Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"Luck of the Draw" with Madeleine and Tango Challenge Painting #101

Madeleine and Tango "Luck of the Draw" 
Training for the Ft Collins Mustang Makeover

Tango and Madeleine LeClerc
8 by 10 inch Watercolor
by LindaLMartinArtist

Madeleine LeClerc is training the mustang Tango for the Fort Collins Makeover in June. Tango is showing some possible characteristics that would make him not only a great trail and pleasure horse but he has some athletic ablitity that suggests dressage as well. 
Madeleine is part of the R&M Performance Horses, The partnership of Robert Carlson and Madeleine LeClerc. Roberts horse for the same makeover evernt is Watson. Each week leading up to their compitition, I am alternating a painting between Tango and Watson
Each mustang makeover event, sponsored by the Mustang Heritage Foundation, is a bit different. In this makeover event the trainers are give 100 days to train a mustang from the wild  and take it to show case compititon so that the horses can be auctioned off to the highest bidder.  The goal is to put a lot of basic training and handling into the horse so that they can be assessed for thier potential, handled safely and then specialized later.

Madeleine and Tango  working on the bit.

All the horses are  what horsemen call "very green" when they reach the auction stage. Meaning that a beginner or intermediate rider cannot begin to find the mustangs useful unless there is addtional training put on the horse and the rider.  It is Madeleine's and Robert's job to expose the mustang assigned to them, to as much as possible so the potential adoptor can see what the horse might be best suited for.
Added to the challenge is that each of the horses is matched up to the trainers in this challenge in a blind number assignment, so that until the number is revealed and matched to the horse; the trainer really has no clue what his horse lookes like, its personality, its athletic ability or where it came from spacifically.
The interesting thing about mustangs is that  because of the historical circumstances surrounding the release of domestic horses from time to time into the original Spanish indigeonous stock, the horse could exhibit any trait introduced by  European settlers. 

The  training of the horses for  the compititon takes this into consideration by the type of tests that are set up. There are certain basic things that every horse must do to make it safe in any circumstance. Then there is the free style part of the exhibit that allows the horse to show case its spicific abilities and unique experience. This can be anything from draft horse, to gaited horse, to thoroughbred or arabian to any other purebred horse brought in by European settlers, plus other more American developed breeds like horses that drive such as pacers or trotters, to cattle horses with short little burst of speed gaits like quarterhorses, and even horses that might have potential as dressage horses, hunters, endurance or polo ponies.

Madeleine and Tango working on trail

The  trainer opens up the possibilites through assessing the horse, then  builds a freestyle program that would showcase those special tallents that could be developed into a competive edge, or a great service animal or a wonderful family pleasure horse.
It is important to notice that again, these are just the beginings of training. Keep in mind that some of these disciplines take years to polish. More importantly to the new owner, is that a wild horse has some special needs, because it not only is a horse, but it is a horse that learned to think for its self in the wild and learned to problem solve.*

This is the reason that R&M Performance Horses offer as part of the adoption package additonal training for the new owen to put polish on the horse and train it for the specific needs of the owner. Robert said it this way: " We want a successful happy partnership for every horse we train, but also our reputation is on the line." Robert and Madeleine want the best of their horses and the best partnership for the person who adopts them.
You can read more of Robert's and Madeleine's training blog on facebook:

2011 CO Mustang Makeover with R&M Performance

Also for those who would be interested in learing how to start a Mustang R&M Performance will be offering a two Day seminar: Supreme Extreme Mustang Starting Clinic on May 13th and 14th

You can also link in and contact Robert and Madeleine at their website:  http://www.westernclinics.com/

Robert and Watson

Side Note: Wild horses arent nearly as dependant on humans, thus an example might be that if  you are late to the barn and the horse is out of water, a horse raised in captivity will wait until you get there to give him water. A mustang will try to figure out how to get to the water and give himself a drink. This might mean he already knows that the water comes from a faucet and that to get to that faucet he has to unlatch his stall door. You can imagine the rest. It has also been reported that since mustangs have the herd experience that not only will he get water for himself he might make sure the entire barn has it too.

While this can be comical there are times that it might be really inconveint for an ower when his mustang hasnt bonded with him into a working partnership. Putting in the extra training and miles will give you a common history and help you bond so that you have a dependable life time Mustang friend.

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