The excitement was high as the first Extreme Mustang Makeover event for 2019 took over Ocala, Florida. With approximately 100 days of bonding, gentling and natural horsemanship, mustangs and their trainers headed to Florida for the chance to win $25,000 in cash and prizes. The event was held May 10-11 and brought together 15 talented adult competitors and 13 skilled youth trainers.
Granger, Texas, native Craig Moore and his 4-year-old mustang Hay There Delilah stole the show in the Freestyle Finals, which secured them the adult Championship, a $4,000 check and the Fan Favorite award. Although Moore has competed in a few Trainer Incentive Program (TIP) Challenges, this was only his second Extreme Mustang Makeover.
“In 2016, I did a colt starting challenge and they used mustangs. While I was there I heard about the EMM’s and noticed that there was one in Queen Creek, Arizona, a couple months later. I went to watch and I was hooked,” said Moore. “I just knew I had to do one. Now I’m not sure it’s hit me yet that I am a winner because it’s been something I’ve wanted for a while. It just feels pretty surreal.”
Moore really let his personality shine while he performed tricks with Delilah and showed off his dance moves. Delilah listened to Moore’s cues and proved that she was a very gentle mustang. The crowed enjoyed his Freestyle Finals performance so much, they dubbed him to be the Fan Favorite.
“My biggest thing in life is I like to make people laugh and be happy even if they are having a bad day. I wanted people to be able to come to the show and have a few moments of just enjoying something funny, so I do a lot of silly stuff,” Moore explained. “Thankfully Delilah is very laid back and I think most of the time her favorite speed is standing still, so I used that to my advantage.”
Moore garnered a $4,000 check, a Cut Above belt buckle, a Yeti cooler and a Resistol hat certificate for his championship. He also took home a Cut Above belt buckle for being the Fan Favorite. Although Moore is excited about his awards, he is equally as thrilled to have purchased Delilah back at the auction and can’t wait to get her back to Texas.
“I am looking forward to getting home and watching her walk around and eat grass,” said Moore. “She has always been special to me. I knew I wanted to buy her back and as we started to do well I realized how much she was being noticed and I honestly got a little worried. It kind of hit me that there was a chance I wouldn’t bring her home. But, out there in the auction it all happened so fast and I went over budget like normal, but just a little bit. I am definitely happy to say she is mine now.”
All adult horses were available for purchase via public competitive bid. All 15 adult horses were placed into adoptive homes for an average price of $3,500, with the highest selling mustang going for $9,000. Complete event and auction results can be viewed here.
Katie Morris, of Lithia, Florida, didn’t let the first-time EMM nerves or vibrant atmosphere get in the way of earning the Youth Championship with her mustang, Changing Destiny. Morris and Destiny were tied with Cat Zimmerman and Little Miss Sunshine heading into the freestyles, and she knew she needed to secure the title with a flawless freestyle.
Morris had a rainbow themed freestyle where she showcased Destiny’s many talents and tricks without any hesitation or mishaps.
“This was my first EMM and it just feels really amazing to win,” said Morris who just turned 18 years old. “I’ve spent a lot of time outside every single day working with her doing all the things I thought would be in the show or things that I felt like I needed to prepare for. But my favorite part is planning the freestyle. Once you’ve got a theme and you put it all together it really comes to life, which I love. I also love the tricks.”
Morris has only been working with Destiny for about 100 days, and admits she was not always the easiest to train at first, but once she earned Destiny’s trust, everything came together, including their freestyle.
“She’s super sweet and spunky, she’s very energetic and loves to play around and have fun. She really just always wants to please me,” said Morris. “When it came to time to teach her the freestyle, it was pretty easy teaching her tricks because she is so smart. There were a few that were hard, but then other tricks she actually showed me she wanted to do and she picked up on them really fast.”
As for the future of this dynamic duo, Morris looks forward to working with Destiny to promote mustangs.
“I hope to promote the brand and continue breaking stereotypes on what mustangs are viewed as and show the public how amazing they are,” said Morris. “I also really hope to use this talent to glorify God because I couldn’t have done this without Him. He has given me an amazing family and I am just so thankful for that.”
Morris took home a $1,000 check, a Cut Above belt buckle and a Resistol Hat.
The mustangs that competed in the Extreme Mustang Makeover for adults were wild mares 3-6 years old that have been living in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) off-range corrals. Youth trainers worked with yearling mares and geldings for the competition and are randomly paired with their mustang approximately 100 days prior to the competition.
At the competition, the adult horse-and-rider duos compete in a handling and conditioning class, a pattern class and a trail class. The Top 10 adult competitors then compete in a Freestyle Finals performance, and all youth perform in a freestyle class as well.
Presenting sponsors for the 2019 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Ocala, Florida, were the Mustang Heritage Foundation, the Weisberg Family Foundation and Western Horseman. The event was also made possible through a partnership with the Bureau of Land Management.
Next stop for the Extreme Mustang Makeover in 2019 is Lexington, Kentucky, June 20-22, 2019, followed by Fort Worth, Texas, January 23-25, 2020. To purchase tickets for the Kentucky event visit https://extrememustangmakeover.com/events/kentucky/.
Applications are still open for the EMM in Fort Worth, Texas! Interested applicants can apply by July 1 at https://extrememustangmakeover.com/compete/.
About the Mustang Heritage Foundation
The primary mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation is to create and promote programs and activities that provide information and education about wild horses and burros, elevate their image and desirability, provide opportunities to become involved in the wild horse and burro experience and secure adequate numbers of caring homes for excess horses. Working in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management the Mustang Heritage Foundation works to ensure healthy wild herds and rangelands through the placement of excess animals removed from public lands so future generations can enjoy this distinctive part of our American heritage. As a 501 (C)(3), public, charitable, nonprofit organization, the Mustang Heritage Foundation works to identify and develop sources of private financial funding to further support the mission of the Foundation. For more information visit mustangheritagefoundation.org
About the Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) removes wild horses and burros from public lands to ensure a healthy balance of land and animals. Since 1971, the BLM has placed more than 235,000 wild horses and burros into good homes nationwide. Partnerships, like the Mustang Heritage Foundation, provide the BLM with additional opportunities to place animals into good homes. Interested applicants can attend BLM offsite adoption/sales event, visit a BLM Off-Range Corral, or participate in an Internet adoption/sales event to apply to take a wild horse or burro home! To learn more about the Wild Horse and Burro Program, please call 866-468-7826 or visit BLM.GOV/whb.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield.
Press release provided by Matt Manroe - Mustang Heritage Foundation