Angi has a busted up hand and lost a special member of her herd yesterday. So I'm going to put up the video of Free's horse course.
The course was not the basic trail course they had been told to train for.. They were told it would be a very basic trail course, walk, trot, lope, turn on fore or hind, touch a mailbox, no lead changes, and no one would get a zero. That's not what happened. Friday they got the course and it was more of a snaffle bit pattern with rollbacks, lead changes, and some tight work at the trot. It was disappointing that so many people got zeros for being off course, after being told that they would get faults but not a zero.
HOWEVER, there were horses there that were ready for this type of course, even if Free wasn't. He had just stopped bouncing at a lope a week before, and was learning to steer at speed and sustain a gait. He did most of the course at the wrong gait. He was tired and ready to be done, it was not the right time to ask him to do new things in front of thousands of people! So Angi went out to just finish the course calmly and safely. Once Free stepped into the box before he stopped at the upper cone he got a zero for the entire ride, but he doesn't know that. He came home happy, healthy and feeling like he had done everything Angi asked of him. Who could ask for anything more?
Hopefully what people take with them is that while the chainsaws and cannons are showy, what was wanted by the people that came to adopt these horses were horses the trainers believed in, horses who would be GREAT trail horse, and horses with dressage potential.
The Mustang Heritage Foundation wanted to improve the image of the mustang, to make them be thought of as more then broncs, and they did that. There were first time mustang trainers that commented how fast these horses learned something, and that once they learn it.. they don't forget it! More importantly if you give youself to one of these horses, they will give themselves back, heart and soul. Play with them, make it fun, become a team and the possibilities are endless.
Would we do it again? I think everyone on Free's team would... However; we would probably come home broke if we brought it home, or broken hearted if we didn't... :sigh:
Perhaps the best solution for folks looking for a well trained mustang, is to adopt one but make sure they take it to a trainer that understands them.