Letter to the Editor: July 2, 2020

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Meeker Mustang Makeover 2020

Dear Editor:

From “Wild to Mild,” the Meeker Mustang Makeover has started a new Rio Blanco newsworthy event thanks to a hard-working board of volunteers, the active participation of the BLM, and the support of several community groups.

This year, the event has more than doubled in size, from 6 to 15 trainers. Ten of the trainers are youth and adults who will saddle train a 3-year-old mustang, and new this year is the inclusion of five Colorado youth from 10 to 18 who will halter gentle and auction off a yearling mustang. Six of the trainers are from Rio Blanco county, with the remainder spread across the state of Colorado. Total prize and scholarship funds for participants which were raised from area businesses, ranches and organizations is $12,000. White River Electric Association, Basin Electric Power Cooperative and Tri-State are our grand sponsors this year.

Last year’s pilot used six area mustangs gathered from an area adjacent to the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area. As a recent letter pointed out, the numbers in our county are exploding with herd sizes doubling every four to five years, as they are wherever wild horses are found. There is no time to lose.

Our hopes are high for a successful long term event that will bring economic development to Rio Blanco County though complicated this year with COVID-19, educate the public about the mustangs, and begin to help reduce the herd size in our County along with other efforts.

While this year’s mustangs are from nearby Sandwash Basin and southern Wyoming, it is good news that the local BLM office was able to secure permission for a gather in 2020, which will begin a multiyear gathering process to provide area mustangs to the event in an effort to reduce our herd size to a more sustainable level.

This year, because permission arrived too late for use of local wild horses, the decision was made to use yearlings and 3-year-old wild horses from other areas for the event and begin gathers from our local areas starting this year.

Our volunteers are hopeful that the Meeker Mustang Makeover will provide a role model for other communities to showcase the horse knowledge and ranch expertise that so many rural western communities have and thus provide forever homes for these formerly wild horses.

The Meeker Mustang Makeover board appreciates the enthusiasm and support of Rio Blanco citizens and community and government groups. Our event this year will be just one more way Rio Blanco County can showcase its creativity, ranching and equine knowledge, and our hometown welcome.

Deirdre Macnab
Board President
Meeker Mustang Makeover

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