By Craig Dodson Continued from last week… On the weekend of the first ACTHA event, Willie was barely two weeks under saddle. He had a bit of obstacle work in the arena and several trail rides. Craig and Christina Flint, Jamie’s Assistant Trainer at Legacy Horse Training, rode trusty quarter horses to babysit the young mustang. Ironically, as the ride took shape, Craig’s horse struggled at a few obstacles. Christina’s horse did well but not without difficulty. Willie, however, was both calm and confident, acting as though he had been there for years.
Following the ride, Willie was invited to the awards presentation. He stood under the tent, with each award winner pausing for a photo with Willie, the ribbon winning must. As the awards were announced, Jamie was shocked to hear Willie had earned sixth place in the Pleasure Division, just two weeks under saddle! The first experience was a weekend with a warm reception, new friends, and competition without regard to breed, confirmation, or who has the most expensive shirt and saddle. The Legacy crew not only found success, but also found a calling.
While at the Palmyra ride, Jamie and Willie were invited to an ACTHA ride near Roanoke, VA, on the day that ACTHA was hosting rides all over the country to benefit the American Mustang. Willie was asked to come down and represent the breed for the ride. Doing the same as before, but adding camping to the list of challenges. Willie spent the weekend tied for the first time. As expected, Willie out shined his trusty companions.
Christina was able to earn a ribbon, while Willie became the only mustang in the United States to win one of the “Ride for the Mustangs” events. At the time of the ride, Willie had been under saddle six weeks.
Gaining some confidence and steam from the win, Jamie completed her 90 day preparation with a third ride in Palmyra, hosted again by Robin. She earned a second place, but most of all, her mustang was ready for action. At the Makeover event in Tennessee, Willie and Jamie earned an eighth place overall finish. The hardest part of the event was the auction following the show, but Jamie was able to purchase Willie, bringing him home once and for all.