Sunday, May 31, 2009

About Saunya's journey to be the Mustang Nanny

I was born in Susanville, California and have a twin sister. We loved horses from the beginning and I always knew that I would be a horse trainer. I was nine years old when I learned to ride my first horse, a mustang named Dan.

As I grew up, my love for horses continue to grow. I participated in gymkhana events and rodeos in the barrel racing event. I was a Rodeo Queen for the Orland Stampede Rodeo.

In 1982, I bought my first Quarter Horse learning how to train a show horse. Shortly thereafter I began to train and sell my own horses. Then in 1989 I began to professionally train Quarter Horses, give lessons to owners and their children. I started horses training them either for Western Pleasure and Trail or English - Hunter Under Saddle and Hunter Hack. Successfully showing my horses in Nevada and Northern California I qualified them at the world show level taking them to the American Quarter Horse World Show competing in Two Year Old Western Pleasure, Junior Trail, and Junior Western Riding. I am a member of the American Quarter Horse Association, A.Q.H.A. Professional Horseman, American Paint Horse Association, and Palomino Horse Association.

I judge open shows in Northern California and Nevada.

I moved from Northern California to Reno, Nevada in 2005, at which time my training focus changed from having a large training facility to a more select group of clients and doing fun things with horses i.e., trail riding, horse camping and give lessons to amateur horse owners.

I began to ride more for pleasure and joined the Pony Express Association. I have participated in the California and Nevada Pony Express Re-Ride carrying the mail in the re-ride re-enactment in 2006 and 2007. I also participated in the Kit Carson Rendezvous opening ceremonies carrying the United States flag. During the course of the event the Pony Express Association did several demonstrations with riders exchanging the mail bags (mochilla). These re-enactments always drew crowds who were interested in the historical background of the Pony Express as well as those who wanted to pet the horses. During my time with the Pony Express I was the chairman of the safety committee.

Last winter a friend saw the finals for the 2007 Extreme Mustang Makeover in Ft. Worth, Texas on TV and called me. She explained to me that during the broadcast there was a call for interested trainers to contact the Mustang Heritage Foundation and apply for the upcoming Western States Mustang Challenge in Sacramento California. I applied and was chosen to get a mustang.

In February 2008, the Mustang Heritage Foundation notified me that I had been chosen as a trainer for the Western States Mustang Challenge in Sacramento, California in June. The mustangs were gathered from various areas taken to the BLM holding pens with only limited human contact. The trainers and mustangs were matched by random computer draw prior to the appointed pick up date. The trainers picked up their untamed Mustangs at the Sacramento Horseman's' Arena in Sacramento, California. and had 90 days to have the mustang ready to show. I was assigned a four year old bay mare, no white markings. She was a quiet little horse, always willing to try what every I ask of her. Her kind eyes, long eye lashes and long forelock and mane inspired her name 'Diva'.

Terri Russell from KOLO Channel 8 TV in Reno, Nevada followed Diva's story in a series called Taming the Wild.

After 90 days of training she was ready for her debut in the Western States Mustang Challenge. She took all the chaos of the throngs of visitors to the Challenge as if it were an every day occurrence for her and as if it was something she had been exposed to since birth rather then the fact that she had been living in the wild not six months before. Through the story done by Terri Russell, Diva had her own following and everyone wanted to pet her face and she seemed to enjoy every touch and pat. Diva successfully competed in the In Hand, Conditioning, and Trail
Classes. Diva tied for tenth place and lost to a tie breaker and finished out of the top ten and did not compete in the Finals due to the fact they only took the top ten finalists.

For the past five months I worked with wonderful buckskin gelding mustang who was gathered as a stallion from Area 51 in Nevada last July. His owner named him Rio and he came to me for training in November. Rio's first human contact was a little traumatic him as he was put in a chute, vaccinated and gelded prior to him coming to me for training. He had a quiet, willing demeanor. He went home in April 2009 and on June 5th he attended his first trail trials. Rio is sweet, kind, willing, and patient, a little fearless.

The next adventure, I have applied to and been accepted to participate in the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Ft. Worth, Texas in September. I pick-up my new mustang on June 13, 2009.

To learn more about the Mustang Heritage Foundation, the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Ft Worth, Texas or the many regional mustang makeovers, or how to adopt a mustang please follow this link to their website

Stay tune for more.

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