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“My Horsey Life”

Wild About Mustangs

            The summer of my senior year in high school, I decided I needed to do something memorable that would make a difference. The American Mustang provided exactly this opportunity.

            As the summer began, I became aware of a competition in which young trainers could get a yearling Mustang and have 100 days to train them for a competition with other youth trainers. Less than a month later, after submitting forms of facility requirements, trailer requirements, and a personal biography, I became a trainer for the Extreme Mustang Makeover Yearling Edition—Nebraska ’10.

At the beginning of June, a family member and I drove two days to Elm Creek, Nebraska to pick up the Mustang. He turned out to be a beautiful bay with no markings. From the beginning he showed a curious personality and a willingness to learn. I named him Renaissance because I hoped to see myself go through an enlightenment and him through an artistic rebirth. Three days later, I led him out of the trailer into his stall at home.

Within the first week, I gained his trust and we could walk all around the property and interact with obstacles such as bridges, barrels, poles, tires, tarps, and more. I could pet him all over and isolate his movements to turns on the forehand and haunches. He never refused anything; he always made his best effort to try to respond correctly. His willingness and curiosity made it immeasurably fun to play with him and continues to amaze me every day.

Now with just over a month gone, Renaissance has developed into a horse with mannerisms and behaviors that are desired by many horse owners. He rises to my expectations and he always goes the extra mile to please. He currently does all sorts of ground exercises at on-line and is starting at liberty. I can pony him all over the mountains as well as the arenas from my older Mustang, and perform small tricks such as bowing and smiling.

I have learned so much in this competition. Another program from the Mustang Heritage Foundation allows me to gain knowledge and share it. This Youth Employment Program gives me the responsibility of being a Mustang Representative in which I contribute by publicizing my knowledge and training strengths and struggles in attempt to increase the amount of successful adoptions.

While I strongly support the adoption and training of the American Mustang, I find it crucial to voice the fact that my success (and other trainers’ success) is based on the level of effective communication with horses. As much as I encourage the adoption of Mustangs, it is equally important to gain the knowledge it takes to have a successful relationship with the horses.

Through a journey of trust, respect, and leadership, Renaissance and I strive to demonstrate the trainability and intelligence of the American Mustang as well as the importance of constantly gaining knowledge about the psychology of horses.

Have fun. Be smart. Be safe.

~Stephanie Linsley

For more information, check out my blog at slinsley.wordpress.com.


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I finally got my Introductory video done. This was designed for my Mustang partner, Cyanna since I can’t meet with her face to face. It was taken on an extremely windy day so the quality isn’t excellent. But here is the link to view it on Youtube! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZtInU_S0Ohc&feature=email

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Day 34-43

Hello all!

Sorry again for the long wait!

For the past ten days Renaissance and I have been doing all kinds of fun stuff.

Last Friday, Kylie and I were going to float down the ditch and so I brought Ren to walk along the bank. Though he was having none of that! No, instead, he felt he needed to be in the water with us! 🙂 He just jumped right in and waded the entire stretch over and over with us! It was so fun and we’ve swam with him a couple times since then.

The Water Horse 🙂

I also started driving him more often and he is doing really well along the rail but gets a little confused when we move off the rail. I have plans with some very experienced drivers to practice with them this week though. 🙂

He now will shift the weight off of all of his feet when I snap my fingers. My goal is to have him lift his feet for me when I snap. 🙂 He is coming along better and better every day! He also is bowing without fussing around. Now we just have to work on the smoothness of it and have him stay down until I ask him to stand back up. 🙂 Again, this is all getting better and better every day.

He has become increasingly more comfortable with other people interacting with him. Though he especially likes my little sister, Jazmyne. Here is Jaz leading Ren…

Jaz and Ren 🙂

Another thing, last Friday a group of friends from the Friends of the Mustangs went up to a friend’s house for a small play day with the horses. I didn’t get many pictures because my phone was dead but things we did included getting on pedistols, jumping barrels and stacked pipes, walking under hanging tarps and pool noodles, jump down hills and up hills, playing with big Parelli balls, and this… 🙂

Just south of riding. 🙂

We mastered the trick where he walks underneath me and I stand above him where I would be riding. I also can stand on his butt and balance and he just stands there. 🙂 Here is the Captain Morgan pose! 😛

TaDa 🙂

The other night I played with both of my horses in the large arena with Ren at liberty and Topaz under saddle. We played a little target game where the goal was to get Ren to put his nose in the corner and stay there while Topaz and I rode. This game was a good mental and physical activity for both horses because I needed Topaz to be very precise with her movements. As fast as we needed to put pressure towards Ren, we needed to release as well. This got Topaz reconnected to me while Ren got to think about being rewarded by comfort and reading our pressure. It took a while, but he finally stayed in the corner while Topaz and I rode one lap around the arena so we accepted that as the greatest effort of Ren and called it a day. 🙂

Everything is flowing so smoothly with Renaissance and there’s always more to learn!

Thanks for reading!

Tip of the Day:

It is the Release that teaches!

A common misconception in the equine industry is that horses learn from pressure. They will learn by pulling on the bit because it is a punishment for not stopping when you said Woah. Not Quite! Instead of pressure, it is the release of pressure that teaches the horse. Whatever behavior the horse is exercising when he finds comfort or you release the pressure, is the behavior that he will continue to do. This causes people to need to become very precise with their timing or else confuse the horse!

Remember to always release pressure the second the horse is exercising the correct behavior! 

Try to hone your timing so that your communication is clearer with your horse!

Have fun. Be smart. Be safe.


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Blog Facelift!

With the recent acceptance to the Youth Employment Program, I have changed up my blog to be a bit more inclusive of all aspects of my involvement with the Mustang Heritage Foundation this summer. The homepage will be my Bio and the categories will be on the side panel! Explore the new arrangement!

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Spread the Word!

As a side note, make sure that all of you readers are passing this on to all of your friends and neighbors!

This is not because I want more publicity but rather because I want the Mustangs to have more publicity.

Keep in mind that while the competition is a fun incentive, the ultimate objective of this project is to demonstrate to the public that Mustangs are wonderful animals and exceed the common stereotype given to them.

In fact, check out the blogs of the friends I’ve made so far in this competition as well!

Abby Brown: Become a fan of PROJECT MUSTANG on Facebook!

Jessi Huston: www.mustangcrazy.weebly.com

Again, this is not nearly as much about the competition as it is about the Mustangs.

Keeping up with these blogs is your way of helping support a true American Legend!

If you’re local and all of this has you WILD about Mustangs, check out the local club who takes care of the Little Bookcliffs Wild Horse Area: www.friendsofthemustangs.org

Also, if you want to know any more information about the Mustangs or the programs trying to help them, visit the Mustang Heritage Foundation website at www.mustangheritagefoundation.org or the Extreme Mustang Makeover site at www.extrememustangmakeover.com

Thanks again for all the support and remember…


For the Mustangs!

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