News Release

For Release:  March 25, 2008       
Contact:   Jeff Fontana (530) 252-5332
CA-N-08-36

Trinity County Horse Trainers Compete in Wild Horse Training Event

Dixie LaFountain, of Weaverville, and Andrew Stephens, of Lewiston, are putting their horse training skills to the test, competing in a group of specially selected trainers from five western states in the Western States Mustang Challenge. 

LaFountain and Stephens each recently received from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) an untrained mustang mare – LaFountain’s from the Fox Hog Herd Management Area, and Stephens’ from the Twin Peaks Area – and will have 90 days to gentle and train their animals.

They will be in a group of 33 trainers from California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona, competing for part of a $7,500 prize purse at the Mustang Challenge, a new part of the 10th Annual Western States Horse Expo being held June 6-8 at Cal Expo in Sacramento.

Judges will 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. The public is invited to participate in adopting one of the Mustang Challenge competition animals June 8.

The Western States Mustang Challenge is a spin-off of the highly successful Extreme Mustang Makeover held last year in Fort Worth Texas.  The Mustang Heritage Foundation in partnership with the BLM created the events to highlight the value of American mustangs and showcase the beauty, versatility, and trainability of these living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the American West.

Wild horses and burros are managed in California in accordance with the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. This act gave the Bureau of Land Management the responsibility to protect wild horses and burros while ensuring their populations are managed to maintain or restore a thriving ecological balance.

For more information, visit http://www.blm.gov/ca/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html or call 866-4MUSTANGS.

-BLM-