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        Spring 2011 
National Wild Horse and Burro Newsletter
United States Department of the Interior
Bureau of Land Management

Patti and Padre' experiencing the thrill of competing in the famous Dressage at Devon.  Photo ©Hoofprint Images 2010.

Patti and Padre' experiencing the thrill of competing in the famous Dressage at Devon.
 Photo ©Hoofprint Images 2010.


Table of Contents  


Johny Cash

La Reina de Mesteno


If you would like to submit articles for the National Wild Horse and Burro Newsletter,
please e-mail all articles and photos to . 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.
If the photo(s) are copyrighted or require credit be given, please indicate so at the time of submission.

by Mr. Doolittle 

That's a mustang!

That's a mustang?

Midnight and Patty

Midnight getting loved on and getting very sleepy. It's tough being a mustang.
Best Friends Forever!

Just takin' a little nap.

Just takin' a little nap.
 "Midnight" the spooky mustang!

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, 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.

 Padre' at Silverwood.

He was awarded Reserve Grand Champion for the North Central Series Finals.

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.

Patti and Padre' celebrating their win.

Padre' enjoying the victory and snatching a smooch at the same time.

The Oldenburg Stallion placed second. The horse did not march forward and for a moment I wondered if I heard wrong  and I was supposed to walk forward. They recalled the Oldenburg and I gave Padre' a huge hug realizing that he was about to be named the winner. As they called Padre' as the first place horse, the stands began to cheer. My three students who came to watch had told the crowd Padre's story and they joined in our excitement. Padre' and I marched forward to receive our ribbon and plate. I was so excited. I could not control my joy in the moment at hand and started to cry. It was the most amazing show moment I could have imagined.

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.  Photo ©Hoofprint Images 2010.

Patti and Padre' experiencing the thrill of competing in the famous Dressage at Devon.
 Photo ©Hoofprint Images 2010.

and a member of the Board of Directors from Devon stopped us for a photo. After wiping the mascara that had run at least half-way down my face we were ushered to the Dressage at Devon sign to take photos and give quotes for their website and a variety of internet sites. (Google Dressage at Devon Mustang to see more). After about 30 minutes of answering questions and taking photos, I walked Padre' back to his stall, un-braided him and finally began to catch my breath. My students and I went to lunch and were constantly approached by people congratulating us on Padre's success; remarking about how well behaved he was. The president of Dressage at Devon stopped to thank us for making the trip with my wonderful and well behaved stallion. I had never experienced such support and interest from strangers about Padre'. 

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". 

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

 Padre', Reserve Grand Champion for the North Central Series Finals.

Padre', Reserve Grand Champion of the North Central Series Finals.

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.

Padre' giving it his all.

 Padre' giving it his all.
 Photo ©A&A Photography.

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.

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' taking a break, enjoying the scenery, the yummies, and his pride!

My students, Padre' and I took Thursday off to relax, enjoy the show and dodge raindrops. We headed for home on Friday with a day layover in Versailles, Kentucky. I wanted to stop on the way home at the farm of the veterinarian who gave me Padre' three years earlier. I took out all of his ribbons and pictures for Doc to see. He said we had "done good" and was glad to know that Padre' had found the perfect home. As Padre' ran and bucked around the pasture, I knew he was as happy as Doc and I were. 
We arrived home on Sunday. We took a couple days off. On Wednesday, I decided it was time to climb back on. After spending so much time on the ground instead of in the saddle, it felt good to go for a long walk. Padre' and I took a trail ride with one of my young students on  her pony mare. As we walked through the woods, I wondered if any of the stallions we met in the Dixon Oval at Dressage at Devon were given the chance to roll in the mud, race around a pasture, and go on the trail since they arrived back to their homes. I was happy that Padre' had done all three.
I went to Dressage at Devon to gain experience and to show off Padre. He is that special. I never imagined Padre' would come home with such amazing accolades. Since we have been home, I have read the blogs and received e-mails from complete strangers about how our experiences have helped them to believe in what they are doing with mustangs. Dressage at Devon was not just a victory for Padre' and I; it was a victory for all mustangs and for anyone not afraid to chase a dream no matter how big or small.
I wear a necklace and pendant that has a quote from Henry David Thoreau; "Live the Life You Have Imagined". I can say honestly this year I have. I hope Padre's success can help others to live their dream as well.
The Bureau of Land Management has featured another story about Padre'. It can be found at . Padre' also has his own facebook page at!/pages/Padre/130599216986228 . If you would like further information about mustangs or Padre' my e-mail address is

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!

