Sunday, April 29, 2012

It's been an Extreme week

Happy weekend everyone. This will be a short post just to say "Hi" and give you something to watch. I will have a more extensive post after next weekend. I'll be headed to Los Angeles (road trip!) to meet up with a friend at a special horse event, and hopefully will have pictures to share when I get back. That's the plan anyway. I also plan on getting some new music to listen to on the way there, so more music videos next week!

In the meantime, let me share a little of another very special event that happened this week. This was the Extreme Mustang Makeover Finals in Madison, Wisconsin.

What? I hear you ask. A car makeover? Pimping out classic Ford coupes?

No silly. REAL mustangs. Horses! The kind that still roam more-or-less wild and free (where they're protected at least) in North America, and particularly in the western United States. I know some people who are very critical of them as a breed, and I know all the arguments, but no-one will ever change my opinion of their heart, intelligence, adaptability, and athleticism.

Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenges occur across the nation and provide many horses, that might otherwise become BLM statistics, with hope of a future home and meaningful life with owners who will love and appreciate them.

Would they be better left alone to live free on the land? Well, that depends on who you ask. Many people would love to see them annihilated completely, claiming they are nothing more than feral castoffs with questionable lineage and poor conformation that are habitat invaders of "native" wild species such as deer, antelope, and bison.

Others will tell you that they are a beautiful symbol of the old west, many of which still carry the DNA and traits of the horses originally brought to this country, the Iberian PRE horses. Has the mustang breed been diluted over the centuries by other, less exalted breeds? No doubt. But many still retain the undeniable qualities and even appearance of those PRE ancestors.

And even other people will point out the fact that horses roamed this continent way before people did. No, not this particular breed of course, but horses belong here.

I've loved mustangs ever since I first read Marguerite Henry's "Mustang: Wild Spirit of the West" when I was about eight years old. As a teenager, I was fortunate to know of two mustangs who lived wild on the ranchland near where I lived and saw them a few times when I was out riding. I even have pictures somewhere. They disappeared eventually and someone told me that they had died during a drought. A shame, but that's what happens to wild horses.

If you have read my novel, "Bronze," you will know that several of the horse characters are at least half mustang. I love mustangs.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover program is rather grueling, and potential trainers must meet strict criteria in order to participate, but the results can be utterly amazing. From completely wild, never-touched-by-human-hand horses, to trusting, well-trained and adoptable equine partners. IN 90 DAYS! Anyone who has ever trained an unstarted horse will know this is impressive. And these horses aren't just unstarted, they're WILD!

Anyway, here's a video of the winning entrants from this year's finals at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison. I'll be back next week with news of my weekend and an update for my novel "Bronze." Enjoy!

You can read more about the Extreme Mustang Makeover at their website Here:

Note: All original text and materials by or commissioned by B. B. Shepherd are copyright 2012 to China Blue Publishing.

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