From wild to wow!
Eight horses, all mustangs of assorted sizes and colors, march by twos into the center of the arena, split to the rail and circle back around. They trot into a line and form a pivot. On cue, the pairs turn and execute a circling pinwheel formation. The Mustang Riders of Northern Colorado wear traditional cowboy scarves around their necks – fun splashes of reds, blues and pinks. Each American Mustang sports a long white neck brand – to identify the Federal lands they roamed and the year they were gathered. Like the cowboy scarves, the mustang brand evokes a Wild West mystique and says “Wow! I am a mustang.” They recently acquired permission to perform at CSU in Ft Collins, Colo., for the June 10-12, 2011 Extreme Mustang Makeover, sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management and the Mustang Heritage Foundation. Catch them Saturday evening, along with the freestyle trainers and mustang demostration.
I admire the calm horses and the horsemanship. After only six practices, this is the first time they have performed this series of patterns. Even more impressive when I consider that five of the eight mustangs on the team are from the 2010 Colorado Extreme Mustang Makeover, (EMM). A year ago they were wild.
Each horse is unique. Cindy Loader, our hostess at the Spirit Dancer Ranch arena, describes her chocolate gelding, Calypso, as “totally loco” last year, a real challenge to train for the 2010 EMM. Today, he trots calmly next to Bo, husband Marks’ mount. She laughs and says “Here we are having a good time, showing off our mustangs and what we have done with them – from wild to wow!”
There is Marvin, the dapper sorrel. He has curious ears and a sweet expressive face. He is ridden by Pat Burge, the founder of the group. A lifelong horsewoman, she wanted to showcase the versatility of the mustangs and to help everyone see how much fun they can be. She says, “I got involved with the Mustang Heritage Foundation in 2007 when I realized that wild horses are gathered on federal lands – taxpayers lands – in inhumane ways. I wanted to do something to help these animals find homes and jobs.” She adds, “These are great horses to adopt. They make wonderful mounts.”
Taryn Hillman, a therapeutic riding instructor with Loveland’s Hearts and Horses, trained the bay gelding, Coda, for the 2010 EMM and then, also bought him. Today, he is a beautiful citizen, friendly and confident under saddle.
Nevada, owned and ridden by Megan Jones of Loveland, Colo., marches obediently. His brand gleams against his black neck. They recently graduated from an intensive mounted patrol clinic. He looks solid and dependable.
More than one spectator exclaims “Wow! Who knew you could teach them this stuff?”
Kudos all around for these Mustang Riders. Catch their debut and be sure and wear a cowboy scarf. Join the fun as we celebrate “From Wild to Wow!”
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