Each year, the Bureau of Land Management gathers thousands of mustangs from Western public lands for adoption; those that don’t find homes end up either warehoused in government facilities or slaughtered.
Tom Hagwood entered his first Mustang Million in 2008 during a period when the economy was unstable and needed him to make a living.
Mustangs are horses known to possess a strong survival instinct. Intelligent, quick learners, and stubborn at times, Mustangs make ideal horses for ranching work as they don’t spook easily and don’t spook easily when riding trails or endurance competitions.
Million Dollar Horses is a documentary series that follows five trainers as they compete in Mustang Millions, an event hosted by Mustang Heritage Foundation to raise funds for the Bureau of Land Management’s wild horse adoption program. Trainers compete against one another to transform wild mustangs into disciplined arena performers within four months; any misstep could cost them the grand prize prize!
Trainers love working with mustangs despite all of their challenges; they describe them as smarter and more independent than domestic horses, holding special places in their hearts. Mustangs are iconic symbols of American west culture and living legends for many people; thus teaching trainers valuable life lessons along the way.
Mustangs are powerful creatures with the capacity to run fast and jump high, yet are difficult to tame, requiring patience and persistence in order to do so. Their diet should include both grass as well as shrubs or forbs during winter. Furthermore, their hard feet make them adept at maneuvering across rocky terrain.
Honor Farm horse trainers face an uphill struggle. Working with mustangs from the government, they have only limited time to train them into riding horses. Meanwhile, inmates at Honor Farm have earned their right to be here after successfully being transferred from more restrictive prisons, determined to make a difference in these animals’ lives.
First step to successful Mustang ownership is selecting one with ideal conformation. This will determine both its cost of maintenance and its price; an ideal Mustang has sturdy medium build with weight around 800 pounds. Boarding type and training level also impact costs – for instance a broke Mustang will cost more than one without training; trainer Bobby Kerr won Supreme Mustang Makeover 2012 with Maypop who left viewers speechless during a stunning freestyle performance by him and fellow trainers from across the country. Merv was recently the 2011 winner of Mustang Million!
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) captures wild horses to regulate their numbers on public lands, often at great cost to taxpayers – often exceeding $10,000 annually for holding corral costs alone for just one horse. Luckily, the BLM makes efforts to find adoptable Mustangs new homes by hosting Mustang Makeover events across the country that feature classes like conditioning, in-hand trail, showmanship and costume showmanship classes as part of this controversial process.
Mustangs are hardworking animals with versatility that make them great additions to ranch work and other applications. Their price varies greatly based on their bloodline; one with an extensive pedigree may cost more than its counterpart without one.
Early in the 1900s, two million mustangs roamed freely across 26.9 million acres (10.9 million hectares) in Western United States. Today, their range is decreasing due to housing developments and farms encroaching on horse country – leaving herds vulnerable to starvation, disease, and competition for grazing space with cattle and other wildlife.
Tom Hagwood hails from Nevada where he rode horses at large ranches and competed in rodeo competitions. Following his retirement in 2008 from rodeo competitions, he began training horses full time – initially adopting BLM mustangs out of necessity due to an economic downturn which made it hard to find paying customers for his services.
Horse lovers find nothing quite so captivating as a million-dollar mustang. These stunning horses are known for being beautiful, fast, and smart; many people hold these horses close in their hearts. Unfortunately, however, these expensive beauties require extensive care and attention before becoming your companion; be mindful when purchasing one as you should also factor in costs associated with boarding facilities to ensure it’s safe.
Mustangs are a reminder of a time when two million wild horses roamed America’s plains in abundance. Unfortunately, those days have long since passed and today’s mustangs live on public lands now used by ranches and towns, protected from human hunters yet growing so large as to overrun grazing grounds and kill each other or compete for pasture with ranchers’ herds.
Mustangs typically lead happy lives at their sanctuaries and private ranches, and competitions like the Mustang Million or Supreme Extreme Mustang Makeover showcase them. Million-dollar mustangs attract spectators from all over the globe who love watching horse trainers transform untrained wild horses into moneymaking champions.