Western States Wild Horse and Burro Expo

Late afternoon approaches in the Carson Valley.  This rugged valley sits just south of Carson City at the transition between the Sierra Nevada range and the Great Basin.  Shadows lengthen on the 10,000-foot peaks to the west; the remnants of winter’s snow reflect a pink glow.   Nestled in the valley’s North end, the 5 Clover Ranch is a hub of activity.   The mustang and burro show winds down for the day, the clinician answers the last questions, and the large animal technical rescue team stows equipment away.  On the other side of the ranch though, activity is picking up.   Sound checks are done, instruments are being tuned, and seats are beginning to fill; the concert is gearing up to rock the evening air.

IMG_0675This then, is the first day, of the first annual, American Legends & Wild Horses event to be held August 20 & 21, 2016 at the 5 Clover Ranch.  The event will raise funds and promote awareness of Nevada’s wild horses and burros.  With a horse and burro show, exhibits, demonstrations, vendors, food, cowboy poetry, entertainment, silent auction, raffle, and a concert extravaganza, this is an event not to be missed.

Sharing a common bond through wild horses and burros, three 501(c) 3 non-profit organizations, Let’em Run Foundation, Least Resistance Training Concepts, and Western States Wild Horse & Burro Expo, joined forces to put on this event.  5 Clover Ranch graciously donated the use of their boarding and training facility and special event venue for this inaugural event.

Let’em Run Foundation was founded October 2002, by internationally acclaimed country and western recording star, Lacy J Dalton.  The Foundation is devoted to the survival of the Virginia Range wild horses.  Virginia Range lies east of Reno, and is mostly privately owned land as opposed to federally owned land covered by Bureau of Land Management.  Wild horses on privately owned land are termed “astray,” and managed by the State of Nevada rather than BLM.   The Let’em Run Foundation engages in activities and services that best meet the Foundations direction to save and/or rescue as many horses as possible within the constraints of the resources of the organization.  They strive to work with and assist other wild horse advocacy groups, and local, state, and federal government agencies to achieve their goals and objectives.

expo photo 1The concert to be held Saturday August 20th is the brain-child of Lacy J Dalton.  Featured artists will include country music legends David Frizzell, Marty Haggard, Jimmy Fortune, and of course, Lacy J Dalton herself.  With the Sierra Nevada Mountains as a backdrop to the outdoor stage, this is sure to be a toe-tapping good time.

The next group is Least Resistance Training Concepts (LRTC) Wild Horse Mentors.  This organization started as a corps of wild horse enthusiasts to assist new wild horse and burro adopters.  The corps shared their skills and knowledge, and was able to assess situations and make referrals, so that adopters could find the assistance they required.

As the concept matured, the non-profit was formed to administer Wild Horse Mentors; they became a legal Volunteer Service Organization for Bureau of Land Management (BLM) adoption programs and range projects, and a facilitator for wild horse and burro adoptions for several agencies.  In addition, LRTC provides a certified Technical Large Animal Rescue team for the region’s wild and domestic horses.   They also provide Technical Large Animal Rescue Courses and training opportunities, underwritten by the Nevada Division of Emergency Management, for individuals and groups, including municipality services.

For this two-day event, LRTC will demonstrate large animal rescue using a life-size horse model.   Viewing the extraction of a “horse” from an overturned trailer is a sobering experience.   It’s a relief to know that many agencies have received this training, and the hope is that one of these groups will be near if you ever find yourself in this horrific situation.

The third group participating in this event is the Western States Wild Horse & Burro Expo (Expo).   Their mission is to promote the adoption of wild horses and burros currently held in state or federal holding facilities.  Through participation in parades, meet-and-greets, competitions, and BLM auctions, they increase education and public awareness to the versatility of the wild-born mustangs and burros.

During American Legends & Wild Horses, Expo will produce a mustang and burro show providing adopters of the wild ones a place to showcase the talents of their trained mustangs and burros.  The show includes traditional Western and English competitive classes, trail competition, and speed classes for animals shown under saddle and in-hand.   Coon-jumping and musical chairs with in-hand burros are must-see crowd favorites!

IMG_3066Mustangs and burros are ridden in Western and English disciplines, such as: pleasure riding, packing, trail and trail challenge competitions, jumping, dressage, driving, calf-roping, team penning, and speed events like barrel racing and pole bending.   They are also seen in up-and-coming events such as Cowboy Dressage and Mounted Archery.  Wells Fargo also uses a stagecoach hitch that contains mustangs.  If a domestic-bred horse or donkey can do it, so can a mustang or burro.  Through the annual show, Expo strives to prove this to be true.

Adopting a wild mustang or burro directly from a holding facility can be daunting because many of us don’t have the equipment or skills needed to take on this challenge.   Fortunately, there are options available for adopting a gentled animal.  Bureau of Land Management supports training of our wild ones through Trainer Incentive Program, Burro Incentive Program, Extreme Mustang Makeover competitions, and prison inmate-training programs.  These programs produce gentled, green-broke animals with about 120 days of training.  The animals are then offered for adoption out-right, or through live auctions.

There is pride to sharing your life with a wild-born mustang or burro- to gain their trust is a wonderful achievement.  Let us share our wild ones with you!  Join us at the 5 Clover Ranch in the beautiful Carson Valley for American Legends & Wild Horses, August 20 & 21, 2016.  Come make yourselves at home, we’ll leave the gate open!

Comments are closed.