A goal I have had for the last couple of years is to compete in the teen riding division of the “Teens and Oregon Mustangs 100 Day Training Challenge.” 15 to 18yr old youth have 100 days to train a completely wild Mustang to walk, trot, canter, as well as, go through obstacles under saddle before returning for a final competition. In past years, the competition dates have overlapped with other competitions and time restraints but this year the dates worked out perfectly for our schedule. My sisters and I had already been accepted to the ” Washington Mustang Madness 100 Day Training Challenge” training three yearling Mustangs, making a pretty busy summer without adding two more Mustangs to train. But after lots of prayer and building extra Mustang-proof corrals, my sister, Marissa, and I decided to go ahead and apply. Besides who needs sleep? Within a few weeks, we were accepted and we set off to St Paul, Oregon on May 22nd to pick up two Mustangs. My draw, #6203, AKA Dandy Andy, was a super cute, 3yr old, gelding from the Paisley Desert Herd Management Area in Oregon.
Dandy Andy was the sweetest most curious Mustang I had ever met and he absolutely blew me away with his easy going attitude and eager demeanor! He loved learning and was happy to try anything! Within the first week, he was already loving to be scratched, leading walk/trot, and happily accepting being saddled. I even started hopping on Dandy Andy and he didn’t even blink an eye and was very content to mosey around the arena with me.
The next two months of training Dandy Andy went by without a hitch. Andy absolutely loved attention and being a riding horse! He was always the first to meet you at the gate and was ready to go to work and learn something new. Dandy Andy was easy to start under saddle and never once bucked or bolted. He picked up walk, trot, canter under saddle with no big deal. He, also, was super curious and loved obstacle training and exploring! Tarps, bouncy balls, pool noodles and bridges were just a few of Dandy Andy’s favorite obstacles. Dandy Andy was very good at trying out different disciplines and we had so much fun playing around with trail riding, jumping and even a little roping.
Check out Dandy Andy’s Youtube Playlist to see his journey!
With Dandy Andy having a pretty good grasp of all the basics, I headed off to the 2021 Washington Mustang Madness Competition for the first week in August with my other competition Mustang, Paisley. Dandy Andy stayed home to enjoy a relaxing week off. Since my time had been split between two competition horses, my plan was to spend the remaining 3 weeks of August focusing on putting the finishing touches on Dandy Andy and preparing him for the Teens And Oregon Mustang Competition at the beginning of September. I had a list a mile long that I wanted to complete with Dandy Andy to have him fully prepared to compete including riding him twice a day, traveling to local arenas and I even signed Dandy up for a local horse show. Dandy’s calendar was full and we were ready to tackle our crazy training schedule. Once I got back, Dandy Andy’s first ride after a week off was fantastic and he hadn’t regressed at all. We played with a flag, an obstacle Dandy hadn’t yet seen, and he wasn’t fazed a bit by it and by the end of our ride I was cantering around carrying the flag. This little horse was awesome and I was so excited to see what all we could accomplish before the competition. But then my family and I got sick… Dandy’s training came to a screeching halt and he went out to pasture for 20 long days with no-one even doing ground work with him. By the time I was recovered enough to play with Dandy Andy again there was only 10 days till competition. I worked Dandy every day and rushed to get the farm put back together enough for us to head all the way to Oregon. There were multiple days we said there was no way we would make it the the competition but somehow on September 3rd we loaded Dandy into the trailer and headed out.
The competition started bright and early the next morning. I really had no idea how Dandy Andy would be for our classes. He had never been to an arena, other than our own and the competition’s arena was all indoor… would Dandy be ok with this sudden change of location? And how would he handle the busy show environment? I thankfully was able to work Dandy the night before in the arenas we would be competing in but how Dandy would react in the class was completely up in the air. The fist class “Conditioning” went by with very little issues. I had to release and catch Dandy, pick up all four feet and answer some questions. Besides me stumbling over a question, Dandy was great for the class and we moved right into our second class “Showmanship.” Showmanship included walk, trot, halt, backing, and haunch turns. Dandy Andy was calm, focused and absolutely rocked the class!
The last and final class was the mounted trail class. Showmanship had taken place in a smaller indoor arena but the trail class was held in the big Indoor arena with booths and grandstands full of hundreds of people. The pattern started with a gate you had to open and close and Dandy didn’t want to get anywhere near the scary metal contraption. I was able to get Dandy close enough to swing the gate open but he was too nervous to close it so I ended up dismounting and closing it from the ground. After remounting we moved on to the next obstacles. Trotting over poles, side passing both directions and backing while weaving between poles all went by with limited issues other than being a bit nervous. The bridge with brush and trees surrounding it caused Dandy a minute of grief but once he realized it wasn’t going to eat him, we crossed it easily. The last and final part of the trail course was a list of compulsory movements including trotting, cantering, halting, backing and haunch turns. Dandy was still nervous but held it together and he put in a very nice pattern overall.
When placings were announced the next morning, Dandy Andy came in 3rd in conditioning, 1st in Showmanship and 3rd in Trail, placing him 3rd overall! Dandy was the most willing and adventurous little Mustang ever with an outgoing personality!
Following awards, Dandy Andy was auctioned off and sold to a wonderful home in California!
Even though Dandy was headed off to California, we didn’t drive home with an empty trailer…we ended up bidding on and winning an adorable yearling named “Lucy!”