Tag Archives: Mustangs

BLM Backs Down on Removing Horses from Pryor Mountain

Thank you from Rio (left) (Garay & Jacinta), Quahneah (right) (Baja & Washakie).

There will be no removal of young wild horses from the West’s most famous wild horse herd this year!  Like Cloud, we did not back down. He would have been proud of all of you who contributed to this victory. So, thank you from some of the horses whose freedom you protected.

Your donations made it possible for us to hire an outstanding law firm and to make a compelling case. (Read Ginger’s declaration.) And it didn’t hurt to have the expertise of those of you who read the documents and pointed out deficiencies in BLM’s Environmental Assessment and Record of Decision. Thanks to you all!

We hope that this victory for the Pryor Wild Horse Herd (read judge’s ruling) might help to protect other small herds in the West, many of whom are managed at disastrously low levels — below the genetic minimums of 150-200 animals.
Happy Trails!
Ginger

The Cloud Foundation is represented in the lawsuit by Katherine A. Meyer and Elizabeth Lewis of the Washington DC public interest firm Meyer, Glitzenstein, and Eubanks.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Cloud Foundation Wins Reprieve for Pryor Wild Horse Herd

Photo: Galaxy’s band and Knight’s band atop the Pryor Mountains, summer 2018.

Temporary Restraining Order Prevents September 2 Trapping and Removal

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO – Susan P. Watters, United States District Judge, has ruled in favor of Ginger Kathrens and the Cloud Foundation in their efforts to protect the small Pryor Mountain mustang herd from capture and removal, stating, “Plaintiffs’ application for TRO is GRANTED. Defendants are hereby ENJOINED from conducting the wild horse gather set for September 2, 2018, pending a hearing on Plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction.”

“We won,” stated a jubilant Ginger Kathrens, who brought the herd to international prominence with her documentaries about Cloud, a charismatic palomino stallion she documented from the day he was born. “I hope that the TRO and what we believe will be a permanent decision later next month will ensure a lasting future for this unique Spanish herd.”

In her ruling, Judge Waters acknowledged that BLM fell short in managing for both rare genetics and the unusual colors.

The Pryor Mustangs are descended of Crow Indian horses (the range borders reservation lands) and before that, the horses of the Conquistadors. Genetic and color experts have concluded that this is a rare Spanish Colonial herd. Their range is located on the Montana/Wyoming border east of Yellowstone National Park. Kathrens, who began her journey with wild horses in 1994, was ridiculed in the Government’s brief for her repeated efforts to protect the Pryor Herd. “I hope this is a turning point for America’s beleaguered wild horse herds that have been so cruelly treated and that the BLM will finally adopt humane methods of management that take into account the essential need for family structures and the basic right to live in freedom as the Wild Horse and Burro Act intended,” Kathrens said.

In her decision to grant the TRO, Judge Watters states: “BLM argues that one removal action will not result in the permanent loss of genetic diversity of the Pryor Herd.… This conclusion is contrary to the evidence before the court. Extinction of a bloodline or phenotype is, by its nature, loss of genetic diversity. And extinction, meaning forever, is certainly a long duration. This court finds that Plaintiffs have established a likelihood of irreparable harm absent a TRO.”

“We could not have brought this suit without a high level of confidence in our donors.” Kathrens continued. “Cloud fans are loyal to wild horses and understand that maintaining the family structure and genetic strength are the essentials to living wild.”

2018 is the 50th Anniversary of the creation of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range, the first nationally designated area established to provide a home for free-roaming horses. “What a grand way to celebrate!” Ginger Kathrens concludes.

The hearing in Billings, MT is set for September 28 at 9:30 am.

The Cloud Foundation is being represented in the lawsuit by Katherine A. Meyer and Elizabeth Lewis of the Washington DC public interest firm Meyer, Glitzenstein, and Eubanks.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Pryor Herd Legal Action Update, from Ginger Kathrens

Hopi, her daughter Quintasket, and Demure. Quintasket is targeted for removal. Pic: Kristen Collett, 2017.

