Friday, January 4, 2013

Wild Horse, Wild Ride

Kids, I just watched this heartwarming documentary, which follows a herd of wild mustangs, gathered up by the government and given to 100 people across the USA. The people, some experienced trainers, some not,  are given 100 days to bring these wild horses, never touched by human hands, to  being trained, ridable horses, ready for adoption at public auction at the end of this time, after a breathtaking competition to discover the championship team of horse and rider for that year.

It goes far beyond simple training though, and it is interesting to see the different approaches the trainers took, with a corresponding degree of success. The unskilled had more difficulty, as expected, but persevered and worked through with some varying degrees of success. But all of the horses were adopted, or, in a few cases, went home with their trainers.

The skilled and experienced trainers knew the first issue was gaining the horse's trust - after that, the horses did whatever they were asked to do. One horse and rider were so trustfully bonded, the horse went through its amazing paces blindfolded. Sadly, that young man could not afford to buy and keep his horse, as he so longed to do, and he was in tears for the final minutes of the film. I badly wanted someone to buy the horse for him, but as this is a documentary and not a Hollywood film, it didnt happen. It was heartbreaking. 

This got my sister and I very excited. She is keeping an eye out for another horse, as Beau is aging, and rescues with this degree of training are a phenomenal opportunity. Plus mustangs seem to be highly intelligent, hardy and "cow-y". Lori intends her next horse will do cattle sorting and barrel racing, and mustangs seem highly suited to these events.

We came across another wild mustang story after watching this film.  Ben Masters of San Angelo, Texas, along with three friends, is trying to raise money to make a documentary of a proposed six-month 3000 mile trip, on horseback, through some of the most spectacular scenery in the USA: Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming and Montana, including Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

"This is a story of the partnership between horse and rider, a testament to the hardiness of mustangs, and a tribute to the early explorers whose spirit remains today," it says on the Unbranded website. In the trailer, Ben says, "We're helping each other, us and these wild horses. We're helping them get out of their captivity. And they're helping us escape from ours."

Through their journey and the resulting film, they hope to inspire and encourage wild mustang adoptions.

There once were two million wild mustangs in the USA.  There are currently 36,000 mustangs living in the wild. Plus there are a further 43,000 living in captivity, in holding facilities, waiting to be adopted.              

If you watch this film trailer, your heart will be stirred by the intention and purpose of the proposed trip, by the young men whose passion this is, by the beauty and wildness that still exists across our landscape, and by the beauty and willingness of the horses.

Hopefully, you will want for these beautiful creatures the good loving homes they deserve, where they will be fed and cared for, and loved, and ridden beyond all our fences. If you wish to contact Ben, or to donate to this cause, go to the Unbranded website. On the right there is a Contact Me spot for you to send a message to Ben on Facebook.

I have mixed feelings about the terrifying gathering up of these horses by the government. The horses, accustomed to freedom and wildness, respond with terror to being gathered into pens. But it was wonderful to see the ones gifted with intuitive trainers, who gained their trust before starting the training. These horses are so intelligent, so willing, so spirited. It was less gratifying to see the "trainers" who lacked experience or wisdom, who taught through domination. But the horses, though more nervous with this approach, performed very well, given one hundred days before, they had had no contact with man (a status I now consider to be Nirvana).

Here is the trailer - feast your eyes on the beauty. Perhaps your heart will cry a little, as does mine, for the fate of the mustangs, such beautiful and spirited horses, as the government removes them from the wild and herds them into pens. May each one find someone who will love and value them. May one of them find their way to us, across the miles. We are ready.


  1. Good luck on getting one of those mustangs, Sherry. Sounds like you could give it a wonderful home.

  2. Moving, yes. The history of the US is a history of closing down free range. I like the respect shown human to horse--and therefore back--in this brief video.

  3. Sherry, my heart does go out to these animals. Thank God for good people who work for their welfare .

  4. ". . . they had had no contact with man (a status I now consider to be Nirvana)." So funny!


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