Wild mustangs begin 100 days of training

SOPHIA GOEDERT PHOTO Fifteen trainers picked up their mustangs Saturday, May 30 to begin 100 days of training for the second annual Meeker Mustang Makeover in September. Scan the zapcode with Zappar (or click on it in the digital edition) for trainer video interviews from the Allred family of Rangely, Cosette McLaughlin of Steamboat Springs and the Wood family of Meeker.

After last year’s success, the Meeker Mustang Makeover (MMM), is starting the process of getting ready for another showcase this fall. Thursday, May 28, wild horses from Colorado and Wyoming arrived at the fairgrounds, ready for their trainers to pick them up on Saturday. The 15 trainers were a combination of youth and adults. The youth got yearlings for the in-hand competition, while the adults got three-year olds for the in-saddle part of the show. The trainers are from all over the state this year, ranging from six locals, a few Routt County trainers, and a couple eastern slopers.
The addition of the in-hand youth division to the MMM will showcase the ability of youth trainers and the versatility of young, wild horses. At the completion of the event youth trainers will receive an $800 scholarship to use toward their future career goals.
The trainers have 100 days to turn their horses into show-worthy mustangs. They will have a set amount of time to demonstrate the abilities of their horse in the hopes of selling it to a loving home. All adult trainers will go through a working equitation course, cow working, and a freestyle. Youth will be doing a freestyle using the working equitation obstacles.
The event will also be seeing a couple returnees from last year. Locals Deana Wood and Wade Allred are coming back for a second year, while also bringing in new faces to the program. Leah Wood, Rylee Allred, and Colt Allred all have their own horses to work with this summer. Deana and her horse Flintstone won the competition last year, so it will be very interesting to see what she has in store for everyone this year. When asked why she decided to come back for a second year, she said, “Because of the amazing experience that we had last year and all that we got to learn. Also to up our game a little bit.”
The MMM also uses the showcase as a way to bring awareness to the multitude of wild horses, not only in the Piceance Basin, but in surrounding states. The competition acts as a way to prove that wild horses can have a purpose. Returning trainer Joe Wood said, “It’s a great way to showcase the abilities of wild horses and their usefulness. They actually are, generally, very trainable and usable horses that are built to endure rough country.” The competition is a great way for the MMM to break the stigma around wild horses and enlighten spectators.

By Sophia Goedert | Special to the Herald Times