I am discouraged and shocked by the statements made by the BLM person in charge of managing the Pryor wild horse herd. A bait trap removal is to begin on September 2nd. Our attorneys requested that the operation be delayed so that legal arguments on both sides could be presented before a judge. BLM says they cannot delay because BLM “key personnel would not be available later in September as some have approved leave for vacations that they have already paid for.”

Their lack of caring for animals we love takes my breath away. With their timeline, the young males targeted, Okomi (Firestorm/Jackson), Quanah (Flint/Halcyon), Oak and Parry (Hidalgo and Fresia), Orlando and Quaid (Greta and Garcia), Quasar (Kitalpha/Hickok), and Rio (Jacinta/Garay), would be captured, hauled to the Britton Springs corrals at the base of the mountain, gelded, and offered for sale on September 18th. What’s the hurry, you might ask?

Here is what BLM says about this:  “Government travel in September becomes more problematic as BLM approaches the end of the fiscal year.”  And If the young Pryor mustangs are still there in late October BLM has indicated they will move them to “other BLM facilities with space for short-term holding.” Again, a horrifying lack of concern.

We are fighting as hard as we can for our friends on the mountain. Please do your part. Call your Congressional Reps and Senators and let them know about the needless and cruel measures BLM is planning. And stress not only the intangibles of kindness over cruelty but the economic benefits to the Montana and Wyoming communities who play host to visitors from around the world, visitors anxious to glimpse the unforgettable sight of wild Spanish colonial mustangs in their spectacular mountain stronghold.

Other points you will want to make to your Congressional Representatives and US Senators:

–The wild horses in the Pryor Mountains are a genetically unique, rare Spanish Colonial Herd, descended from the horses of the Conquistadors. Their range is dedicated to wild horses and other wildlife. The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range was the first public wild horse range created in the United States and precedes the passage of the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

–Currently, the Pryor Herd is at the same population level as after the 2015 removal: 152. That means there has been no population change in the last 3 yrs., so BLM could easily delay another month or two or even a year rather than hurrying up to meet “vacation” schedules. Despite the facts on population, BLM claims that the population is increasing by 8% annually. This is not true.

Find phone numbers here:
https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

Please call and help our Pryor wild horses today and we also need your help with DONATIONS to our fund on our webpage:
https://www.thecloudfoundation.org/checkout/donate

We can’t let this happen to animals so many of us cherish!

Thanks to each and every one of you for caring so much.

–Ginger Kathrens

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Utah Wild Horses Need Your Help

As you may have heard, the BLM is proposing a roundup of over 325 horses from the Onaqui HMA in Utah. This potentially devastating proposal would deplete the 450-member herd to low AML, a 72% decrease in herd size. It will wreak havoc on the herd, which will no longer be genetically viable, and it would be a tragic loss for the public who carefully follows this popular herd.

This is where you come in. The public comment period is open until next Tuesday! We need you to submit your comments on this roundup by 10/31/2017. Some of our coalition partners have talked with BLM employees in Utah who say the plans are not yet set in stone, and they’re looking for public input. This is a huge advantage in our favor – we need to speak up for the Onaqui mustangs!

Here are some suggested topics you can use, and instructions for submitting your comments:

  • Do not permanently remove 325 horses (72%) as they might be killed in holding, per the most recent recommendation of the BLM National Advisory Board.
  • Removing these horses will render the herd genetically non-viable per equine geneticist, Dr. Gus Cothran. He advises at least 150-200 horses must remain in the herd to ensure genetic viability.
  • The BLM cites the preservation of sage grouse territory as a reason for removing these horses. Yet, there are only a few places where wild horses and sage grouse live together in the HMA. In those places fencing can mitigate the potential harm to sage grouse in lieu of permanent removal.
  • The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service released a study in 2012 that did not cite wild horses as one of the top five threats to sage grouse. Instead, it cites energy development, transmission right of ways, fire, invasive species, and commercial development as the top threats.
  • BLM must focus on fertility control. Their plan to treat 60 mares in FY2018 is not adequate to slow reproduction. Volunteers with the Wild Horses of America Foundation are ready and able to implement a larger population control program.
  • To send your comments:

o Put this in the subject line: “Population Control, Gather, and Research for the Onaqui Mountain Wild Horse Herd Management Area Project”

o Email: blm_ut_cedarmt_onaqui@blm.gov

o Mail: Bureau of Land Management

Salt Lake Field Office
2370 South Decker Lake Boulevard
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

As always, be respectful in your comments. This helps us maintain credibility as supporters of these beautiful animals, but be honest and speak your mind. You can read more about the proposal here:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-frontoffice/projects/nepa/90785/121933/148789/Public_Notice_Scoping_10-2-17.pdf

Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Thank you for your support of our wild horses and burros!

