The Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge is an event that is coordinated between the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and the Mustang Heritage Foundation. Last year, 100 trainers
had 100 days to train 100 Mustangs to be the Best of the Best. The competition was unbelievable! This year, there are 200 trainers training 200 Mustangs! The competition is fierce, and
will show who's got the talent, and who doesn't.
This year, I am one of the chosen trainers. I went to Paul's Valley, OK on Friday, June 13, to pick up my Mustang. On this page you will follow his training, from the time we picked him up to
the time he goes to Ft. Worth. Stay tuned!
We arrived at the BLM facility about 10:30 a.m. They loaded a few horses
before me, so we were waiting. Nemo was finally loaded into the chute.
Nemo apparently didn't like the idea of
being trapped in that chute....
Nemo apparently didn't like it when they tried to put halter and lead on him and
attempted to run for it! This was not the first attempt he made, but clearly the
They finally opened the gate and let
him get into the trailer. The trip home
was pretty much non-eventful.
Finally at home, he
settled in. At first, he
was sure the lead
rope that was
dangling around his
legs was going to kill
him, but he soon
figured out that he
We've made some progress. It's now Day 16. While I haven't worked with him every day, I have spent some good time with him. I can now get him to whoa on command and turn and face
me, he will walk up to me, I can hold his halter, rub his cheek and rub him on the face between his eyes. I have been sacking him out by tossing his long lead rope over his back and having
it touch his back and sides. He has a plastic bag attached to his stall gate, but he doesn't seem to care. He has learned that grain is a "good" thing! LOL He is still very reactive, but getting
more and more used to all the commotion around here...
Wow! Time flies! It's now day 23, and we have made lots of progress! Nemo will now let me approach him without the lead rope on him (I took it off on day 22). I can get him to lower his
head just by holding my hand in the air. He will now let me touch him on his neck from the front, and he FINALLY let me stand beside him and rub him on his shoulders and back! He still
gets frightened easily, but now, he doesn't always take off like a rocket - he sometimes will just take a couple of steps sideways! He's getting there! He's starting to trust me. It won't be long
Ok, now we're into day 24. A lot of progress from the day before! I'll just have to keep plugging away and try to get there faster! Worked with a
Thank you to the following for your sponsorship:
Sharon Villilapando - $100
Ginny Fox - Donated use of her truck to go get
Ok, it's been a while since I've posted pics, but here are some really great ones! Once Nemo decided he could trust me, we started making progress rapidly. He still won't be in the saddle
by show time, but we've gotten darned close! He will now hand me his front feet and let me pick up the back. I think we're on to ground driving!
And now for trailer loading! After he loaded several times, I enclosed the slats, loaded Dawn behind him and we went for a little ride. He acted like he'd always loaded in a slant trailer. Yeah!
Nemo was doing so excellent right before we went up there that I got a little absent-minded. The day before, I groomed him really well, evened out his tail, and even had the farrier trim his
front feet. I was so proud of him! So, the next day we got ready to load him up by cleaning the trailer good and putting in new shavings. Big mistake. He had never seen those clean pine
shavings before, and doesn't do well with new things right off the bat, but he did settle down and loaded for me. I closed the slant (because I was supposed to take 2 other horses with us)
and then, to be nice, tried to hang a hay bag for him. Another big mistake - he had never even seen a hay bag before, and now this big thing was in his face! He panicked and tried to go
backwards, well of course he couldn't, so he started kicking and bucking in the trailer. I took the hay bag down and closed the escape door and waited for him to settle down. He seemed to
be ok, so we moved the truck and trailer to go load the second horse. As soon as she stepped in the trailer, all hell broke loose again. Nemo started kicking and bucking, trying to rear up
(luckily he was tied), so we took the horse out. Nemo wasn't settling down very well this time, so I decided we would not try to haul any other horses with him. Problem now was that he had
gotten the slant half off it's hinges so it was hung and I couldn't get it loose! I drove around and backed my trailer into my small arena where I could keep him contained and opened the
escape door. He seemed to relax as soon as he could see in front of him. I unhooked his lead rope in case he tried to jump out (it was still tied) and he just looked at me, so I untied it,
hooked it back onto his halter and coaxed him out of the escape door! He jumped out and then looked at me like Whew!
I put him in his stall for about an hour to let him chill. We then took out all the new shavings, removed the slants and reloaded him. He loaded well. We went to Ft. Worth.
When we got there I was relieved to find that our stall was on an outer edge, but at the center of the building. There was a drive-through right near his stall so I asked for permission to drive
through there to unload him (by now he was still very distraught). When I explained the situation to them, they asked if I wanted to adopt him. I said yes, so they said "He's yours!". We
ended up putting him in another area altogether, in a bigger cattle-type pen where there wasn't so much commotion. He did very well there, and I went to see him and work with him several
times a day. On Friday morning while I was there feeding him I heard a call over the intercom "Will Renee Ilse please come to the stall office". Uh-ho! Didn't know WHAT was up, but went to
see. They needed those cattle pens for some incoming horses and wanted me to move him. Where we were going it was not going to be easy, so I used the truck and trailer to load him up
and moved him to where he needed to go. This was right in the middle of all the noise and commotion, but by this time he had had time to settle down a bit. Now, however, he was in a 12 x
I left him there the rest of the weekend, and when folks came by I explained to them his situation - that he was just going to take longer than the other horses. Everyone was very
understanding, and he got used to folks coming to his fence to pet him and talk to him. By the end, he was actually walking up to them and enjoying being petted.
Sunday morning I went bright and early to load him up before all the people started showing up. Luckily I could back up almost right to his stall. When he stepped out of the stall, he kind of
jumped the little rail at the bottom and slid on the pavement, but he settled down for me right away and walked quietly right into the trailer. I was so proud of him!
So he's home now, and I have continued to work with him. It's been crazy around here for the last couple of weeks, though, because we had the county fair in Seguin and I had to be there
for most of it, and then last week I had surgery. He's been kind of on vacation since we got back, but as soon as I'm feeling a little more active we'll get back to work!