Facing challenges the mustang way


SALEM, Ohio – Dave McClelland won’t get the manure spreader he was hoping for, but he did make an important addition to his farm this summer.
The professional horse trainer was one of 100 participants in the first-ever Extreme Mustang Makeover. The challenge centered on taking a wild horse from the hills of Nevada and training it in 90 days to be a gentle companion on the farm.
McClelland and his horse, Slick, competed against other trainers and horses from across the county Sept. 22 at the Will Rogers Equestrian Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
Happy. They didn’t win the $10,000 first prize (which would’ve gone to purchase that manure spreader), but McClelland was happy with his horse anyway.
“We did just wonderful,” said the Jamestown, Pa., resident.
As part of the competition, the horses were auctioned off Sept. 23, bringing in about $233,100. The Bureau of Land Management received a $125 adoption fee for each horse, with the rest of the money going to the Mustang Heritage Foundation.
McClelland made the winning bid on Slick, paying $1,500 to bring the horse home. And getting him back was the true goal for this certified mustang trainer.
“He’s going to end up being a good horse,” McClelland said.
The idea behind the challenge was to demonstrate the quality and value of mustangs. It was a chance to show that, with the right training, a wild horse can be useful for ranch work or recreational riding.
Results. The animals in the contest were judged on conditioning, groundwork and their performance in an obstacle course.
Farm and Dairy first reported on McClelland and Slick Aug. 2 when they were in the midst of training for the competition in Texas
Slick scored well in the conditioning and groundwork portion of the contest. He was also successful in the obstacle course, other than one instance when he got nervous and moved right instead of left around a small bridge.
Unfortunately, that small error knocked the gelding out of the top 10.
T.V. Extreme Mustang Makeover is also airing through December as a six-episode series on RFD-TV. The show follows contestants from their first day with the horses to the end of the competition in Texas.
Although the competition has ended, McClelland isn’t ready to call it quits. He’s already signed up to do a 60-day makeover challenge that culminates in April at the Wisconsin State Horse Fair.
And he’s been accepted to participate in Extreme Mustang Makeover 2 in 2008.
(Reporter Janelle Skrinjar welcomes feedback by phone at 800-837-3419, ext. 22, or by e-mail at jskrinjar@farmanddairy.com.)


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