A Western riding enthusiast has won a dream apprenticeship on an American ranch – but can’t take it up because of visa rules.
Joe Midgley, 19, landed a role in master horseman Chris Cox’s The Horsemanship Showdown on US TV and competed in Texas late last year.
Last Friday, Joe – from Denholme – was able to reveal he was one of just three competitors to win a four-year apprenticeship on Cox’s ranch.
But he told us: “I don’t fit the requirements for an equine trainee visa because you need to be at least 21 and have a five-year full-time employment history of working with horses. But Chris has been really good and said the door is always open. I can still go to America on a three-month holiday visa and learn from him that way. I’ve now got one of the best Western horse riders as a contact and friend.”
Joe, a former pupil of Parkside School, Cullingworth, said he was “ecstatic” to be one of the winners.
He had been sworn to keep the result secret until the final episode.
He was the only competition entrant from the UK and the youngest. He currently travels all over the UK training horses.
Joe’s win was screened at the Old White Lion, Haworth, last Friday, along with other previous competition episodes. It was arranged by family friend Angie Kirtley.