GEORGETOWN, TEXAS – The stakes were high at the invitational Mustang Magic event held in Fort Worth, Texas, from January 18-20, 2018. With only 120 days to train their mustangs, 22 trainers from across the United States loaded up and traveled south to the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo for a chance to take home a championship check.
In September 2017, the trainers were assigned three-to-six-year-old mares and geldings to prepare for the Mustang Magic competition. The goal of the event is not only to give these talented trainers and mustangs a chance to compete, but also to raise awareness of mustangs and their versatile skillsets. Interested buyers were also able to purchase these mustangs after the freestyle finals.
Preliminary classes began Thursday, Jan. 18, which included handling and conditioning, a trail pattern and mustang compulsory maneuvers. Following each class, interested buyers had the chance to meet each mustang and visit with the trainer. The Top 10 horse-and-rider duos advanced on to the sold out freestyle finals on Saturday, Jan. 20, and the competition was tough.
The colder weather and eccentric stock show environment did not stop Cavin Graham from Rocky Face, Georgia, and his mustang Terrapin, a 4-year-old bay pinto gelding gathered from Centennial, California, from taking home the 2018 Mustang Magic Championship. Despite going into the freestyle finals in 4th place, the duo performed seamlessly allowing Terrapin to shine.
“On all the preliminaries, I just go into it with a ‘don’t screw up’ mindset,” Graham said. “For the compulsory class, you want to put down your best run since those points carry over going into the finals. For the finals, we just loped a few circles and I just let Terrapin relax. At that point its just time to go have fun and do the best you can. We went in and Terrapin put a great run down for me.”
Graham and Terrapin garnered a $3,500 check, presented by Lone Star Ag Credit CEO Troy Bussmeir and a Cut Above buckle for their championship. Terrapin left Fort Worth to go to Bridgeport, California, with his new owner, Sierra Hunewill of Hunewill Guest Ranch, who purchased the bay gelding for $2,200 during the auction.
“It is going to be hard to let him go. Terrapin is such a great horse and he will always be special to me,” Graham said while fighting back emotions. “It’s been a great experience and Mustang Magic is my favorite. There is so much camaraderie between the competitors. I just want to thank Mustang Heritage Foundation for putting on a great show and for the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo for hosting us. It’s just been an amazing experience.”
Nate Eicher of Dennis, Texas, and Pendleton followed close behind as the reserve champions winning $2,000. Pendlton is a 5-year-old bay gelding from the Little Fish Lake, Nevada, herd management area. Brittany Mayer placed third overall riding Little Sister Shotgun, a 5-year-old bay mare from Beatys Butte, Oregon.
Josh Peebles and Georgia Peach finished fourth; Luke Castro and Hope finished fifth; Kaitlyne Wadman and Lucky Sevens finished sixth; Sharla Wilson and Kool Kat finished seventh; Michael Hurst and Lola Mae finished eighth; Kirsten Mew and Steens Magic Arrow finished ninth; and Jonathan Weisiger riding Orangustang finished tenth.
Competing mustangs were available for purchase through public competitive bid after the freestyle finals on Saturday. All 22 horses were placed into adoptive homes for an average adoption price of $1,890. Complete event and auction results can be viewed at mustangheritagefoundation.org.
Presenting sponsors for the 2018 Mustang Magic event were the Mustang Heritage Foundation, the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and Lone Star Ag Credit. The event was also made possible through a partnership with the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse and Burro Program.
The Mustang Heritage Foundation will return to the Will Rogers Memorial Center September 6-8 for the Extreme Mustang Makeover. Youth and adult trainers will showcase skills given to wild mustangs in just 100 days of training.
Eligible adult trainers will be allowed to bid on the mustang of their choosing for use in competition from a selection of 200 mares and geldings, ages 3-7. Mustangs will be available for competitive bid through a mustang selection event held at the Fort Worth Stockyards on April 14. The adult competing mustangs will be available to the public at the conclusion of the event. For more information, visit http://extrememustangmakeover.com/events/texas/.
About the Mustang Heritage Foundation:
The mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation is to create and promote programs and activities that provide information and education about wild horses, elevate their image and desirability, provide opportunities to become involved in the wild horse experience and secure adequate numbers of caring homes for excess horses. Working in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management, the Mustang Heritage Foundation is passionate about the successful placement of mustangs into private care so future generations can enjoy this distinctive feature of our American heritage. The Mustang Heritage Foundation has placed over 9,400 mustangs into private care since 2007.