Win garners a $2,500 paycheck
Georgetown, TX - It’s the quiet ones you’ve got to watch out for. The Deacon, a well-made American Mustang trained by Gary Wedemeyer of Winton, CA, seemed to come out of nowhere to preach a sermon on the talents of a wild horse with 90 days training. It was a sermon one could believe in as the five-year-old gelding went on to take the win in the $9,000 Extreme Mustang Makeover Trail Challenge in Norco, CA.
The Norco event encompassed more elements than any other Extreme Mustang Makeover held this season. Requiring mustangs and their trainers to not only compete in the routine body conditioning, as well as in hand and under saddle obstacle courses, the Extreme Trail Challenge did what its name suggests – challenged horses on the trail.
Mustangs and their trainers first took on the rugged terrain of the foothills surrounding Norco, with David Kneller of Paso Robles, CA, leading his mustang Polaris Mustang along the entire route. But, at the end of the day, Walker with trainer Lanny Leach in the saddle had the lead going into the urban trail course.
With sirens blaring, dogs barking and llamas peeking through fences, the Mustangs strolled through the streets of Norco May 15, seemingly nonplussed with the activity around them. The 28 competing horses also went “off road” to the riverbed outside Norco that stretches from the city all the way to Huntington Beach. With a chance to walk in the sand and come across the occasional coyote, mustangs were also able to cool off in a shallow river crossing before heading back to the Ingalls Equestrian Center for the evening’s finals performance.
The favorite going into the finals was Chizm under the hand of Utah Extreme Mustang Makeover reserve champion Ruth Livingston of Moroni, Utah, but the quiet one was coming to take the win in what was one of the closest top 10 competitions in Extreme Mustang Makeover history.
Judged by longtime industry experts in reined cow horse, reining and trail Sandy Arledge of San Diego, Bill Enk of Paso Robles and Pat Wickenheiser of Aqua Dulce, CA, the 10 finalists brought on a show that included beautiful choreography, amazing athleticism and incredible cow work. Trainer Don Douglas’s cow work, even while taking jumps with Smokey garnered almost perfect scores from the judges, as did the work of Tom Shiloh of Pahrump, NV, whose tribute to Spanish riding techniques aboard Silent mesmerized the crowds. But it was Wedemeyer and The Deacon who scored a perfect 10 under Bill Enk and 9.5 scores from the other judges, who declared they couldn’t believe what they were seeing from a wild horse with 90-days training.
The Deacon began the sermon by quietly pulling a barrel into the arena and then moved on with the message to the strains of cowboy music working effortlessly through figure eights, a perfect simple lead change and then taking on a feisty corriente steer down the fence line to the roar from the 2,000 fans.
Wedemeyer was awarded the Gist Silversmiths buckle for the win and $2,500, while Shiloh and Douglas shared the second place title and earnings of $2,000 each.
The Deacon was adopted on Sunday, May 16 for $3,000, while the high-adopting horse was Poster Boy, trained by Janet Titus of Coyote Lake, CA, who was adopted for $3,500. The average adoption price on the 28 horses was $1,611.
About the Mustang Heritage Foundation
The Mustang Heritage Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public, charitable, nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating successful adoptions for America's excess mustangs. Founded in 2001, its mission is to provide dynamic competitions showcasing the adoptability and trainability of the American Mustang in short term holding facilities under the care of the Bureau of Land Management.
The MHF on cooperation with the Bureau of Land Management created the Extreme Mustang Makeover event to highlight the recognized value of mustangs through a national training competition. The event will give the public a unique opportunity to see the results of wild horses becoming trained mounts and then participate in a competitive bidding process to adopt one of these treasured animals.
The purpose of the competition is to showcase the beauty, versatility, and trainability of these rugged horses that roam freely on public lands throughout the West, where the Bureau of Land Management protects them under Federal law. The BLM periodically removes excess animals from the range to ensure herd health and protect rangeland resources. Thousands of removed animals are then made available each year to the public for adoption.
About the Bureau of Land Management
The BLM manages more land - 253 million acres - than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.