Johny Cash
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! 
Jphny Cash

Johny Cash

I purchased Johny in 2008 from his original adopter as a very green horse. He was well ground-started and just beginning to take a rider. But Johny knew nothing of leg or rider commands aside from bit pulling. I really liked his mindset and his build. My 12 year old daughter, an advanced rider, was going to train him to be my trail horse. In the process and progression of training him; she fell in love. She began training Johny for Fox Hunting and Hunter-Jumper. That's her favorite discipline.

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. 

On other riding days they run the trails with her bareback. She uses just a halter and a lead rope riding one-handed. When they return there will be a few jumping courses, again halter and the one-handed lead rope. Johny is just that good!

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 (The Queen of Mustangs)
by Betta

A friend of mine told me about a BLM adoption in Green Cove Springs, FL. It was scheduled for the end of the week.
  La Reina de Mesteno First Day

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

 Dad's new mustang!

As I walked around the other side after passing the 4 and 6 year olds and the internet adoption pens, we finally came to the yearling pens. The first one that caught my eye was a much smaller, bay filly that was faced towards us with her leg cocked and her eyes soft. She was immediately the first one on my list! I saw another filly that I liked, but realized she was a two year old, so I couldn't get her.
There were a few others, but I kept going back to that little bay filly. My dad really liked the buckskins and his top choice was a short, stocky, cow horse that had wide, scared eyes, and kept shoving into the middle of the herd. Finally, it was time to do the actual adoption. I knew my dad and I had different first choices and since he was the one adopting the horse for me I wasn't sure which one he would choose. He went up to the table to tell them which horse he chose. He came back and in his hand was the card for the buckskin.
My face fell. I was so disappointed. I knew he was making the wrong choice for a first time adopter and that you had to be committed to the horse you chose. Unfortunately, I was not committed to that horse. Then, just as I had felt like I had crashed and burned, my dad pulled another card out that had four numbers on it: 3624. The numbers on the tag of the bay filly I had chosen. My bay filly!
We brought the horses home the next day. That evening I could scratch the bay's back through the panels. We progressed very quickly. The next day I could rub her all over with the carrot stick. The next day I put a line on her and taught her to lead. She now knows how to walk beside me on a loose rope, move her front end away, move her hindquarters, accept a flag and saddle blanket, lunge (circling game), back up, and stand still to be haltered.
Nobody can say that mustangs are not trainable. They are very smart, quick learners, and are very personable. We were only calling her "the bay" until I finally chose a name for her, La Reina de Mesteno. That is "the queen of mustangs" in Spanish. We call her Rein for short! She always greets me at the gate with a friendly whinny and is excited to see me. My plans for Rein are to get her to Parelli Level 3/4 online and at liberty before I begin riding her at three or four. She is a quick learner and will progress quickly!
The Buckskin has been more of a challenge. We have been doing round pen training. She stops and faces up, will keep facing me if I am moving around her, and lets me get about a foot away and will smell my hand. Our biggest breakthrough was when I was giving her water. She gets water twice a day and only when the bucket is in my hand. I let her smell my hand before rubbing her head while she drank. I think when she gets over the fear of humans, she will be a very sweet filly! We haven't chosen a name for her yet, but we will find one that fits her personality perfectly!

I am so glad that mustangs are available for us to adopt. They are a joy to have. I love seeing peoples' faces when I tell them, "Yup, Rein used to run wild in Utah before I got her!" They can't believe how far both of the mustangs have come.


 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.

"Faith" - first day home.

The first day we brought her home, she wanted nothing to do with humans. But, on the second day, my wife and I could go into the pen and walk right up to her and pet her. Everytime we went into the pen, Faith craved all the attention she could get. Sometimes, I would pretend I didn't know she was around but she would have nothing to do with that. She did everything she could to get acknowledgment.

Faith gentled down even more in a couple of days and after a couple of weeks we could go into her pen with absolutely no fear at all. Mustangs are amazing horses and you just can't help but love them. What my wife and I have found is, mustangs will love you forever if you love them back. If anyone loves horses, they would fall in love with mustangs.

We thank the BLM for the opportunity to adopt a mustang and plan to adopt another one soon.