Tuesday, December 23, 2008

It's Aliiiive!

The clutch on my truck was acting up a few weeks ago so we took the "beast" off the road to look into things. What started as "fix the clutch" turned into "replace everything!" - haha. We decided that with the miles on the truck and what we use it for (hauling horses professionally) that it could use a new transmission as well as a new clutch. Of course right about the same time was when we started getting hit by artic cold fronts. You might have heard about it on the news. We had weather warning after weather warning - blizzard, wind chill, winter weather advisories, limited visibilities and so on. Our windchills got down to 45 below zero a couple of times. Despite all that, the truck was torn down and put back together out in the garage. (All Hail Jeff - the Master of car/truck repair and the Heat Hog heater that kept his fingers from falling off while he worked!) So now, as of last night, the pulling machine is back on the road! We took him* on a "shakedown" run into town and he was doing great! Jeff also overhauled the rear brakes and installed a 3-way power port inside for hooking up gadgets. (phone chargers, laptops, DVD players, etc) We have a few more tweaks we want to do, as far as installing things to make life on a road a little bit easier, but all of the big stuff is done now and the truck is ready to hit the road again!

*him* - I'm talking about the truck... Yes, I'm one of those freaks who assigns gender to and names their vehicles. Although I still haven't come up with a name for this "guy", just can't think of a good one...

A word on the truck: My monster is a 1999 Dodge 2500 Cummins Turbo Diesel with a 5 speed and 4wd. It is a BEAST and handles our 32 foot trailer like it's nothing.

In other news, we're heading out tonight to go visit Jeff's family for the holidays. We'll be back just after the 1st of the year, right in time to gear up and go get my mustang!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Mustang Makeover!

First, a bit of history:

The Mustang Heritage Foundation is based out of Texas. In 2007 they held an event that was the first of its kind, the Extreme Mustang Makeover. They selected 100 trainers from across the country and gave them each a wild mustang. Each trainer had approximately 100 days to gentle and train his or her mustang for a competition to take place in Fort Worth, Texas. In the competition, horses were judged on condition, manners during an in-hand horse and also how they performed in a riding course. The finalists were able to do a 4 minute freestyle to show off what their horses could do. There were mustangs jumping, roping cows, spinning, changing leads and riders cracking whips and shooting at balloon targets. There was $50,000 in prize money up for grabs. At the close of the event all of the mustangs were auctioned off to find them new homes. Many of the horses fetched prices of several thousand dollars and a good number of them were bought and taken back home by their trainers - including the Reserve Champion mustang who sold for $7500 back to his trainer. The top selling horse of the event brought in $50,000!

The first Extreme Mustang Makeover was such a success that in 2008 smaller events began to pop up all over the country. Some of those were the Midwest Extreme Mustang Makeover held in Wisconsin, the Northwest Mustang Makeover in Oregon, a Western States Mustang Makeover in California and a Wyoming Mustang Makeover held in, you guessed it, Wyoming. ;-)

In 2009 all of these events will be held again, with the addition of even more events including the Gatorland Mustang Makeover to be held in Florida.

The 2009 Midwest edition will be held in mid-April at the Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, Wisconsin. The application deadline for this event was December 1st, but then they extended the deadline to December 10th. I sent in an application to be a trainer for this one and spent a week or so on pins and needles waiting to hear back. Well, yesterday I received an email with a Congratulations saying I've been selected to be a trainer in the Midwest Mustang Makeover!! I'll be traveling to Ewing, Illinois to pick up my wild horse on January 9th or 10th and then making the trek back home to South Dakota. I'll have about 3 months to gentle and train him or her for the competition in April.

While waiting for word on my application I'd done a lot of research. The 2008 Midwest Mustang Challenge played out to a packed house of 8,000 people in the stands. I've never riden a horse in front of more than 20 people or so! The last event was won by a professional trainer out of Pennsylvania. I've never trained professionally. I think you could call me an underdog, a longshot, but I don't care! This is something I've been wanting to do since I first heard rumblings of the intial event in 2007. My absolute favorite thing to do is take an untouched horse and work with them to develop a willing partner. I can't wait to get started!!

Stay tuned, I'm sure I'll have a lot to share!