Elisa Wallace of Jasper, Georgia, and her Mustang trainee Fledge were crowned champions of the 2012 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Clemson, South Carolina, on October 20. Fledge is a 2009 sorrel gelding gathered from the Maverick-Medicine Herd Management Area in Nevada.
More than 50 Mustangs began training in June in preparation for the Extreme Mustang Makeover October 19-21, 2012, in South Carolina. Each trainer had approximately 120 days to gentle the horse and train it to be ridden for the competition that took place at T. Ed Garrison Arena. The geldings competing at the Makeover were virtually untouched prior to the June pick-up. The horses were judged on their body condition and new skills. The top 10 from the preliminary go-rounds competed in a compulsory and freestyle finals on October 20. Class and adoption results for the South Carolina Extreme Mustang Makeover are available at www.extrememustangmakeover.com/emmsouthcarolina.php.
Wallace has aspired to be a top-level, international and Olympic competitor since childhood. Riding since before she could walk, she did trot sets at the age of 2 and began eventing at the age of 4. Sometimes called part horse, she was often found sleeping or playing with the young foals that her mother and father raised. She trained and developed her first horse when she was 8. After years of hard work and determination, she was listed on the 2007 USEF developing rider list, competed at the 2007 Pan-Am Selection Trials and was long-listed for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Unfortunately, Wallace has experienced a couple of setbacks in her quest for the Olympics due to untimely injuries of her top international mounts. She is more motivated than ever and is developing a new string of horses with hopes to join the U.S. Olympic Equestrian Team in 2016. Wallace and Fledge developed a deep bond that was displayed during the freestyle finals while Wallace rode the gelding without a bridle or saddle and took the Mustang over a series of jumps. At the conclusion of the South Carolina Extreme Mustang Makeover, Wallace adopted her Mustang trainee.
Sid Zacharias and Little Joe, a Mustang gathered from the Pancake Herd Management Area in Nevada were the reserve champions. Zacharias trained two Mustangs for the competition and received a new Martin Saddle as the Double Down Champion for having the highest preliminary score on his two Mustang trainees.
Corey Rogers and L.P. finished third and were followed by John Huff and Mordecai; Sid Zacharias and Zapp It To Me (Zapp); Cavin Graham and U-Know-It; Ryan Smith and Rooster Cogburn; Erica Jo Edmonds and Sundance Kid; Jason Lancaster and Trail of Tears and Claudia McCauley and Slim.
In addition to the adult division, youth 8-18 competed in a Youth and Yearling (YAY) event organized by Mike Branch, who is part of the Mustang Heritage Foundation’s Trainer Incentive Program. The youth showed their Mustangs in-hand. Madeline Earnest and her yearling Catching Fire were champions of the Youth and Yearling Mustang Challenge.
The highest adopted horse was Little Joe, who was trained by Jimmy Thomas of Pittsboro, North Carolina. Thomas trained two Mustangs for the event and finished 11th and 12th with his trainees, Josey Whales and Little Joe. Prior to the event, Thomas rode his Mustangs 300 miles from North Carolina to the South Carolina competition and raised more than $15,000 for the Wounded Warriors Project. Little Joe is a sorrel gelding gathered from the White Mountain Herd Management Area in Wyoming, and he was adopted for $3,500.
The purpose of the competition is to showcase the beauty, versatility and trainability of these rugged horses that roam freely on public lands throughout the West, where they are protected by the BLM under federal law. The BLM periodically removes excess animals from the range to ensure herd health and protect rangeland resources. Thousands of the removed animals are then made available each year to the public for adoption. More than 3,500 wild horses have been adopted through Mustang Heritage Foundation events and programs since 2007.
The Extreme Mustang Makeovers are made possible through our partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and the generosity of our sponsors Ram Trucks, Western Horseman, Pfizer, Vetericyn, Roper Apparel & Footwear, Twister Trailer, RES Equine Products, Gist Silversmiths, Martin Saddlery and Smith Brothers.
The next Extreme Mustang Makeover event, the Barrel Slot Race, will take place in Alvarado, Texas, November 16-17. Approximately 20 Mustangs will compete for more than $20,000 in cash and prizes at the specialty event and be available for adoption on November 17.
About the Mustang Heritage Foundation
The mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation and the goal of the Extreme Mustang Makeover events are to increase the adoption of Mustangs across the country. The Mustang Heritage Foundation created the Extreme Mustang Makeover events to showcase the recognized value of Mustangs through a national training competition. The nonprofit organization also created the Trainer Incentive Program and the youth programs to raise awareness about America’s Mustangs. For more information, visit www.mustangheritagefoundation.org.
About the Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing 258 million acres of public lands, located mostly in the West. Wild horses and burros roaming public rangelands are managed in a manner consistent with BLM’s overall multiple-use mission, as set forth in the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976. For more information, visit www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram.html or call 866-468-7826.