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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 283

Napa hosts "Meet the Mustangs Day"

The exciting and friendly atmosphere of a country carnival filled the Napa Valley Horsemen's Association grounds in Napa May 19, as the Horsemen's Association and BLM wild horse and burro program hosted "Meet the Mustangs Day." Opportunities to adopt mustangs and burros were part of the fun.

The event, a celebration of all things associated with mustangs and burros, drew a crowd of nearly 500 equine enthusiasts and those who were just curious about these living legends of the West. Adopters provided homes for 20 (16 horses and four burros) of the 27 animals offered for adoption. One halter-trained blue roan brought a $1,000 bid, the highest of the day.

Below, young and old crowd around Cannonball's pen prior to the start of bidding. BLM wrangler Doug Satica also gentled a colt for the adoption and shared insights about horse gentling with adoption visitors, (second photo below).
Young and old crowd around Canonball's pen before the start of bidding
BLM wrangler Doug Satica gentled a colt for the adoption and shared insights about horse gentling with adoption visitors

"This event was a wonderful example of what the BLM and its partners in the wild horse and burro program can do," said Tom Pogacnik, manager of the BLM-California wild hHorse and burro program. "More than a dozen volunteers were there showing their trained mustangs and burros. They demonstrated the animals' gentle nature and intelligence, and showed their capabilities in activities ranging from burro packing to dressage." Volunteers also halter gentled horses for the adoption, and demonstrated gentling techniques throughout the day.

Below, Saanen Kerson, left, and her mother, Nancy Kerson, lead the parade of herd management areas (HMA) in the main arena. Saanen is leading her adopted mustang, Benny, while Nancy rides Sparky. In the background, left, is Mike Kerson aboard his mustang, Ruby. Mike and Nancy Kerson were the primary organizers of the "Meet the Mustangs Day" event. Sixteen adopters participated in the parade as did BLM's Jason Williams and his BLM mustang, Stinger. Jason rides Stinger, an 11-year-old trained in the Canon City, Colorado, prison wild horse training program, on back country patrol, and for promotional events.

Saanen Kerson, left, and her mother, Nancy Kerson, lead the parade of herd management areas (HMA) in the main arena.

Jason Wiliams rides Stinger, an 11-year-old trained in the Canon City, Colorado, prison wild horse training program, on back country patrol, and for promotional events.


Jason Wiliams rides Stinger, an 11-year-old trained in the Canon City, Colorado, prison wild horse training program, on back country patrol, and for promotional events.

Among those showing their animals were adopters who are developing their animals into successful competitors. Below, Jill Carr of Mt. Aukum, California, demonstrated the abilities of Willow, a 6-year-old mare from the Wheeler Pass herd management area. Jill, whose husband, Les Carr, is nationally known in endurance competition, is achieving endurance success of her own with Willow. In her first season of endurance completion last year, Jill and Willow completed 555 miles, and they've completed another 205 miles so far this year. Jill, a lifelong horse owner, adopted Willow, her first mustang, out of her fascination with the West and the connection between mustangs and western U.S. history. She says mustangs are well suited in size, stamina and intelligence, for endurance competition.

Below, Jill Carr of Mt. Aukum, California, demonstrated the abilities of Willow, a 6-year-old mare from the Wheeler Pass herd management area

Two other northern California horse enthusiasts were on hand to show that wild horses can excel in a sport for which they are not typically known: dressage. In the sport, riders direct their horses through precise and complex maneuvers using slight movements of their hands, legs and weight.

Below, Wendee Walker puts her adopted mustang, Yogi, through a series of scripted moves as her husband, Mike, and Wendee's second adopted horse, Lucca, watch from the background. Another aspiring dressage competitor, Jill Owens, brought her mustang, Gypsy, to the event and demonstrated groundwork, (second photo below).

Wendee Walker puts her adopted mustang, Yogi, through a series of scripted moves as her husband, Mike, and Wendee's second adopted horse, Lucca, watch from the background
Aspiring dressage competitor Jill Owens brought her mustang, Gypsy, to the event and demonstrated groundwork

Burros also attracted plenty of attention during "Meet the Mustangs Day." Below, volunteer Dave Freeman led his pack string through the festival grounds. Later, David and other volunteers competed in a "pack scramble" to see who was quickest loading pack gear onto their burros.

volunteer Dave Freeman leads his pack string of burros through the festival grounds

- J. Fontana, 5/07


BLM California News.bytes, issue 283


 
Last updated: 05-25-2007