of diversified performance and a greater level of refinement in their training and riding skills. So I decided to give people an opportunity to develop their horses to participate in a range of events, and created the Ultimate Super Horse Challenge,” said Wilhelm.

“One of the great bonuses of having the Ultimate Super Horse Challenge at the Horse Expo was that these horses were exposed to huge crowds, golf carts, babies crying, horses all around them, bursts of applause, loud speakers–all kinds of environments and noises that you can’t duplicate at home,” stated Wilhelm. “It’s great exposure for the horse. You can’t buy that kind of training!”

The three days of competition included the following:

  • In-hand work, Performance pattern and “Dancing with Cows”
  • Meet & Greet at the front gate of the Expo, to simulate a parade
  • Trail Equitation Pattern: Including trot poles, side passing, up and down transitions, gate and bridge
  • Super Horse Challenge Grand Finale: Extreme obstacles with a carwash, crossing a large tarp, dragging an object, balls, jumps and more.

After the scores from all six events were tabulated, the overall Champion was Gloria Keys on her 8-year-old Belgian Draft cross mare Gypsy. As champion, Gloria won a custom saddle designed by Charles Wilhelm. She also received a beautiful Championship belt buckle provided by Western States Wild Horse & Burro Expo, along with Clippers from Andis, Supplements from HorseTech and other great prizes from the Super Horse sponsors.

The Reserve Champion was Nicol Kunka on her Mustang gelding, Gideon. Nicol was presented a $500 cash prize, clippers from Andis, supplements from Horse Tech and other goodies.

Third place – Heidi MacDonald on her Kentucky Mt Horse Beau
Fourth place – Jessica Bishop on her Mustang gelding Heza
Fifth place – Jody Rumsey on her Quarter Horse gelding Blackjack

The response from the audience, competitors and sponsors was overwhelmingly positive. “The support of our sponsors was one of the real keys to making this event such a success,” says Wilhelm. “I would like to thank our Super Horse Sponsors: Horse & Rider magazine, Bar ALE Feeds, Andis Clippers, HorseTech, Manely Long Hair and EquestriSafe for helping make the Super Horse Challenge possible.”

For more information on Charles Wilhelm’s Super Horse Challenge, his program, clinics, DVDs, equipment and books, visit






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