Rookie, Joshua Knight, proved he had what it took to win the adult championship, while veteran youth competitor, Cat Zimmerman, added another championship title to her name while in Kentucky.
On June 21, 2018, adult and youth competitors traveled to the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Kentucky, for the chance to win the championship title at the Extreme Mustang Makeover. With approximately 100 days, trainers and mustangs work on bonding, gentling and natural horsemanship methods to showcase their mustangs’ abilities.
The mustangs that competed in the Extreme Mustang Makeover for adults were wild mares and geldings 4-7 years old that had been living in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) off-range corrals. Youth trainers worked with yearling mustangs for the competition. All trainers are randomly paired with a mustang.
At the competition, the horse-and-rider duos compete in a handling and conditioning class, a maneuvers class and a trail class. The Top 10 adult competitors then compete in a Finals performance consisting of compulsory maneuvers and freestyle.
Although this was his first mustang competition, Joshua Knight proved that he had what it took to work with and train a mustang as he and Bindi took home the 2018 Extreme Mustang Makeover Championship, the Fan Favorite award and the Rookie award. The duo consistently stayed in the top of the competition throughout the event, making their way into the Top 10 Freestyle Finals.
Knight and Bindi captured the crowd’s attention with their “Australian Zookeeper” freestyle performance, where Knight dressed up as Steve Irwin and proceeded to do tricks aboard Bindi, and also wrangled a blowup crocodile.
“This has been a great experience. The amount of people you meet and the horses you get to train are awesome. Mustangs are just so different,” said Knight. “Training Bindi has been awesome. Once we got her over being scared of things through desensitizing, she came leaps and bounds. She’s been pretty quiet most of the time and loves food, scratches and people.”
Knight said he learned some valuable things while training his first mustang, and he hopes to continue to build off his knowledge while working with his mustang he has for the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Fort Worth, Texas. He also had some great advice for people interested in working with mustangs.
“Take your time; you don’t need to rush them. Just get a good connection with them,” said Knight. “If anyone is interested in doing it, give it a go. It is an awesome experience. If you’re scared to work with a mustang, you’ll love it once you get to do it.”
Knight garnered a $4,000 check, A Cut Above belt buckle and a Resistol Hat certificate for his championship. He also received $2,500, thanks to Weisberg Stables, and two A Cut Above belt buckles for his Fan Favorite award as well as for his Rookie award.
Cat Zimmerman continues to add more championships to her name as she and her mustang Beau earned the 2018 Youth Extreme Mustang Makeover Championship. Despite Zimmerman’s minor fumble in the handling and conditioning class, she was able to make it up by placing first in the youth trail class. Then during her freestyle performance, she wowed the crowd with her superwoman routine securing the championship.
“I was really nervous. I get stressed out over the youth because you only have 3 minutes and 30 seconds to freestyle and I already messed up in the handling and conditioning because I forgot to pick up his feet, so I felt like I failed him because I didn’t get to showcase him to his full ability,” said Zimmerman. “Even going into trail class, I was nervous because I wanted to show people how amazing he was.
During freestyle he was hyper, so he was kind of crow hopping and bucking around a little bit, but he was having fun, which is great. He did everything that I wanted him to so that’s all I could’ve asked for,” Zimmerman added. “I liked the fact that I can just go out there and have fun with him. Once we stepped into the ring all the stress went away and it was just us playing around together and just doing what we do at home.”
As for Beau, he has a forever home with Zimmerman and she plans on doing a liberty team with him and her 2016 Extreme Mustang Makeover horse, Bella, when she performs at fairs and expos to promote mustangs.
“The first time that I went to the pens for pick-up back in February, I looked at all the horses to get an idea about the draws and I saw him, and he looked exactly like my mare from 2016. I kind of had a gut feeling that he was really special, and I really wanted him,” said Zimmerman.
“Over 40 horses and I had 20 favorites, and he was my top pick. When we got our draw number it ended up being him, which is crazy because there’s not a big chance of that happening, so I knew it was meant to be. I really just love doing everything with him.”
Zimmerman took home a $1,000 check, A Cut Above belt buckle and a Resistol Hat certificate.
At the conclusion of the event, all the adult horses were available for purchase via public competitive bid. All 46 adult horses were placed into homes for an average price of $1,500, with the highest selling mustang going for $5,500. Complete event and sale results can be viewed at extrememustangmakeover.com.
The Extreme Mustang Makeover is produced by the Mustang Heritage Foundation in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse & Burro Program. The Presenting Partner of the Extreme Mustang Makeover is Western Horseman. Corporate event partners are RAM Truck, Resistol, Martin Saddles, A Cut Above, Classic Equine, Equestrian Singles, España Silk, Weisberg Family Foundation, and RIDE TV.
The next Extreme Mustang Makeover will take place in Fort Worth, Texas, September 6-8, 2018. Tickets are on sale now and can be found at https://extrememustangmakeover.com/events/texas/
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.