Eicher wins New Jersey Extreme Mustang Makeover
Nathan Eicher of Reinholds, and Little Mouse, a 2009 brown mare, took home the championship buckle and $5,000 in prize money during the Extreme Mustang Makeover Aug. 2 through 4. Eicher also won the "rookie" buckle for earning the most points of all first-time Extreme Mustang Makeover competitors.
The Extreme Mustang Makeover, produced by the Mustang Heritage Foundation, returned to Gloucester County, N.J. for the second year. The wild horse gentling contest featured two days of competition among 33 trainers and Mustangs they had worked with since early April.
Trainers from all over the East Coast and as far away as Missouri and Nebraska picked up wild Mustangs in early April and spent approximately 120 days gentling the horses for competition. The Mustang mares, age four to five, originated from various herds in 10 Western states. Competitors converged on the Dream Park in Logan Township, N.J., to test their Mustangs’ new skills and find the horses permanent, adoptive homes.
Competition began on Friday with handling and conditioning, testing the Mustangs’ ground manners and body condition and continued with a combined leading and riding trail class. Trainers maneuvered through a course with obstacles similar to those they might encounter on a trail ride or during a normal work day. Saturday’s pattern class completed the preliminary competition, and the top-10 point earners were invited to return for the freestyle finals.
Mustang and trainer teams performed freestyle routines with costumes, music and props while competing for over $19,000 in prize money. Nathan Eicher and his mount, Little Mouse, performed a bridleless routine, flying through a smooth pattern with sliding stops and spins.
Eicher owns and operates Eicher Performance Horses in Reinholds, where he specializes in starting colts and trains horses for careers in all disciplines including cutting, reining, roping, English and western pleasure and trail. Reserve Champion was Sarah Wiest of Hamburg, and the Mustang Lulu, decked out in orange and red to perform to Garth Brooks’ "Standing Outside the Fire." Cavin Graham of Rocky Face, Georgia, and Kachina won third overall and the fan favorite buckle with a crowd-pleasing bridleless routine.
Competing Mustangs were available for public adoption on Sunday morning. All 33 Mustangs were adopted into homes for an average adoption price of $1,035. The high seller was reserve champion mare Lulu, adopted for $3,400.
The Extreme Mustang Makeovers are made possible through a partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and sponsors Ram Trucks, Western Horseman, Zoetis, Vetericyn, Roper Apparel & Footwear, Twister Trailer, RES Equine Products, Gist Silversmiths, Martin Saddlery and Classic Equine, and Smith Brothers.
Since the first Extreme Mustang Makeover event was held in 2007, the Mustang Heritage Foundation has facilitated the adoptions of more than 5,000 gentled American Mustangs. In 2013, the Foundation in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management will continue to increase its efforts to raise awareness of adoptions of America’s Mustangs.
The mission of the Mustang Heritage Foundation and the goal of the Extreme Mustang Makeover events are to increase the adoption of Mustangs across the country. The Mustang Heritage Foundation created the Extreme Mustang Makeover events to showcase the recognized value of Mustangs through a national training competition. The nonprofit organization also created the Trainer Incentive Program and the Youth Employment Program to raise awareness about America’s Mustangs.
For more information, visit mustangheritagefoundation.org. To support the Mustang Heritage Foundation, visit mustangnation.causevox.com.
More EICHER, page A11