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News Release

For Release:  June 9, 2008               
Contact:  David Christy (916) 985-4474

Valley Center Trainer Places High in Mustang Challenge

Madelyn Wagner of Valley Center and her mustang, Handy Hank, took fourth place in the Mustang Challenge Saturday in Sacramento.

In the final competition, trainers showed the mustangs’ many strengths – riding while standing on the saddle cracking a whip, riding bareback without a halter and herding cattle. Wagner’s mustang received a $10,000 bid in an adoption following the event.

Corrine Elser of Burns, Ore., and her mustang, Dolly, took first place.

Twenty-nine trainers competed in the "Mustang Challenge" at the Western State Horse Expo at Cal Expo in Sacramento Friday and Saturday. 

BLM State Director Mike Pool said specially selected trainers from California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Idaho received the mustangs in March and had 90 days to gentle and train the animals for the competition.  Judges evaluated each horse and trainer on a number of factors simulating trail and recreational riding situations and selected 10 finalists for the Saturday night competition.

"This was a great event and a great opportunity to adopt one of these 'Living Legends' of the American West," said Pool.  "Adopters will love these horses for all kinds of riding, whether it be trail riding, back country packing, or riding competitions."

The Mustang Challenge was created by the Mustang Heritage Foundation (MHF), in partnership with the BLM to showcase the beauty, versatility and trainability of the American mustang through this training competition. The event gives the public a chance to see the results of wild horses becoming trained mounts and then adopt one of these treasured animals.

"This event was a real treat for any horse lover," said Mustang Heritage Foundation Executive Director Patti Colbert. "Seeing how well these animals respond to training and handling after only 90 days is something the public has never seen before, let alone having the chance to own the horse."

Even though the animals will have been handled and trained, the same adoptions conditions that accompany any BLM adoption apply for the new owner when the animal is adopted. Adopted horses remain with the adopter for one year before “title” of ownership is provided from the BLM. For adoption information, go to http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/adoption.htm or call 1-866-4MUSTANGS

Nearly 26,000 Mustangs roam federal and privately held contracted lands across the country. In order to manage the herds and maintain both land and herd health, the BLM oversees the adoption of wild horses and burros through public adoptions held throughout the United States. Since 1973, more than 219,000 wild horses and burros have been adopted.



Last updated: 06-23-2008