U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Patti and Padre' experiencing the thrill of competing in the famous Dressage at Devon.
If you would like to submit articles for the National Wild Horse and Burro Newsletter,
please e-mail all articles and photos to Janet_Neal@blm.gov . Occasionally my e-mail "in box" will get overloaded. Please do not give up. It simply takes time to get articles and pictures filed off. Please do not send your submissions to someone else.
It creates an additional workload for everyone.
All stories must be about freezemarked mustangs and/or wild burros. Please ensure pictures
are sent at the same time the story is (or immediately thereafter).
Photos should include the name of each animal(s) and person(s) in the photo.
I would also appreciate it if all stories submitted are about mustangs and burros that have not passed away.
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by Mr. Doolittle
That's a mustang?
Midnight getting loved on and getting very sleepy. It's tough being a mustang.
Just takin' a little nap.
My daughter, Patty, and I went
to a BLM adoption.
We looked at all of the mustangs and didn't see anything that caught my daughter's eye.
The gentleman working there said the BLM had three mustangs in the orphan pen. My daughter's face lit up. Patty asked if we could take a look at them. She fell in love with this little guy. When we got home, we let him settle for a bit in the trailer. Then "Midnight" just walked out. Yes, Patty had already named him.
He has been my daughter's best friend ever since. She is 12 years old now and can say she gentled her very own mustang. Her plans are to goat-tie off him starting this summer until she gets him patterned as her high school pole bending horse. He is as cool and calm as could be. Not at all what you sometimes hear about a mustang being spooky and what-not.
As you can see in the pictures, Midnight (Our Black Beauty) is very loved and incredibly beautiful. Both of my daughters have it made and so does he. Midnight is the best horse I could have ever adopted for my daughter; best friends forever; her friend for life.
Mustangs are very dedicated to their owners and their owners are very dedicated to them.
by Patti Gruber
Photos by Swan Studios (unless otherwise indicated)
After sending off my entry form to Dressage at Devon, I would be lying if I didn't admit that I had a couple of moments wondering what I had just gotten myself into. The thought of driving halfway across the country with my mustang stallion, Padre', to compete at the most prestigious Dressage show in the U.S. would be enough to scare most people. I was no different.
Padre' and I were lucky to have one more show at Silverwood for the In-Hand Championship to boost our confidence before heading to Devon. In our first class, 4 Year and Older Stallion In-Hand, Padre' put his best hoof forward and walked away the winner for the first time.
In our first class at Silverwood, 4 Year and Older Stallion in Hand, Padre' put his best hoof forward and walked away the winner for the first time.
The Championship class was up next. Padre' was just as well behaved and gave everything I asked of him at Silverwood.
Padre' at Silverwood.
It was a great way to leave town on a high note. The following day, our home barn, Wayfarer Farm, hosted a fund raiser that helped offset the expenses of traveling halfway across country. There were 45 silent auction items and the band "Even Five" supplied the entertainment. The farm set up a concession stand and a stall of information on Padre' and his mustang story. We raised most of the money to cover the cost of our trip.
Padre' and I left on September 27 to make the trip to Pennsylvania. Sandi, had been my co-pilot all season and again signed on for the trip. With a last minute pep talk to Padre' that I'm sure I needed more than he did, we headed for our first stop in Springfield, Ohio. After staying overnight in Ohio, we reached Dressage at Devon on Tuesday late in the afternoon.
As we pulled into the grounds I was amazed to find out that Devon was located in the middle of a town with not a pasture or paddock in sight. The grounds were an old-time fairgrounds with long barns around the perimeter and an arena surrounded by old fashioned grand stands. When we finished unloading and getting Padre' settled, I checked in and walked Padre' around the grounds. Devon felt comfortable and welcome, not terrifying as I had envisioned. It was an honor to be in the middle of the greatness; Iron Springs Farm, Hilltop Farm and Hassler Dressage to name a few.
Wednesday morning brought show day and I took the time before our class to breath and take in every moment of what we were about to be part of. At 9:15 a.m. I walked Padre' out for our class, #116, 4 Year Old and Older Stallions Shown In Hand Only. The first horse was a lovely Oldenburg Stallion and then Padre' and I were up. As I walked up to present Padre' he stood tall and proud like he understood what it meant to be the first Mustang to qualify and compete in the Dixon Oval at Dressage at Devon. His walk was good and his trot was big. We did the best we could. Now, came the standing and waiting part. The last horse, a Morgan Stallion, took his turn. As they called us up for the awards ceremony, my heart was racing and I hugged Padre' for doing his best again. The Morgan placed third.
Padre' enjoying the victory and snatching a smooch at the same time.
As we exited the arena, my students greeted us, also in tears. Some of Padre's new fans
Patti and Padre' experiencing the thrill of competing in the famous Dressage at Devon.
I began to get ready at 2:30 for the Championship class. It included top riding and in-hand stallions to judge the Grand and Reserve Grand Champion Stallion. At 3:30, it was our first time to stand next to De Feiner Star; the winner of the 4 year old and older Stallion being shown under saddle and in-hand. After each horse took their turn, I was ecstatic when Padre' was named the Reserve Grand Champion Stallion. De Feiner Star was the Grand Champion. As we walked toward the ring steward he jokingly said "alright, who has a box of Kleenex". Padre', Reserve Grand Champion of the North Central Series Finals. Padre' giving it his all.