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation
719-633-3842
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Crowds Flocked to Jacksonville Equestrian Center for Extreme Mustang Makeover

Photo courtesy of Christine Rose Photography.

Jacksonville, FL (May 26, 2017) – The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was packed with both people and horses for the facility’s first-ever Free Family Fun Day and the return of the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition. Saturday, May 20, saw a crowd of approximately 200 gathered to enjoy the wild mustangs, a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, a vintage mustang car show, pony rides, a petting zoo, Gator Country 99.9 FM’s live radio show with prizes, and the nearby Olympic-sized swimming pool. The evening brought another crowd to the Jacksonville, Florida recreational facility for the popular Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Finale show.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a unique competitive event produced by the non-profit organization Mustang Heritage Foundation. Trainers are given 100 days to turn an American Mustang from wild to mild. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s beautiful facility was the perfect venue for trainers to compete for cash and prizes while displaying the trainability of American Mustangs in hopes of finding a suitable adopter for each Mustang entered. During the Top Ten Freestyle Finale, the trainer and Mustang pairs who scored highest in the weekend’s competition so far put it all on the line for the grand prize. Spectators cheered them on as they performed everything from standing in the saddle to mounted shooting to jumping obstacles.

Many of the Mustang trainers felt that the experience changed them just as much as it changed the Mustangs. “It made me start from scratch,” stated Ashley Mancuso, a trainer from Tallahassee, Florida. “I had to think about the communication I was giving to the horse because these Mustangs come to us never being touched before. So, everything they become is really what we are.”

This year’s Extreme Mustang Makeover champion, and winner of the $25,000 prize, was trainer Marsha Hartford-Sapp, who competed for her 8th consecutive year in this challenging event. She also won the champion title last year at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. “The learning process that I get from every horse motivates me,” she explained. “For me to have an avenue where I can learn so much as a trainer, and make myself better as a trainer, and help a horse at the same time, is really a phenomenal opportunity.”

Hartford-Sapp won this year with the mare Chason Dreams. “I am so proud of this exceptional mare, who was nothing short of remarkable the whole weekend! She made my heart swell in the freestyle with how brave she was in the crowds and noise, and how much she tried for me.” Hartford-Sapp went on to say that Chason Dreams won another big prize by being adopted by her new owner, Cynthia Smoot, at the auction held directly after the Top Ten Freestyle Finals. “Cynthia was able to meet Dream on Friday before the competition, and their energy together was fabulous! I am so excited for the partnership, and I am beyond honored to be asked to continue training Dream for her new owner.” Hartford-Sapp is the owner and head trainer at Southern Oaks Equestrian Center in Tallahassee.

Photo courtesy of JRPR

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was thrilled to host the Extreme Mustang Makeover to help bring awareness to the public about wild Mustangs and Mustang adoption. This year, even more people in the local community had a chance to meet the Mustangs as part of the Free Family Fun Day that the facility held in conjunction with the event.

Many Family Fun Day attendees enjoyed the chance to meet a different kind of Mustang, as the Jacksonville Mustang Car Club brought a bright array of unique Mustang vehicles to the grounds. Kids spent the day riding ponies, petting farm animals, jumping in a bounce house, and getting their faces painted. Lucky families went home with prizes distributed by Gator Country 99.9 FM, including buy-one-get-one-free horseback riding coupons for the nearby Diamond D ranch, concert tickets, and tickets to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Final.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is known as a family-favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events all year long. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

For more information and to find out about other exciting upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call (904)-255-4215.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Free Family Fun Day and Extreme Mustang Makeover at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Photo courtesy of JRPR.

