The Mustang I (Sierra) received for the 2021 Mustang Competition was a tiny little all black filly I named Paisley Moonlight. Paisley was one of the easiest Mustangs we had trained this far. She wasn’t reactive or spooky and I was able to get my hands on her pretty quick that first day but she had her own set of challenges. Unlike some horses who run away when scared, Paisley’s reaction to fear was to completely shut down and I had a hard time bringing her out of her shell and getting her to interact with me. We started leading and petting all over that first day but I could tell she wasn’t really enjoying it. I spent a lot of time over that first week just sitting in her stall, brushing and braiding her mane and just letting her get used to me, along with taking low key walks. After she settled in and learned that I came bearing very yummy grain and grass treats she really started to come out of her shell and we set to work getting ready for competition.
Paisley enjoyed adventuring with her fellow yearlings and learning all it takes to become a domestic horse. Paisley was the laziest of the three yearling and unlike her two friends who your main job was teaching them to calm down, Paisley you had to work on livening her up. Compared to the other two spritely yearlings, Paisley was pretty unshakable and was naturally a brave and confident little filly which made her excel at obstacles including tarps, flags, old mattresses and really any scary object you could find.
After 4 months of training we arrived in Cle Elum, WA, brushed, bathed and full of nerves for the upcoming days! The first class was Handling which included all the basic things domestic horses are required to do including picking up feet, releasing and catching, loading into a trailer, etc. Paisley was a little nervous in this class and wasn’t quite sure why we had to leave her friends outside the arena but she held it together and came out of the class in second.
After a good nights sleep, Paisley was focused and ready for the next two preliminary classes. Pattern Class (Showmanship) and Trail went extremely well and Paisley performed beautifully, not blinking an eye at anything. She took first in both classes which headed us into the final round sitting in first overall.
The final round consisted of a 3 minute freestyle set to music. Paisley and I were first up to perform and I was super nervous! We had a lot of components for our freestyle and I had no idea how it would go. Also, Paisley had spent all of her energy on the prelim classes and was done. She didn’t want to move and was in a grouchy, stubborn mood from lack of sleep and over stimulation from 3 days of showing. When we headed into the arena and the music started, Paisley woke up and was ready! She performed her routine perfectly and even though a prop blew away in the wind, we still managed to squeeze into first place in freestyle.
Paisley had a very successful weekend and took home “First Overall” in the Teen In-Hand division. Following the competition, Paisley went home with a wonderfully lady to live in Montana.