Contributed by Sandi Martinez
Wild Mustangs; they are not a phenomenon. They are a fantastic group of wild horses that roam freely in several parts of the United States. In an effort to give these horses a fighting chance, a foundation called ‘Mustang Heritage Foundation’, puts together a yearly competition: Extreme Mustang Makeover.
The competing mustang trainer’s goal is to train, and make these wild ones adoptable and companionable to bidders, in the public auction that takes place after the competition. Yes, the winner of 10 finalists takes home a monetary prize; but also pairs wild horse, with a loving human(s). In a nutshell; bring these horses to a place of partnership with humans, when all they’ve known is companionship with one another in a world where there are no bounds, no fences, no humans, and no obstacles other than the ones they are already familiar with – and they are completely wild. There is not one tamed bone in their body.
A documentary, Wild Horses, Wild Ride, was released in 2012. It covered the amazing journey during the 2009 Extreme Mustang Makeover. Bear in mind as I write this, I am no horse professional. I don’t own a horse, nor have I ridden one since I was a tween (no need to mention just exactly how many years ago that was!), and that was a bit ago!
In the first part of the documentary, I am astounded at the differing backgrounds of the trainers, ranging from pro’s to those individuals whom want to make a difference in the mustangs’ and their future humans’ lives. I am astounded at all the planning, challenges, and hiccups that horse and trainer endure in those 100 days.
As the documentary unfolds, so does my heart. I am in awe at the close and wordless interaction and relationships that the humans form with the wild ones. As the 100 days come to a close, the trainers celebrate and are incredibly hopeful that their mustang is ready to be adopted; but not just to any ordinary bidder. The trainers are insistent that their newfound best friends are going to a FANTASTIC home, not just ‘any’ home. So much so, that some of these trainers bid on their own mustangs… Ok, folks this is where I stop – I don’t want to give it away – rent it, buy it, check it out at your local library, and see for yourselves!
What I understand as a non-horse professional, and just as an observer, is that horses present on very high and obvious levels, a magical prescient essence about them. In training the mustangs, the trainers themselves are experiencing their own short-comings, weaknesses, and are bombarded with the element of surprise.
So ladies and gentlemen, I will ask again, are there really any losers in this incredibly poignant competition? You tell us here at RMSAAM, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this!