Jacksonville, FL (May 19, 2017) — The public is invited to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in Jacksonville, Florida Saturday, May 20, for a day packed full of free activities for the entire family. The final day of the Extreme Mustang Makeover will be held simultaneously at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, with several free events leading up to the Top 10 Freestyle Finals (a ticketed event on Saturday evening).

The exciting Free Family Fun Day will kick off early on May 20 at 8:00 am, when the Jacksonville Mustang Car Club will drive up to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in unique mustang vehicles. Over fifteen mustangs will be on display during the event, alongside another type of mustangs – horses. The famous Extreme Mustang Makeover will introduce spectators to wild mustang horses who have spent the past 100 days with a trainer to prepare for the weekend’s competition.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is open to the public at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center from May 18-20. From 8:00 am to 4:00 pm on May 20, the Extreme Mustang Makeover trail class and freestyle competition for youth trainers and their mustangs will take place.

Cool down in an Olympic-sized pool adjacent to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center anytime from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm on May 20, when the Cecil Aquatics Center will be open for swimming. There will be a $1.00 fee for Duval country residents, and a $1.50 fee for all other swimmers.

At noon, the festivities will jump into full swing with a free bounce house, free petting zoo, free pony rides, free face painting, free balloon animals, and a free magic show. These kid-friendly events will wrap up at 4:00 pm.

Jacksonville’s popular radio station Gator Country 99.9 FM will arrive on site at 1:00 pm. Gator Country’s Matt Basford will broadcast live until 3:00 pm, offering plenty of prizes. Prizes will include buy-one-get-one-free horseback riding coupons for the nearby Diamond D ranch, concert tickets, tickets to the Extreme Mustang Makeover Top Ten Freestyle Final on Saturday night, and more – so make sure to stop by to see Matt!

From 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm, the horses and trainers from the Extreme Mustang Makeover will be in the Jacksonville Equestrian Center barns, ready to greet anyone interested in meeting real mustangs face-to-face.

At 4:45 pm, doors will open to the facility’s enormous indoor coliseum for the much-anticipated Extreme Mustang Makeover Top 10 Freestyle Finals. The mustang and trainer pairs selected as competition finalists will perform amazing and entertaining feats in front of the crowd, vying for the winning title. Tickets to this event will be available at the door and are also available online at https://tix.extremetix.com/webtix/4300/event/69306. Tickets are $15.00 plus tax. Veterans will receive a $5.00 discount, and children under five years old are free.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is pleased to offer the local community a day packed full of activities and exhibitions on Saturday, May 20. To learn more about the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, which is home to community, recreational, and equestrian events year-round, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Alexis Newman at (904) 993-2053.

Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Debbie Stegner (904)-255-4215
dstegner@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd.
Jacksonville, FL 32221

Rob Lowe Joins Our Board and the Sneaky Wording in the Appropriations Bill

Actor Rob Lowe has joined the Advisory Board for Saving America’s Mustangs and Mustang Monument. Rob is an acclaimed actor in movies such as The Outsiders and St. Elmo’s Fire but then moved to award winning television shows such as The West Wing, Parks and Recreation and The Grinder.

Recent Changes to the Appropriations Bill Is a Worry for Wild Mustangs & Burros

A recent change to the 2017 Appropriations Bill has put our beloved Wild Horses and Burros in more danger. The bill revision included an addition which robs wild horses and burros in holding facilities of their protected status under the Wild Horse and Burro Act. Further, these animals could be transferred to Federal, State, or local agencies which would then only require “the recommendation of a licensed veterinarian, in cases of severe injury, illness, or advanced age” to dispose of the animal.

This cloak-and-dagger tactic of sneaking this verbiage into the Appropriations Bill is creating a loophole in legislation to which several hundred if not thousands of mustangs will fall prey.  It is certainly putting slaughter back on the table as the option for these animals, and that just will not do.

Further, the notion of transferring these animals from the Bureau of Land Management over to Federal, State or local government agencies is also taking steps backward. Once we start removing protections for these animals, it will be harder to regain ground for not only conservation, but also to stop the round ups and incarceration of these innocent creatures.

