Elisa Wallace obliterated any preconceived notions held by the packed house of dressage fans when she proudly strode into the main arena on 4-year-old Rune. A mustang. Bareback.
The general consensus among Mustang trainers is that there’s something exhilarating about taking a horse perceived to have less value than others — perhaps because of a bizarre conglomeration of conformation, bloodlines, and experiences — and guiding that horse to blossom into a mount that embodies a mustang’s true breed traits: cleverness, mental and physical perseverance, and a mind for relationships and trust. It’s powerful for those trainers to see their horses be admired and appreciated for what they are.
Wellington, Florida was surely overflowing with admiration for Rune, the 2013 Mustang Million horse of eventer Elisa Wallace. Elisa and Rune had the opportunity to perform for a packed house at the 2014 Global Dressage Festival earlier this year, and they did not disappoint. In addition to putting the 4 year-old through his dressage paces, Elisa gave the audience a small window into the powerful connection the trainers and horses make with each other during the Mustang Million journey.
Elisa, Rune, and Elisa’s 2012 Mustang Makeover horse, Fledge, traveled to the Festival in conjunction with the new 3D film American Mustang The Movie. Elisa and the filmmakers hope to raise awareness and initiate constructive dialogue about the future of wild horses and their preservation in the American West.
Elisa and Rune first met only nine months ago at the Mustang Million auction in Tennessee, and like most new adoptees fresh from the BLM pens, he was terrified to even be touched at first. To say he’s come a long way in less than a year is a bit of an understatement. Elisa chronicled the full transformation of their partnership on the Wallace Eventing YouTube Channel — beginning with getting a skittish wild horse on the trailer home, to his first touch, his first saddle, and exploring, navigating, and finally conquering innumerable obstacles and experiences.
In addition to his performance at Wellington, Rune also performed the CIC3* test ride at the Red Hills International Horse Trials today in Florida, and will be demonstrating their freestyle to the stadium jumping crowd on Sunday.
You can find more about Elisa and her full gamut of eventing horses (not just mustangs!) at wallaceeventing.com.
Many thanks to Equinality Equine Art and “American Mustang the Movie” for photo permissions.
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