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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 284

Mustangs on the Mojave Trail

By Doug Gorman, Norco Mounted Posse Member & BLM Wild Horse and Burro Volunteer
 
For the last 21 years, the Norco Mounted Posse has sponsored a trail ride across the Mojave Desert, using the old Mojave Trail. Riders average about 150 miles, depending on which trail head the ride starts from. The trip begins the first week of April, so we can avoid the hot weather.
 
Horses and riders head out on the trail
Along the trail
 
In 2002, I decided to make the ride on my newly trained Mustang, Virgil. Well Virgil made the complete ride, but I didn’t, due to a pre-existing back injury that forced me to seek medical attention four days into the ride. My Mustang "Kiowa" made the trip as the "drag" horse, and I was forced to sell him to a new convert, who used to make this trip on her Arab.
 
Since that first trip in 2002, I was hooked! Due to work, I was unable to attend the ride in 2003, but was ready, willing and able to make the trip in 2004. For this trip, I took my Mustang "Homer", my Mounted Posse trained horse. At 21 years of age, Homer performed well as the drag horse, and did his breed well.
 
Horse's eye view of other approaching horses and riders
Horse's eye view of some of the riders
 
 
 Having owned Mustangs since 1995, and being a true believer in these animals, I couldn’t help but brag about them. After taking our new Mustang "Dot" on the trip in 2005, my best friend decided it was time for him to get a Mustang.
 
In late 2005, my friend purchased Jethro from his owner in Nevada. Jethro joined Dot on the trip in 2006. Both mustangs proved to be hardy horses, and along with Kiowa, the mustang breed was well represented.
 
I became a volunteer for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program in 2005, and after talking with Wild Horse Compliance Specialist Jason Williams about the ride, he was allowed to attend the ride on behalf of the Folsom Field office of the BLM.
 
The BLM has gotten a bad name over the years, due to the amount of paperwork required to put on the ride, and the restrictions that we have to abide by while riding on BLM land.  When Jason showed up with Stinger, his BLM "company horse", there were a lot of reservations as to his presence, and I heard a lot of people voice their concerns over why he was there.   Later that night, a lot of these reservations would disappear.   Sitting around the campfire, Jason, Mike and I were subject to a lot of kidding about our horses being mustangs.
 
Stinger gets some feed
Stinger gets some feed
 
In the early morning hours, we were awakened by Stinger and his friends. When we got up to see what was going on, we found four horses had gotten loose, and two of them were heading east away from camp. None of these were mustangs!
 
 
Jason dressed quickly, saddled Stinger and the both of them were on their way after two of the loose horses. His quick action, and his ability to "cowboy up" started knocking down those walls and those reservations that most of our return riders had about the BLM.
 
       After the first day of riding about 26 miles, a non-believer came up to our trailer and jokingly began to chide us, saying that our horses would have to be trailered sometime on the trip. Well they proved him wrong, on the second day of the ride: all four of the "boys" were willing, able, and ready to ride. The jokester’s horse had to be trailered the 26 miles that day.
 
         Over the six days of riding, Stinger, Jethro, Dot and Kiowa proved themselves to be very able horses, and we were asked a lot of questions about them. People could see that these horses were very able to perform all the tasks that we asked of them.
 
      It was fun watching people’s reactions as they would walk by our trailer, and see our crew sitting down in lawn chairs, with the mustangs lying down near us. This really opened some minds to the mustang horse.
 
      As I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of concerns about have a "fed" riding with us. After only a couple of minutes of talking with Jason, people opened up to him, and Jason broke down barriers that had been in place for years. Jason's showing up with his positive personality, and his ability to get things done and help other people, did more to overcome any reservations most of the riders had over his presence.
 
   The best thing about this was, the following weekend; the BLM was hosting an adoption in Norco.   After the ride, Jason received a lot of inquires into the adoption, and how someone could adopt a Wild Horse.

The four horsemen pause for a classic Western-movie-type photo
The four horsemen pause for a classic Western-movie-type photo
 
As we left camp on day five, Stinger proudly displayed the words ‘ADOPT A WILD MUSTANG", painted across his hind quarters, and Dot being one of the drag horses had ‘THE END" painted across his. Not bad for wild horses!
 
The four mustangs on this trip, along with Jason Williams promoted the Wild Horse and Burro Program like no advertisement could. I would like the thank Jason for his positive attitude and his willingness to help others, and the Folsom Field Office of the BLM for allowing him to take this trip.   Well done!!
 
You can find more information on the Norco Mounted Posse's Mojave ride at their website, www.norcomountedposse.com .
 
 
- Doug Gorman, Norco Mounted Posse Member & BLM Wild Horse and Burro Volunteer, 4/07
 
   
BLM California News.bytes, issue 284

 
Last updated: 06-04-2007