Now is the time for government to see the value in using private business as a solution to this ongoing issue. Private Businesses like Mustang Monument would not only provide a solution, but transparency and monetary savings as well. Further private businesses have the motivation to get things done rather than to getting stuck in the same ol’ mud hole. Let’s fix this problem. It is not that hard; it just takes communication.

Please contact the following people to voice your concerns for these majestic animals:

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Chair, Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
DC office: (202) 224-6665
AK office: (907) 271-3735

Sen. Tom Udall, Ranking Member, Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee
DC office: (202) 224-6621
NM office: (505) 346-6791

Rep. Ken Calvert
DC office: (202) 225-1986
CA office: (951) 277-0042

Rep. Betty McCollum
DC office: (202) 225-6631
MN office: (651) 224-9191

Saving America’s Mustangs

Favorite Mustang Trainer, Jimbo Albritton, Embarks on Next Wild Horse Training Journey

Photo courtesy of SDPhotography.

Jacksonville, FL (July 14, 2016) – It’s been over two months since the Extreme Mustang Makeover drew crowds to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center to watch recently tamed Mustangs perform impressive feats before being auctioned off to permanent homes. Local Jacksonville trainer and Extreme Mustang Makeover entry Jimbo Albritton, though, has still not gotten his chance to exhibit his Mustang in the competition due to a last-minute injury. So after spending time this summer training at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, Albritton will be heading to the next Extreme Mustang Makeover with the support of the Jacksonville community behind him.

It was a perfect example that things don’t always go as planned – especially in the horse world – when Jimbo Albritton’s assigned Mustang mare, Penney, tore a suspensory before the Extreme Mustang Makeover at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center in May. Albritton opted to pull her out of the competition rather than have her endure any unnecessary pain. Although the rules of the competition still stood for Penney – the Mustangs must be auctioned off after spending 100 days working with a trainer – there proved to be luck in store for Albritton and the Mustang mare.

Albritton’s “lucky Penney” has had her fair share of luck (especially since landing in Albritton’s care). Instead of her going to a new home, one of Albritton’s sponsors purchased Penney for him so that he could continue to give her the care she needs to heal.

“Penney is now doing much better than expected and is healing great,” Albritton said. “She is now getting some monitored turn out in a small paddock. She has not been lame at all. She will have a re-check with her vet most likely in the beginning of August, and then hopefully we can start riding her again. It may be a far stretch, but we do have a ranch horse show at the end of September that I think she would be very successful in. If the vet clears her to work, I may try conditioning her back for that. If not, we will wait to do those shows next year and, in the meantime, she will be my go-to horse at the ranch for working the new colts and cow work. She will also be ridden by my two-year-old little girl Kendall, because that is who she really belongs to!”

While Penney rehabilitates, Albritton is keeping busy with many other endeavors, including signing up for the next Extreme Mustang Makeover competition that will be held in Fort Worth, Texas, on September 15-17. For this competition, he was assigned a new Mustang called Cassius. The 100 days that Albritton spends transforming Cassius from a wild horse to a trained horse will include riding and clinics at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. The 80-acre facility features an enormous indoor arena for all all-weather riding, several outdoor arenas, more than 400 stalls, and accessibility to miles of trails.

Albritton and Cassius will be at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the Double Up Horsemanship Clinic on July 16-17, a clinic that Albritton is co-instructing with Mike Woodard. While Cassius isn’t quite ready to participate in the clinic, Albritton plans to trailer him out to get him exposure to a new setting and the stimulus that horses experience at an event.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is proud to be a part of helping the area’s favorite Mustang trainer with his newest project, and also stands behind Albritton in his efforts outside of the arena. Albritton is currently dedicating time to helping two local residents overcome tragedies. On July 9, he held a benefit barrel race for Jacee Beth Thomas at Albritton’s facility in Green Coves Springs. Barrel racer Thomas was injured in an accident when a train struck her car, and she is now on the long and costly road to recovery. Albritton hopes that the proceeds from the event will help provide Thomas and her family with some financial support.

