FAQ’s for Trainers

Will I know the herd my horse came from?

Yes, all youth trainers will be given documentation of the herds from which their horse was gathered and a map showing where the herd is located in the state of Oregon.

I've never trained a mustang before. How do I start this horse?

Each youth trainer is assigned an experienced adult mustang trainer to guide them through the rough spots. They will always be available by phone as long as you identify yourself as being with this program. Very seldom do they need to make an onsite visit but it does happen on occasion. If your mentor trainer is not available, the event coordinator can either assist you or have you contact a different mentor.

How do I get a halter on a wild horse if I can't get near them?

All horses will have a halter on them with a lead rope attached at the time you pick them up at the designated location. This will greatly facilitate the gentling process allowing you to gain trust and accessibility. This halter and lead should remain on the horse until you are certain you can remove it and put it back on safely.

How many hours a day do I need to work with my horse?

Since they are still babies, it is recommended that you work with them in 20 minute intervals. Maybe 20 minutes in the morning and another 20 minutes in the afternoon if time allows or you can even add in another 20 minutes somewhere during the day. Their retention is better in shorter time frames and the more time you spend with them the more they learn to trust you.

How long does it take for me to be able to touch my mustang?

Each horse is different but depending on your skill sets, it will determine that time for you. Most babies are curious and generally easier to experience that “first touch” with than an adult Mustang. Some are able to touch their horses in a matter of hours and others in days or a couple of weeks. Taking it slow and gentle is the best approach. Mustangs do not like to be “cowboy-ed”.

What if my parents don't support me?

If they give you their permission but tell you that you are your own, it will definitely make it a little more difficult to not have them for emotional stability and general overall support. Parents are great sounding blocks and we encourage them to assist in the emotional support of your project. If you have another adult in your life you can use as a sounding block it helps as well.

What if I don't have show clothes for the final competition?

Show clothes are not required nor will you be judged on whether or not you are wearing them. You are required to have on clean clothes (jeans and a shirt) and look presentable to the public. You must also wear an acceptable boot for horses and not flip-flops or tennis shoes.

What if my horse gets sick or injured while I have it?

When you have the yearling Mustang in your care, all equine related costs are your responsibility including but not limited to feed, farrier and veterinary expenses. You will also need to de-worm your yearling and make sure it stays in good health.

I wish I could apply but I will turn 19 before the competition.

As long as your are at least eight years old and still eighteen years old (not yet nineteen) at the time of application, you may apply and be considered for the program.

What happens to the horse at the end of 90 days?

You return to a designated location for a final in-hand competition and then should you choose to not keep your horse, it will go up for adoption through a public bidding process.

If I decide to keep my horse, do I still have to go to the final competition?

Yes you do. All horses must return to the final competition regardless of whether or not they are going up for public adoption or will be kept by the youth trainer.

Where does the money go when the horses are adopted?

Anything over the minimum bid of $25 is paid to the youth trainer after the competition. If your horse adopts out at a price of $1000.00, you would get to retain $975.00 of that amount. If your adopts for $25, no excess money is being collected so no money would pass to the trainer.

What is the $25 used for?

That money is paid to the BLM to complete and transfer the paperwork into the new adopter’s name.

How do I apply for this program?

Applications come out once a year, usually in January with an April deadline for them to be completed by the prospective youth trainer and returned to MYWY. Each year the exact dates are listed on the application. All portions of the application MUST be completed including the essays and any and all supplemental information. Incomplete applications will not be considered for selection.

If I submit an application, am I guaranteed a mustang?

No. Often times there are more trainers applying than horses available. This is a selection process and trainers will be selected upon the completeness of the application with more weight being given to the areas of their references and the essay portions of the application.

How will I find out if I'm selected?

A notification date will be posted in the application and all successfully selected applicants will receive notification by that date.

Can I train more than one mustang for the competition?

Our rules are set forth by the Mustang Heritage Foundation and they have deemed it necessary to limit each youth trainer to only one yearling.

I heard that youth trainers receive some money just for training. Is that true?

The Mustang Heritage Foundation supports all of the youth and yearling challenges through a Trainer Incentive Program. All funds a re allocated to different portions of the event with all youth trainers receiving a funds of a $200 stipend to assist in the offsetting of some of the feed/care costs affiliated with their yearling for the 90 day time frame it is in your possession. To qualify to receive this stipend you must return to the final competition with your yearling and it must be in good health with no warts, ringworm or other contagious diseases. Any youth trainer dropping from competition, returning their yearling before the final competition (for a reason other than injury/health) or not abiding by the necessary stipulations will not receive the $200 Trainer Incentive funds.

Is this part of the sale money over $25?

This is completely separate from the sale money. You will receive this money in addition to the sale money above the $25 adoption fee.

What if my horse does not sell at the auction?

You can still choose to keep your horse if it does not sell or we can place it in a foster home.

Can I take it home and advertise it for sale for whatever price I want?

Unfortunately not.  The title of the horse still belongs to the BLM and you are limited by the $25 transfer fee until you have possession of the horse for over a year and title has been transferred to your name (parent’s name).

Can I sell my yearling at any time?

Unfortunately, no. You are not able to sell your horse until you have had him/her in your possession with a completed “Adoption Application” from the BLM for a period of one year. At the end of the one year time frame, an authorized BLM representative will come visit you and your horse to make sure he/she is in good health and all are still doing well. You will then be issued a “Title” to your horse. After the issuance of the title and it is in your possession, you can sell your horse for whatever amount you choose. Prior to the one year expiration period, if you need to re-home your horse, it becomes a re-assignment by the BLM and a new person can take possession by completing the proper paperwork (like you did originally) and paying the BLM a $25 re-assignment fee.

How do I get the title?

After a year’s time, a BLM representative or volunteer will come and do a site inspection of the horse and make sure all is well. At the end of that inspection, they will sign off on your horse and you will mail the paperwork back to the BLM. You will receive title by mail a short time after they receive the papers from you.

FAQ’s for the public

What is this program all about?

This is a program where youth trainers adopt a yearling Mustang that has not previously been handled and gentles it down for 90+ days to in-hand training only. There is not to be any riding of their horse during the time it is on their care. At the end of their 90+ days, the horse and the trainer returns to a designated event arena for final competition to show the public what they have both learned over there time together. Classes are Showmanship, In-hand trail and Freestyle of 3 minutes. There will also be a vet on site judging the horse’s body conditioning.

What is the purpose of this program?

The primary purpose of this program is to bring an awareness of the Mustang breed to the general public as to their versatility, resilience and adaptability to domestic life. Since they have not previously had human exposure, they become very bonded to their youth trainer and will do anything asked of them. Our secondary purpose is to assist the young trainers in gaining responsibility, self-respect, self-esteem and self-confidence not only in the areas of training a horse but in the areas of life that will expected of them as they grow and become a part of the everyday world. The skills, lessons and responsibilities learned during this process transfer to those of all areas of life. We have seen the proud humbled and the insecure become self-confident.

Where do the horses come from?

All horses come from the short term holding facility in Burns, Oregon. They have been gathered from several wild horse herds in the south eastern Oregon area.