Have you ever tried to break in a wild horse in just 100 days? And I don’t mean just train them so they can be ridden in all gaits…I mean train them so well they can jump over small showjumps, barrels or hay bales, walk over a bridge, maybe even perform some ‘tricks’. Welcome to the Extreme Mustang Challenge.
The Mustang Heritage Foundation created the Extreme Mustang Challenge to showcase the beauty, versatility and trainability of mustang horses, and to demonstrate their value through a national training competition. The ultimate goal of the competition is to encourage the prospective horse owner to adopt a mustang as their next riding companion.
American Mustang horses roam freely on public lands throughout the West where they are protected under federal law by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). While still a subject of controversy, to ensure herd health and protect rangeland resources, the BLM periodically removes excess mustangs from the range. These horses are then made available each year to the public for adoption. Since 2007 almost seven thousand mustangs have been adopted through Mustang Heritage Foundation events, including the Extreme Mustang Challenge.
So exactly how does the Extreme Mustang Challenge work? Well, approximately 100 days before a competition, registered trainers are randomly paired with a wild mustang who has been removed from the herd by the BLM. Each trainer then has 100 days to work with their horse and prepare to showcase their new skills in a series of classes including handling and conditioning, a pattern class and a combined leading and riding class. The top ten competitors then compete in the freestyle finals where they get to choose what skill they showcase! At the end of the event all the horses are available for adoption from the general public.
Well it seems to me that this is a win win situation for everyone involved don’t you think globetrotters? A win for the horses who get a better chance at a loving home, a win for the trainers who have the chance to show their stuff and win some money (yes, cash prizes are involved), and of course a win for the spectators who get to watch, learn something and possibly take their very own mustang home!
References: Extreme Mustang Makeover
Image credits: Horse Nation