Albritton is also working with the organization Dreaming of Three to help brighten the life of Kasen, a young cancer patient. Albritton plans to host an event that will let the young boy experience the animals on Albritton’s ranch amidst friends, family, and supporters in Jacksonville. Albritton also hopes to have a blood donation bus at the event, as Kasen is in need of blood donations. For more information on how to contribute to these efforts, contact Albritton at james.albritton@rocketmail.com.

Meanwhile at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center, other events open to the public will immediately follow the Double Up Horsemanship Clinic. Next up will be Community Night Schooling on July 19, and then the #GetLikeHeather Car Show on July 30. For more information, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Wild Horses Transformed in Extreme Mustang Makeover at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Marsha Hartford-Sapp and her Mustang partner Freedom (Photo courtesy of SDPhotography) 

Jacksonville, FL (May 13, 2016) – This past weekend, the Jacksonville Equestrian Center was host to genuine American Mustangs and their trainers as they showcased their newfound partnerships to a packed house. The Extreme Mustang Makeover, which is designed to test both human and horse for their ability to learn quickly and make the most out of a small period of time, was presented by the Mustang Heritage Foundation. Each participating trainer had just 100 days to transform a wild mustang into a star performer that would impress the judges and the crowd. Spectators then had the opportunity to bid on a piece of America’s equine heritage at the end of the competition.

Youth competitors adopted their Mustang partners before the event, and showed off how far they had come together in 100 days. Adult competitors auctioned off their Mustangs at the end of the Extreme Mustang Makeover weekend. The competition included classes such as Handling and Conditioning, Trail, and Freestyle. Adult competitors all vied to be selected to compete in the Top Ten Freestyle Finals that took place directly before the Mustang auction. A first place prize of $25,000 and a custom-made Gist belt buckle was at stake for the winner. Alongside nine other spectacular performances, Marsha Hartford-Sapp and her Mustang partner Freedom brought the crowd to their feet with a bridleless riding exhibition and other impressive acts. Hartford-Sapp and Freedom were named winner of the Extreme Mustang Makeover.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a unique event produced by the Mustang Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization. Kyla Hogan, the director of marketing for the Mustang Heritage Foundation, explained, “The Mustang Heritage Foundation’s mission is, with the help of the Bureau of Land Management, to increase the rate of adoption of excess mustangs that are in holding facilities. We had 24 adults and 16 kids competing at the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Jacksonville.” This means 40 more wild Mustangs were transferred from holding facilities to good homes.

Dan Russell, who was onsite representing the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), explained, “The Extreme Mustang Makeover events show people that Mustangs are good horses. Mustangs are the horses that the original cowboys rode in the 1800s. There are roughly 50,000 horses on the range right now and an almost equal amount being cared for in holding facilities. They’re taken off the range into holding facilities for different reasons – forest fires, droughts, over-grazed land – and we’re just looking for somebody to give them good homes.”

Taylor McIntosh and Sonora (Photo courtesy of JRPR)
Taylor McIntosh and Sonora (Photo courtesy of JRPR)

Taylor McIntosh, the 2014 Extreme Mustang Makeover champion from just outside of Auburn, Alabama, made it into the Top Ten Freestyle Finals with his assigned Mustang, Sonora, at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center’s competition. McIntosh shares in the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s admiration of the strength of Mustangs’ spirits. “At first I did this to gain exposure, but now that I’m doing this for my third year I can really say it’s all for the love of the Mustang,” McIntosh shared. “Sonora is a smart horse – and that can be both a good and a bad thing – but she’d tried so hard at everything I asked her to learn. I love that about her.” McIntosh and Sonora’s Freestyle performance included McIntosh standing in the saddle, and Sonora lying down.

