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Tracy Frank, Published March 07 2014

ND horse trader looks for horses anyone can ride

BISMARCK - Jaden Huntley has been trading horses for the past 10 years. The 30-year-old Bismarck man started trading horses part-time while in college at Bismarck State College and continued until he decided to make it a full-time career two years ago.

He is licensed, bonded and insured as a livestock dealer and operates Huntley Horses, which he says is the largest horse-trading operation in the state, located 10 miles north of Bismarck.

“My No. 1 objective is to pair someone with a horse they can enjoy,” he said.

Q: How did you become involved in trading horses?

A: I always had an interest in horses, and I just had a few extras and started selling them, made a little money and just saw an opportunity I guess.

How large is your operation?

On the average there are usually 40 horses there.

I have two people working for me, Zac Crane and Reis Wolf. I couldn’t do it without them. They’re professional horse trainers by trade. That’s what they did before they came to work for me.

What is a typical day like for you?

If I’m at home, it’s usually just a matter of riding the horses to figure out what we’ve got and taking pictures and videos. In this day and age everybody wants to see pictures and videos.

The caretaking, we split that among everybody.

The horses that I buy are usually fully trained. We ride them so we know how to represent them to the public.

What are your days like when you’re not at home?

I’m on the road a lot just trying to find horses to sell. I’m anywhere from Ft. Worth, Texas, to Clovis, N.M., Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla., Billings, Mont., Missouri, Minneapolis. I travel all over.

Between the drive time and the paperwork that’s required to bring the horses back, it takes a while.

What are you looking for in a horse?

I’m looking for something that I can sell to absolutely anybody. Even if he’s worked for the best cowboy in the world, he also needs to be suitable for anybody, for a kid or a novice.

A lot of the horses I sell are to families that are just looking for their first horse or they’re pretty inexperienced and need something fool-proof.

What is the price-range of a horse?

For a well-broke horse, you’re looking at about $2,500 and up. A lot goes into consideration, age and pedigree, what kind of disciplines he does or doesn’t do.

I don’t think people understand (that) I spend a lot of time and money and miles on trucks and effort just to try to find these horses to market for sale.

People don’t understand that for a good horse it’s going to cost them some money and they’re in very high demand. The horse market is really good right now for the right kind of horse.

I should have a horse to fit just about anybody at any given time and if I don’t have exactly what they’re looking for, I’m more than willing to try to find it.

What is your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenges are trying to match the horse to the person.

I’ve got experience at it, but just making sure they meld or have some connection. Some people just don’t get along with certain horses and some horses don’t get along with certain people.

What do you like about your job?

I enjoy horses. It allows me to do that every day. I get to see different parts of the country, get out of here when it’s cold.

I enjoy working with people. I really like it when they bring kids to come get horses because I had a good horse when I was a kid.

Business profile: Huntley Horses

• Ownership: Jaden Huntley

• Where: 10 miles north of Bismarck

• Contact: (701) 391-9587

• Online: http://huntleyhorses.com or find them on Facebook

Readers can reach Forum reporter Tracy Frank at (701) 241-5526