Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA


November 22, 2010

Brown competes in Extreme Mustang Makeover; takes home third, sixth

CENTERVILLE — Seymour High School sophomore Abby Brown hasn’t been around horses her entire life, but three years ago, she started her work with the Extreme Mustang Makeover competition and now has four mustangs.

Neighbor Cody Keller helped her along the way, teaching her all she needs to know.

“He has taught me everything I know,” said Brown.  “I had barley touched a horse three years ago, until I won my quarter horse at Wayne County Fair.  Cody is a very talented trainer and was patient.”

Keller introduced her to Extreme Mustang Makeover, where, after the application is reviewed, the chosen competitors are given a mustang and 100 days to break the horse and train them in specific areas.

The mustangs are rescued from all over the country and then marked by the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro program.  Each marking means something significant and includes the U.S. Govt. registration, year of birth and registration number.

The yearling competition, the one Brown has competed in, is judged on how well the horse is taken care of, how the horse does while walking over logs, trotting through cones, picking up all four feet, being loaded into the trailer, pivoting to the right, back through an “L” and brushed on both sides.

Then the competitors are judged on showmanship, where each contestant is asked a few questions by the judges before all the scores are added up and the top 10 move on to the finals.

The scores are then erased and competitors can do pretty much anything they want with the horse to show its training.

“Some things I have done are dragging a log, roping, jumps, shooting balloons, going through a kiddie pool and [using] a bag and tarp,” said Brown of her final round approach.

Her four mustangs are Ford, Moe Money, Jackpot and Stardust and each have placed at competition.

Ford took fourth out of 28 last year in Tennessee in the yearling competition and most recently placed third in the two year old lunging division.

Moe Money placed second in 2009 in Tennessee in the idols division, Jackpot came in sixth this year in Nebraska in the yearling competition and Stardust placed seventh this year in Tennessee in the legends division.

Along with Keller, Jay Miller, a competitor from Kansas aided Brown by giving her tips to train her horses and how to deal with them when having trouble.

Once the competitions are over, the horses are auctioned off.

“I have only adopted one of my own mustangs, Jackpot,” said Brown.  “Stardust and Moe Money were trained by another trainer and shown there then put through the adoption.  Ford, a lady adopted him and gave him back to me.”

Adopting a mustang is similar to other auctions where the highest bidder gets the horse, but youth who train their yearlings have the option to adopt their mustang for $125 after the competition is over.  Adult competitors must bid like all others at the auction.

“You have to fill out papers...and be accepted by the Bureau of Land Management before you can adopt and you have to follow strict guidelines,” adds Brown of adopting a mustang.

Next on the docket for Brown is the Wayne County Fair.

“I am looking forward to showing my mustangs at the Wayne County Fair and possibly doing another yearling for Tennessee next year,” Brown said.

Brown’s mustangs hail from Nevada, Oregon and California and she also has two quarter horses: Autumn and Dusti.

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