The youth trainers at the Extreme Mustang Makeover were as excited about the Mustangs as the adults, and also delivered impressive performances. After Ruthann Strickland competed with her adopted Mustang, two-year-old Battle Beau, she explained, “I did this because I wanted a challenge. I’ve never trained a horse before. I really like him, but he can be a handful! I love his personality. He’s a goof and can be very sassy – we’re working on that,” she laughed.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center was thrilled to host the Extreme Mustang Makeover to help bring awareness to the public about the wild Mustangs and Mustang adoption. The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is known as a family-favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events all year long. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221

Tickets Available Now for the Extreme Mustang Makeover at Jacksonville Equestrian Center

Jimbo Albritton and Penney (Photo courtesy of SDPhotography)

Jacksonville, FL (April 25, 2016) — With less than two weeks to go until the start of the Extreme Mustang Makeover at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center on May 6-7, Mustang trainers like Jimbo Albritton of Penney Farms, Florida are preparing for action.

Each trainer participating in the Extreme Mustang Makeover has been tasked with transforming a wild Mustang into a very rideable, outstanding performer in just 100 days. The Extreme Mustang Makeover is designed to test both human and horse for their ability to learn quickly and make the most out of a small period of time.

The competition at the Jacksonville Equestrian Center will begin with an opportunity for spectators to meet the trainers and the horses on Friday morning, before competitors gather in the main arena for show prep. Next, each trainer and Mustang duo will compete in several classes. Friday’s classes will include Handling and Conditioning, Youth Classes, and an Adult Trail Class. On Saturday, coffee and donuts will be provided in the morning before further Mustang exhibitions and award ceremonies.

Spectators can enjoy free admittance to the event on Friday and until 4:45 pm on Saturday. After 4:45, the competition will really get serious. The top 10 Mustang and trainer pairs will be announced, and they will head into the Top 10 Freestyle Finals – where they can strut their stuff and show off what they learned in their own personal style. The Extreme Mustang Makeover Freestyle Finals are known for jaw-dropping performances; past Freestyles have featured riders standing in their saddles, roping, obstacles, and more.

As competitors work to put a few more days of training on their assigned Mustangs, participant Jimbo Albritton feels lucky that he and his Mustang mare, Penney, hit the ground running. Albritton says, “It was the luck of the draw that I was assigned Penney.” Even from the beginning, the sweet-tempered mare seemed to act more like a puppy dog than a fiery Mustang.

But despite Penney’s sweet disposition, she’s had a lot to learn these past couple of months. “Everything is going right and it’s been a dramatic change since the first day,” Albritton commented about Penney’s progress. “She’s a lot more quiet and we’re going places. Her skill level has drastically increased.”

As Albritton prepares for show time, he’s now focused on perfecting those skills. “I really want to refine a couple of things,” he said. “I want to make lead changes more solid. I’d like her to be a touch quieter and a little more solid in her overall performance.”

On the line – for Albritton and everyone competing in the Extreme Mustang Makeover challenge – is a $25,000 award and custom-made Gist belt buckle for the winner.

But even as Albritton vies for the flashy reward, he plans on keeping things simple and sticking to the basics. When asked about his plans if he qualifies for the Top 10 Freestyle Finals, he said, “My main plan is to do simple things great, instead of doing a lot of complicated things not so great. We’re going to stick to a reining pattern – some spins and stops – and see if she’ll lay down for us.”

At the end of the day, whether Penney nails her spins or her stops, Albritton is grateful for the time he’s spent with his lucky little mare and, most importantly, he hopes that his work with Penney leads to her finding her forever home, as all Mustangs will be available for adoption after the event.

To see the excitement of the event yourself or to adopt one of the competing Mustangs, head to the Jacksonville Equestrian Center for the May 6-7 events. Preliminary classes are free to watch. Tickets for the Freestyle event ($15.00) are available here.

The Jacksonville Equestrian Center is a favorite destination for equestrian and recreational events. The 80-acre facility is easily accessible from major highways in Jacksonville, Florida, and features an enormous indoor arena, outdoor arenas, and over 400 stalls. There are also miles of riding, hiking, and biking trails accessible from the Jacksonville Equestrian Center. For more information and to find out about other upcoming events, visit www.jaxequestriancenter.com or call Penny Gorton at (904) 255-4227.

For more information, contact:
Jacksonville Equestrian Center
Penny Gorton 904-255-4227
PGorton@coj.net
13611 Normandy Blvd, Jacksonville, FL 32221