Teen mustang training program
This program runs January 2, 2023-September 1, 2023. Participants will spend six weeks learning about training techniques and working with mustangs and burros that have some training. The next three months will be spent gentling a fully wild mustang as a team (this will be the new guy pictured above, who arrives in February). Then the Massachusetts TIP challenge will begin. If accepted into that program (this is a separate application, admittance is not guaranteed), you will be assigned a random draw of a yearling mustang which you will have three months to train.
Who is eligible?
Youth ages 12-17 with horse riding, training or care experience may apply to this program. You don't need training experience and you don't need to be an advanced rider. In fact, you don't actually need any riding experience at all as long as you can comfortably handle, groom and lead a horse. Our mission at Wild Ride is to show the world that anyone can gentle a mustang with the right support, so if you're a horse lover but you're doubting whether you can do this, you should absolutely apply!
How much does it cost?
There is an initial cost of $500 to participate in this program. This covers the first five months of learning and the cost of care and transportation of the new mustang we're acquiring for this program to work with. If accepted into the MA TIP Challenge, there will be an additional $500 cost which covers three months of board, care and training mentorship for your horse and transportation of your horse from the pickup site to our facility and to the competition site and back. This means a total cost of $1000 for the full eight month program. Payment plans are available as well as fundraising and crowdfunding opportunities. Please don't let the cost deter you. If you're dedicated and willing to put in the work, we can find a way to make it happen! This is also a work study program meaning that there will be chores expected. This may include mucking stalls, cleaning water troughs, working on farm projects like fencing, or even sometimes riding, depending on experience level and our horses exercise needs. We will also be doing some fundraising activities together to cover the remaining costs of the program.
What is the time commitment/schedule?
We meet 2-3 afternoons per week. Each session will be a combination of chores and hands on training experience with mustangs and burros in various stages of training. We can work together to select days and times that best work for everyone. Once your competition horse arrives in the spring, you may come out as frequently as you'd like within our business hours to get in more training sessions or just spend time with your horse.
When will I get my assigned horse?
That all depends on a couple of factors. The Massachusetts TIP Challenge usually has a pickup date in April/May and a competition date in August/September, but the dates have not been released yet. This competition also requires an application process, so I cannot guarantee that you will be selected, but if you stick to our program and put in the work, your chances are probably pretty good!
Do I get to keep my horse?
You will have the option to keep your horse or rehome it. If you do choose to rehome your horse, it's pretty typical to charge a training fee (100% goes to the competitor), which means you'll have an opportunity to make some money if you're not in a position to keep the horse.
Where can my horse go after the competition?
If you keep your horse, you can bring it home or board it here with us or at any barn of your choice as long as it meets BLM requirements (five foot tall metal or wood fencing on site). It's your horse, after all! If you choose to keep the horse here, standard board rates will apply starting one week after the competition is over (some time in August or September). Please check our services page for board options.
Do I have to take care of my horse?
During the training period leading up to the competition, you will be responsible for horse care. However, we plan to coordinate with the other participants so you can rotate caring for each other's horses.
Do I get to pick my horse?
Nope! This is a random draw and you will be assigned a yearling to work with. It could be any size, color or temperament, so be prepared for anything!
What about things like vet care, farrier, deworming and other horse care costs?
You will be responsible for these costs. The horses come up to date on shots and deworming, so you shouldn't have to worry about that until the fall. If your horse injures itself, you will be responsible for paying the vet bill, however we will help you fundraise and crowd fund as best we can if you incur a large vet bill. As far as farrier care, a trim usually costs $45 every 6-8 weeks, but we have the tools to teach you the basics of trimming your own horse. We recommend that the trainer does the first couple of trims to make sure the horse is fully ready for the farrier and we will help you with that. Aside from that, you may wish to spend money on tack, halters, costumes, training aids, fly masks and more, but none of these things are required.
What do I need to train my horse to do?
Generally, the horse must halter easily and lead, pick up all four feet, get in and out of a trailer, and maneuver through obstacles like bridges, tarps and cones. For an example of past competitions, see this link for the Oklahoma youth freestyle from 2021. There are three sections of the competition: handling/conditioning which makes sure your horse has the basics down and looks healthy; trail class which is basically an obstacle course for horses; and the freestyle which is choreographed and performed to music with fun costumes and props (note: in the video linked, the music is silenced for copywrite reasons, but all these freestyles are set to music).