Sebastien Rubino / [email protected]
Battle Ground sisters Norah and Claire Garlington recently adopted wild mustang horses as part of a four-month training program run by Teens and Oregon Mustangs.
The program’s goal is to make mustangs more adoptable by showcasing the animal’s value and trainability, while helping trainers improve their riding skills and providing youngsters with skills training. training through competition.
The girls bonded deeply with their new animal friends. They are part of the Youth In-Hand division of yearling mustangs.
“I really like that I saw the opportunity to train horses,” said 10-year-old Claire. “I liked hosting a horse, so I thought I’d like that too.”
Norah, 12, also loves horses.
“I’m open to any chance of being close to it,” Norah said. “I really liked the mustang breed, and so I really like that the opportunity is given to children to train horses and not just adults to do the important things.”
Norah said she found their horses, Baileymay and Albin, at the Clark County Horse Expo at a booth that allowed people to meet the Teens and Oregon Mustangs founder and volunteers. The girls were able to learn more about the program there.
“It was really exciting and they made it feel like this program was the right fit for me and my sister,” Norah said.
Once the girls have completed the training period, they will be able to compete with horses.
“There’s no sure way to train them,” Norah said. “You can watch videos and read and everything, but you’re kind of on your own. But if you’re really stuck, they can also help you out a bit, but they won’t do it for you.
Norah described her horse, Baileymay, as “brave and spontaneous”, while Claire considers Albin “curious”. Since they are still new to training, Norah said she mainly worked on brushing the horse and leading the animal into the corral, while Claire focused on prep work and brushing.
Claire said the end goal of the program is to be able to successfully select horses, halter and drive them, do the groundwork and load them into trailers.
Besides spending quality time with the horses, both girls really enjoy the training program itself.
“I really, really like it,” Norah said. “It allows you to get out and not just be home all day, and it gives you a chance to be with horses.”
Claire added, “I love that they also think about wild mustangs and not overcrowding them, so you can give them homes and stuff.”
Norah said overcrowding is a problem with wild mustangs, so one of the goals of the program is to keep horses away from Bureau of Land Management lands.
Their father, Brandon, said it took about three weekends to build the round paddock the horses stay in, but he noted the work was worth it.
“I kind of took it as a leap of faith,” Brandon said of their time on the program. “My wife, Kim, was a little nervous about the whole thing, but I think instead of asking the girls to watch it on YouTube videos, we could actually go out and do it.”
The training program has helped teach the girls patience because it’s a slow, methodical process, Brandon said.
“Seeing them go at their own pace and at the pace of their horses was really rewarding,” he said.
After training is complete, a press release said each division will participate in the Mustang Adoption Challenge from September 2-4. Entrants will be judged on showmanship, general fitness and track in hand. Each division will then compete for the title of Mustang Adoption Challenge Champion and receive a trophy saddle.
The final competition will take place at the Linn County Fair and Expo Center in Albany, Oregon.