3 Ways You Can Participate in the 2015 Extreme Mustang Makeover

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is coming to a state near you this year — and there are three different ways you can get involved.

The Mustang Heritage Foundation’s banner event, the Extreme Mustang Makeover, is preparing to kick off another year of competitions all across the country. Participating trainers are paired with a mustang and then get about 100 days to train their previously-untouched horse before competing at an Extreme Mustang Makeover Event. Each event includes preliminary pattern and trail classes with the highest-scoring partnerships going on to the freestyle round. Past freestyles have seen riders perform bareback and bridleless, work and rope cattle and jump. This is the event that made Elisa Wallace a household name in the mustang world.

Tara Martinak, Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/CC

Tara Martinak, Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/CC

The most exciting part is that there are three ways you can get involved:


While the first regional competitions of 2015 are well into the 100-day training period, the big national event in Fort Worth is accepting entries until April 1. In 2015, in addition to the conventional under-saddle division, the Extreme Mustang Makeover will also include a youth division which competes in-hand–further proving the value of America’s mustangs as all-around family horses.

There are a few requirements before you apply: your facility for housing your mustang must be a minimum of 400 square feet and have fences at least six feet high; trailers for picking up mustangs from BLM holding facilities must be safe but also must be stock-type swing-door trailers for safe loading and unloading. Trainers must provide references and will be selected based on experience, facility approval and geographic location; needless to say, any trainer with a history of animal abuse will not be eligible. Once a trainer is selected for competition, they are required to submit a seven-day, 45-day and 75-day progress report and also receive regular email and phone call updates from EMM staff. Many trainers also choose to blog or track their process through social media to keep mustang fans in the loop.

ft worth

Photo by Vernon Bewley. Used with permission.


Training a mustang right out of the wild not quite in your wheelhouse? Attend one of the regional events or the big show in Fort Worth, where all of the mustangs that compete will be available for adoption through an auction at the conclusion of the event. Sometimes, like in Elisa Wallace’s case, the trainers will buy back their mustangs, but many of the animals go on to other loving homes to start show or pleasure careers with a new family. The highest winning bid of the recent Mustang Magic competition (reserved this year for mares ages 4-6 with the finals in Fort Worth) was $8,500, but all but two of the horses went for under $2,000. That’s a steal for a horse that now has mastered the art of performing in a packed coliseum under the bright lights. If you’ve ever wanted to own a mustang but were less than confident about the training process, adopting a horse from the Extreme Mustang Makeover gets you off to a great start.

st louis

Photo by Rhonda Hole. Used with permission.

Attend an Event

For some of us, neither training nor owning a mustang is in the cards–but with regional Extreme Mustang Makeovers all over the country, there’s bound to be one near you. Attending a Makeover is a great way to support the further preservation of America’s wild horses and to observe the amazing versatility of the breed.

The 2015 Extreme Mustang Makeover schedule:

  • March 27-29, Meadow Event Park, Doswell, VA
  • April 24-25, Horseshoe Park & Equestrian Center, Queen Creek, AZ
  • May 15-16, George Ingalls Equestrian Center, Norco, CA
  • May 29-30, the Ranch Events Complex, Loveland, CO
  • June 20-21, Reno-Sparks Livestock Center, Reno, NV
  • July 10-11, National Equestrian Center, St. Louis, MO
  • July 24-25, Idaho Horse Park, Nampa, ID
  • August 7-8, Topsfield Fair Facility, Topsfield, MA
  • August 21-22, Chicopee Woods Ag Center, Gainesville, GA
  • September 10-12, Will Rogers Equestrian Center, Fort Worth, TX
Tara Martinak, Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/CC

Tara Martinak, Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/CC

For more information on the Extreme Mustang Makeover, check out the event’s website or see the Mustang Heritage Foundation online as well.

Go mustangs!

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