Thursday, January 10, 2008

It Starts...

Well, it really started in November when a friend of mine told me about the Midwest Mustang Challenge. I had vaguely remembered hearing about the Extreme Mustang Makeover in which 100 trainers were given 100 days to train 100 wild mustangs. At the end of the 100 days, a competition was held in Fort Worth, Texas with a 1st place prize of $10,000. The Midwest Challenge is similar with fewer trainers, and the competition will be held at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, Wisconsin. I decided it would be a great experience, so I applied.
On Dec. 21st, I found out I was chosen as one of sixty trainers. I was grateful to have two wonderful references on my application, as well as the use of my friend's facility to train the mustang.

Waiting until Jan. 9th to pick up my mustang was really difficult. Sometimes I am far too impatient for my own good. I had no idea what I was getting. We were told we had a 50/50 chance of a mare or a gelding. The first competition only had geldings. I own two mares, so this tidbit of information didn't really phase me.

So after a great deal of waiting... Jan. 9th finally arrived. A friend of mine, Jessica Schmitt, was also accepted for the competition, so we decided it would be best to drive down together to pick up our mustangs. Ewing, Illinois is about 6 and a half hours from Janesville. We left at 4 in the morning! We did get lost a few times, but finally made it to the holding facility at about 11:30. Things seemed to be going smoothly as we saw several trucks and trailers headed out on our way in. There were just 2 trailers ahead of us when we got there. When we went into the office to sign in we found out a little more about our Mustangs. Both Jessie and I received bay geldings! After getting their numbers we headed out to load them up. First was Jessie's, he loaded great, and is a beautiful dark bay. Mine was next and he loaded like a pro. After that, things went smoothly all the way home.

I decided I was going to name my horse after an artist, as art is very important to me. I just couldn't decide which artist, so I chose to wait until meeting the horse. After seeing my bay gelding "Remington" seemed to fit perfectly. He looks like a horse straight out of one of Frederick Remington's paintings.

Anyway... I'm sure this is getting long and boring so onto the first day of training! I really think I've got a great mustang on my hands. He is very calm and inquisitive. I spent this morning using Kitty Lauman's chosen method of mustang gentling using a bamboo pole. He did really well with this. If you would like more info on Kitty (2nd place winner in the first competition) I have a link to her website to the right. After he got used to the pole I added a rope to it and worked on touching him everywhere. He did kick out a few times when the pole touched his legs, but got over it. I decided to let him eat his breakfast and return later since he was being really good. When I returned I did some more of the same stuff, tossing the rope and using the bamboo pole to get him used to me. I took a small break to watch my 2 horses playing around in their paddock, and was surprised to see Remington sneaking up on me out of the corner of my eye. He walked right up to me and sniffed my face!! Then, I sneezed and ruined the moment... Oh well, he's gotta get used to that, allergies are no fun. After seeing how brave he could be I decided I would try to see if he'd allow me to touch him. I kept getting closer and closer rubbing him with the bamboo pole until I was really just a few inches from him. I could tell he was scared, but he did let me rub his shoulder, withers, and neck. I was happy with that for the first day.

This weekend I can hopefully get my boyfriend to take some photos and video of me and Remington.

Thanks for reading!


Applover said...

Congratulations, Jessie! You're off to a great start! Keep up the good work. Very sincerely, Sandy

Tracey said...

Mares? They're using mares this time around? How grand...

You've got me dreaming again, Jessie. I keep telling myself no, but you've gone and set off the spark one more time. Don't know if I should thank you or not, lol!

I'm impressed that Remington came right up that first day. That must have been a huge relief. I've got two mares who were like that, and two that weren't. It's so much nicer when they want to be your friend from the beginning!

I'm looking forward to reading about your progress :)

Jessie said...

Thanks for the comments Sandy and Tracey!

Tracey, after reading your blog, you have no reason not to enter! You have so much experience with mustangs! Keep checking the MHF website for the info on the Fort Worth competition ;-)