I smiled and laughed. I never imagined that Padre' would win the first class, let alone be named Reserve Grand Champion Stallion. I learned that Padre' was automatically entered in the Mature Horse Championship and the Great American Insurance Group/USDF (GAIG/USDF) Breeders Class due to his stellar performance.
The Mature Horse Championship class pitted the top two mares and the top two stallions together in one class to name an overall Grand and Reserve Champion. As Padre' and I entered the arena with the other great horses all from Iron Spring and Hilltop Farm, I took pride in the fact that Padre' and I were in the same class as the best of the best. Padre' and I took our turn. I thought of it as a victory lap. It was a victory for everyone that is never going to own one of the top horses in the country but still follows their dream and will achieve greatness at whatever level they compete.
For a horse obviously not born and bred for Dressage and to be in the same arena as Iron Springs and Hilltop was a moment that I could never have dreamed of. The crowd that had gathered in the stands cheered for Padre' as we finished our last turn and made our way past them in the stands. One of the judges came up to me after our run and asked if Padre' was really born in the wild and a mustang. I smiled and proudly said yes. The amazing KWPN mare, Rabiola, from Iron Spring Farm was named
the Grand Champion and De Feiner Star was Reserve Champion.
Our last class was 3 hours after the 3:30 class and Padre' and I had worn a path around the holding area. I could not put him back in his stall. There was not enough time in between classes to un-braid and re-braid his mane. He wears his mane in a long braid. There were four stallions that qualified for the GAIG/USDF Class. As we entered the arena for our last time, I gave Padre' and I one more pep talk. I told him I needed him to give me his best, one more time.
De Feiner Star was the obvious winner and it was up to Padre' and Trakehner and an Oldenburg stallion to place second through fourth. As each horse went, I watched the beautiful stallions and waited. I asked myself if Padre' and I were able to run the triangle one last time or had we already given everything we had at the point. Our walk was good and the trot was conservative on the first part of the triangle. As we rounded the first corner I told Padre' "I need everything you have" and boy did he give it. I had never felt that much power from him and I felt that he understood what I was asking for.
The crowd applauded as we passed the grand stand for our final time. We crossed in front of the judges and came back to stand for our final examination. Each of the judges came to compliment Padre' and I. We were told that all stallions should be as well mannered as Padre' had been all day.
Photo ©A&A Photography.
No matter how we did, their compliments were worth their weight in gold. As they announced the standings, Padre' was called as the third place horse. Padre' and I trotted up to the award area and were greeted with a hug from the ring steward and the GAIG presenter. They told us how much they enjoyed watching us all day and congratulated us on our success. As we trotted toward the out gate, Padre's new fans cheered. The gate steward hugged us and the judges congratulated us on our way out. I felt like we had won the best award we could; a stand full of fans, the respect of the judges and the sense that we belonged with our fellow competitors.
When I woke up on Thursday morning, I wondered if all of the events on Wednesday were just a dream.
Padre', Reserve Grand Champion of the North Central Series Finals.
Padre' giving it his all.
Padre' taking a break, enjoying the scenery, the yummies, and his pride!
Thanks to all for following Padre's story. He's proud to be a mustang and to have such a huge amount of supporters.
Watch for more stories about Padre'! He's got aways to go, but, I know he can do it and he knows he can do it!
by Jeannine Porter
Johny Cash is my daughter's and my wonderful and talented mustang. He came from the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area in California. He is 14.3 hands and extra narrow. I describe him as cute, fun, loving, a quick learner, eager and just a tad stubborn; just like my daughter!
My daughter shows Johny in low level circuits and places in the 70% range whatever class they enter. Johny's competitors are always tall thoroughbreds and warmbloods. On rare occasions, my daughter will allow me to tack up "my horse" western and go for a trail ride. If she's busy with him, I can forget it.
Johny is now 7 and my daughter is 14. The fox hunting club moved so she can't go fox hunting with him anymore. But, they do enjoy weekly rides in the hills. My daughter and Johny now go to their secret spot. She reads her books and Johny grazes happily. "They" call it their teen time.
Now she's working with Johny in halter only so she can grab and turn his head if needed (no lead-rope or reins) with the goal of riding, jumping bareback, and hands free. She only uses her legs and seat. The two have become one and completely found each other. They both cherish their "pony" time. Johny Cash is the best horse we have ever had the honor and pleasure to own. He respects us completely and we respect him completely. When we're ready to take on another training challenge, I'll be adopting another BLM Mustang!
La Reina de Mesteno - Adoption Day
In about three days, we were able to buy and set up panels, send the form in, and get my dad's permission! We were number three on the list and were able to get a yearling. When the adoption day finally came, I was so excited to pick out my new horse. I knew I wanted a filly with a very curious, playful disposition. I do Parelli Natural Horsemanship and we call this type of horse a Left Brained Extrovert.
Dad's new mustang!
I love spreading the word about these great horses that are simply misunderstood!
by George and Retha Stringer
We adopted a wild mustang filly when she was 5 months old. We adopted her during the National Adoption Day. My wife named her Faith.
"Faith" - first day home.
We thank the BLM for the opportunity to adopt a mustang and plan to adopt another one soon.