Fifth annual event: Watch the extraordinary journey of building trust with a wild horse during the Meeker Mustang Makeover
Kate Logan and her husband Bruce, have purchased four mustangs – Peaches, Gus, Jackpot and Maloca – over the past several years at the Meeker Mustang Makeover. When asked why, Kate noted they bought the mustangs because they love horses and they like to rescue animals.
“The wild horse population is a problem with so many in holding pens, so we thought, let’s do something to help with the problem, rather than going out and buying a registered horse,” she said. “We want to be part of the solution, and these animals need a permanent home.”
Kate said, “Confident and beautiful, other than size they are very similar to my quarter horses. I’ve never had to shoe my mustangs thanks to their strong feet. When I do take them through rocky trails and through trees they are very sure footed. They can both follow or lead, they are confident, sturdy horses.”
Started by a group of citizens from smalltown Meeker, Colo. five years ago, this event has grown every year, adding more horses, including a youth division with 10 yearlings.
Horses compete through an obstacle course, moving cows and in a freestyle event, in which each trainer uses their own creativity – a highlight of the event.
Each youth participant who completes the obstacle course receives a $500 scholarship check. All trainers receive one-half of the proceeds of their sale, with the remainder going to the next year’s event.
Two clinics are provided for each set of trainers to help them through the challenges of training a wild horse in only 120 days.
Steve Mantle of Mantle Ranches, one of the most experienced mustang trainers in the West, stated, “I have been and still am involved in a lot of mustang training events, and the reason I think this one is so special is everyone is in it for the horse. A long time ago a friend of mine told me as long as it’s about the horse everything will be okay.”
Steve’s clinics are very popular, and he helps trainers overcome big, early obstacles like haltering and loading. He is known to take up to two hours with a trainer to help them through these important first steps.
The Meeker Mustang Makeover is committed to helping its trainers throughout, and the clinics are designed to help when they need it. Trainers are encouraged to reach out to family, friends and professionals for maximum success for themselves and their horse.
This year’s event
This year, the event will take place Aug. 26 and will include activities for all ages, including face painting; pony rides; photo ops with an authentic, old stagecoach; roping stations to learn to rope and local historical society volunteers sporting costumes from the 1800s.
The Mustang Mingle, where trainers, bidders and the public can get together to visit, features “Mustang Margaritas,” invented by the local Lions Club, with Western dancing, music and a competition for the best Western outfit.
All events are open to the public.
Trainers of all walks of life come from all over the West.
This year, Lucia Vanoplinus, a 16-year-old from Boulder, is training a sorrel yearling mustang named Cedar. She trained her first mustang when she was 14.
“I love working with mustangs,” she shared. “They are good at so many things, and working with an untouched mustang is so special.”
In the past, the event has drawn a remarkable 20,000 views on the auction site, attracting 67 buyers.
Those interested in this year’s event can sign up now to bid for their own started mustang.
Longhorn Video Auctions Owners Kail Mantle and Denise Dodge will be this year’s auctioneers, and livestream is provided by Level Head Audio with Cimarron Communications, so the public can watch the event and bid on the horses.
The livestream helps the event reach viewers and bidders from around the world, and horses have sold from $150 to $10,000, giving every buyer a chance to take home a horse with 120 days of training.
Transportation can be arranged for buyers who are unable to attend the event, but buyers must register in advance.
Deirdre Macnab is the president of the Meeker Mustang Makeover and can be reached at email@example.com.