RBC I Who doesn’t know how effective it is when kids pressure their parents to do something? When the Meeker Mustang Makeover challenge was first announced two years ago, Wade Allred’s kids challenged him to enter. This year, he turned the tables on them and challenged them.
Challenge taken! This year, Wade, 56, his son Colt, 26, and daughter Rylee, age 16, all of Rangely, Colorado, each took a wild horse for the 100 day challenge and will all compete this coming Friday, Sept. 11 in the second annual Meeker Mustang Makeover. Wade and his son Colt compete in the saddle competition for $8,000 in prize money and Rylee will participate in the youth division where each participant can win $800 in scholarship funds for leading their horse over an obstacle course and creating a freestyle performance around the obstacles.
Last year Wade trained a sleek sorrel horse he named “Skeeter” (for all the summer mosquitos in Rangely), which placed third and went to the Vroman cattle and sheep operation in Meeker. This year Wade drew a stout bay he calls “Frosty” after the horse’s frostbitten ears, who has proven himself as a reliable cow horse, and very surefooted on the many trail and rough riding the Allred family finds in the foothills of Rangely.
Wade’s son Colt, who’s been helping his dad break horses since he was 13, is proving himself to be a proficient horseman as he works to help his father with their horse-breaking and training business. In less than 100 days, Colt has his horse “Sandy”, an athletic sandy-colored horse with a pleasantly contrasting black mane and tail, racing around the arena as he shoots targets. Sandy looks like a good choice for someone who might enjoy mounted shooting or cow work as all the Allred horses get plenty of cow work.
Meanwhile young Rylee has been training her horse, Ruby, for the yearling class, where she will take it through a series of obstacles and incorporate her own freestyle performance as well.
When asked the difference between a domestic and wild horse, Wade says, “Once you get them started and past the wild phase, they can settle down to be a terrific and reliable horse. “In fact,” he goes on to say, “the wild horse can often make a better trail riding and traveling horse because of their surefootedness and endurance, and smooth fast pace.”
“It’s been very rewarding for all three of us to see the change in these horses”, says Wade, despite many long hot days of training during these summer months. But for the Allred family, Sept. 11 of the Makeover is not the only important day in September. Later in the month, Colt, will say his vows with his new wife to be.
With $12,000 in prize and scholarship money at stake, 15 hopeful trainers will be traveling to Meeker to compete with the goal of seeing their now trained mustang head off to a forever home and a long useful life. In addition to prize money and scholarships for the youth, all trainers receive half of the proceeds from the sale of their horse.
The increasingly dry and fragile range in the West has seen a rapid overpopulation as wild horse herds typically double in size every four to five years. With more than 50,000 horses waiting in holding pens, events like these are critical to provide a useful and healthy life for these animals.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s event will be streamed virtually so mustang and horse lovers across the world can tune in to watch and bid on the mustangs, which trainers of all ages have had 100 days to gentle. In future years the horses will be gathered locally. This year the horses hail from nearby Sandwash Basin and Southern Wyoming, and were completely unaccustomed to the human touch.
The Meeker Mustang Makeover is unique in that the event encourages trainers to expose their horse to as many people, animals and stimuli as possible to help the horse adapt successfully to their new homes and future lives. A desensitized horse is less likely to cause harm to themselves and their humans.
You can watch the Live Stream action online starting at 10 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2020 when contestants try to maneuver through an obstacle course and move a cow. The Freestyle and Finals start at 4 p.m., with awards followed by the 7 p.m. live and online auction for the horses. Longhorn Video Auctions, who ran the Mustang Auction last year at Cheyenne Frontier Days, is managing the live and online auction. Interested buyers need to sign up in advance at LongHornVideoAuctions.com. (Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approval required).
Stay safe and watch and bid with live streaming from home. In person attendance is discouraged and following COVID state guidelines for healthy and safety is requested.
The Meeker Mustang Makeover is an independent volunteer-run event, and unaffiliated with any other Mustang training events.
Watch and bid at LonghornVideoAuctions.com
Special to The Herald Times