With less sustainable land to support the growing herds of roaming wild mustangs in the West, concerned horse lovers and mustang advocates are accepting the summons to train them for adoptions and engage in the ultimate 90-day horse training challenge: Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge.
The annual Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge, created by The Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF) in partnership with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), will take center state in Murfreesboro Oct. 22 through 24 at the Tennessee Miller Coliseum. A select group of horse trainers will showcase the wild horses they have shaped into gentle giants in a national training competition.
Local horse trainer Windy Hamby embraced the invitation and applied for the challenge. Horses have a special place in her heart which is why she’s trained all styles of riding techniques from nature trail riding, horsemanship to competitive levels of training. During the last 21 years, as a full-time horse trainer, she has worked with every breed.
Growing up around horses led to admiration for them, which is why she doesn’t see herself doing anything else.
“When I heard about the mustang challenge, I mailed my application in and waited to hear if I had been one of the 100 horse trainers picked to train the horses from some where out West,” Hamby said.
Training a wild mustang in 90 days is not easy, but when the Clevelander found out she was officially selected she was charged with excitement.
On July 17, Hamby will be driving her truck and trailer to Piney Woods, Miss., to transport the wild mustang back to her Bradley County farm. The only thing she knows for certain is the organization is selecting horses close in size and age for the challenge.
“I will have 90 days to get to work with and train the horse,” she said. “I am looking forward to it.”
After naming the mustang, the horse whispering abilities Hamby possesses will be utilized. Before any training lesson begins, she will relocate her living quarters to the stall where she will sleep with the horse.
“Sleeping with the horse helps build a relationship and trust so I won’t have to force train it,” she said. “I want the horse to want to respond to me because we have a relationship.”
After 90 days of attentively working to transform the wild horse, the pair will travel to the Tennessee Miller Coliseum in Murfreesboro for the three-day competition Oct. 22 through 24.
There Hamby and the other 99 trainers selected will entertain the public by showcasing the magnificent transformation of a rugged animal that once roamed free into a trainable one. They will be judged on conditioning, lead-line ability, groundwork, riding, how well they maneuver through an obstacle course and free style, which consists of anything beyond the competition requirements.
Each gentle mustang will be auctioned off at the end of the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge.
According to Mustang Heritage Foundation Executive Director Patti Colbert, 1,000 of the nation’s wildest horses started new a relationship with their adopters last year.
“We’ve been very fortunate in this economy to be able to sell out all of our events with the average adoption of the mustangs holding at about $1,000 per head,” Colbert said. “Our goal each year has been to place 1,000 Mustangs in good homes through the Extreme Mustang Makeover and our Trainers Incentive Program and the American public has responded.”
The mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation and the goal of the Extreme Mustang Makeover are to increase the adoption of mustangs across the country. The Mustang Heritage Foundation created the Extreme Mustang Makeover event to showcase the recognized value of mustangs through a national training competition.
Potential adopters, 18 years or older with no prior conviction for inhumane treatment of animals, can apply for the opportunity to be included in the competitive bidding process at the event.
For more information, contact the Mustang Heritage Foundation at 512-869-3225 or online at www.mustangheritagefoundation.org.
Tickets for the Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge and a list of lodging availability in Murfreesboro are available in advance online.