BLM Dona Brown

(Dona Brown) My name is Dona Brown, and I am with the Midwest Mustang and Burro Saddle Club and we are here today just to support the BLM Wild Horse Adoption in Tonganoxie, Kansas. We started our club in 2002 with basically an email group, so that people could adopt mustangs, and learn about mustangs, and share about mustangs through our group. Our main purpose was to make sure that if somebody adopts a wild horse, and is uncomfortable with that wild horse after they get it home then we can come and help them be more comfortable with that horse, because many of us have already trained our horses. We know what it’s about, we know what to expect and we can kind of make that experience better for them, and therefore we keep the wild horse from going back into the BLM Program. We are an official Bureau of Land Management volunteer group. They asked us at one time to do that for them because we come and we support them. We get along with them. We have good relationships and doing a good job with I think keeping horses from going back into the program. I myself adopted a mustang when I was 55 years of age. I got it home and I said, What did I just do? [laughs] But it was really interesting to see how that horse with those wild eyes within a few days became so gentle and kind. And she just won my heart and she’s my best friend now. She is very ornery. She unlocks my gates. So, to me a mustang or wild horse, they are thinking horses. They think. They have to get themselves out of trouble. So, I think their thinking ability is very heightened. And she tends to have that. [laughs] We have members from several different states, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, I think we have some in Nebraska. And, we have put on shows, done parades, done clinics. Anything that we can do to help people get their mustangs out and use them, is what we’re about. We want to be supportive of the mustangs because we know what good horses they are. And, so we have always been doing things that will help people progress with their horse. We have put on a mustang, all mustang horse show. So, every horse that came that day was a mustang horse. And we have organized trail rides that gets the horses out into the environment that they might be familiar with. And my horse is probably very comfortable on trail rides. I think that she enjoys them because, she’s out stepping over rocks and logs. She becomes very relaxed when we do trail rides. We’ve done the American Memorial Parade with our mustangs, which was very interesting because we had these mustangs and we took pictures of them. And here’s these wild horses amongst the skyscrapers in Kansas City. And the local news media was just really tickled to see these mustangs coming into the parade there. We’ve done Equifest several times. We did it in Wichita at one time and then they moved to Topeka. So, this year we were in Topeka, Kansas with the Mustang and Burro Saddle Club. Actually it was the first time since 2002 that we felt so comfortable about what people felt about mustangs. They were not always looked at as good horses. They were kind of a nuisance horse. They couldn’t be trained. And this year at Equifest they had at least five different booths that were supporting mustangs. And people came up to our booths and they wanted to learn. They wanted to know. They had heard so much about the mustangs. They had an extreme mustang makeover. And this has really promoted the mustang more than anything. The mustang, more than any breed, has had to prove itself in all genres of training and performing because of the name they had before. So, now they do dressage, reining, they do cattle, they trail ride. Anything any other horse can do now, the mustangs can do. And we have several of our members that are competing and winning with their mustangs. We have a girl in Hutchison that competes with dressage. She takes first. We had some younger girls that are competing in obstacle and winning first prizes. And so, we’re really happy when we can get people to use their horses and get them out. And that’s what we encourage. That’s what we’re here for. And, we are a very successful club, I think, because of what we’ve been doing. We probably have over a hundred and something members now on our email group. Locally, we probably have 30 to 40 that are active and taking their horses to things and doing things with them that we know of because we’re in the local area in Kansas. So, that’s basically what our group is about and I think we have succeeded in what our group started out and set our goals to and we’ll continue to do that.

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