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News.bytesNews.bytes Extra, issue 389

Mustang Challenge winner hopes to continue training mustangs

Three years ago, Katherine Cumberland attended a wild horse and burro adoption in San Luis Obispo as part of a college class.

She not only attended the Bureau of Land Management adoption, she took a mustang filly home. (text continues below)

Young woman competes with her horse in front of spectators on bleachers
Katherine Cumberland and her mustang, Wendy compete in the horse course at the Western States Extreme Mustang Makeover. Her performance, combined with scores from the in-hand course and the horse's body condition, qualified her for the finals.

That experience training the mustang paid dividends as she won the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Sacramento.

In the makeover, trainers have 90 days to train the mustang. Judges evaluate each horse and trainer on conditioning, groundwork and how the horse maneuvers through an obstacle “horse course,” which simulates trail and recreational riding situations.

Cumberland, of Santa Maria, a recent graduate of California Polytechnic State University in animal science, is working as an apprentice for trainer Korie Baker and hopes to continue as a trainer.

Her experience with horses goes back to an early age. “I’ve been riding since I was about 6,” she said. She continued working with horses and started working for Baker about two months before picking up the horse for the makeover.

This year’s mustang makeover may not be the last for Cumberland. She’s considering both a return to the California event and training a mustang for Fort Worth.

Young woman on her mustang compete in the final smackdown
Cumberland and Wendy compete in the mustang smackdown -- the final elimination, during the finals of the Mustang Makeover event.

Mustang Wendy fresh off the range, before Cumberland took her for training
"Before" -- Wendy fresh off the range, before Cumberland took her for training.

- Dave Christy, BLM-California Central District
- Photos by Jeff Fontana, BLM-California Northern District

BLM-California News.bytes, issue 389

Last updated: 07-01-2009